July 2009

Photo Contest Created to Have Buffalonians Capture the True and Unique Beauty of Buffalo Niagara
Say-Cheese-Buffalo-logoLet the world see Buffalo through your eyes by capturing the city’s people, places and things with your camera and submitting them to the “Say Cheese, Buffalo!” photo contest. The contest was created by the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau to capture the essence and beautiful sights of the Buffalo Niagara region. If you love Buffalo and like taking pictures, then this is the contest for you.

“We are always looking for fresh images to sell Buffalo to the world. Who better to help us than our own residents? By recruiting local ambassadors we are actively getting them involved in helping market Buffalo with their creative images,” said Drew Cerza, interim president of the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Say Cheese, Buffalo!” is open to photographers of all ages. It’s is an on-going contest that has four periods of entry that correlate with the change of season. Each of the four periods will have a 1st place $100 prize that will be given to the photographer who can best capture the beauty of the Buffalo Niagara region.

Each photo submitted has the chance to be used in various CVB publications and on its website, to promote the area as a fun and exciting place for out-of-town visitors and locals. Judging will take place shortly after the ending date of each contest period.

Contest dates run from July 1, 2009 – September 30, 2009 (summer), October 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009 (autumn), January 1, 2010 – March 31, 2010 (winter) and April 1, 2010 – June 30, 2010 (spring).

Dust off your tripods and use your imagination to help capture the beauty of the region to let others know how wonderful the Buffalo Niagara area is. For more information about the contest visit www.visitbuffaloniagara.com and look for the “Say Cheese, Buffalo!” logo.

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After a weekend spent touring Buffalo’s GardenWalk and the streets of the beautiful Elmwood Village neighborhood, Stacey Hirvela, Senior Associate Garden Editor for Martha Stewart Living Magazine, told readers of the Martha Stewart Living Radio Blog that she was “completely in love with Buffalo.” Captivated by the more than 300 gardens on the walk, enchanted by the beautiful turn-of-the-century homes – including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House — and dazzled by the restaurants she and her husband, Adam, visited, Stacey blogged about “one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve been involved with during my time with the magazine.” To read Stacey’s complete post, click here.

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by Doug Sitler

RichmondAveBuffalo is loaded with great streets – avenues that exude character and establish a tremendous sense of place. I am so thankful that I live in a community that is far from cookie-cutter design. Streets such as Elmwood Avenue, Delaware Avenue, Hertel Avenue, and Bidwell Parkway, often and deservingly, capture the most attention from residents and guests. A street that I drive, or ride my bike, on every day is majestic Richmond Avenue – a little brother of sorts to nearby Elmwood and Delaware avenues.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of the 1.8-mile Richmond Avenue is that the street is bookend with the H.H. Richardson Towers on the northern end, and the tall spire of the First Presbyterian Church and the world-class Kleinhans Music Hall at Symphony Circle on the southern end. The tower’s high perch creates a sentinel effect, as if they are watching down on the avenue. The lane also contains three, beautifully landscaped traffic circles, which hark back to the European-street grid that influenced Buffalo’s street design.

For people who love to ride bikes, Richmond Avenue is an oasis in the middle of the city. Back in the early 1990’s, the city eliminated a driving lane, and replaced it with bike lanes on both sides of the street. Taking the street’s bike lanes offer a safe and relaxing ride – which allows for more opportunities to absorb the tremendous Victorian-era houses along the street.

Whether you’re riding a bike, cruising in a car, or using your feet, Richmond Avenue is a quiet little gem that will produce an enjoyable and authentic Buffalo experience. To learn more about the street and view some interesting historical photos, visit www.buffaloah.com

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by Phil Weiss

CityHall-touristsFrom the intricate details on the elevator doors, to the master designs of the entranceways, to the beautiful and unique murals that grace the lobby and corridors, Buffalo City Hall is one place that will catch your eye at every turn. Scheduled daily at 12 p.m. weekdays throughout the summer, Buffalo City Hall runs a FREE tour that will allow you to explore this remarkable building.

The tour is led by a vastly knowledgeable docent from Buffalo Tours, who will teach you everything there is to know about the historic landmark, and then some. I was so amazed by how much history is behind this building and the immediate surrounding area. The tour begins in the lobby of City Hall where you then venture outside to hear about how the significance of Niagara Square (which is now more of a circle) and all of the external architecture of the surrounding buildings. Making your way back into City Hall, you learn more about the Queen City and its heritage through the elaborate wall paintings and also get the chance to make your way into the Treasury Department and Council Chamber.

Personally, I felt the highlight of the tour takes you up 25 floors to the observation deck where you can see for miles over the City of Buffalo and beyond. These sights are so calming and make you just say “WOW!” From that vantage point you can clearly see all the geographical features that truly makes Buffalo a unique place.

Trust me, this tour is not only worth the price (FREE!), it’s worth the time spent in visiting this wonderfully majestic building.

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by Doug Sitler

BirdIslandPierEver since I attended college here in Buffalo during the early 1990’s, I have made a walk on the Bird Island Pier one of my regular outdoor jaunts. From the time that I first caught site of the pier while driving down the I-190, the ribbon-like walkway residing in the middle of the Niagara River captured my imagination.

The pier is actually a four-foot wide walkway sitting on top of a stone break wall that separates the smooth Black Rock Channel from the swift-moving Niagara River. It is a wonderful place to exercise, experience a wide variety of nature, watch crews from the West Side Rowing Club prepare for their next regatta, and take in panoramic views of the City of Buffalo, Frank Lloyd Wright Rowing Boathouse, the Peace Bridge, and Canada.

To find the Bird Island Pier, you must go to Broderick Park at the foot of West Ferry Street, which in itself is a very distinct location. Broderick Park was one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, with escaping slaves using this location to ferry over to Canada and freedom.

At the tip of the park is the pier, which stretches out over 1.2 miles to an observation platform where Lake Erie enters the Niagara River. One of my favorite locations is almost .5 miles out when you walk directly under the Peace Bridge for an up-close look at the massive steel span. A little further down the pier you are greeted with wonderful view of the Frank Lloyd Wright Rowing Boathouse.

Once you reach the end of the pier, you have magnificent 360-degree views of Buffalo that include, Downtown, the city’s break wall system, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Fort Erie, Ontario and so much more. Enjoy the walk back to the parking lot, as there’s always something for your eyes to discover. Although the pier does not have a website, this site has some great photos of what you can expect…take a look.

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by Kelsey Bradbury

M&TBankToday I took the opportunity to be a tourist in my own city, heading out on the self-guided “Walk Buffalo” tour, available free of charge from the Buffalo Niagara Visitor’s Center.

The introduction in the tour guidebook tells an abridged story of Buffalo’s past and forecasts the city’s bright and promising future. The tour guide includes written directions to each location and a labeled map. Those who take the “Walk Buffalo” tour can look for a blue buffalo painted on the sidewalk in front of each site.

The 2.5 mile tour begins at the Market Arcade Building, located at 617 Main Street, home of the Visitors Center and the offices of the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau, then continues down Main Street and to a few notable sites in the immediate area.

I was immediately smitten with the calm, but charming M&T Center (site #3), located across from Fountain Plaza. Noting the wide variety of eateries close by, I made a mental note to keep this space in mind as the perfect spot to take a break and savor a sandwich or a cup of coffee after a day in downtown Buffalo.

From there, I passed a number of impressive buildings with impressive histories. In addition to devoting a few paragraphs to tell the story of the site, the tour guidebook lists the architect and the date each building was built. Many are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and date back to the “gilded age” of Buffalo, when the city was a hub of cultural activity and majestic architectural development.

Old County Hall, St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, historic hotels, and numerous commerce buildings are the highlights of this 28-stop tour. The tour finishes up with Chippewa Street and Shea’s Buffalo Theater, two points of interest which are best seen in the evening. In the afternoon, Chippewa Street is a great place to stop for lunch or an appetizer, but it is much livelier in the moonlight, as it is the hub of Buffalo nightlife and theater. Shea’s is the anchor of the Downtown Buffalo Theatre District, with a regal interior and a reputation for world-class shows. At night, the famous “Shea’s Buffalo” sign twinkles with a classy, retro brilliance.

For more information about the Walk Buffalo tour visit www.walkbuffalo.com or stop by the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Center, located at 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203.

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by Kelsey Bradbury

blackberry-pickingThis past Saturday, in the midst of the warm and sunny weather, I grew nostalgic for one of my favorite childhood activities: berry picking.

Once a year, my parents would take my cousin and me to Greg’s U-Pick during the strawberry season. We’d sport old, oversized tee shirts that stretched to our knees, dab suntan lotion on our noses, and tote dented buckets for our yield. We’d spend a few hours picking berries with the mid afternoon sun high overhead. Every so often, I’d “sample” a berry or two from my bucket. Ripe and refreshing, the strawberries tasted like summer itself. When we’d return home after our outing, it was always in exhausted content—arms slightly sore, hands still sticky, relishing the sweet taste of sun-kissed strawberries. The bucket of berries lasted a few delicious days. The memory of these outings has lasted more than a decade.

There are a number of farms across the Buffalo-Niagara region with pick your own fruit programs:

At Awald Farms, in North Collins, NY, you can pick your own blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins. The picking season starts in early July.

At Brown’s Berry Patch, in Waterport, NY, you can pick your own strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, elderberries, apples, and pumpkins. The picking season starts in mid June.

At Becker Farms, in Gasport, NY, you can pick fresh strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples, vegetables, and pumpkins. The picking season starts in early June.

At Blackman Homestead Farm, in Lockport, NY, you can pick your own apples, and pears. The picking season starts in mid September.

At Burch Farms, in Hilton, NY, you can harvest strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, and gooseberries. The picking season starts in mid June.

At Greg’s U-Pick, in Clarence, NY, you can pick strawberries, blueberries, vegetables, and pumpkins. The picking season starts in mid June.

At Murphy Orchards, in Burt, NY, you can pick fresh strawberries, mulberries, cherries, currants, gooseberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, plums, pears, prunes, vegetables, and pumpkins. The picking season starts in mid June.

At Russell’s U-Pick Blueberries, in Appleton, NY, you can pick your own blueberries. The picking season starts in July.

Also in Appleton, NY, is Singer Farms, where you can pick your own cherries. The picking season starts in July.

Fruit-picking in the Buffalo-Niagara region is a great way to enjoy the warm weather, the beautiful landscapes of the countryside, and the companionship of your family. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

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