Of all the local towns you could wander through on a date, East Aurora's quaint, well-kept Main Street is the most idyllic backdrop. From its retro five-and-dime shop to the historic Roycroft Campus, history seeps from the village, generating an infectious timelessness that might even spill into your date.
You'll know you're in the place when all of the signs -- written in the classic Roycroft font -- look like they're out of a Disney movie kingdom.
This guide is a choose-your-own-adventure one. While some places lack activities other than eating or drinking, East Aurora does not. Choose a sporty date (ice skating and Bar-Bill wings) or a classically romantic one (stroll around the Roycroft Campus and enjoy fine dining at Rick's on Main). End with locally crafted dessert and drinks.
You have lots of options to see and do...
437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora.
Walking and talking is an easy date. Intimate conversations seem to have less pressure when you're not staring at each other, trying to flawlessly fit an entire lettuce leaf in your mouth.
Knox Farm's open fields become more photogenic the more you explore them, even in the winter. Pull on your snow boots and roam between the overgrown greenhouses and beautiful stone barns.
Conversation topics are practically built into the grounds. Discuss your favorite animals while watching some play at the dog park and music while walking through the site of its recent music festival, Borderland.
31 South Grove St., East Aurora
You can see some of the area's best architecture by visiting Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft Campus. The buildings, born out of the early Arts and Crafts movement, are designed with a painstakingly astute attention to detail.
Peruse the campus, which is in the center of the village, by foot and stop in the Roycroft Inn for a drink in its romantic bar area and dining room.
[Photos: Smiles at East Aurora Carolcade 2018]
41 Riley St., East Aurora
Lace up those skates and dust off your balancing skills. Open for public skating from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Fridays, 1 to 2:20 and 7 to 8:45 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 2:20 p.m. on Sundays, embrace the indoor and outdoor rink's short windows of opportunity. Coinciding with school breaks, the rink is open for special hours on some weekdays and Sunday nights in January and February.
676-694 E. Main St., East Aurora
You can find a lot of things at Vidler's 5 & 10, without even really looking. Under the classic red-and-white striped awning is an eclectic collection of oddities and household items, from an entire wall of novelty sodas -- including Buffalo wing, pumpkin pie and sweet corn flavored sodas -- to a section for masks, to cleaning supplies and novelty trinkets.
Reminisce about your childhood with your date or reenact that iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's mask scene, just don't steal them.
673 Main St., East Aurora
Take another leap back in time at the old-school theater that's been around for nearly a century. The small theater has one screen and usually shows family-friendly films.
While you're there, you might as well grab some fresh popcorn from the Aurora Popcorn Shop. You'll have many more options than plain movie theater butter. Choose between savory chicken wing flavor or sweet caramel or bizarre apple pie, among many others.
[Related: Aurora Theatre in The News' 100 Things]
A few dining recommendations...
185 Main St., East Aurora
For some just-plain-good greasy bar food, Bar-Bill Tavern is a part of Buffalo's wing royalty. Debate your favorite wing spots while diving into a checkered-paper basket of hot wings or beef on weck -- both respectable classics -- or other finger foods, such as pizza, fries, coconut shrimp and jalapeño poppers.
Explore the bar for names you might recognize since the 4,000-plus member "mug club" includes mugs for each member who bought one. The mugs, all emblazoned with names, cover a wall.
687 Main St., East Aurora
For a more upscale evening out, indulge in a night of fine dining. Choose from a decadent menu of steaks, lobster pasta and traditional takes on tried-and-true salads and appetizers, such as a mandarin orange and goat cheese arugula salad and tempura portobello mushroom fries.
While it's still cold, enjoy comfort food and the cozy refuge from the snow. In the summer, enjoy a seat on the covered porch, encompassed by hanging greenery and a beautiful garden.
[Review: Rick's on Main earns 8 plates]
Can't forget dessert...
72 Elm St., East Aurora
Light pours in from the floor to the ceiling, illuminating a shop of fresh-baked loaves of bread and sweet goods. It's not just about bread and croissants -- they boast a full lunch menu with soups and salads, a dinner menu with offbeat delicacies such as duck fat parsnips and mussels -- but since you're going for dessert, perhaps try a ginger chai cheesecake or a chocolate peppermint layer cake.
[Interview: Learn about Elm Street Bakery's 'breadule']
Finish with a night-cap...
25 Pine St., East Aurora
IPAs, Belgians, porters, saisons, lagers, ales and stouts; 42 North brews 'em all. The amber-lit, modern taproom, with brick walls and hardwood floors, is a lively, inviting space. The brewery often hosts live music on the weekends and has an arsenal of games, ready to pull out and play while washing down wins and losses with, perhaps, a seasonal Oatmeal Cookie Stout.
191 Main St., East Aurora
A beer store-meets-bar, Brew Works is somewhere to have a drink and take one for the road -- literally. East Aurora does not have an open-container law, so you could walk around with a drink if you want. It's not a crazy bar to end the night, but it is somewhere to stop for beers to keep the party going.