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I’ve always considered WNY summers to be the least enticing time to go away on vacation. We wait all year for warm weather — why leave now? Hard as it may be to admit, there is more to life than our Western New York summer. And a long weekend close to home makes for a great getaway without forfeiting too much of it. Fortunately, there are easy destinations within a …

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Food + Drink

Sure, you can check out Niagara-on-the-Lake’s wineries on your own. But when you take a specialized tour, it becomes more of an education. Of course, choosing the right tour is the key. “When we opened in 2005 there were only a handful of wine tour companies in the area, and none were offering professional, educational wine tours,” said Niagara Vintage Wine Tou…

Travel

What better reason for a road trip then to satisfy your sweet tooth? The crisp crunch of a fresh-picked apple, the allure of pancakes smothered in maple syrup or the taste of a strawberry dipped in melted chocolate — these are the mouth-watering mile markers along the Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail. Meandering through Cayuga County, the trail is a self-guided tour …

Surely it wasn’t what Thoreau had in mind when he paddled his boat on Walden Pond or sought out the mysteries of the Maine wilderness. Still, modern-day “glamping”(derived from “glamorous camping”) has fulfilled the needs of many travelers in search of nature – but not the daunting details that go with roughing it. Unlike a traditional outdoor adventure, gla…

Travel

Eleven years ago, former Buffalonian Doug Hopkins and his family lived a comfortable, accomplished cookie-cutter life in Connecticut. Doug was a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund and co-founder of their Oceans Program.  His wife, Kyle, was an actress and singer, but focused on raising their daughters, Eliza and Abigail. Doug was passionate about his job, but a…

Travel

For many Western New York families, the much-needed respite following a brutal winter means a trip to central Florida. With direct flights from Buffalo to Orlando and days of fun to be had at major theme parks, what’s not to love? For many families, it’s the cost: the average week with Mickey and the princesses will set you back $5,000 for a family of four. But ther…

Travel

After the final blaze of glory from the fireworks, lasers and 200,000 shimmering white lights draped over Cinderella’s Castle, the dazzled holiday crowd at Walt Disney World slowly begins to exit. As they stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom, the sounds of Manheim Steamroller’s pumped-up holiday tunes fill the air. The stores are decorated with wreat…

Travel

A trip to New York City can procure a list of varied reactions: excitement, anxiety, joy at the idea of basking in the bright lights of a city that never sleeps, tears, general nausea, lightheaded wonder — and that’s only from booking a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Such an incredibly massive city presents an equally massive scale of options — so many, in fact, that an…

Travel

You know the reaction a Buffalonian gets when he confesses he’s never seen Niagara Falls? Longtime Finger Lakes residents might get the same look for never having strolled the streets of Skaneateles, an upscale central New York spot renowned for its natural beauty, eclectic shops and impressive 1800s architecture. Living only an hour from this Onondaga County village …

Travel

When the summer hits, many Western New York families head for the highways. But a road trip is not as simple as it sounds, and there is some planning to do for successful — and safe — travel. From making sure you have your car prepared in the unlikely event of a roadside emergency, to keeping the kids occupied and staving off the “I’m boreds," we’ve got you cover…

Travel

While there’s something to be said for umbrella-drinks-on-the-beach vacations — and the mental break that comes with them — there are also getaways that expand your mind instead of emptying it. You can spend a week (or a whole summer) exploring some of life’s most important questions just 90 minutes south of Buffalo at The Chautauqua Institution, a 750-acre lake co…

Travel

Looking for a novel way to spend a night in Toronto? Many of the city’s top family attractions offer sleepover options you (and the kids) won’t soon forget. Sleep with the fishes Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada offers an overnight adventure called “Sleep with Sharks,” where families can spread their sleeping bags out in a 315-foot-long acrylic tunnel under the Dang…