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Staycation: Summer Vacation Destinations an Hour From Home

Filed under: Events, Local Interest



It’s that time of year again: summer vacation. Unfortunately for many of us, due to finances, work, school, kids, or just an overall lack of free time, the ‘vacation’ part of summer may not fit into the equation. Luckily, Western and Upstate New York, our own backyard, is a vacation destination. Yes, from outdoorsy activities to beach spots to grandiose mansions and castles, ingredients for relaxation, thrills and fun are all around us.  So, have a staycation: here are some cool ideas outside of the typical tourist destinations to feed your wanderlust.  Some destinations can be a weekend trip, a day trip or even a half day trip.

In addition to several features in this week’s this week’s print edition, we will be posting near by destinations and day trip ideas here on Artvoice Daily over the course of the week. Yesterday we featured destinations less than an hour from the city, and today we have some destinations within an hour’s drive, care of Artvoice Staffer Kellie Coppola. To view all of the other posts as they are added, click here.


Zoar Valley

Cattaraugus NY, 14719
Zoar Valley Canoe and Rafting Company website:

This beautiful park provides 3,014­acre of natural scenery and is known for its waterfalls and gorges. At Zoar Valley, you will find hiking, wildlife watching, hunting and fishing opportunities in a gorgeous setting right in our own backyard. Details of Zoar Valley designated hiking trails, as well as fishing and hunting information are available online. Canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting tours are available through the Zoar Valley Canoe and Rafting Company. See their website for more details.



P.O. Box 456 / 9 W. Washington St., Ellicottville, New York 14731
phone: 800-349-­9099 / 716-­699-­5046 / fax: 716-699-­5636 / e-mail:

In Cattaraugus County, Ellicottville is an adorable little village that is a favorite ski destination of Buffalonians. The fun doesn’t stop when the snow melts. The summer holds many fun, thrilling and enriching indoor and outdoor activities, as well as a busy social calendar at various local establishments. Be sure to check out Griffis Sculpture Park, Nannen Arboretum and Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park (listed below). Three notable Ellicotville destinations follow:


Sculpture parkGriffis Sculpture Park

6902 Mill Valley Rd., East Otto, NY 14729. Approximately seven miles North of Ellicottville.
Adults $5, Seniors/students $3, Children under 12 free

See, touch and even climb on over 200 intricate sculptures created by local, national and international sculptors. Afterwards, take a hike on the ten miles of hiking trails that weave through the park.

Nannen Arboretum

28 Parkside Drive Ellicottville, NY 14731
Open dawn until dusk, admission is free

Formally a part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Nannen Arboretum was recently turned to the town of Ellicottville and is run by the Nannen Arboretum Society. Wander around the 8 acre park and discover beautiful natural scenery


Holiday Valley Sky High Adventure Park

Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville, NY 14731.

The premier Western New York ski resort sheds its winter layers for high flying adventure. Check out the four acre Aerial Park, where guests can glide, swing and climb from tree to tree safely on a harness; the Climbing Forest, ten different trees with a range of climbing difficulty; and the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster, where you can soar through the mountains and trees at your own speed. Details on attraction regulations, pricing and accommodations are available on the website.


Dunkirk Lighthouse

1 Point Dr. N., Dunkirk, NY 14048, Southwest of Buffalo
$6 grounds, museum, and tour; $1 grounds only

Take a half­day trip up to Dunkirk just off route 5 and explore a lighthouse that has been guiding boats to safety since 1826. With its original internal structure still intact, take a step into history while exploring the nautical exhibits on the first floor and then take a guided tour to the top. See website for tour times and details on special events.


Lily Dale

5 Melrose Dr. Lily Dale, NY 14752, one hour drive southwest
gate fees: $12 per person for one day, more gate fees and information available on the website.

Located one hour from Buffalo, the 135 ­year ­old Lily Dale assembly is a community of mediums and spiritualists outside the village of Cassadaga. See demonstrations of clairvoyance at daily services, make appointments with registered mediums, and enjoy the charm of the local shops, restaurants, temples and beach.

sky divingWNY Skydiving

Pine Hill Airport located at 4906 Pine Hill Road, Albion, NY 14411

Take a leap at Western New York’s full service skydiving facility. Get licensed, jump in tandem or alone (USPA License required). Information on requirement and pricing are available on the website.

George Bridge

George Bridge, Scottsville, NY 14546, one hour drive east

For thrill seekers, George Bridge is a perfect place to hang out and cool off. Traversing the Otaki River in Scottsville, NY (near Rochester), the depth of the water under the bridge is perfect for jumping and the surrounding area is prime for picnicking.


phone: +1 905-468-1950 /

Grab your passports and head just over the bridge to a storybook­esque town often referred to as “the loveliest town in Ontario.” Niagara­on­the­Lake offers beautiful scenery at its marina, a rich theatre culture that blossoms during the annual Shaw Festival, a charming Old Town replete with shops restaurants and inns and Fort George, famous War of 1812 historical site. Travel and event information may be found on the website.