Some of the posts I most enjoyed writing last summer were the ones I wrote about getting out and about and doing some things in Buffalo. (If you missed them you can find them under the tag "Top Shelf Does Buffalo.") This year I want to get do even more. I did some of the biggies - ArtPark, Taste of Buffalo, Allentown Art Festival - but I know there's a ton I've yet to do. I poked around on the internet, talked to people, and pored over Artvoice's List of 100 Things You Must Do This Summer. (Technically it's from last year but I figure the list still applies.)
I'm going to try and be a little more organized this summer. There's no way I can do 100 things in the next few months so after careful consideration, I'm going to aim for 25. I feel like even that may be aiming high but some of the things I took off AV's list are pretty straight-forward. And cheap. Which is good. We like cheap here at Top Shelf.
For the purpose of this list, I'm eliminating all the things I did last summer. I probably will do some, if not most, of those things again but I want to do a lot of new things. Not sure if I'll blog about repeat experiences either. I eliminated all the things that don't really hold any interest for me (go to every Thursday in the Square concert? I'd rather kill myself) along with everything that involves swimming or jumping into large, natural bodies of water.
Here's what I came up with. If you're not interested in knowing all my plans, please at least scroll down and read the last paragraph. I have some questions for you all.
1. Eat ice-cream every day.
Well, gee, if you're gonna make me. Okay, I probably won't eat ice-cream EVERY day but I will make a solid effort. Really I just want to try some of the places that Artvoice name-checked: Sweet Tooth, Dolci, Anderson’s Custard, Fowler’s, Sweet Jenny’s, Condrell’s, Charlap’s, Parkside Chocolates, the Hatch, Rascals. I'm also going to make an effort to break away from my tried and true favorites and try some new flavors.
2. Determine my favorite Buffalo pizza.
A few months ago I did an interview on First Time, Long Time and one of the questions was, "What's your favorite Buffalo pizza?" I didn't really have an answer and gosh darn it, it's about time I did. I'm going to visit all the most talked up local joints so next time someone asks me this question, I'll have a real answer.
3. Visit every Olmsted Park.
I definitely want to check out Shakespeare in the Park this summer so I'm going to make that my trip to Delaware Park. Not sure yet what I'll do at Cazenovia, the Front, Martin Luther King, Jr., Riverside, South, and Parkways but I'll think of something.
4. Tour Forest Lawn Cemetery.
5. Watch a sunset at the Front.
6. Visit the Butterfly Conservatory at Niagara on the Lake.
7. Go to a drive-in movie.
I'm not sure if those of you who have always lived in WNY realize how unusual it is to have so many drive-in theaters around. There is nowhere to see a drive-in at Alabama and I always, always wanted to be able to do that. We did see a movie at the drive-in back when I first moved to Buffalo but we had about a million people with us, most of whom were very loud. I'd like to try again.
8. Tour City Hall.
9. Visit the Wilcox Mansion.
10. Go to Fantasy Island.
Okay, this is a little bit of a cheat. I don't particularly want to go there but I will be going there with my kiddos during summer school so I'm counting it.
11. Find a favorite fish fry.
Yes, more food. One of my favorite Buffalo things is the Friday Fish Fry but I've definitely gotten stuck on a couple of places, primarily because they've always been close to me. I want to try a bunch of new ones.
12. Grow tomatoes in your backyard.
I changed tomatoes to potatoes and this is already under way. Might blog about this one soon. Funny story about why I moved from tomatoes to potatoes...
13. See Zoar Valley on an an inner tube.
This was an Artvoice suggestion and I'll be honest, I have no idea what or where this is. I do know that one of my favorite things in the world is a nice lazy river ride so this immediately struck my fancy.
14. Explore Letchworth State Park.
Mark and I visited there a couple of years ago and quite literally explored it when we wandered off the path and spent a couple of hours trying to find our way back. We were only there for a day though so I know there's a ton 'o area we didn't see. I'd love to check it out again. I was kind of thinking about trying a hot air balloon ride but since they run $225 per person for five or fewer, I'm probably going to have to wait until a summer when we haven't just spent an abhorrent amount of money on an injured dog. She was totally worth it but good grief.
15. Visit the Darwin Martin House and Graycliff, both in the same weekend.
I can't promise I'll do them both in one weekend like Artvoice suggests but I'll definitely check out both of them at some point.
16. Take a boat ride through the canal locks in Lockport.
17. Hang out at Canal Fest.
18. Go see Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
19. Watch rowers from the steps of the Frank Lloyd Wright boathouse.
20. Don’t miss the Erie County Fair.
We'll see. We lived within a 5 minute walk of the fairgrounds for almost 5 years and never went so the likelihood of finally making it this year are slim. But hey, you never know. This has been on the list of things to do pretty much since we moved here.
21. Pick my own berries.
22. Catch a movie at Riviera Theatre.
I'm aiming for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which is a favorite of mine and part of the Paul Newman tribute series they're doing this summer.
23. Walk through Rock City Park or Panama Rocks. Or maybe both.
24. See Sonnenberg Gardens.
25. Walk Griffis Sculpture Park.
There you go. 25 things. There are a couple of more things I'm noodling over that I'm not sure will work out so I may or may not stick completely to this list. And I'm admitting up front that it's very likely I won't get all 25 things done this summer. But hey, it's good to have goals.
So what do you guys think? Anything on here you've done and loved? Anything you think is a dud? Anything that isn't on the list that you think everyone in Buffalo should absolutely see or do? What pizza places should I try? How about ice-cream? Fish fries? What are your favorites? What's the over/under on how many things on this list I actually get to before Labor Day?