Great Dates: Nature in and out of bounds
Best for: Established couples
1. Tifft Nature Preserve
2. Picnic onsite or lunch at Dug’s Dive
3. Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
4. Dinner at Curly’s
Here’s the scenario: Partners who have been together for a while have gotten into a bit of a rut with the usual dinner and a movie outings. They think they know all about Buffalo, but maybe it’s time for them to discover Buffalo’s wild side, including both untamed nature and partially tamed exotic nature. This day of healthy walks and beautiful sights is punctuated with two eateries that may also be off your beaten track.
Bike or drive to Tifft Nature Preserve at 1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard, off Route 5.
Explore any of the trails; the Heritage Boardwalk and other boardwalk trails are among the most scenic, easiest to walk, and abundant in both airborne and aquatic creatures. Be sure to bring cameras. You might be the only two people on any of these trails, which is why this is recommended for established couples. It’s not a good idea to be out in the middle of the wilderness with a stranger.
After an hour or two walking around Tifft, consider lunch. There are picnic tables near the visitor’s center, adjacent to a pond and trees. Or, backtrack a bit to reach Dug’s Dive, at 1111 Fuhrmann, across the street on the Lake Erie side. This restaurant has a front row view of Lake Erie, and serves a casual menu of sandwiches, sides, and basic entrees, many featuring fresh seafood.
After lunch, continue along scenic route 5 until the Ridge Road exit, which takes you to the always-in-season Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. After a brisk 3k around the ring road, which is usually teeming with waterfowl (sometimes the occasional deer), reward yourselves by inhaling the interior of the Lord and Burnham glasshouse. There are few places more romantic; many proposals are supposed to have been staged on the bench adjacent to the Tiki waterfall. Been there, done that? Get out your cameras and see who can get the most impressive close-ups of the many exotic specimens here.
Just around the corner from the Botanical Gardens, you’ll find Curly’s Grill, which continues the tropical theme with such offerings as Carribean Bleu Fish and chicken in a mango/banana/curry sauce. Like every stop on this day-long outing, Curly’s is a Western New York treasure.