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By Jim Cobran Sometimes it takes a little while for trends to catch up in WNY. But, when they do, they really do. Right now we’re in the midst of a burgeoning mass of bike trails — both on-road (a.k.a. streetscape bicycle lanes), and off-road hike/bike paths. I’ll admit to being a latecomer, rejoining the area’s cyclists three summers ago. But with the …

One of the best things about summer is Western New York’s farmers’ markets. Here’s where to get your hands on fresh produce, homemade goodies and more from spring through fall. Buffalo Clinton/Bailey 1443 Clinton St., Buffalo Sunday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Clintonbaileymarket.com Downtown Main Street between Court & Church s…

By Devon Dams-O’Connor There’s something tranquil and enchanting about horses. Their steady, slowly swaying gait gently rocks riders around the ring, providing a regal vantage point that lifts them above their troubles and positions them, momentarily, in the imaginary saddle of a knight, cowgirl or king. At Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center in East Aurora and …

By Devon Dams-O’Connor All is well inside the calm confines of a greenhouse. Bone-chilling winds could be whipping hail sideways, but under nurseries’ silver-framed translucent cloches, filtered sunlight warms the skin and relaxes the shoulders. The air is humid and alive – an organic aromatherapy spa fragrant with moss, peat, minerals and subtle earthy perfumes. …

By Kristi Runyan It makes sense that WNYers love outdoor fitness classes. “When people can finally get outside after being stuck inside after a long winter, they do,” said Julie Leatherbarrow, owner of Budding Tree Yoga in Elma. Leatherbarrow, a certified yoga instructor, is the creator and lead director of the annual Budding Tree Yoga Festival, which offers o…

By Lynn Freehill-Maye An hour southeast of Buffalo along Highway 20A where Western New York’s flatlands yield to dramatic sweeps and valleys, you come to a building that’s stop-the-car handsome. Near Silver Lake in Perry, it’s gray stone with rustic board-and-batten siding and a long balcony near the top. The place looks like a chalet. Swap out the rolling Dansvil…

By Tim Fenster When the founding members of the FemALE brew series first talked about making beer together, it was hardly out of any desire to rewrite alcohol stereotypes or cast light on the gender disparities in the brewing world. They were simply a group of friends and co-workers who shared a love for craft beer. And they had the perfect opportunity. As “brew-te…

By Kimberly LaRussa Walking into MaryRuth Rera’s home in Amherst, you’re first greeted by the amazing aroma of dinner cooking. Next comes Rera’s infectious smile. Her down-to-earth personality belies the experiences she’s had as a private chef who was once unsure of her path. Many years ago, Rera was trying to find herself. She worked various 9 to 5 jobs that…

By Doug O'Neil Season after season, theater-goers make the trip up to the Stratford Festival in Ontario to get their dose of Shakespeare and other theatrical fare, but increasingly, food has been taking center stage. Our writer lifts the curtain on the local culinary scene in Stratford. The play’s the thing,” said Hamlet, who could have been speaking of Stratford…

By Jessica Kelly It’s been a challenge in the last year or two to keep track of the many wonderful restaurants popping up around Western New York. Along with new approaches to food, many of them are also re-thinking dessert. Here’s where to find some of Buffalo’s best new sweet treats. Sticky Toffee Pudding The Black Sheep Restaurant & Bar 367 Connecticut…

By Tim Fenster Most everybody has pondered opening their own restaurant, usually after a particularly satisfying home-cooked meal, but there are good reasons few of us ever will. Restaurants require tens (if not hundreds) of thousands in start-up costs, an incredible amount of work to maintain, and are difficult to keep afloat; studies show about 60 percent of new re…

By Tim Fenster When Larry Ball, a Cassadaga retiree and part-time farmer, decided to add a solar system to his new home, his financial advisor cautioned him that the savings may not be worth the cost. But Ball knew what he was getting into. His new solar system — bought to supplement his existing solar and wind turbine systems — has allowed him total energy indep…

By Devon Dams-O’Connor If you’re ready to make the leap into houseplants but aren’t sure where to start, a fun, crafty option is to grab a friend and head to a Plant Nite. Held at Western New York bars and breweries, these hands-on parties invite participants to get their hands dirty as they create a take-home tabletop garden of succulent plants, rocks, and accent…

By Devon Dams-O’Connor Houseplants finish a room like no other knick-knack, throw pillow, or accent lamp. Healthy green leaves complement any color scheme and style, from a Norfolk pine in a woodsy, rustic study to a simple orchid in a minimalist, Zen-like sunroom. They add a touch of life – literally – with foliage that filters the air and brings the outdoors in.…

by Kristi Runyan Many of us fondly remember our magical summer camp experiences — sitting ‘round a campfire in the dark next to a new friend, learning a new skill, just reveling in the joy of being young. But it’s more than just having fun; experts say the experience of summer camp can help children grow in beneficial ways. “Having some structured playtime…