There’s something about loading up the SVU and hitting the road. We enjoy the scenery, singing along to our road trip tunes and snackin’ during the drive. This summer, my 3 piece familia took 3 road trips. One to the Poconos along with my sister and her family, second was Buffalo, NY and lastly we visited one of our all time favorites, OCMD (featured in part 2).
Let me share with you how I can afford to take these trips at low cost. I take advantage of the little to no cost vacation deals through timeshare companies who hope to get a sale out of me, I network and barter for discounts and I shop according to rates based on travel dates. These accommodation bargains, along with low gas prices make road trips highly affordable.
In this article I’m sharing our trip to Buffalo, New York. Now you may ask, “Why would someone from the big city of Philadelphia want to travel to Buffalo?”. Here’s how I determined this destination.
•1. Niagara Falls- a sweet 20 minute drive away from Buffalo
•2. Hotel rates are more than half of the rates in Niagara (using a family and friends rate also sweetened the deal)
•3. The United States dollar goes farther here than in Canada
•4. DUH….the wings!
With these things taken into consideration, I planned our trip. Upon check-in, after a beautiful scenic drive through the mountains and green rolling hills, we were pleased to be welcomed by a 2 hour reception at the hotel which included complimentary snacks- fresh veggies, humus, chips and salsa, along with cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages! That held us over until dinner. There was a slew of local menus in the lobby, but what caught my eye was “The Chocolate Bar”, a restaurant that serves your basic menu items: chicken, pasta, steak, etc., but also a full chocolate lovers themed cocktails and dessert menu!!! My only indulgence was a “hot white chocolate”, topped with whipped cream and a white chocolate stick. I needed to sober up from “free happy hour” with a hot beverage. Please note, that this swanky bi-level bistro, offers a complimentary manicure with a purchased cocktail on Mondays 7-10:00 pm.
I was shocked to see all there is to do in Buffalo, what grabbed my attention was the plethora of food crawls: wing crawl, hot dog crawl, ice cream crawl, snack crawl and even a beer crawl! Oh yeah! We are a foodie family but with small bellies, keeping that in mind and doing further research, I mapped out our own Family Foodie Tour of Buffalo!!! Here’s how, I went by our own pallets, researched best rated fooderies and planned a portion of our day to eat through Buffalo! This was very inexpensive because we don’t eat much- all we needed was to share one order of the delicacies of the top spots. We hit up a hot dog shop called Ted’s,nestled in the heart of downtown Buffalo with a cute atmosphere offering indoor and outdoor seating. A pizzeria that may be considered a ‘hood treasure, known for their buffalo wings- La Nova, very hip, playing hits from the 80’s and decorated with all types of awards and photos of celebrities dining there; and guess what- they will Fed Ex overnight orders to your door! Mississippi Mudd’s, a little waterfront snack shack that looks like something from the 1960’s situated across from the Niagara River, in a small town called Tonawanda, known for their sweet potato “Louisiana Fries” drizzled with warm honey and a scoop of butter. Yum! Each stop was within 15-20 minutes drive of each other. Check out the video of our tour that my daughter put together on YouTube!
We not only enjoyed the food in Buffalo, but was amazed by the scenery- The Sky in particular! The sky was such a bright and brilliant blue during the day, clouds huge, white and fluffy- they seemed to be close enough to just grab, I felt as though this is how heaven must look! As the sun set, those gigantic clouds mixed with majestic hues of deep gold, blues, pinks and purples couldn’t be painted any more spectacular than I can describe. I did some research after returning home because I was so enamoured by the world above, and found out that Buffalo is 600+ feet above sea level. This totally explained why I felt among the clouds; truly heaven here on earth. Being an Aquarius, I have an intrinsic connection with water. I expected to see water when we visited the falls, but I had no idea that Buffalo was a waterfront city, Lake Erie running along one side and the Niagara River on the other- crystal blue! We also fell in love with the small town feel- yet city vibe. Downtown Buffalo is a far cry from downtown Philly, the streets aren’t crammed with busy business folk and tourists; yet there are plenty of restaurants, taverns and polite passersby.
Twenty minutes across the bridge, over a sparkling sapphire river, the Niagara River to be exact, we found Niagara Falls, NY. We’ve never been before and wanted the full experience, so we visited at night to see the falls illuminated with bold colors of magenta, emerald, cobalt and violet- similar to the horizon during our commute there from Buffalo. Niagara State park at 11:00 pm, was full of sightseers just as eager as we were to get a glimpse of one of the world’s wonders. People congregated on the observation deck, along the railed edges and atop the park benches snapping pictures and video recording their encounters of nature’s magic, as did we. The next day we returned, and this time to board the Maid of the Mist boat tour for an up close and personal view of the falls. My children and I joined the dozens of tourists draped in tacky, yet essential, blue ponchos on a ferry type boat all to get a feel of the falls. The energy was contagious, from the people to the roaring waters and the whipping wind, pure adrenaline! Such a beauty to marvel- all faces were bright with smiles and glistening with tiny droplets of the Niagara Falls rocking back and forth, and floating up and down on the waves. We concluded our day in the park’s souvenir shop where they offer free local N.Y. vineyard wine tasting and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.
I felt like one of the kids, full of amazement and excitement during the entire trip. Buffalo/Niagara gets 6 thumbs up from the Morgan-Pierre clan! For further “deets” about our trip, comment below or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you, also please subscribe to my blog and share with your friends, family and coworkers! Be Well… Be Blessed…C’est La Vie (this is life)! Live it!