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Exploring Buffalo

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I saw a friend of mine recently who asked what I had done over the weekend, and I replied with “visited Buffalo”.  To which she replied “to shop?” and I said “no”.  Confused, she asked what we could have done then.

SO MUCH!

I love Art Deco and old buildings, and Buffalo has lots.  We frequently stay at the Hyatt Regency as it is right downtown and easy walking distance to everything.  Really the way Buffalo was laid out (think spokes on a wheel) makes it easy to explore.  As do the signs in the downtown core which explain the architectural features of the city, past and present.  So late Friday afternoon, we walked around.

The Hyatt is built around the old Genesee Bank

The Hyatt is built around the old Genesee Bank

We explored City Hall, going to the very top (for free) to walk around the observation deck.  Inside there were murals that traced historically the development of Buffalo and highlighted key events.  I loved the interior of the City Hall lobby with its soaring Art Deco decorations, the elevator banks with their distinct doors and even outside the inlay at the top of the building with its geometrical shapes.

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Elevators on the main floor of City Hall.

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Ceiling in the elevator area of City Hall.

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View from the top of City Hall. You can see the how the streets have been laid out.

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The ceiling outside at the entrance to City Hall.

Right outside City Hall there are numerous examples of period architecture ranging from pre 1900 to current.  We walked around a lot Friday, finding pockets of restaurants and historical homes.  There is a Mansion Row with stately homes, next to brightly coloured houses.  We had a drink in the Hotel Lafayette, whose Pan American bar  boasted a hunting room with a fireplace big enough to fit at least 5 people standing up.  We continued wandering around downtown and Allentown for the afternoon before stopping for a patio drink. For dinner, we went to West Chippewa where it seemed the nightlife was and chose a bar with local/state beers on tap.  This is a goal when we travel to try as many local brews as we can, and Buffalo offers many beers from NY state.

The Prudential Building.  Intricate terra cotta facade

The Prudential Building. Intricate terra cotta facade

Hard to see but there are two Statue of Liberties at either end of the roof.

Hard to see but there are two Statue of Liberties at either end of the roof.

Saturday was for the typical Canadian Buffalo visit – Target and Trader Joe’s! We wandered around more, swam in the hotel pool and then went to Pearl Street Brewery for dinner.  Pearl Street has created a Brewery District in Buffalo (one bar was the Pan American at the Lafayette) where their own microbrews can be found.  Dinner was not as memorable as our previous visit there unfortunately, but as always the beers were good.

We always try to visit a museum when travelling.  The Albright-Knox Art Gallery , found across from the University, was a great way to spend Sunday morning.  Did you know that if you have an AGO contributing membership that you get in free as part of their reciprocal benefits? Or visit the AKAG on a Sunday when it is also free!  We loved wandering around the building and exploring the exhibition Overtime: The art of work.

Last on our visit was walking around the neighbourhood of Elmwood Village and brunch.  This neighbourhood was bright, friendly and had numerous shops, restaurants and green spaces and really felt like a small town.  We decided on brunch at the Blue Monk because of their extensive beer list.

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We really enjoyed exploring Buffalo.  We heard that there is a beer festival in the summer, maybe a return trip?

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I also fell in love with the ceilings of Italy

As with my previous post on the doors of Italy, I was also enthralled with the ceilings.  We visited many churches and museums over the three weeks, and they all continued the beautiful Renaissance artwork into the ceiling.  My favourite was in the Uffizi on the second floor in the second hallway.  Each ceiling represented a topic of which the de Medici family felt that they were important in and demonstrated their accomplishments (for example, literature, sea-going, art).  In each fresco would be the relevant family members’ portrait, different flora, fauna and images related to the topics.  Enjoy 🙂 IMG_2550 IMG_2547 IMG_2543 IMG_2529 IMG_2479 IMG_2478 IMG_2459 IMG_2454 IMG_2453 IMG_2447 IMG_2446 IMG_2415 IMG_2315 IMG_2314 IMG_2310 IMG_2306 IMG_2292 IMG_2290 IMG_2554 IMG_2552 IMG_2551

 

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I fell in love with the doors of Italy

We did a lot of walking while in Italy and I was captivated by the doors.  Each one was unique, from the door knocker to the style.  Below is a gallery of the different doors from Rome, Cinque Terre, Pisa and Tuscany, both exterior and interior. Be forewarned! This is 3 weeks worth of door pictures.  Enjoy 🙂

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An aerial view of the Grand Canyon

This year for March Break, we once again whisked away with @munchkinkaty and @scotchguyto.  This year it was to Las Vegas to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.  After a lot of walking around, exploring, great food and some shows, we took a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, seeing the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on the way.

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed the ride.

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A Montreal Beer Tour

I may have mentioned this before, but @WineGuyTO and I love Montreal and try to visit each year.  It holds a special spot with us, as it is where he proposed to me!

One of the activities we always do is to visit the Musé des Beaux Arts.  Check out the blog post here I did of the Chihuly exhibit which is currently on.

As we never really have a plan (other than eating!) when we visit, this year I decided to have a theme: beer.  More specifically, Montréal micro-breweries.  We had looked into a food tour, but then decided to do it on our own.  We wanted to have time to enjoy the flights.  I had compiled a list of microbrews from googling some other blog posts, the food tour offerings and made a google map.  We did not get to all of the list, which is fine as it gives us something to do next year!

Here is where we got to, over 3 days:

Where we did not get to:

Though I do drink beer, I only tasted the flights.  I instead tried the Québec ciders at each place (where I could) as I cannot buy them here in Ontario (BOO!) A highlight was spending the afternoon with @35mmMonkey, Rebecca, @laurendorphin, @pat_wall  and friends at Dieu du Ciel!

Les Soeurs Grises

Les Soeurs Grises, loved La Gadoue!

Les Soeurs flight

Les Soeurs flight

Benelux -IPA Day!

Benelux -IPA Day!

IPA flight at Benelux

IPA flight at Benelux

Le Cheval Blanc

Le Cheval Blanc- all formica retro

The Blanc and the IPA

The Blonde and the IPA

Le Saint Bock list

Le Saint Bock list

The Saint Bock flight of their beers

The Saint Bock flight of their beers

Flight #1 at DDC

Flight #1 at DDC

List of flight #1 at DDC

List of flight #1 at DDC

Flight #2 at DDC

Flight #2 at DDC

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Cape Cod Summer 2011

I cannot believe it has been 2 years since we were in Boston! My friend @Jillojello went this summer and her Instagram feed brought back memories.

After our mini vacation in Boston in 2011, we continued on to Cape Cod.  We were staying in Chatham for 7 days, renting a whole house for an extended family vacation with @WineGuyTO‘s family and sister-in-laws family (who live in the Boston area).  Our trip onto the Cape was quite easy (my sister-in-law kept warning us about heavy traffic over the bridge) and we ended up exploring Chatham while we waited to get access to the house.

Classic Cape Cod architecture

All of the Cape is picturesque.  We spent much of the week exploring all the towns in our area, right up to Provincetown.  There were beaches along the highways, with people stopping on the side of the road to take advantage of the hot days and the well-kept beaches.

View up the beach

A highlight was, of course, the great fresh seafood.  Someone would go down to the pier to wait for the catch, and we would have fresh scallops, shrimp, lobster and crab cakes most nights.

View from the patio

View from the patio

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Fresh from the pier!

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I did not like the crab the nephew caught.

Provincetown

Provincetown

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JFK Museum in Hyannis

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Thanks to Tina for organizing the trip, it was great meeting her family and spending time with them 🙂

Chihuly In Montreal

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@WineGuyTO and I try to get to Montreal at least once this year. After all, it is where he proposed to me 🙂

One of the places we try to go to is the Musée des Beaux Arts. This year Chihuly was the special exhibit. The museum actually encouraged patrons to take pictures and share on social media!

Enjoy 🙂

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