Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Little Bit of Housekeeping

But first! The winners of the very first Top Shelf Playoff Pool!

When reached for comment, Katebits marveled over her victory saying, "I'm an idiot!"

Vanek's Hair initially threatened to file a protest due to "irregularities in the scoring calculations" before finally begrudgingly admitting that Katebits wire-to-wire victory was impressive.

Team Five and Dime thinks it probably would've helped their chances if the GM hadn't forgotten to ice a line-up during the first week of the Stanley Cup Finals. The GM however would simply like to extend her congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated. (Seriously, thanks. There were some rounds where this was the only thing making hockey bearable for me.)

So now that's hockey's over where do we go from here? Darned if I know. I'm sure there will be some hockey stuff. I'm going to the draft in a couple of weeks and free agency starts a couple of weeks after that. There's sure to be much weeping and gnashing of teeth over Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, and Paul Gaustad and why they haven't been re-signed. I also have a series of posts about why I'm optimistic for next season roughly sketched out.

There will also most likely be some other stuff mixed in to help pass the time though. I have a few sports books on my reading docket so some reviews might pop up here and there. I'll be moving on to baseball so some of that might show up here too. I'm sure I'll also occasionally go off on tangents about movies I've seen and TV I've been watching.

One of the things I'm definitely planning on doing this summer is getting out and about in Buffalo. I know, I'm actually going to leave the house on occasion. It's mind-boggling. Over the last few years Buffalo has really moved from that place I moved to because my husband was from there and hey, I was tired of Birmingham anyway to home sweet home. Despite the ups and downs of the city, I really love it here. I know there's a ton of stuff here however that I've yet to see or do so I'm going to try and get around to some of it. And honestly, I'm hoping you can help me out. If any of you have spots to see, things to do, places to eat around Buffalo that you love, please share them. If you wanted to show someone the best parts of Buffalo, where would you take them? And please don't worry about them being too obvious. You'd probably be surprised at how many popular spots I've never been to. I'd love to hear them all. Feel free to leave them in the comments or drop me an email.

Which brings me to the last bit of housekeeping. My email address has changed. I doubt this will affect most of you since you probably just look here when you need to send me a message but if you happen to have me in your address book, make sure you make the change to topshelfcookies [at] gmail [dot] com. I figure if I go with Gmail it won't matter when my internet provider inevitably changes again. The old Verizon address will work through Friday but after that it's kaput.


brian s. said...

One of the things I miss about Buffalo, and that you should check out, is the weekend festivals. There are so many throughout the summer - Italian Festival, Allentown Art Festival, Polish Heritage Festival. Also, Thursday in the Square was always a favorite of mine and, thankfully, I'll be able to catch it when I'm up for my sister's wedding later this month.

amy said...

One of my favorite spots in the City of Buffalo is around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park. There's a walking path around the lake, and for awhile you completely forget you're in the middle of the city. Also, in the same area, behind Delaware Park Casino, is the Rose Garden, which is really beautiful when its all in bloom.

If you're traipsing into the city, I would recommend Panos as a place to eat. Their chicken souvlaki is amazing. Spot Coffee on Elmwood not only has great coffee, but also great people watching (and the occasional Sabre sighting.)

Heather B. said...

brian, we already have plans to go to Allentown next weekend. We went for the first time last year and both loved it. I'll definitely see what other kinds of festivals are around though. I usually enjoy that kind of thing. I say I'm going to check out Thursday in the Square every year but I always flake out. I have my eye on the Gin Blossoms this year though so maybe I'll make it. Thanks for the recommendation!

Amy, Delaware Park is definitely on the list but thanks for narrowing it down to your favorite spots. I keep hearing how beautiful it is but I honestly had no idea it was so big until I was looking it up on the internet a couple of weeks ago.

Panos and Spot go on the list. Kate thinks she saw Larry Quinn at Spot a while back. Hopefully my Sabres spotting luck will be a bit better :P (No offense, LQ.)

LeeAndrew said...

My favorite place to go in Buffalo is uhh...ummm...Shea's Performing Arts Center. Ooo, on my birthday they are going to have ECLECTIC BOOGALOO! with the Eclectic Improv Company!

Kate said...

I can highly recommend a long stroll (or drive) through Forest Lawn Cemetery.

LeeAndrew said...

If you run out of things to do in Buffalo you can always rent old Seasons of Growing Pains.

Pookie said...

Go to Chef's. I hear it's awesome!

Juuuuust kidding! I think this is such a cool thing you're doing and I wish I wasn't such a lazy person because I should be doing the same here in NJ. I've lived here for a huge portion of my life and have been to Center City Philly ONCE. There are tons of festivals and gardens and cool places around here I've never been. But... I'm lazy. So I'm soopy green jelly of your get-up-and-go!

Heather B. said...

Lee, you accidentally picked one of my favorite things in Buffalo with Shea's. We saw West Side Story there a few years ago and I think it's one of the best things we've done here. And I don't know about Growing Pains but I have kind of been pondering old seasons of Silver Spoons.

Kate, Forest Lawn is definitely on the list. I used to always think it was weird that a cemetery was considered a highlight of the city but then I realized how much I always enjoy taking my kids on a stroll through the cemetery by the OLV Basilica and decided it was worth checking out. And what, no shill for the BPO? :P

Pookie, I almost mentioned that I've been to Chef's so nooooo need to recommend it :-D And we'll see how much I actually get out and do. I'm a homebody by nature so I have a habit of saying, "That seems like fun!" without really doing it.

Becky said...

Forest Lawn is great! The first time I was there it was the dead of winter, with snow piled on the sides of narrow byways, the bare tree branches arching overhead, waiting for a black horse-drawn buggy to come barreling around the corner in the older parts of the cemetery - sort of Ichabod Cranish. Summer probably provides a different atmosphere :)

Also, check out the Erie Basin Marina/Commercial Slip/Naval & Military Park/Beach/Lighthouse/etc.

Heather B. said...

Becky, that description of Forest Lawn is amazing. I'll definitely have to check out in the winter too. I think the winter is really beautiful.

The marina is one of the places we do actually get to fairly frequently. We walk down along the water and then walk back through the boat harbor, checking out the outrageous boats and speculating about how much those apartments on the little island there must cost. We went down during Memorial weekend to check out the new stuff they've added down there and it's really lovely - nice to finally see some signs of life. The waterfront is such a beautiful natural feature that it really should be put to use. (I know, that's an amazingly fresh idea, right?)

amanda said...

There are SO MANY things to do in Buffalo that I can never believe it when people tell me there's nothing to do around here. I'll cover a few suburban-area things since others have mentioned stuff in the city (though there are a million other things to do within city limits too!)

Drive out to Niawanda Park - it's right before the Grand Island bridge (the one going from Buffalo to GI). While you're there, go to Mississippi Mudd's for a hot dog or some ice cream. Sit up on the roof-top patio and soak up the sun & the river.

Walk the nature trails at Stieglmeir (spelling?) Park in Cheektowaga. You can see lots of wildlife there!

I could give you a ton more ideas, but I'll only make you suffer through one more. Spend a day or, even better, a weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The B&B's are fabulous and Queen Street has tons of fun shops.

If you go to a B&B, try "Down Home Bed & Breakfast". It's only got five rooms, the innkeepers are really nice (they made Earl Grey tea for my hubby out of fresh bee balm blossoms!) and the price is right.

Heather B. said...

Amanda, I've never heard of either of those parks so I wrote them both down. A weekend away is probably more than we can swing this summer but I bookmarked Down Home B&B's website for a possible anniversary trip in the summer (hint, hint to one of you out there). The photos there are really lovely.

Thanks, guys! Keep 'em coming if you think of anything else!

Vanek's Hair said...

Check out Fort Niagara in the summer time. They do War of 1812 re-enactments. Also, the walk along the Niagara Gorge from Whirlpool Park to Devil's Hole is great, particularly when the leaves change. If you are brave, and willing to exhaust yourself, walk to the bottom of Devil's Hole.

dave in Rocha said...

I grew up a little east of Buffalo, married a girl who grew up south of Buffalo, and we now live in Rochester. Therefore this list covers a little bit of everywhere:

- I know there's a million places to get ice cream, but I have to put in a plug for Fran-Ceil. Simply the best custard I've had (hear that, Abbott's?!). It's on rte 62 in Blasdell, a little south of Our Lady of Victory.

- Drive-ins. Must, must, must go to a drive-in. Being in Rocha, the closest one to us is in Avon, but I'm sure the ones out in Erie County are nice as well.

- About the weekend festivals that have been mentioned: I've long held to the idea that there is a festival somewhere in WNY that celebrates an ethnicity, historical event, holiday, the arts, flower, fruit, vegetable, local point of pride, or local natural wonder EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND. From the Holland Tulip Festival to the Albion Strawberry Festival to the Clifton Springs Sulfur Springs Festival to the Watkins Glen Italian Festival to the Attica Rodeo to the Lockport/Spencerport/Fairport Canal Fests to the Corn Hill/Elmwood Ave/Park Ave/Allentown Arts Fests to the Corfu Colonial Days, there's guaranteed to be something going on somewhere. And that's not even including the church lawn fetes.

- Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes. Free (usually) wine and pretty countryside.

- Since other people mentioned Forest Lawn, I'll put in a plug for Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rocha. Want to see the graves of Bausch&Lomb, Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony? There'll all here. And the northern half of the cemetery has really funky hills and gullies, thanks to glaciers. Makes for a neat hike. Good beer and food can then be had at the Distillery across the street.

- This one's tough to explain and tougher to get to, but there's a natural gas spring in Chestnut Ridge Park that is the source of an "eternal flame" (and if for some reason the flame was blown out, bring a match to relight it). It's at the bottom of a waterfall (sorta) so it's tough to get to, but it's incredible to see and worth the effort. I think the trail to get there starts off of Seufert Rd on the south end of the park. Look for the parked cars.

- I have to put a plug in for Letchworth. Yes, it's obvious, but it's also incredible. I like the southern part with all the waterfalls and the railroad bridge myself.

- I also have to second the suggestion for Mississippi Muds.

- If you don't like swimming in cooler-than-you'd-like water, then disregard this, but nothing beats swimming at Stony Brook State Park on a hot day. The "pool" is a walled off section of the creek that runs through the gorge. Pick a hot and humid day, go for a hike or something to work up a good sweat, then jump in the ridiculously clean water and feel great.

- Speaking of gorges, go hike the gorge in Watkins Glen.

- Obvious: Bisons game. Not-so-obvious: Red Wings game. No offense to Pilot Field (or whatever it is now), but you just can't beat the view at Frontier Field (especially along the 3rd-base line, especially at night, and especially when a train goes by in the outfield). I suggest that you forgo your ticketed seat, bring a blanket, and sit in one of the two lawn areas along the 1st and 3rd baselines (check them out on Google Maps, they're there). I also suggest that you forgo the usual brews and hit up the Rohrbach beer stands. Bonus: before or after the game, walk a couple blocks to the pedestrian bridge that spans the gorge and check out High Falls.

- Artvoice just put out their Summer Guide, with 100 things to do. I'd check that out.

- Then there's the obvious: Shakespeare in the Park, Thursday in the Square, Food Festivals (Taste of ___), etc.

I'm sure there's other things that I'm not thinking of now. I might add to this list some other time. Enjoy.

Heather B. said...

Dave, holy schnikes! :-D Great list.

We did Letchworth for the first time last year and I thought it was AMAZING. Anyone here who hasn't gone should definitely make the time for it although I HIGHLY recommend staying on the marked paths. We had a little extra adventure because we wandered. And Fran-Ceil used to be right down the road from us so we've been there a time or two although I'm not a HUGE custard fan. And oddly enough, I got a sudden urge to go to the drive-in not that long ago.

And thanks for mentioning the new Artvoice. I'll make sure to pick one up next time I'm out. That sounds perfect.