Going camping

We’re going camping the next few days, so I won’t be writing much if anything.  It will be nice to spend out outdoor time with our friends.  The kids look forward to it every year.  We go to a campground that has a little lake that the kids can swim in and we can take the canoe out on.

And when we get back we’ll be finishing up our planning for our trip to Wyoming!

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Southwest 50,000 Point Credit Card Offer

Southwest is now offering a Visa credit card with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after first purchase.  This is a big improvement over their typical offer.  50,000 points will get you 2 round-trip tickets up to $800 in Wanna Get Away fares.  The $99 annual fee is not waived the first year.  This was a targeted offer up until yesterday.  And Southwest does not have blackout dates nor a limited amount of frequent flyer tickets per flight.  This is a great card for anyone who likes Southwest and wants some flexibility with their award travel.

As always, remember that your credit is one of your most valuable assets.  Only play the game if you pay your bills on time and in full every month.

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Buffalo, NY – Locally Owned Businesses

Today is my final installment on Buffalo, NY.  I hope that it has made you at least consider visiting Buffalo or branching out if you’re visiting Niagara Falls.  Here is a listing of a few locally owned businesses that you might want to check out:

  • Fowler’s Chocolates and Watson’s Chocolates – Both of these candy companies have been around a long time – Fowler’s since 1901 and Watson’s since 1946.  Fowler’s was a standard fundraiser for us when I was in school.  And Watson’s was recently featured on Food Network’s “Kid in a Candy Store”.  Make sure you try some sponge candy.
  • AndBuffalo – This web site features t-shirts that would make any Buffalonian proud.
  • Fisher Price (636 Girard Avenue), Vidler’s (676 – 694 Main Street) and Toy Town Museum (636 Girard Avenue), Explore and More (300 Gleed Avenue) - Head out to East Aurora for a step back in time.  East Aurora is a quaint town where several toy companies made their home, most notably Fisher Price.  The Toy Town Museum pays tribute to this past.  You can also visit the Fisher Price factory store.  Although the prices are not much, if at all, cheaper than other toy stores, you can find things there that you can’t easily find in other stores.  And Vidler’s is an old-time 5 and dime store.  Explore and More is a hands-on museum for younger kids.  This is also the town where the Millard Fillmore House is located.

Picture of Vidler's courtesy of the Town of East Aurora

 

Picture of the Toy Town Museum courtesy of Cultural Niagara

Picture of Explore and More courtesy of their web site

  • Simply Gourmet (5 Lake St, Hamburg, NY) – This is one of my parents’ favorite restaurants in the town of Hamburg.  It is open from 7 AM – 5 PM daily and features gourmet styled breakfasts and lunches.

Simply Gourmet picture courtesy of their Facebook site

  • Boston, NY – This is my hometown.  It has grown a little since I was a kid, but it still has only real traffic light and 2 blinking ones.  This is where George’s Hotdog Stand and Nick Charlap’s are located.  You may also like to check out the Boston Place Gift Shop (7935 Boston State Rd, Hamburg, NY) and Three Girls Cafe (8373 Boston State Rd, Hamburg, NY – my parent’s favorite restaurant in town).  The location of these stores are in Boston, NY even though the mailing address is Hamburg, NY.  I’m including the mailing address so you could find it using a GPS.
  • Dancing Goat (located about an hour outside Buffalo at 11 West Buffalo Street, Warsaw, NY) - This shop is owned by my sister-in-law.  It is a yarn shop and in a cute rural town.  It’s a perfect stop if you’re heading out to Letchworth Park.  Her on-line store can be found using this link.

Picture courtesy of The Dancing Goat

  • Amusement Parks – Fantasy Island (Grand Island, NY), Darien Lake (9993 Allegheny Rd, Darien Center, NY), and African Lion Safari (1386 Cooper Road, Flamborough, Ontario, Canada) - If you’re looking for a little adventure, check out one of these sites.  Fantasy Island is an amusement park and is the closest of the three to Buffalo.  It costs $24.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids under 48″ tall, $16.95 for seniors, and kids under 2 are free.  Darien Lake is the amusement park I remember going to the most as a kid.  It is larger than Fantasy Island.  Admission is $42.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids and seniors.  You can get discounted tickets at Wegman’s grocery stores ($36.99 for adults and $26.99 for kids and seniors).  African Lion Safari is located in .  It is a drive through safari where the over 1,000 animals roam free.  Admission is $26.99 for adults, $27.95 for seniors, $24.95 for kids (3-12) and kids 2 and under are free.  Note that prices are in Canadian dollars and you will need a passport to see this location.

Picture of Fantasy Island courtesy of Martin's Fantasy Island

Picture of Darien Lake courtesy of TripAdvisor

Picture courtesy of African Lion Safari

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Buffalo, NY – Festivals and Fairs

Buffalo has a summer filled with fairs and festivals.  I talked about the Allentown Art Festival in a previous post.  Here are several others you won’t want to miss.

  • Erie County Fair – We always knew that the summer was coming to a close when the Erie County Fair started.  It is one of the largest county fairs in the country.  People come from all over the state for the fair.  Some of the things that my kids liked the most were the rides, pig races, chainsaw art, and horse pulls.  Admission is $10 for adults and kids under 12 are free through the support of Tops Market.  You can get discounted tickets for $7 if you purchase them ahead of time online, at the Fairgrounds Event Center Box Office or at any Tops Market.  There are additional charges for the rides.  You can either purchase an all-day pass or pay for them using tickets.

Erie County Fair picture courtesy of WikiMedia

  • Eden Corn Festival – (typically the first weekend in August)  The Eden Corn Festival is a fair to celebrate the “season of corn”.  Admission to the festival is free.  You can either pay for rides using an all-day pass or by the ride.

Legislator Dixon at Eden Corn Festival picture courtesy of Erie County

  • Hamburg Burgerfest – Did you ever wonder why hamburger are called hamburger when there is no ham in them?  Legend has it that in 1885, Frank and Charles Menches created hamburgers at the Erie County Fair when they ran out of their grilled sausages.  When asked what this new sandwich was called, they named the hamburger after the town they were in – Hamburg, NY.  Burgerfest celebrates this every year.  Burgerfest is a much smaller affair than the Erie County Fair and the Eden Corn Festival.

Picture of Burgerfest courtesy of The Hamburg Sun

  • Dyngus Day Celebration – Buffalo has strong Polish roots.  Dyngus Day is a Polish celebration that takes place on Easter Monday.  Girls try to tickle boys they like will pussy willows while boys try to spray girls with water while listening to polka music.

Picture of Dyngus Day Celebration courtesy of Dyngus Day Buffalo

  • Perry Chalk Festival – A little further outside of Buffalo in Perry, NY is the annual Perry Chalk Festival (this year on July 9th).  Chalk artists from all over come and create art on the sidewalks.

Picture of the Perry Chalk Festival courtesy of The Daily News Online

  • Ellicottville Championship Rodeo – About 30 – 40 minutes outside of Buffalo, Ellicottville hosts a rodeo every summer.  They even have a kids horse race where the kids race their stick horses.  It costs $15 for adults, $8 for kids 5 and over, and kids under 5 are free.

Picture of the Ellicottville Rodeo courtesy of the Olean Times Herald

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Buffalo, NY – Historic Sites

It seems only appropriate on the Fourth of July to talk about the historic sites in Buffalo.

  • Presidents – There are several presidents who have connections to Buffalo.  Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland lived in the Buffalo area.  The Millard Fillmore House is located at 24 Shearer Ave, East Aurora, NY.  And William McKinley was assassinated when he was in Buffalo to attend the Pan-American Exposition and subsequently Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated in Buffalo (one of the few presidents to be inaugurated outside of Washington, D.C.).  The inauguration site is located at the Ansley Wilcox House at 641 Delaware Ave.

Millard Fillmore House picture courtesy of About Famous People

Ansley Wilcox House picture courtesy of the National Park Service

  • Old Fort Niagara and Old Fort Erie – Located at 2 Scott Avenue, Youngstown, NY, Old Fort Niagara is the oldest continuous operated military site in North America.  It played a significant role in the French and Indian war and as a loyalist base in the American Revolutionary War.  Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids (6 – 12) and kids under 6 are free.  Old Fort Erie is located 350 Lakeshore Rd, Ontario, Canada.  Fort Erie was the first fort built by the British during the French and Indian war.  It is located directly across the Niagara River from Old Fort Niagara.  Admission is $12.25 for adults, $7.95 for kids (6-12) and kids under 6 are free (prices are in Canadian dollars).

Old Fort Niagara picture courtesy of Wikimedia

Picture of Old Fort Erie courtesy of marinas.com

  • Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park – This site is located at One Naval Park Cove and is the home to the USS Little Rock (cruiser), USS Sullivans (destroyer) and USS Croaker (submarine).  Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for kids (6 – 16) and kids under 6 are free.

Picture of the Naval Park courtesy of Classic Buffalo

  • Lockport Locks – If you want to learn about the Erie Canal, you should visit the Lockport Locks.  It is located at 210 Market St, Lockport, NY.  You can take a cruise down the Erie Canal as you learn about the history of the Canal.  The cruise costs $16 for adults, $8.50 for kids (4 – 10) and kids under 4 are free.

Lockport Locks picture courtesy of Lockport Locks

  • Genesee Country Village and Museum – I loved visiting this museum as a kid.  We went to it on a field trip when I was in elementary school.  It is a living history museum with demonstrations of how people lived in the 19th century.  It is located 45 east of Buffalo at 1410 Flint Hill Rd, Mumford, NY.

School House picture courtesy of Genesee Country Village

 

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