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Day Tripping

The gift of getting out of town for the holidays

It takes a certain level of selfishness to concoct a gift that you can enjoy just as much as the recipient will. Lucky for you egocentrics out there, we’ve done the conniving for you! By giving a daytrip you will avoid troublesome things like gift-wrapping, shopping, and the feeling of insufficiency that accompanies a kind gesture without any personal gain.

Of course we’re joking. Daytrips are delightful ways to enjoy cold weather activities, support our local economy, and explore somewhere new. And it isn’t a completely selfish gift: Don’t forget that you’re the one picking up the bill.

Niagara on the Lake: Hotels, wineries, historical tours, oh my! There’s even a Santa Claus parade. And not just any parade of Santas, one of Ontario’s best! If you stay at the Shaw Club Hotel & Spa ( you can try Niagara’s first vinotherapy spa. Vinotherapy makes use of the powerful anti-oxidant benefits of the grape. There is also a bio-maple compound, a maple service that moisturizes and energizes the skin, and chocotherapy, which rejuvenates the skin. Now that’s a spa, relaxing and delicious. The Shaw Club is located across from the Shaw Festival Theatre (

Throughout December through February the Shaw Festival Theatre is presenting a film series including feature films as well as documentaries.

If you didn’t get enough chocolate at chocotherapy stop by Chocolate FX ( They’re open seven days a week and specialize in the creation ofchocolate-coated nuts and dried berries.

If you like a side of spooky with your history, sign up for a Lanternlit Ghost Walk ( There is even a special Christmas ghost walk on December 18. As for wineries, Marynissen Estates Winery ( specializes in cabernet and merlot, Chateau des Charmes Wines ( utilizes sustainable agricultural practices at each of their four vineyards, Pillitteri Estates Winery ( is the world’s largest estate producer of ice wine, and there are many more. Speaking of ice wine, the Niagara Ice Wine Festival ( takes place January 14-30.

For a full list of accommodations, wineries, attractions and more go to

East Aurora: If you haven’t been to the Roycroft Inn (, make sure you put it on your priority list. Because it has National Landmark status, the beauty and history of this building can be seen in each guest suite. The inn and restaurant have been exquisitely decorated with original and/or reproduction Roycroft furnishings. No details were overlooked; the rich tones and quality woodwork make the Roycroft Inn a cozy spot to escape winter’s chill. The Sunday brunch at the restaurant offers nearly every breakfast food you can imagine.

On December 4-5, the Roycrofters at Large Association ( presents the Winter Festival. Located in the East Aurora Main Street School across from the Historic Roycroft Campus, the festival will offer juried artisans, food, and holiday music. The admission is only $1. If your giftee isn’t impressed yet, take him or her to the gift shop or the Copper Shop Gallery. Both shops are filled with Roycroft-inspired items sure to please even the pickiest.

Ellicottville: Planning on bringing your whole family on a daytrip? Ellicottville provides winter fun for all ages. Both the Holiday Valley and Holimont ski resorts have childcare and children’s ski school, adult lessons (with price specials on weekdays), shops filled with ski and snowboard wear, and cozy chalets. Once you’ve skied to your heart’s content, check out Ellicottville, which has winter activities for adults and for kids. Ellicottville’s Christmas Weekend (November 26-28) offers photos and fire truck rides with Santa, community Christmas tree lighting, carolers, storytelling, horse and wagon rides, real reindeer, and more. There is also a Christmas Stroll (December 4) and a Winter Blues Festival (January 7-8). There are plenty of dinning options such as cafes (Coolings Café), microbreweries (Ellicottville Brewing Company), steakhouses (Silver Fox), bars (Fire Lounge at the Seneca Allegany Casino), and more. For more information on planning your trip go to

Lewiston: Stay warm and get close at Barton Hill (, which offers a fireplace retreat, chilled champagne, chocolate truffles, and midweek rates. If you and your daytrip partner—sweetheart, spouse, latest crush, whatever—ever leave your room, make sure you have tickets for the Historical Association of Lewiston’s Sixth Annual Tour of Homes ( on December 4 and 5. Ticketholders will enjoy the tour of houses dressed in holiday décor, a Christmas wedding staged in a historical church, a reception with holiday pastries from the Village Bake Shoppe and DiCamillo Bakery, a signature poinsettia cocktail, and a jewelry show featuring local artists.

Graycliff: A visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff Estate isn’t just for architecture enthusiasts. Thanks to volunteers and professionals throughout Western New York and across the United States, the Graycliff Conservancy has made great progress towards completing restoration. Located near Lake Erie at 6472 Old Lake Shore Road in Derby, this scenic, 8.4-acre estate is made up of three buildings and extensive grounds. Wright designed it as a summer home for Isabelle and Darwin Martin (original owners of Buffalo’s own Darwin Martin House located at 125 Jewett Parkway), and it was built between 1926 and 1929. Attend a Yuletide Tour, offered December 26-31. The house will be decorated festively and free mulled cider will be served at the conclusion of the tour. To make reservations, call 947-9217 or visit

For dinner there are restaurants near by in Hamburg and Blasdell with water views such as Root Five (a great variety of entrees from pasta to seafood to filet mignon), Rodney’s on the Lake (sandwich and burger selections as well as chicken, seafood, and bbq ribs), and Dock at the Bay (seafood and more).

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