Day Trips to Enjoy the Season
There is plenty to do for young and old from Niagara Falls to pumpkin farms
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Summer is the perfect time to take a day trip and enjoy the weather. Grab a friend or grandchildren and bring your enthusiasm for adventure for these local points of interest.
• Niagara Falls (www.niagarafallsusa.com/) is more than riding the Maid of the Mist and viewing the waterfall (although these are both great). The Niagara Falls also offers Black Willow Winery, Old Fort Niagara, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, shopping venues and more. Just to the north in Lewiston, you can choose between the “get wet” or “stay dry” tours by Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours (https://whirlpooljet.com/locations). The jet boat tours last 45 to 60 minutes and go through the Class V Devil’s Hole rapids of the Niagara River.
• The Erie Canal stretches from Albany to Buffalo. Pick any part of the Erie Canal to enjoy by the canal side trails or on the canal itself with one of the many tour boat companies traversing its waters, including Colonial Belle Erie Canal Cruises (www.colonialbelle.com). Wander into any of the small towns dotting the canal to try a new restaurant, buy ice cream cones or iced coffee and check out unique shops.
• The train rides offered by Arcade & Attica Railroad (www.aarailroad.com) offers rides for all ages. Bring along the grandchildren for an outing they will talk about for a long time. But the train rides are more than kid’s stuff. Check out the Murder Mystery Dinner Train or, for history buffs, Diesel Engine Train ride (although these are suitable for children, too). Arcade & Attica offers seasonally based rides, so check the site often.
• Beverage tours abound in the region. To safely sip, engage the services of a tour company, such as Crush Beer and Wine Tours (https://crushbeerwinetours.com), Brew Bus Buffalo (https://brewbusbuffalo.com/), and Grapevine Country Tours (www.grapevinecountrytours.com).In addition to safety, guided tours take out the guesswork, as these tours are led by guides knowledgeable of the best stops in the region.
• Whether you are alongside them or watching from the ground, engage with your grandchildren at Bristol Mountain (www.bristolmountain.com) in Canandaigua. The high ropes courses and ziplines span the treetops of the ski resort and offer gorgeous views of the region. The Ariel Adventure Park is for older children through adults and the Kids Adventure Park accommodates younger ones.
• Looking for a new hiking venue? Try Huckleberry Swamp in North Rose (www.facebook.com/huckleberryswamp). Spot wetland birds, turtles and other wildlife along the trail as well as fairy houses constructed of natural materials. The nature walk is a project of the Olga Fleisher Ornithological Foundation, Inc. While in the area, hike the lakeshore and woodland trails at Chimney Bluffs State Park (https://parks.ny.gov/parks/43/details.aspx) in Wolcott. Chimney Bluffs offers tables and grills, so bring along your favorite picnic fare.
• Long Acre Farms (www.longacrefarms.com) in Macedon is another fun venue to enjoy with younger grandchildren. While the agritourism farm is open all summer and fall, autumn offers more activities, including the Amazing Maize Maze (suitable for all ages), pumpkins and wagon rides. The facility also offers JD Wine Cellar for tastings, wood fired pizza and a farm store.
Geared toward younger visitors, Pickn’ Patch ()www.picknpatch.com/) in Stanley also serves up family fun. While the site offers summertime activities, fall is a great time to visit to enjoy the corn maze and select autumn goodies like pumpkins, apples and cider.