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Trip Report WNY, Cleveland, and Niagara on the Lake

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I had added this to my Beef on Weck in WNY thread but thought those expecting a trip report might not look for it there.

We're back from our quick-catch-your-breath six-day road trip from NJ to Niagara-on-the-Lake, to Western New York, to Cleveland.

My husband had made plans with the husband of my dear friend to meet in Cleveland for an Indians-Blue Jays game and the rest of the trip evolved from that. ShawFest in NotL was presenting Saint Joan in the Festival Theater on Wednesday afternoon so we drove from NJ on Tuesday, arriving in time to check in to the Shaw Club before meeting our friends for dinner. The just-over-400-mile drive was fine—PA northeast extension, NY route 17, Peace Bridge, River Road (I've never seen the Niagara River so beautifully blue!)—until we missed the turn in Chippewa Ontario and our navigation system skirted us past hotels and we missed seeing the Falls! Shaw Club was lovely, right across the street from the theater. It was my first time actually staying in NotL as our previous visits have been from the Buffalo area or from our friends’ home near Hamilton. So, while I have no other experiences there to compare, we would definitely choose the Shaw Club again. We had a king room with sofa, easy chair, fridge, coffee maker, and spacious bathroom with excellent shower. Our midweek rate included a served breakfast which we enjoyed on the porch.

Dinner that night was at Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters. It was just what I was looking forward to—great space adjacent to the main building, stone patio with stone pillars, with overhang from the building high above, looking out to the vineyard. It was a lovely evening to dine outdoors. We were not interested in fine dining so I don't really know the kitchen’s capabilities.—among the four of us, we had focaccia, olives, pizza, pasta, and a very tasty squash soup with corn kernels, peas, bacon, and other tidbits. And we did not seriously explore their wines: the men had beer; my friend, a riesling; I, a rose. Would I return? Absolutely!

After the superb production of Saint Joan (actors are not miked…if you go, be sure to reserve assistive listening devices), we crossed the Queenston-Lewiston bridge—no waiting!—to return to the US and we arrived at the Hyatt Place on Main Street in Snyder in fine time. Next stop: Glen Park Tavern on Main Street in Williamsville. Well, plenty of other folks had the same idea! It was crowded and lively (and noisy). When we saw people waiting to be seated, we left and headed down the street to the Creekview for our comfort food—beef on weck, chicken wings, and a very good salad.

We liked the Hyatt Place. It's about a year old, so everything is new and works well. Only thing we wished for was an in-room safe. And their buffet breakfast, while it sounds like that at any other mid-priced chain, was very good. (Fresh fruit was two types of melon, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes.) Outdoor space had tables, and a fire pit, if you wanted to eat outside.

On Thursday, we headed to the AlbrightKnox art museum and then to the BurchfieldPenney Art Center especially to see the Frank Lloyd Wright-Stickley-Roycroft exhibit. We arrived in time for an excellent docent-led tour and were happy particularly to hear her introduction to the display of amazing Trabucco glass paperweights (produced in the studio in his home in Clarence).

A short drive, maybe three blocks within the Buff State campus, from the BurchfieldPenney took us to the Hotel Henry, a recently opened ‘urban resort and conference center’ in some of the buildings of the former state psychiatric hospital. The complex was designed 140 years ago by HH Richardson, grounds by Olstead, and recent renovations have transformed three of the 11 buildings. We asked to see a room—the king room was stunning with 18-foot ceilings and 14-foot arched windows. Somewhere I had read that the rooms are ‘bed-centric.’ I had imagined a room with a bed and room for not much else! Not at all. Room was very comfortable; bathroom, very modern and smart.

We dined with friends at the hotel’s 100 Acres restaurant. In repurposed space, the restaurant sprawled through several areas—some tables were located in what I would think of as a hallway; ours was in a distinct room. All the tables in our area were occupied but we had no difficulty hearing one another. Menu was not ‘haute’—apps included deviled eggs and hummus (already spread on pita-type bread with bits of raw vegetables atop); mains included excellent halibut, roast chicken, and a summer squash vegetarian choice. We will be back. The building’s lower level will house the Lipsey Architecture Center.

The next morning, we headed to Cleveland. We stopped at the art museum. I liked the atrium space that tied together the original building, the 60’s addition, and the parking structure. We didn't have much time before we left to meet our friends at the Hilton Garden Inn near the baseball stadium. What a busy place! Plenty of Blue Jay fans for the series; plenty of Queen fans for that night’s s concert. Dinner that night was at Blue Point which I highly recommend for all things seafood. At our table: walleye, halibut, pasta with lobster, and many satisfied smiles.

Who could visit Cleveland without war seeing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? The rain was heavy Saturday morning and all those Blue Jay fans and all those Queen fans and plenty of others were there with us! We were there for hours and we'll have to return to see all that we missed! That evening, the men went to the baseball game and my friend and I had dinner at a forgettable Mexican place. After the game, we all gathered in our room to look out the window to watch a spectacular 25 minute fireworks show over the stadium.

After church on Sunday morning and goodbyes to our friends, we headed home. WAZE predicted our arrival at 6:02 pm. We knew we’d need lunch and a couple pit stops but we did not expect the torrential rains that we encountered. The rain was so heavy, we stopped several times, once at the side of the road and once in a service area to wait for it to let up. We finally arrived home close to 10:30, happy that we made it safely.

Good trip. Thanks for all the help.
We are already talking about WNY in 2018!

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