When in Buffalo

Buffalo New York  has never been on my list of places to visit.  I mean, who goes to Buffalo?  Turns out they have the friendliest people I've ever encountered anywhere on any trip.  We found ourselves chatting with friendly strangers just about every place we went.  There's not too much going on there but you can make fun happen anywhere if you want to so that's what we did.

It took 20-30 minutes to get anywhere we wanted to go in Buffalo.  That came in handy when we arrived hungry on Friday morning after our overnight flight.  We got our rental car and the first thing I did was check to see if there was a Cracker Barrel in town.  We don't have them in California so when we travel we are always on the look out to eat there.  We were in luck!!  There was a Cracker Barrel 20 minutes from the airport.  We devoured the best Pancakes ever in the history of Pancakes and then it took us about 20 minutes to get to Embassy Suites.  Our hotel room was one of the biggest I've ever had.  The standard size room was about the size of a one bedroom apartment but by that time the thing I was most interested in was the giant super comfortable King Size bed and a nap. 

When in Buffalo you go to Niagara Falls because it is there and who knows when you will ever make it back.   It took us 30 minutes to get there from downtown Buffalo.  We saw signs pointing us to it but it was still really hard to believe that we were anywhere near a gigantic set of waterfalls.  As we got a little bit closer we could see what looked kind of like smoke rising in the air.  As you get closer you can tell that it's mist from the falls and then you can hear them roaring.  

We missed the cut off for the Maiden of the Mist boat rides but we could still get close to the falls by doing Cave of the Winds.  When I saw people coming back looking like they had taken a shower with their clothes on I wasn't so sure I wanted to do it.  Your ticket comes with a wearable trash bag, cheap little sandals and a plastic shopping bag to put your shoes and socks in.  An elevator takes you down and then once you walk through the tunnel you are at the falls. 

You can basically get as wet as you want to.  MJ decided he wanted to get a little bit wetter then me when he went up to the highest and closest deck to the falls.  The trash bag does a really good job of keeping you dry from the knees up but the bottom of our jeans were soaked.  His were drenched. It was fun.  I'm glad we did it.

Checking out the Canada side

When in Buffalo you also have to eat Buffalo Wings unless you are like me and you don't eat wings at all.  We walked over to Anchor Bar which is known as the home of the original Buffalo chicken wings.  Buffalo is kind of dead.  It was Friday night downtown but the streets were mostly empty.  There were a few restaurants open but most of the shops were shut down for the night.  There was no fun vibe to be seen at all on our walk over there but once we got inside the place was packed and full of energy.   There was a live band and the food was good.

We walked to a place nearby for breakfast on Saturday and then spent a few hours at the Buffalo Museum of Science mainly to see the Mummies of The World Exhibition.  MJ has an uncle in Buffalo so after that we stopped and had a visit with him and then went in search of a restaurant that we'd seen on Driver's Dine in and Drives.  You'd have to be specifically looking for Mulberry's or else I'm not sure that you'd ever find it because it's located on a random corner in the middle of a residential area.  Without reservations we were going to have to wait 1 1/2 hours but we lucky enough to find two seats at the bar.  This place has such a homey atmosphere and the best lasagna I've ever had.  I wasn't that hungry so we were splitting everything anyways which was good because that thing was huge.  We met the owner and he was so friendly.  Then we got to chatting with this kind older couple at the bar who are regulars.  They bought us drinks because they were so excited that we came all the way from San Diego to visit their town.

We had a scary moment in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  It was probably around 2 or 3am.  I woke up with this weird feeling that someone was in our room.  I kept still and listened.  I heard a rustling sound.  "I think someone is in our room," I whispered to MJ waking him up but almost not really believing it myself.  We both listened and then heard the unmistakable sound of motion.  My heart was in my throat as MJ got out of bed and went into the outer living area and I heard him say, "What are you doing in here?"  The guy was drunk and he was sitting on the couch on his phone.  He started going on about what room is this and he thought this was his room.  MJ said, "You're in the wrong room."  He kept trying to explain himself so he said it again and then the guy finally left.  I was horrified.  How did someone get in our room?  That's when MJ noticed that the door doesn't shut all the way on it's own.  You have to actually push it closed so that explains how he got in.  It was the weirdest scariest thing!  That could have gone a totally different way because you just never know but I'm glad it didn't. 

We got up early on Sunday and ate breakfast at the hotel which is one of the best free hotel breakfast's I've ever experienced.  It was not your standard cheapo continental breakfast.  They also have a guest happy hour every night and unfortunately we only made it once.  You might be wondering why we went to Buffalo in the first place.  The main event and the reason for our visit was the Buffalo Bills home opener against the Miami Dolphins.  MJ is a longtime fan of the Bills and has always wanted to see them play in their home arena.  I'm not a football fan but I was down to go as long as it was the first home game because I'm not sure I could survive the cold of Buffalo anytime beyond that.  We really lucked out and the weather was sunny, clear and in the high 60's for most of the day.

Buffalo is a hard core football town and Buffalo Bills fans are die hard.  The night before in the hotel jacuzzi we ran into another couple that had flown in from California.  We went to the Bills Store at the stadium Saturday morning and the place was already packed with people getting their gear for the game.  We waited in line for almost 30 minutes to buy MJ's jersey.  He has three now.   Their fans are crazy and unlike any fans that I've ever seen.  It was like being at a frat party.  The parking lot was packed and people were already drunk by the time we got there at 10:30ish.  There were people tossing footballs and loud blaring music everywhere.  We saw keg stands, people dancing on cars and peeing in bushes.  There was craziness everywhere you looked.  We don't have fans like that where we live.  It was fun to see a real football town in action and MJ loved being at a game where he wasn't the only one rooting for his team.  We sat on a grassy bank to watch the shenanigans and were offered beers by a group of guys sitting next to us.

MJ found this crazy group on You Tube.  They do this every year at every game in the Hammer lot.  They cook macaroni and cheese in filing cabinets, drink a lot, BBQ on yard tools atop that old mustang (which believe it or not actually runs) then they line up to get squirted with ketchup.  Why is that fun?

The longtime Bills owner died and everyone just found out that the new owner is keeping the team in Buffalo so everyone was really pumped. I wonder if that's why we had to watch the whole game standing up.  Why pay almost $100 bucks for seats and then not sit in them is what I want to know.  I haven't been to a lot of NFL games so I don't know if this is typical.  If you want to see what's going on you stand up.  I also had to use a plastic bag for my purse because even my tiny purse got rejected as being too large.  I saw others up in there with purses larger then mine but I'm sure a lot of people got turned away.  We had to walk all the way back to the car to put away my purse and our camera bag because neither one fit on the index card the guy had in his hand.
You can't see it but I'm wearing a Bills shirt that MJ bought for me so I would fit in
They won!!  I'm so happy that MJ got to go to a home Bills game and see them win.

It was a really long day.  We went straight from the hotel to the game which started at 1pm.  We were at the stadium all day.  Right after the game we went straight to the airport where we ran into other Bills fans in their jersey's on their way back home.  We ate dinner there while we waited for our flight to New York City.  If we were going to Buffalo we figured we might as well go there too.

So now you have some ideas of what to do should you ever find yourself in Buffalo.   Not that it will likely ever happen.  I can't guarantee that a sweet old couple will buy you drinks at Mulberry's but the lasagna is worth the visit.

NYC: 9/11 Memorial Museum


Nylse Esahc said...

that was scary, the hotel room. I always make sure I slam the door and put the secure lock on...must be the brooklyn in me. and many moons ago we ate wings at that bar. sounds like a good trip.

Ashley @ A Cute Angle said...

Cracker Barrels are pretty amazing. Sounds like you guys had an awesome time! The falls are pretty neat. I got to see them on the Canadian side. It was a great getaway!

~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

Renae said...

Love that rainbow pic!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you all had fun. The rainbow, tho!

LaToya LouisvilleSlugger said...

I love the pics!

Faith said...

omg, I would have freaked out ... I watch so much Criminal Minds and of course all I can think is that! So glad that it was just a drunkie who probably didn't know left from right at that moment.

Sean is a huge, huge Bills fan too! He has gone to several games and loves it.

Looks like a good time! Great pictures!

Nerline Germain said...

I am glad the guy was not too drunk and left peacefully. Things like this happens, although we wish that they wouldn't. I have never been to buffalo. I was here in Georgia when my brother moved there.

Lisa @ Two Martinis said...

It looks like you had a fantastic time! I actually worked in Buffalo for a few months and it really wasn't as bad as I had thought it might be!

Rachel said...

I went to Buffalo a few years ago for a conference, and oddly enough I really liked it too. It was sad then to see so many shuttered up businesses and homes, but I hear the economy has rebounded well there, and it would be nice to go back. Glad you had a good time!

Tomes Edition said...

I passed through Buffalo last year and its really dead city so i know what you mean. Sorry to hear about the hotel room incident, glad you guys are fine. Looks like another great min vacay.

Jacqueline Hough said...

I am so glad y'all had a great time except for the hotel room incident. I love Cracker Barrel and take it for granted since they are all over the place here. Love the photos! Thanks for making Buffalo interesting!

A Life Less Traveled said...

I am not a wing fan. Ty loves them, but I can take them or leave them. Never been to Niagara Falls or Buffalo.

Jackie @ Our Nashville Life said...

My family is actually all from Upstate, New York. So when you wrote "what's there to do in Buffalo?" I immediately thought of Niagara Falls (and Darien Lake, which sadly now is owned by Six Flags). I hope you managed to find some Tim Hortons while in Buffalo too.

Brass Honey said...

We moved to Buffalo for 3 years. I'm thrilled to be back in San Diego now but I have to admit, I miss B-Lo. The people are amazing :)

Whitney Cypert said...

Buffalo looks like a fun little town, not too fast but still stuff to do see and do. The water falls are GORGEOUS! Oh my gosh, that rainbow! I can't wait to visit New York one day. Garrett and I went to a Saints football game once and I'm pretty sure we stood the whole time as well. It made me laugh about your purse being too big because the same thing happened to me! I had to walk all the way back and leave it in the car!

Mrs. K said...

Sounds like this part of your trip was super funny and different. Your pictures of the falls are awesome! The hotel incident sounded scary though but I'm glad things turned out ok. That couple was so nice to buy you guys drinks--it's those small gifts that make trips, well life's moments more memorable. Sweet :)

Janna Renee said...

Oh man, I would have freaked with the dude in the room. Will is always packin' when we travel, so that guy would have gotten a rude awakening if he was in our room. You guys handled it cool as cucumbers! Buffalo looks awesome!

Jhan said...

Looks like you had a great time. Like you, I thought 'why would I ever want to visit Buffalo, NY?', but my husband has always talked about visiting Buffalo JUST to have some wings. I take it as a joke, but knowing the foodie he is, I know he is more than serious.