Posted March 22, 2010 by Amy Westervelt
Most architecture buffs know that Buffalo is a great place to see the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Once inspired by Wright, you can explore other aspects of Buffalo's art and design scene by walking through nearby Delaware Park, planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, and then head to the theater district for dinner.
Darwin D. Martin House Complex: If you see just one of Wright's houses while in town, it should probably be the Darwin D. Martin. Considered the greatest example of Wright's "Prairie" style, the stunning complex comprises five separate structures sporting 394 art glass windows. In 2009, a new visitor's center designed by well-known Japanese architect Toshiko Mori was completed. A one-hour tour costs $15.
Handmade in Buffalo: If you're looking for artisan goods that are uniquely Buffalo, look no further than Handmade in Buffalo, a cluster of six shops offering genuine craftsman goods. Take home a one-of-kind piece of furniture from Thomas Stender Designs or a hand-built serving bowl fired at Cone Five Pottery. Or, go window-shopping (literally) at Glass Roots Stained Glass Studio. Whether you're looking for a souvenir for yourself or as a gift, these artists offer nationally renowned goods that represent the city as much as Wright's architecture.
Rue Franklin: Not too far away, the Rue Franklin, located near Buffalo's theater district, is the sort of place arts enthusiasts may enjoy. Fresh ingredients highlight a seasonal modern French menu that includes everything from a light filet of sole with lobster sauce and rice pilaf to a perfectly cooked filet mignon with red wine shallot sauce and potatoes Anna. The prix-fixe, three-course meal served Tuesdays through Thursdays is a fantastic deal at $28 to $32 a person. In the summertime, opt for an outdoor table in the garden for optimal charm and romance.
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(Photo: Courtesy Buffalo Niagara CVB and Biff Heinrich)
Posted February 24, 2010 by Amy Westervelt
Good wine, crystal clear lakes, and beautiful hillsides without the cost of a flight to Italy? I'll drink to that! Located a stone's throw away from Cornell and Syracuse universities in New York State, the Finger Lakes have earned the reputation as one of America's up-and-coming wine regions in recent years, thanks largely to the quality of wine produced. Several charming villages dot the area, offering quaint historic inns and shops, and direct access to the region's wine trails.
New York Wine & Culinary Center: Not sure where to begin? Head first to the New York Wine & Culinary Center, a stunning $7.5 million beauty completed in 2006, where you can try an assortment of local wines, learn about food and wine throughout the state, and even take a cooking or wine-tasting class from the experts. If you get tired of all the wine, the Center also offers a Taste of New York dinner that pairs beer and wine from New York State with several courses incorporating locally available produce, meats, and seafood (dinner entrees start at $23; wine tastings range from $5 to $8).
Bully Hill Vineyards: There are dozens of worthy wineries in the Finger Lakes, but Bully Hill, with its quirky labels and laid-back attitude, is probably the most fun. It also happens to be home to one of the best restaurants in the region. Sit out on the deck to enjoy views of the vineyard and take a free tour of the vineyard before or after feasting on the chef's famous crab cakes. Dinner entrees start at $17.
Blushing Rose Bed and Breakfast: Just down the road from Bully Hill Vineyards in the tiny hamlet of Hammondsport, the Blushing Rose Bed and Breakfast is everything you'd want from a countryside inn—19th-century charm; extra large rooms with sitting areas and big, comfy beds made up with old-fashioned quilts; and pleasant innkeepers happy to point you in the direction of their favorite local sights. Rates start at $135 per night.
You can use our tool to compare airfares to Rochester or Syracuse, the closest major airports, from multiple travel providers.
Posted July 9, 2009 by Jamie Moore
Extend your baseball viewing addiction with a visit to the little town that loves America's pastime more than you do: Cooperstown, New York. Walk the hallways of the best-known sports shrine in the world after suppertime, when corridors are quiet and the ghosts and legends of baseball past stare back. Grab an enormous burger at a die-hard fan's diner, and take home a souvenir from a one-of-a-kind memorabilia shop.
National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum: The museum's postseason exhibit, with World Series moments and artifacts from the last 100 years, is meant for junkies like you. Explore other exhibits and hear stories about Babe Ruth, women in baseball, and African-American players. Check out a ticket booth from Yankee Stadium and other pieces from ballparks of the past. Plus, your kids will love the scavenger hunts and sandlot clubhouse with a mini Miracle League field, games, and toys.
National Pastime: This Main Street institution is one of Cooperstown's oldest memorabilia stores. For serious baseball fans, browsing these crowded aisles is like a visit to the Hall of Fame, except here you can take home whatever you like. Get baseball cards, photos, vintage jerseys, posters and other items you won't find anywhere else. If you're lucky enough to still catch them before they're snapped up, check out the sea-green Comiskey Park stadium seats or 1930s Cookie Lavagetto model split-finger glove. There are also broadside posters and stadium pins from the Negro League, or less expensive game patches and T-shirts from recent years.
Cooperstown Diner: Don't leave town without downing the softball-sized half-pound burger at this tiny diner. It's your basic greasy spoon with character … and the occasional hungry Hall of Famer. The owner, who used to live in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium, loves talking to customers about baseball and sharing insider tips on Cooperstown.
To search for flights and compare prices to Albany, which is home to Cooperstown’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.
(Photo: Cindy H., Landisville, PA/This is Cooperstown)
Posted June 8, 2009 by Katie Blais
Starting July 13, Air Jamaica will add a red-eye flight from New York City to Grenada. Just think about it: you head home from your busy day, hit the airport, take a snooze, and wake up on a gorgeous Caribbean island … not too shabby if you ask me!
Flights leave Kennedy airport at 12:15 a.m. and arrive in Grenada the following morning at 6:30 a.m. I think it’s a novel idea for a last-minute vacation, and I can imagine it would unfold something like this. You hit the bar after happy hour; enjoy some half-price appetizers and pitchers of margaritas when someone brings up how they didn’t think they would be working in a cube day in and day out. You chime in saying, "let’s go somewhere, let’s go somewhere tropical and warm and open up a smoothie shop and just live without the man infringing on our basic human rights to enjoy life." You cab it back to your apartment, throw some mismatched (sort of) clean clothes in a bag, grab your passport, trek out to JFK, and hop on a last-minute flight to the islands to start your new life.
You wake up the next morning at the airport with a slight headache realizing it might be a little harder to open a smoothie shop in a place you have never been before. But you enjoy beaches, the laid-back vibe of the island (you might even get your hair braided and buy a crocheted beret a la Bob Marley) and return to NYC at 11:30 a few days later before heading to your stuffy office job relaxed and ready for the man to beat you down a little more.
Posted June 5, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Welcoming visitors like a breath of fresh wine-scented air, Niagara-on-the-Lake sits among rolling vineyards just a few miles from the neon lights and kitschy entertainment of Niagara Falls. This English-influenced town—with nods to British royalty on street and hotel names—is maturing into a proper getaway for wine, theater, and food. Come experience the finer things in life.
Peller Estates: Peller Estates turns its tasting room into a classroom, and helps everyone become a valedictorian when it comes to wine. If you've ever wondered whether to serve a Cabernet or a Chardonnay, or which glass to serve which wine in, then the interactive Wine Experiences may be the answer. Classes covering subjects from entertaining to food pairings start at $15 CAD (about $13.50 U.S. dollars; see XE.com for current exchange rates). Tours of the wine-making facilities cost $10 CAD.
Shaw Café & Wine Bar: Bacchus would feel right at home in this European-style cafe in the heart of the town center. Guests are encouraged to sample regional wines from the extensive menu, while grabbing a gourmet bite to eat. Be sure to say hello to playwright George Bernard Shaw, the cafe's namesake, whose statue welcomes visitors on the patio out front. If the meal prices seem a bit too steep, then take in the Old-World ambiance with just a dessert—such as the Toblerone Cheesecake for $7.95 CAD—and a glass of wine.
Britaly Bed and Breakfast: Finding a place to curl up after a day of wine tasting may sound simple, but very few places exude the homey atmosphere, and price, of this three-bedroom B&B. Hosts Graham Hall, Aldo Petronelli, and Rufus the Lab treat guests like royalty. Visitors are instantly drawn to the impressive back garden, where they can relax by the pond. The cozy bedrooms, decorated to capture the spirit of England, Canada, and Italy, come en suite or with a private bathroom just steps away. Prices start at $110 CAD during high season, and include a homemade breakfast fit for a king. Note that weekend stays require a two-night minimum.
To search for flights and compare prices to Buffalo, which is home to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.
(Photo: Shaw Cafe & Wine Bar)
Posted May 8, 2009 by Katie Blais
I cannot wait for summer. I need to get a tan and eat lobster up in Maine (a summer tradition like no other!) ASAP. On the 4th of July, I typically want to be sitting on a beach with a rum punch in my hand, but New York City, with Lady Liberty as its siren, is calling my name on this patriotic holiday.
It was announced today that the Statue of Liberty’s crown will reopen to the public starting July 4th— the first time since 9/11. Ten people will be allowed to enter at a time to catch glimpses of New York Harbor and Ellis Island.
The warmer months are the perfect time to break away from your regular schedule and relax with your friends and family. And with the economy being (let’s be honest here) a bit depressing, there’s no better time to visit that first beacon of hope and freedom that so many of our ancestors encountered when they arrived in this country. Plus, many hotels are offering Lady Liberty specials and the Ritz-Carlton even has a “libertini” cocktail in honor of the reopening.
So whether you usually jet to St. Barts (I had to give up my private beach house this year to cut back, hee hee) or choose a cheap summer vacation like staying in your own backyard and BBQ with friends, you need to find some way to soak up the summer and enjoy yourself.
Sadly, I have never been to the Statue of Liberty since I missed the school field trip and my brother would never take me there when I visited him in New York. This year, however, I may have to skip the beach and make my way down to the Big Apple to fight the crowds myself.
Posted October 10, 2008 by Nicki Krawczyk
In my experience, it’s been mostly high-rolling corporate tycoons who have ready access to helicopters. Donald Trump. Steve Jobs. Lex Luthor. But now, to make up for insanely bad cab lines and followed by crazy-long rides, Continental is offering helicopter rides between Newark Liberty International Airport and Manhattan for a mere 45 bucks.
With a major Wall Street meltdown going on and a degree in finance no longer worth the bearer’s weight in gold, there are going to be some big changes in the big cities. Friends, it’s time for the little guy to start living large.
Even before your helicopter ride, plan to take advantage of head-honcho perks as you fly to Newark: All of those first- and and business-class seats that used to be taken up by traders and analysts and fund managers are pretty certain to be open and available. And when no one’s there to fill them, the price is sure to go down; that’s just simple supply and demand. (Thank you, Ben Bernanke.) Heck, if the airline tanks, the FED might have to bail them out, too, and, as a taxpayer, you’ll own those seats! Nice.
So then you’ll land in Newark, saunter over to the helipad, and take your big-shot ride into the Isle of Manhattan. And where are you going to go once you’re there? Forget Midtown, forget SoHo – get yourself down to Wall Street. It’s a ghost town! All of those high-end sushi places and $80-steak joints are going to be giving that stuff away. I’m willing to bet bargaining tactics will get you pretty far, too. As in, “My bill comes to $175. How’s about I give you $26.50?”
The middle class is rising to the top! Which may sound historically familiar, but this is waaaaay better than Communism because you’ll actually get to enjoy the bourgeois benefits instead of decrying them and moving to the tundra to raise potatoes. And stay tuned, because if things stay shaky overseas, there’s bound to be a little class disruption over there, too. Want to take a trip to London? Great, because if things continue as they have, Buckingham Palace might just be available for rent. Pip pip!
Posted September 18, 2008 by Heather Gilbert
Traditionally when someone buys a new home, they lay out the brie and Chardonnay and invite people over so they can show off their new abode. The party is nice and hopefully nobody spills wine on the carpet or peeks in your medicine cabinet. And that’s about the end of the story. But what to do if you’ve just built a new 635,000-square-foot home to the tune of $800 million? Better buy more brie, because that’s got to be one hell of a party.
On Monday, September 22, JetBlue will be celebrating its new digs at JFK’s brand-spanking-new Terminal 5 (T5). This tri-level terminal has 26 gates across three concourses. And since it was designed with customer comfort and efficiency in mind, smack in the middle is a 55,000-square-foot central retail and concession marketplace. Sounds pretty posh, right? Well wait ‘til you hear about the housewarming celebration! JetBlue is so excited about its new domicile that it has invited a world-famous New York City dance troupe to perform the ribbon cutting, a famous pop singer to serenade guests, and T5 restaurant chefs to give cooking demonstrations. Guests can also get ready to discuss their favorite New York City factoids with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the best things about pink beaches with Premier of Bermuda Ewart Brown, and why in-flight movie selections keep travelers happy with JetBlue Airways CEO Dave Barger.
Surely JFK’s Terminal 5 sounds like an oasis to weary travelers and here at BookingBuddy HQ, we’re excited by the concept of “customer comfort and efficiency.” What do you think about this new mega-terminal? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Posted July 30, 2008 by Carl Unger
Now, I'm not saying JetBlue's onboard snacks are bad—in fact, I'm a big fan of those blue chips—but let's face it: Snacks are snacks, and one could hardly confuse the carrier's in-flight offerings with a four-star meal.
That won't be the case with JetBlue's new Terminal 5 at JFK. According to the New York Times, JetBlue is bringing in some serious cuisine, asking big-time New York City chefs (I've never heard of them, but here's a hint: Emeril isn't one) to create upscale menus for its customers. In fact, part of the rationale behind this decision (as opposed to more common grab-and-go airport dining) is that people are spending more time at the airport these days, due both to increased security and frequent delays.
So what's on offer? How about rustic Italian comfort food, sushi, tapas, steaks, and fare from a French pastry shop and café? Most of the seating will be casual, so travelers who prefer to fly in comfy clothes (yours truly) as opposed to formal wear shouldn't feel underdressed. No word yet on what kind of prices these restaurants will charge, but JetBlue is also planning a more conventional food hall with hamburgers, pizza, and other quick bites.
Will gourmet be a hit with the low-cost crowd? We'll see. It's asking a lot for air travelers to plunk down big bucks for a meal at the airport, especially when there's cheap pizza (or those blue chips) to be had. But as most passengers expect nothing but frustration these days, a plate of good food, no matter the cost, may be worth it to soothe the road-weary traveler's soul.
Posted June 25, 2008 by Zak Patten
You ever have one of those days? You know, nothing's going right, it's raining and your umbrella won't open, your dog is sick, and your boss just dumped a pile of work on your desk? Or maybe you slipped on a wet kitchen floor—courtesy of the leak in your roof? Then, out of nowhere, a little ray of sunshine enters your life.
After a 2008 spent in the doldrums, the clouds have lifted on air travelers, if only for a brief moment. That's because American Airlines has picked today to test wireless Internet service on two flights between New York and Los Angeles. And if those tests go well, we're looking at more trials on planes from New York to L.A., San Francisco, and Miami.
Once the Wi-Fi goes live, "passengers will be able to connect free to American's Web site, Frommer's travel guides, and limited news headlines." All well and good, but what about the Holy Grail of all Internet users: unfettered access to the full capabilities of the World Wide Web? Not surprisingly, that isn't exactly free. Depending on the length of your flight, you'll be paying $9.95 to $12.95 to get fully online. No, that's not cheap. But in American's defense, it's not much more than an average airport lunch. And assuming there's enough bandwidth, the service will be incredibly useful to business travelers and armchair Web surfers alike. And the airline, like all of its peers, is in dire need of cash. You're not going to get all thrifty now, are you?
I know this announcement has brightened my day. How do you feel about it? Is there any technology you'd rather see on your next flight than wireless Internet? Share it with us by posting a comment below.
(Image: stickergirl.com, wisewifi.net)