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Greater Niagara: Fact Sheet

Published: Feb 27, 2014

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Natural and man-made wonders make this region an awesome place to visit!  Niagara Falls State Park was named one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Spots in America by the Today show. And that's just the beginning. With world-class sportfishing, the Seneca Niagara Casino, fabulous shopping, the Niagara Wine Trail, Erie Canal cruises, Darien Lake Theme & Waterpark Resort featuring world-class coasters, thrill rides, huge waterpark and on-site hotel and cabins, historic Old Fort Niagara, Buffalo's great art and architecture, and the magnificent gorge at Letchworth State Park known as the Grand Canyon of the East, the region offers something for everyone.

COUNTIES

Buffalo, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming

MAJOR CITIES & TOWNS

Albion, Arcade, Attica, Batavia, Buffalo, Castile, Darien Center, East Aurora, Lackawanna, LeRoy, Lewiston, Lockport, Medina, Niagara Falls, Perry, Warsaw, Williamsville, Youngstown.

CLIMATE

The diverse climate has four distinct seasons. Summers are comfortable and warm, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid 70s to mid 80s (degrees F) and cooler evenings. The weather is moderately cool and sunny in springtime and autumn, when spectacular fall foliage attracts thousands of visitors. Cold, snowy winters create a wonderland of magnificent scenery, including the spectacle of a frozen Niagara Falls.

THREE SURPRISING FACTS

1. Every few seconds, millions of gallons of water rush over the 180-foot cliffs of Niagara Falls. Twenty percent of the world's freshwater lies in the Great Lakes, and most of it flows over Niagara Falls.

Niagara's history is dramatic too-from its Ice Age legacy on display at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, to the stories of daredevils who tried to go over in barrels. Visit the Daredevil Museum to learn about jet skiers and high-wire tightrope acts that once performed above the Falls.

2. Buffalo's annual National Garden Festival, a six-week-long garden party features 14 gorgeous garden walks, including America's largest-Garden Walk Buffalo. Gardens are open for tours, and special events include workshops and speakers.

3. JELL-O was invented Le Roy, NY in 1897 and the first four Jell-O flavors were orange, lemon, strawberry, and raspberry. Lime was introduced in 1930. Today, Le Roy is home to the Jell-O Museum/Gallery, located 30 minutes southwest of Rochester and 60 minutes east of Buffalo/Niagara Falls. The Jell-O Gallery has a new large exhibit that reflects Bill Cosby's influence for the brand for more than thirty years. Also, listen to entertainers Kate Smith, Jack Benny, Lucile Ball as they promoted the Jell-O product over the radio air waves.

SPORTS & OUTDOORS

Baseball: The Buffalo Bisons, affiliate of the, Toronto Blue Jays play Minor League games at Buffalo's historic Coca Cola Field, from April to early September. Batavia Muckdogs, affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, plays games in Batavia at Dwyer Stadium, June -September. 

Football: The Buffalo Bills professional NFL Football team play home games at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo.

Boat Tours: Narrated cruises range from quiet canal tours ideal for birdwatching and wildlife viewing, to the thrilling Maid of the Mist ride up to the base of the American Falls and the wildly exciting Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour.

Fishing: Two Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, as well as the lower Niagara River are touted as some of North America's best places for trophy fishing (steelhead, bass, trout, salmon, walleye pike and more). Fishing tournaments draw anglers from around the globe. The region also offers excellent fly-fishing spring through fall on scenic Oatka Creek in the quaint village of LeRoy. Year-round world class trout and salmon fly fishing on the Oak Orchard River.

Hunting: Private preserves and game farms are found throughout the region. The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge allows hunting and fishing in season with permits. State lands are open for hunting during the appropriate seasons. Find information at Greater Niagara's regional website and http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html.

Hiking and Biking: Trails throughout the region let visitors interact with nature. Niagara Falls State Park offers guided hiking tours with magnificent views of the falls, whirlpool rapids and other spectacular sights along the Niagara Gorge. Letchworth State Park boasts 66 miles of hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails around waterfalls and between 600-foot cliffs.  Hiking on the Erie Canal Recreationway Trail in Erie, Niagara and Orleans.

Hockey:  The NHL's Buffalo Sabres play at the First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo, adjacent to the city's emerging Canalside district.

Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking: Outfitters such as Adventure Calls lead exciting whitewater rafting tours in Letchworth Gorge and the Niagara River Gorge. Buffalo Harbor Kayak is located at Canalside. Kayaks (single and tandem) or stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) are available. They also offer kayak tours down the Buffalo River - some of which include hikes up into various grain elevators.

Winter Sports: Downhill ski centers include Buffalo Ski Club and Kissing Bridge, each within a half-hour's drive of Buffalo. Snow-tubers love the giant downhill tubing park adjacent to Kissing Bridge, the Colden Tubing Company and Polarwave Snowtubing Park in Batavia featuring chutes of all sizes. Cross-country ski trails crisscross the region, from Byrncliff Resort to Letchworth State Park. Other winter sports in Letchworth Park include snowshoeing and ice-skating.

Nature Centers: At the Aquarium of Niagara, a few blocks from Niagara Falls, sea lions perform, penguins play, sharks feed, and harbor seals interact with trainers year-round. The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, New York State's largest wildlife refuge, has hiking and canoeing through diverse habitats and Bald Eagle watching.

State Parks: Magnificent state parks include Niagara Falls State Park; Silver Lake State Park, with boating and fishing on the pristine lake; Woodlawn Beach State Park, where a one-mile natural sand beach offers panoramic views of Lake Erie; Darien Lake State Park, ranked as one of America's Top 100 Family Campgrounds' by ReserveAmerica; and Letchworth State Park, known as the Grand Canyon of the East. http://iac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=506.

ART, ARCHITECTURE & CULTURE

Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo) - The renowned collection includes works by 20th-century artists such as Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock, as well as mid-1800s artists such as Monet and Renoir. One of America's oldest galleries, Albright-Know was founded in 1862.

Artpark (Lewiston) - Performing arts center at a picturesque 150-acre state park beside the Niagara River Gorge. Top entertainers; art gallery.

Buffalo's Theatre District (Buffalo) - Over 12 professional theaters with innovative productions of comedies, dramas, musicals and American classics. Shea's Performing Arts Center is set in an opulent 1926 opera house; the Kavinoky Theatre is a stunning Victorian-era playhouse.

Burchfield Penney Art Center (Buffalo) - Works by the Roycroft Community, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, and former Buffalo resident, Charles Burchfield. Regional architecture, fine art and crafts from the late 1800s through today.

Cobblestone Masonry (throughout the region) -  c1830-1860 masonry style.  90% of America's cobblestone buildings can be found within a 75-mile radius of Rochester.  Cobblestone Museum Complex in Orleans County

Country Barn Quilt Trail (Kendall) Enjoy a scenic drive along quaint, rustic country roads through lush farmlands as you follow the Country Barn Quilt Trail of Western New York with over 50 quilt blocks

Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House Complex (Buffalo) - Tour one of Buffalo's best-known landmarks that now serves as a museum. Masterpieces such as this home created by Frank Lloyd Wright, and others by renowned architects such as H.H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan, make Buffalo a living architectural museum.  This is one of several Frank Lloyd Wright structures in Buffalo.

Roycroft Campus, Museum & Inn (East Aurora) - A center of the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 1900s, this community was home to over 500 craftsmen. Buildings open to the public include a chapel, artisan studios, an antique gallery, shops and the historic Roycroft Inn.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park (Buffalo) - Great performances in the historic park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, father of landscape architecture. A summer tradition since 1976.

HISTORY

Allentown National Preservation District & Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site (Buffalo) - Historic neighborhood with antique shops, grand homes, and tours of the mansion where Roosevelt took the oath of office to become President of the US in 1901, after the assassination of President McKinley.

Buffalo/Erie County Naval and Military Park (Buffalo) - Lakefront memorial and floating museum of military history with retired battleships-USS The Sullivans, guided-missile cruiser USS Little Rock, submarine USS Croaker-and military aircraft and vehicles. Tours.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (Erie, Niagara and Orleans) -The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor encompasses New York's canal system and the communities that grew along its shores. It's a place with stories to tell, great works of architecture to see, history to be learned, and hundreds of miles of scenic and recreational waterway and trails to explore.

JELL-O Gallery Museum (Le Roy) - Interactive tours for all ages at museum dedicated to the history of JELL-O, invented in Le Roy. Exhibits; recordings of commercials by celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Jack Benny, Lucile Ball and Andy Griffith.

Medina Railroad Museum (Medina) -  Museum and scenic train tours along the original Erie Canal, from Medina to Lockport; housed in a 300 ft. long building.

Murphy Orchards (Burt) - Family-operated working farm that was an Underground Railroad site from 1850 to 1861. Country store, apple and berry picking, afternoon tea in the farmhouse.

Old Fort Niagara (Youngstown) - About 15 miles north of Niagara Falls, this fort was a strategic site during the French & Indian War. Cannon and musket demonstrations, battle reenactments and a AAA Gem attraction.

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine (Lewiston) -  Fatima chapel replica with a glass dome Basilica and 125 life-sized statues on 35 acres. Gardens, fountains, artifacts, gift shop. Picnic grounds. 

William Pryor Letchworth Museum (Castile) - Exhibits focus on the natural and cultural history of the Genesee Valley and the park's founder.

FOOD & DRINK

Unique dining experiences include the Top of the Falls restaurant, offering panoramic views in Niagara Falls State Park.

Buffalo is home to more than 400 independently owned restaurants, from the birthplace of the chicken wing (the Anchor Bar) to vegan cafes to high-end French cuisine. Get a taste of a community that boasts great farmers markets, diverse ethnic dishes and unique local specialties, like beef on weck sandwiches and sponge candy.

Each July, Buffalo hosts America's largest two-day food festival, the Taste of Buffalo, where you can sample foods including Indian, Polish, Italian, Chinese, Caribbean and Irish. Then, during Labor Day weekend, head to the National Buffalo Wing Festival, where you can join 85,000 guests in chowing down 37 tons of wings.

Wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail USA are open year-round for tours, tasting and special events like wine festivals and wine-pairing dinners.  

SHOPPING

The Made in America Store in Elma, 20 minutes from Buffalo and an hour from Niagara Falls, sells top-quality 100% American-made products at comparable prices. Since opening in 2010, it has been featured in major American and international media, with news reporters coming from as far away as Japan and Russia. Tour buses visit from across the US.

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, ten minutes from the famous Falls, features great discount prices in over 150 brand-name stores. In Cheektowaga, the Walden Galleria houses more than 200 retailers.

The wide range of shopping choices in Buffalo includes eight malls as well as independently owned boutiques, antique shops and galleries in the cities Allentown, Elmwood Village and Hertel Ave. shopping districts.

Nearby, the village of East Aurora features shopping on the Roycroft Campus and a charming Main Street with an old-fashioned five and dime, ice-cream parlor, toy store, antique dealers and art galleries.  Opened in 1930, Vidler's 5 &10, in East Aurora, is one of the last few five and dimes in the country and the largest in the world with over 75,000 items.

Shoppers at the New Farm find a wide selection of crafts, flowers, furniture, quilts and fine food from many vendors.

Oliver's Candies located in Batavia is Celebrating 80 years in 2012. Oliver's Candies was established in 1932 by Joseph Boyd Oliver. Mr. Oliver blanched peanuts in his home, and then went out to stores and gas stations to sell his product.  Behind the scenes tours pre-scheduled for groups.

UNIQUE LODGING

Unique places to stay range from the lakeside lodge and campsites at Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort to the swanky Mansion on Delaware, along Buffalo's historic avenue known as Millionaires' Row.

The Red Coach Inn overlooks Niagara's majestic Upper Rapids, just 500 yards from the brink of Niagara Falls. It's so close you can hear the roar!  With a warm English-country ambience, the 35-room hotel gets rave reviews in national media. Fun fact: The Inn was the honeymoon hotel for Jim and Pam on the TV show, The Office.

The Erie Canal Schoolhouse B&B lives up to its name: chalkboards still adorn many of the walls in this former schoolhouse beside the Erie Canal.

The restored Roycroft Inn, located on the Roycroft Campus, is an architectural treasure decorated with Arts & Crafts-era furnishings.

The Hotel @ The Lafayette, a new boutique hotel in a restored 1905 building that was designed by America's first professional female architect - Louise Blanchard Bethune - is now accepting reservations.

The Giacomo, built in 1929 as an office building with a unique blend of art deco and Mayan revival design, is a 39-room luxury boutique hotel overlooking Niagara Falls and within walking distance of Niagara Falls State Park attractions.

Beaver Hollow, with four lodges and 20 cottages nestled on 300 wooded acres between Buffalo and Rochester, features four-star dining, nature trails, a butterfly garden and a spring-fed lake.

The historic Barton Hill Hotel & Spa in Lewiston, featuring a full-service spa, is located just a few hundred feet from the Lewiston Landing boat launch, where fishermen venture year-round for the best catch of the day.

OTHER SELECTED ATTRACTIONS

Buffalo Zoo (Buffalo) -   Exotic and domestic animals in naturalistic habitats. The Rainforest Falls recreates a rainforest with lush vegetation, a 25-foot waterfall and exotic creatures including ocelots, poison dart frogs, colorful free-flight birds, squirrel monkeys and a giant anaconda.

Batavia Downs Casino and Racetrack (Batavia).  Oldest lighted parimutual harness track in North America offering live harness racing, gaming, dining and entertainment, located in Batavia's hotel district.

Buffalo/Erie County Botanical Gardens (Buffalo) -  Located at South Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Outdoor Victorian gardens and year-round displays in the 1897 glass-domed conservatory housing exotic tropical plants and a 27-foot waterfall.  

Cave of the Winds Tour (Niagara Falls) -  At Niagara Falls State Park. Challenging guided tour over a series of wooden walkways to the famous Hurricane Deck, 20 feet from the rushing waters of Bridal Veil Falls. Poncho and boots provided.

Daredevil Museum (Niagara Falls) - Exhibits on Niagara's rich daredevil history include a two-person barrel and a jet ski used in attempts over the Falls. Photographs highlight high-wire tightrope acts that once performed across the Gorge.

Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort (Darien Center) - More than 100 rides, shows and attractions; 20,000-seat performing arts center and three lodging choices. New York's largest theme park! AAA Gem attraction.

Kazoo Museum, Factory & Boutique (Eden) - The only metal kazoo manufacturer in the world operating as a working factory and history museum. Kazoo-making demonstrations and a chance to make your own kazoo.

Letchworth State Park (Castile) - The magnificent 17-mile-long gorge is known as the Grand Canyon of the East. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three waterfalls, between cliffs as high as 600 feet. Hiking, biking and ski trails; whitewater rafting, kayaking, hot-air ballooning. Historic Glen Iris Inn; cabins.

Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride (Lockport) - A 70-minute tour explores the historic Erie Canal locks. See stalactites and other geological wonders on an underground boat ride.

Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises (Lockport) - Unique two-hour narrated cruise includes "locking through," being raised up 49 feet in a set of locks. Coast Guard-licensed captain tells about local architecture, sights and folklore. AAA Gem attraction.

Maid of the Mist Boat Tour (Niagara Falls) - Don a waterproof poncho, and take a 30-minute narrated boat ride right up to the base of the American and Horseshoe Falls. One of the most popular attractions at Niagara Falls State Park. April to October.

Miss Buffalo Harbor Cruises (Buffalo) - Narrated tours offer history and water views of the city's stunning architecture.

Niagara Falls State Park (Niagara Falls) - One of the world's best-known natural wonders. The Today Show recently named the park one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Spots in America. Narrated trolley tour from the Visitors Center stops at scenic vistas.

Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel (Niagara Falls) - Located just blocks away from Niagara Falls; gaming and grand hotel with full-service spa and four restaurants.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours (Lewiston) - Ranked as one of the Top 5 adventure rides in North America. 45-minute heart-pumping boat tour speeds upriver, into the stonewalled canyon of Niagara Gorge and then splashes into the whitewater of Devil's Hole Rapids. About 10 miles from Niagara Falls; April to October.

MAJOR ANNUAL EVENTS

  • Medina Railroad Museum Day Out with Thomas (May)
  • National Buffalo Garden Festival (June-July)
  • French & Indian War Encampment (June-July)
  • Shakespeare in Buffalo's Delaware Park (June-August)
  • Taste of Buffalo (July)
  • Canal Fest of the Tonawandas (July)
  • Kingdom Bound (August)
  • Lewiston Fine Arts Festival (August)
  • National Buffalo Wing Festival (September)
  • Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival & World Weigh-Off (September-October)
  • Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show (October)
  • Medina Railroad Excursions (September - October)
  • Christmas in the Country International Artisan Marketplace (November) 
  • Festival of Lights National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (November-January)
  • Niagara Wine Trail Holiday Happening (December) 

CONVENTION CENTERS

Beaver Hollow Conference Center, in Java Center:  18,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space; accommodations for up to 155 overnight guests on-site; hotels nearby.

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, in Buffalo:  110,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space; connected to a 400-room hotel and surrounded by more than 1,000 downtown hotel rooms.

The Conference Center Niagara Falls, in the town of Niagara Falls:  116,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space; 2,000 hotel rooms within a 2 block radius of the center.

TRANSPORTATION

Land:

8 hours from NYC

8 hours from Montreal

Air:

Buffalo International Airport

Rochester International Airport; accessible from I-90 (NYS Thruway) and bus services

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more ideas and information, visit iloveny.com or Greater Niagara's regional website: http://greaterniagara.com/

CONTACT:          

Melanie Klausner
M. SILVER - A Division of Finn Partners
(212)-754-6500, ext. 243
Melanie.Klausner@finnpartners.com

Eric Scheffel
Empire State Development
(518) 292-5274
escheffel@esd.ny.gov

Kelly Rapone
Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Promotion Agency
(800) 622-2686 / (585) 343-7440 ext 23
KRapone@GeneseeNY.com

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