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Best of WNY: Out & About Part III



kc kratt

Best hike
Niagara Gorge
Our favorite is the Whirlpool Rapids trail, but there is an entire system of trails here connecting five state parks: Niagara Falls, Whirlpool, DeVeaux Woods, Devil’s Hole, and Artpark. All sixteen miles of trails offer spectacular views, regardless of their difficulty.

 

Best sledding site
Chestnut Ridge
Thrillingly long sledding hills and four toboggan chutes are this park’s distinguishing wintertime features. (After a hiatus of five years, the toboggan runs reopened in 2010 with $175,000 of renovations.) From the top of the park’s breezy, tree-lined ridge are views of the Buffalo skyline way off to the north, Lake Erie, and on a clear day, Canada.

 

Best Bike Ride
The Tweed Ride
Kindly leave your spandex cycling shorts at home. Think dapper tweed woolens, argyle socks, English sporting caps, bow ties, and vintage Raleigh three-speeds. A celebration of cycling in style, this annual spring bicycle ride, hosted by the Buffalo Lazy Randonneur Club (look them up on Facebook) is an elegant affair for all you dandies and quaintrelles. With no finish line, this leisurely ride begins at the Buffalo Naval Park, continues along the Niagara River, Scajaquada Creek, Delaware Park, and Elmwood Avenue. The final destination is the Essex Street Pub, with postride merriment, pints, and poetry. Tweed makes you itch? Have no fear. The BLRC also hosts an annual summer Seersucker Ride. Cheerio!

 

Best place to take the family for under $50
Transit Drive-In
Kids under five are still free, a brand-new concession stand opens this year, and because Transit is open from April through November, you can get affordable nostalgia and novelty (there’s nothing like watching a movie outside in your pajamas) for over half the year. We’re fortunate to have access to one of the nation’s surviving drive-ins, and if the crowds there are any indication, the next generation will be, too. 6655 S. Transit Rd., Lockport, 625-8535

 

Best dance lessons
Swing Buffalo
Need a lindy fix? Here’s the place to get one. Whether you hopped aboard the couple-dancing renaissance during the Great Swing Revival of the mid-nineties or are one of the millions wooed and wowed by the more recent wave of Terpsichorian Teevee, you need a place to brush up on the newest/oldest steps. And Rob Leach and company are eager to lend a hand, providing not just the footwork but the history behind such smooth moves as the Balboa, the Charleston, and the Jitterbug in their classes. Surf SB’s site (swingbuffalo.com) and you’ll also find an annotated guide to WNY dancefloors, downloadable iTunes mixes, and updates on where to find audience-participatory demos around the area.

 

Best place to work out
JCC
Always popular as a family-friendly gym complete with indoor (Buffalo and Getzville) and outdoor (Getzville) pools, racquetball, and basketball, the Jewish Community Center has amped up its game. What’s new? Recently renovated facilities, 90 pieces of state-of-the art equipment, more personal training, and dozens of classes. www.jccbuffalo.org

 

Strangest/Most Unique Event
Dyngus Day
There are, according to historians and bartenders with Polish roots, only a few towns in Poland and the U.S. that celebrate the day after Easter. And nobody can agree upon what the word Dyngus even means. But there is no dispute over the fact that Buffalo’s celebration of DD is the world’s largest. You know that the holiday is entering the mainstream when Wegmans sells red and white Dyngus Day shirts in its stores before the holiday.

 

 

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