Every year, Buffalo complains about our long winters.
Yet every year, we can’t wait to show summer the door.
“But I’m still here,” summer protests. “What are you doing with those jeans and boots? And what is with the pumpkin latte? There’s still yummy strawberry ice cream at Anderson’s!”
“Summer, get out. Your time is up. It’s fall.”
“Have you been outside? The sun’s out. It’s 72 degrees.”
Summer has a point.
We love our cider and pumpkins. But what if we accepted summer’s invitation, and put off fall until Halloween?
Winter would be a lot shorter. And we could have a lot of fun. Think of it, an extra month of summer. The kids are back in school, meaning smaller crowds around Lloyd Taco Truck and shorter lines for ice cream.
So hold off on those autumn treats. They will still be here a month from now. And you will enjoy them all the better for having put them off.
Let the next month of summer begin.
*Summer is all about doing tourist-y things, things you don’t get to go to in the course of your normal life. So head to Niagara Falls, N.Y. The Cave of the Winds tour continues until Oct. 21. The intrepid Maid of the Mist operates until Nov. 8. Don’t forget to buy a couple of postcards and tell your friends you wish they were there.
*Larkinville Food Truck Tuesdays, 5 to 8 p.m. at 745 Seneca St., continue through October. Dozens of food trucks, as well as local bands – and the lines are shorter because kids are back in school. They’re saving the most summery band for last. The season winds up Oct. 27 with Workingman’s Dead, playing the flowery music of the Grateful Dead. Visit larkinsquare.com.
[See a photo gallery from a 2015 Food Truck Tuesday]
*Summertime, and the living is easy. How about a nice, slow bike ride? Slow Roll Buffalo, the giant citywide bike ride, continues every Monday evening in October. The group meets at 6 p.m. in varying locations, disclosed at slowrollbuffalo.org. It gets rolling at 6:30 p.m. The ride is 8 to 10 miles, and you go at your own pace. Preferably slow.
*The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., is a summer thing. Now is the time. At the Festival Theatre, there’s the musical “Sweet Charity” (through Oct. 31), an updated take on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” – that’s “My Fair Lady,” without the music (through Oct. 24) and “Light up the Sky” (through Oct. 11).
[Check out Colin Dabkowski's Shaw Festival guide]
At the Royal George Theatre, there’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” (through Nov. 1), Shaw’s “You Never Can Tell” (through Oct. 25) and “The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt” (through Oct. 11). Visit shawfest.com or call (905) 468-2172.
*With darkness falling earlier, the movies start earlier at the Transit Drive-In (6655 S. Transit Road, Lockport). Its season stretches as long as weather permits, and that’s often a long, long time. If you’re single, scare up a date. If you have kids, put them in jammies and take them along.
[Read: The enduring allure of drive-in theaters]
Go and revel in summer pleasures: a double feature, popcorn and Pepsi from the retro snack bar. If enough people show up, the drive-in folks might be persuaded to stay open during the winter, too, and bring back those little heater thingies they used to have. What fun it would be to have this all year round. Call 625-8535.
*The wheels on the Buffalo Pedal Tours bus go round and round, as long as there’s not snow and as long as you and your friends are fit enough to keep puffing along even into the winter. Round up 14 of your friends and charter your own private pub crawl, or go stag for a Social Mixer. Call 984-3834 or visit buffalopedaltours.com.
[Read Mary Kunz Goldman's feature on local pedal tours]
*Cool off at an ice cream parlor. But no fall flavors for you. Stick with seasonal flavors like strawberry, peach, black cherry and that tasty Southern butter pecan. Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream (79 Canal St., Lockport) has loganberry ice cream. Yes, please.
[What's on the docket for Lake Effect Ice Cream's business]
*What’s that shouting in a remote Hawaiian dialect? It’s a tiki bar, screaming summer. The tiki bar is at Stockman’s Tavern (9870 Transit Road, Swormville) in the grove out back. Like the drive-in, it stays open as long as the weather cooperates. “And if there’s a bartender that will come in,” a staffer told us. “The bartenders know that they might get a call to open the tiki.” Belly up. The number to call to see if there’s a bartender is 688-9896.
*Louie’s Original Foot Long Hot Dogs (69 Grand Island Blvd., Tonawanda, 877-9701) is the essence of sweet suburban summer. Find someone with a convertible or muscle car if you don’t have one yourself, and head over there for one of those heavenly hot dogs, signature Curly-Q fries and the eatery’s newest innovation, the popular loganberry iced tea.
[Read a recent Cheap Eats on Louie's Hot Dogs]
“We stay busy. We stay open until late October, late November, whenever the snow is in the air,” said Angelo Turco, the son of the late legendary Louis Turco, who opened the place in 1951.
*Another month of summer means that you need some new summer clothes. And now it’s all marked way down. Spring fashion shows are going on right now. Buy a new bathing suit. Beach towels, tote bags, swim goggles – get out there and shop. And don’t forget sunscreen.
*If it gets a bit nippy, find a heated patio. Spot Coffee on Elmwood Avenue has a dandy patio that faces south, which means it stays warm as long as the sun is out. Templeton Landing, situated by Canalside, has outdoor fire pits that offer warmth and atmosphere as you sip Italian wine on an October evening.
[Details into Spot Coffee's expansion into the Southtowns]
*Summer in the city. The Sportsmen’s Tavern has an indoor-outdoor design that makes you think you are at a music club in Austin, Memphis or New Orleans. An outdoor patio wraps around the upper story, and there you may relax, an ale in your hands, watching the band on the first level. The outdoor concert season isn’t over after all. The Sportsmen’s Tavern is at 326 Amherst St. in hot, steamy Black Rock. Call 874-7734.
*Set sail. The Moondance Catamaran, on its website, claims to be operating until Oct. 14. Get the gang together for another night – or two – on board. Go barefoot and sip a gin and tonic, and admire the burgeoning Buffalo skyline. Call 854-SAIL.
*A snorting, chugging, coal-burning steam engine will help you feel the heat. The legendary Arcade & Attica Railroad runs its steam engine through Oct. 18. It departs noon Fridays; noon and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 18. Grilled hot dogs, ice cream novelties and cold drinks are available at the station, halfway through your trip. Round trips are $15 a person. The train leaves from the station at 278 Main St., Arcade. Call 492-3100.
All aboard for summer.
Story topics: Cave of the Winds/ drive-in theaters/ food truck tuesdays/ Lake Effect Ice Cream/ Larkinville/ Maid of the Mist/ Mary Kunz Goldman/ Moondance Cat/ Moondance Catamaran/ Shaw Festival/ Slow Roll Buffalo/ The Shaw Festival/ Transit Drive-in