Each week the Sunday Travel section's One-Tank Trip highlights a destination Western New Yorkers can enjoy on a day trip or for a weekend away. Today, we reminisce, and plan ahead, with a few of the places visited by our writers in the 52 weeks just past, places you can still get to and experience without forming an intimate relationship with a full-body-scan machine or TSA representative.
To get the full stories, go to the Life section of BuffaloNews.com and look for the One-Tank Trips link.
Snowshoeing is a great way to get some fresh air during the winter months, and it doesn't require any special athletic ability. If you can walk, you can snowshoe!
Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, about 40 miles southeast of Buffalo, has more than eight miles of hiking trails. The center rents snowshoes, or you can bring your own. Inside the three-level visitors center there are nature displays and a children's discovery room. Beaver Meadow Audubon Center (585-457-3228; www.buffaloaudubon.org) 1610 Welch Road, North Java.
The Erie County Forest in East Concord has a 15-mile network of trails, with some designated snowshoe only, and Buckhorn Island State Park on Grand Island has trails with great views of the Niagara River. Other places to snowshoe: Royalton Ravine (in Gasport, just east of Lockport), Wilson Tuscarora State Park in Niagara County, Bond Lake County Park in Lewiston and the Amherst Nature Trail.
Hiking the trails at Ganondagan is a quieting experience. The deeper you go into the woods, the farther you are from traffic and loud radios. The quiet brings calm. Then you remember that once a battle was fought here, a village annihilated, dozens of children, women and old men killed. Then the quiet feels different.
In July 1687, a French army from Montreal, aided by Indian allies, attacked what was probably the largest Seneca village in history. Today, the site of that village, Ganondagan, about 20 miles southeast of Rochester, is the only New York State historical site dedicated to Native Americans.
There are dozens of interpretive signs at Ganondagan, but few of them focus on the battle. There are four hiking trails, which are open dawn to dusk. The site contains a gift shop and a visitors center, but these, and the longhouse on the site, are generally not open from late fall to early spring. Find out more at www.ganondagan.org.
You can embrace winter in all its frozen splendor at Letchworth State Park, which surrounds the Genesee River gorge above the dam. The Trailside Lodge Area (Castile entrance) hosts winter walks and the lodge has a wonderful warming fire, small snack stand and restrooms. Youngsters can ride down a nearby hill on inner tubes provided free by the park. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also permitted in the park. For more information visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Web site (nysparks.state.ny.us/) and click on the "State Parks" link to get to Letchworth Park site, or call (585) 493-3600.
In 2007, the International Dark Sky Association (www.darksky.org) declared Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County, Pa., an International Dark Sky Park. It is the only Dark Sky area east of the Mississippi. Cherry Springs (Galeton, Pa.; 814-435-5010 or 888-727-2757; GPS coordinates: 41.650 N, 77.8164 W) perches on top of the Allegheny Plateau, creating a 360 degree viewing area of the sky. Estimates indicate visitors can see 10,000 stars with the naked eye, along with the nucleus of the Milky Way and, when conditions are right, the aurora borealis.
The National Public Observatory and park educators regularly conduct public "Stars-n-Parks" programs from May to October. And twice a year, in June and September, two major stargazing parties are held (registration is necessary; www.astrohbg.org/CSSP).
The Susan B. Anthony House is at 17 Madison St., Rochester, but to call the dwelling a house is to understate its impact. While campaigning for women's right to vote, Anthony converted the first-floor parlors into public offices and guest rooms into mailrooms, and for 40 years, from 1866 to 1906, the house was a hotbed of activism with frequent visitors like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells and others.
In 1872 Anthony registered and voted in the presidential election, an act for which she was arrested in this Madison Street home. The house is open to the public and group tours; (585) 235-6124; www.susanbanthonyhouse.org.
*If you enjoy looking through the years of accumulations in someone's attic to discover artistic and historic treasures, visiting ARTISANworks in Rochester will make you feel like you've been granted early admission into heaven. Part history museum, part art gallery -- although it claims to be neither -- ARTISANworks is a quarter-million pieces of art and whatnots spread throughout 60,000 square feet of a former artillery factory on Rochester's east side. While there, you're likely to see artists painting or sculpting or doing the things artists do. Including talking to visitors.
ARTISANworks is open to the general public on weekends. Take the Thruway east to the I-390 exit, go north, switch to I-590, get off at the Blossom Road exit, turn left (west), and drive about a mile. ARTISANworks is on the left, a large teal building, clearly marked.
*The first floor of the Strong, a museum in downtown Rochester, is a vast playground certain to entertain, excite and enthrall children. The second floor, which is probably more famous, is by comparison staid, more likely to inform adults and remind them of their childhood.
There's a mini-rock-climbing-wall (it requires adults to stand by children, and children can climb only across, not up); a xylophone where you put wooden balls on a conveyer belt in designated spots and they fall off and hit metal bars to make musical sounds, and a harp without strings, but if you stick your hand where the strings should be, it plays music, and when you move your hand around it makes different musical sounds.
It is worth a whole day in itself.
Over the course of three weekends in February, Ottawa, Ont., throws a citywide party called Winterlude (www.canadascapital.gc.ca/winterlude/). This season's version is from Feb. 4 to 21. The Rideau Canal freezes over and the portion that winds its way through the city of Ottawa is transformed into the world's largest skating rink. Vendors at kiosks along the route sell snacks and hot drinks. Do not pass up one of the BeaverTail huts, where you can indulge yourself with one of those sweet, sticky and addictive concoctions that get their name from the flat dough surface -- like a beaver's tail. During Winterlude, several sites near the canal are set aside for snow and ice sculpting. Contestants come from around the world to compete.
St. Davids, on the southern edge of Niagara-on-the-Lake, is now home to the Ravine Vineyard and Olson Foods. Anna Olson, along with her husband Michael, a professor chef at the Niagara Culinary Institute, are owners of Olson Foods, a homestyle restaurant offering delectable edibles. The menu is filled with reasonably priced items that highlight fresh local ingredients and reflect Olson's signature style.
Next door to the restaurant is the Woodruff House, a heritage home dating back to 1802, considered to be among the 50 most architecturally significant houses in Canada. It was first built as a log home in 1802, destroyed by fire in 1814, rebuilt, dismantled and rebuilt. The historic house is now the hospitality center of Ravine Vineyard, 1366 York Road, St. Davids, Ont.; www.ravinevineyard.com; (905) 262-8463.
From the Thames River that runs through town to Covent Garden Market and Blackfriars Bridge, British nomenclature is ubiquitous throughout London in southwestern Ontario, situated approximately 145 miles from Buffalo. At the London Children's Museum (21 Wharncliffe Road South; (519) 434-5726; www.londonchildrensmuseum.ca), a notice on one of the exhibits reads, "Please do not touch sign but climb Skidoo." This nicely sums up the attitude here, which is all about interaction. Museum London (421 Ridout St.; 519-661-0333 www.museumlondon.ca), overlooks the Thames River and contains an extensive art collection and historic artifacts. Down the road is Eldon House, London's oldest single-family residence, dating to 1834. Walking through the rooms furnished with period pieces, family heirlooms and 19th century paintings transports you to Victorian times.
The city of Welland, located along the Welland Canal in Southern Ontario, about a 45-minute drive from the Buffalo area, has more than two dozen outdoor murals, most in the downtown area, especially King Street, East Main Street and Division Street; a few can be found in the outskirts along Niagara Street.
Among them: "The Welland Fair" by John Hood, painted on the side of the Welland Tribune building at 228 E. Main St., depicts scenes from Welland Fairs in 1940, 1958 and 1975. On an adjacent building at 212 E. Main St., a mural by Marsha Charlebois, titled "The Cordage Community," shows employees from the Plymouth Cordage Co. at work and at play. Descriptions of the murals and a map are at www.travel-niagara.org/ attractions/mural.html. City of Welland information is at www.welland.ca.
>Tim Burton in TO
There are few places more exotic than the mind of filmmaker Tim Burton. Now, you can go there through an exhibition at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. West. This blockbuster show, called simply "Tim Burton," includes more than 700 elements and is designed to appeal to casual fans and more dedicated ones alike. Among the displays are popular movie paraphernalia like the Batman masks, a life-sized Johnny Depp model dressed as Edward Scissorhands, a replica topiary from the same movie, 22-foot-tall sad little Balloon Boy and more personal items from Burton's London home. The exhibition runs through April 17 (888-599-8433; www.tiff.net/timburton).
The first wave confronts you, walking into the visitors center at Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls (36 Fall St., www.nps.gov/wori; (315) 568-2991). Statues sculpted in clay and cast in bronze. Frederick Douglass is depicted. So is Martha Wright, along with Lucretia Mott and her husband, James. And, of course, Seneca Falls' leading lady, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton House is at 32 Washington St., a short drive from the visitors center. Guests there included Frederick Douglass, Mott and "Aunt Susan," as Susan B. Anthony was called by the children.
The Seneca Falls Historical Society (55 Cayuga St.; (315) 568-8412; www.sfhistoricalsociety.org) is housed in a Queen Anne mansion and contains a research library on local history, women's rights and women's studies. The town is also home to the National Women's Hall of Fame (76 Fall St.; (315) 568-8060; www.greatwomen.org), founded in 1969. Notable inductees include Beverly Sills, Lucille Ball, Sandra Day O'Connor, Hillary Clinton and Maya Y. Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
>House of Guitars
If you visit Irondequoit (it means "where the land meets the water"), you need to go to HOG and Whispering Pines, and look for the lady in white. HOG is the nickname fans have given to the House of Guitars, 645 Titus Ave. As The Wall Street Journal said in a 2004 article, if you never heard of HOG, you are not a rock star. Ozzy Osbourne shops there, as do/did Metallica, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Jon Bon Jovi and the Ramones.
Irondequoit is also home to Whispering Pines, the oldest still-operating miniature golf course in the country, on Culver Road. Its appeal is not that it's challenging, but that it is a piece of Americana, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Whispering Pines is on the northeast edge of Durand Eastman Park. Go about a mile east on Lake Shore Boulevard and you'll come to a stone wall set back on the south side of the road. According to a local legend, a woman in white appears every night looking for her young daughter who was abducted by a possible child molester. Rochester native Frank LaLoggia wrote a script based on the legend that became the 1988 film "Lady in White." It was filmed in the village of Lyons, about 30 miles east of Rochester.
Inside Fort Stanwix, you're likely to meet a Revolutionary War soldier. Sometimes there are dozens of soldiers at the fort, men and women re-enacting roles that were filled with vivid reality more than two centuries ago. The amateur actors add both a sense of reality and fun, but it's important to remember that the fort and the nearby Oriskany Battlefield are where the American Revolution was almost lost.
Today Fort Stanwix is the dominating structure in Rome, N.Y. It is run by the National Park Service. The original fort, built by the British between 1758 and 1762, was the location of the signing of a treaty between the Iroquois and British in 1768, in which both sides agreed on areas in the Mohawk Valley where whites would be allowed to settle. The fort that exists today was built by the National Park Service in the mid-1970s. It covers several acres and includes barracks, storerooms, officers quarters and other buildings.
Rome is off Exit 33 on the Thruway; from there take Route 365 into Rome. Once you approach downtown, Fort Stanwix is visible on your right.
We visited the Lodge at Glendorn in Bradford, Pa., in 2006 and loved it, from the swanky accommodations and sumptuous dining to outdoor recreation and forest setting. Hearing Glendorn is under new ownership (but still a Relais and Chateaux property), we decided to reinvestigate.
Glendorn's stunning setting, about 90 minutes south of Buffalo, sparkles during winter. Overnight guests can partake in cross-country skiing, outdoor ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing and -- the best -- curling. Snowmobiling on Glendorn's 1,200 acres is another big winter attraction. Guests can bring their own vehicle or use one of Glendorn's. Overnight downhill skiers get a free, one-day pass to the private Holimont ski club in Ellicottville (about 30 miles away). For more, call (800); also check out www.Glendorn.com.
>For the birds
Located on 27 wooded acres with hiking trails, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History at 311 Curtis St. is the home of the collected works of Jamestown naturalist Roger Tory Peterson (www.rtpi.org). The three-story RTP center, which opened in 1993, is a beautiful and inviting place to learn. Resembling an Adirondack lodge, the structure incorporates tree trunks and glacial granite stones, Swedish woodworkers-style board-and-batten wooden siding in pastel colors, and pounded-brass Arts and Crafts carriage lamps and chandeliers. Of special interest to nature educators and amateur ornithologists are drawers and drawers filled with preserved birds and a small collection of extinct species, which can be viewed by appointment.
Thanks to writers Emeri Krawczyk, Martin Naparsteck, Jennifer Merrick, Carl Francis Penders, Christine A. Smyczynski, Gary May, James Brennan and Dorothy Delmonte. You'll find more of their trips at www.buffalo-news.com/life/travel/one-tank-trips/