Western New York is well-known for its lake effect snow, which can bring feet upon feet of fresh powder to the marvelous mountains of the Greater Niagara and Chautauqua-Allegheny regions. Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York State, and appropriately named the “City of Good Neighbors” occupies much of Greater Niagara and is home to celebrated sports teams like the Bills and Sabres, Niagara Falls State Park, eclectic dining, nightlife, and culture. And of course, wings. Neighboring Chautauqua-Allegheny has great outdoors, superb local wines, and plenty of laughs at the National Comedy Center. From Kissing Bridge to Holiday Valley, six ski spots in the area provide a diverse selection of winter adventure, but make sure you leave room in your itinerary for the abundance of après-ski opportunities.
Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.
Ellicottville Brewing Company, Ellicottville
As its slogan says, Ellicottville Brewing Company is “Brewed to Entertain” and this hopping hotspot has been delighting generations of skiers since opening in the heart of New York’s ski country in 1995. Their lively brewery makes for the perfect spot to kick back with a small-batch brew made of the finest and freshest raw ingredients and dig into some New York classics like a beef on weck to creative global pub grub ranging from pierogi to schnitzel. Five minutes from Holiday Valley Resort and HoliMont Ski Resort.
Hamburg Brewing Company, Hamburg
Credit: @rgusch on Instagram
There’s nothing better after a day out on the slopes than hanging out with your crew having a brew by the fire. Hamburg Brewing Company’s lodge-like taproom beckons you in from the cold with a stunning floor to ceiling stone fireplace which provides the cozy vibes you need to enjoy one of nearly 20 brews on tap and hearty pub eats. 20 minutes from Kissing Bridge.
Big Inlet Brewing, Mayville
Find good beer and even better times at Big Inlet Brewing with its busy calendar of live music and special events, like sip and paint nights. Step into the taproom housed in an aluminum clad barn off a dirt road to find evidence of this property’s days as a working farm hanging on the walls. It’s a quaint setting to trade ski stories while sipping small batch brews that are big on flavor, from a fruity peach cream ale to a rich coffee-based stout. 30 minutes from Peek ‘n Peak Resort & Spa.
Noble Vineyards, Westfield
Credit: @wegowithkids on Instagram
The only thing better than the wine at this family-owned and operated farm winery is the view. Take your pick of dry crisp whites, savory dry reds, and many other varieties and then marvel at the sweeping view of vast acres of grapes framed by the mighty Lake Erie. 30 minutes from Peek ‘n Peak.
Pellicano Vineyard, Hamburg
Bask in the small-town charm of Hamburg mixed with cool Napa vibes at this cozy family-owned winery nestled in a beautiful country-like setting. Pellicano Vineyard prides itself on creating smooth and drinkable wine that goes nicely with a cheese plate or other snacks from their elevated pairing menu. Come for live music, pasta night, or a laid back evening by the tasting room fireplace. 20 minutes from Kissing Bridge.
Savor Vineyards and Wines, Arkport
If your idea of a perfect afternoon calls for a glass of wine and spectacular views then plan a post-ski outing to Savor Vineyards. Slightly off the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, this boutique farm winery is worth the detour, thanks to its quaint tasting room with stunning views of the Canisteo and Almond valleys. In addition to their award-winning wines, you can enjoy mulled wine and a pair of local craft beers if you prefer hops over grapes. 20 minutes from Swain.
Sparkling Ponds Winery, Ripley
In the heart of Lake Erie Wine Country, you’ll find the serene and peaceful Sparkling Ponds Winery. The property features 20-acres of grapes and picturesque ponds that inspired its name. For a small flat fee, you can sample all their wines, with the exception of the Ice Wine. Stop at the gift shop or plan a stay at one of the winery’s two cottages that are available to rent. 30 minutes from Peek ‘n Peak.
Carb up and refuel over a plate of yummy pasta and other classic Italian dishes at this casual family-friendly spot that's a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The warm atmosphere in the rustic-chic dining room housed in a barn-like building is just as comforting as the delectable dishes coming from the kitchen. 5 minute drive from Holiday Valley.
Pine Junction, Sherman
Tucked back in the pine trees off a snowmobile trail, Pine Junction is the definition of a hidden gem. With ample trailer and sled parking, this homey, lodge-like bar is just as hopping in the winter as it is during the summer season as hungry outdoor adventurers stop by to fill up on tasty Black Angus burgers, steaks, and homemade pie, cheesecake, and cookies. 10 minutes from Peek ‘n Peak.
Rick’s On Main, East Aurora
Looking to kick your dining experience up a notch? Head over to the quaint and historic village of East Aurora for a casual yet upscale meal at Rick's on Main — known for its delectable New American fare, warm atmosphere, and friendly staff. The outside features a porch that could grace the cover of a magazine and the brick and dark wood interior of the two-story dining room creates just the setting needed for an intimate dinner. Reserve a private heated igloo on the patio for a unique night out. 25 minutes from Kissing Bridge and 20 minutes from Buffalo Ski Center.
Serenity Spa at Peek ‘n Peak Resort
Credit: Peek ‘n Peak Resort & Spa
Take a break from the slopes and soothe those sore ski muscles at Peek'n Peak's luxurious Serenity Spa. This tranquil retreat will have you feeling relaxed and refreshed with its range of treatments from Swedish and Hot Stone Massages to vitamin C facials to a lavender soak pedicure. Couples treatments and special spa packages are also available for booking.
Ellicottville Salt Cave & Spa, Ellicottville
Unwind with some salt therapy at western New York's first authentic European-built Himalayan salt cave. The “cave” itself is a 220-square-foot room with salt floors, salt rocks on the walls, and stalactites on the ceiling. Lounge in a gravity chair or relax on the salt cave floor as you breathe in deep and feel the healing powers of the salt air. Infrared saunas, massages, facials, and other treatments are also available. Located just a few minutes from Holiday Valley Resort and HoliMont Ski Resort.
Credit: Joe Cascio
Embark on a day of play and learning at the Explore & More Museum, where you can explore four floors of fun through interactive exhibits celebrating Buffalo and its history. Learn about Niagara Falls and the Erie Canal at the Moving Water exhibit, build a roller coaster using everyday items, try on uniforms from beloved Buffalo sports teams, and more at this Canalside attraction that inspires kids to dream, imagine, invent, and do. About 40 minutes away from Kissing Bridge.
Holiday Valley Mountain Coaster, Ellicottville
Can’t get enough of the thrill of going downhill? Not only can you ski at Holiday Valley, but you can also hop in a “car” on their Mountain Coaster and get pulled up 283 feet before zooming your way down a zig zag path packed with 15 curves, 12 waves, and a huge spiral. Take the ride alone or with a friend and use the levers to control the speed (or don’t!) The overall ride is 4,805-feet long and takes about six minutes.
Crosspatch Horse Ranch, Salamanca
Giddy up! Head over to Crosspatch Horse Ranch nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains for an enchanting horseback ride through wintry fields and trails. The family-owned and operated working horse ranch provides guided trail and wagon rides, and even sleigh rides in winter when the weather’s right. About 10 minutes from Holiday Valley Resort and HoliMont Ski Resort.