There is a nationwide trend, where travelers are not looking to visit the biggest and brightest destinations. They are focusing their attention on exploring quaint small towns and discovering all that a place has to offer. Curious visitors reap the benefits of a slower pace and the discoveries made in exploring lesser known places.
Every town has its special aspects. It can be found in the town’s unique shops, museums or boutiques. Maybe it shows up in the local landscape or architecture. Of course, restaurants and inns are excellent opportunities to absorb the local flavor.
Here are just a few of our favorite WNY small town getaways that will pique one’s curiosity.
The beautifully restored 1867 Palmer Opera House is the centerpiece of Cuba’s Main Street, featuring year-round events and activities. In the early 20th century, Cuba was known as the ‘Cheese Center of the world;’ today, no visit to town is complete without a stop at the Cuba Cheese Museum. Receive an up-close look at the long history of cheese and how the industry adapted with technology. Then visit the Cuba Cheese Shoppe to get a taste of local cheese creations. The fine dining restaurant, Moonwinks, gets in on the local cheese history by featuring poutine made with cheese curds on its menu. Carpie’s Grill, located right on Cuba Lake and accessible by boat, is a great option for drinks on the patio and small plates. Just steps away from charming Main Street, book a room at The Inn at 28. Built in 1852, this dog-friendly bed & breakfast offers a one-of-a-kind experience, brimming with small-town hospitality – enjoy fresh baked goods, coffee, and hot breakfast every morning before setting off on your next adventure in the Western NY Wilds.
A charming, arched bridge over the creek in the middle of town sets a relaxing tone for visitors. The village is known world-wide as the birthplace of Jell-O. Visitors love exploring the history of “America’s Most Famous Desert” at the treat at the Jell-O Gallery Museum. Find the “Jell-O Jigglers” quilt, part of the self-guided LeRoy Barn Quilt Trail. For a truly unique experience, dine at the D&R Depot – a former train depot that serves delish comfort food. Another delightful experience is to dine and stay at Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn, a 200-year-old renovated tavern that is now a boutique inn with fine dining. Farmer’s creekside outdoor dining area is one of the best locations in Western New York to enjoy a glass of wine or a delicious meal.
Medina has been receiving lots of attention as a regional culinary hotspot. Grab a bite at the upscale Zambistro, visit Rudy’s Soda Bar & Café with regional comfort foods, and definitely try the authentic Mexican food at Mariachi D’Oro. Stay at The Boutique Hotel at Bent’s Opera House, one of the oldest surviving opera houses in the country. Kids and adults will enjoy the Medina Railroad Museum - the largest railroad and toy train museum in the state. The museum also offers two-hour train excursions throughout the year.
Medina is home to a variety of artisan and antique shops, boutiques, and creative culinary stores. Browse confectionary, handmade gifts, vintage and upcycled furniture, and so much more. You never know what treasures you’ll uncover!
Mount Morris is most known as a gateway village to the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park. The park’s stunning natural beauty is why it was voted as “Best State Park” by USA Today readers. While visiting the park, stop by the Mount Morris Dam for free tours inside the massive structure. The village’s downtown area contains special little surprises, including mural by artist and activist Shawn Dunwoody. Main Street features several antique shops, boutiques and dining establishments. The Boriken Restaurant is a “can’t miss” destination for lovers of Latin and Caribbean faire. The BrickInn B&B in town is a handsome, historic home, but with all of the modern comforts and an outstanding guest experience team.
A trip into Perry reveals that the town has a lot to offer for the culinary-curious. A tour of East Hill Creamery brings visitors into the fascinating world of cheese. Take a 1.5 hour tour that covers the history of the family dairy, the cheese making process, a cheese tasting and more. On Saturday morning’s from late June through September, locals flock to the Perry Farmers’ Market to purchase locally-grown food – often directly from the farmer who grew it. The market also features cooking demonstrations, music, art interactions, and more. Sit on the deck and enjoy an American or Belgian styled beer – made with local ingredients – at the Silver Lake Brewing Project. In early July, the annual Perry Chalk Art Festival takes place downtown with professional artists creating gigantic pastel artworks and youth artists competing for prizes. For a unique overnight experience, stay at the Silverlaken Estate & Glampground located right on Silver Lake.
As one can see, every town has its story and sense of place. The fun of visiting these places is derived from the experiences and memories made along the way. Get out there and think small for your next big adventure.
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Discover all the adventurous things you can see and do in the Fresh Air Adventures region. Then bring your travel packet with you to use while you're visiting destinations in the area.