Category Archives: Western New York

Embracing Our Wintery Weather

Today was cold. 20ºF cold, to be exact.

So my husband and I did what Western New York residents do best–we ignored the temperature and drove to a colder location–Arcade to be exact. Why? Because we are, admittedly, a bit crazy…and because we like pancakes.  For fun, we followed breakfast with an afternoon of unplanned snowshoeing a few miles away in Java. For me, this was a perfect day!


Hubby and I continued our annual tradition by starting the day with a trek to Arcade Center Farm & Pancake House. They open weeks before the beginning of the official maple syrup season.The pancakes are as thin as crepes. So good…

Every year, we try to get a table near one of the room’s large windows. With numerous birdfeeders and a creek running through the backyard, there’s much to watch. My favorite moments include the few times we’ve watched mink frolicking near the edge of the creekbed. Nice!

View of Cattaraugus Creek from the restaurant’s window.


After our amazing, carb-filled breakfast, I asked my husband if he would mind taking a side trip to Beaver Meadow Audubon Center. I wanted to pick up a variety of bird seed for our feeders. I didn’t have to twist his arm. We drove north and made our way to Beaver Meadow. I love this place. It’s peaceful and the trails are well marked.

The Educational Center

I purchased bird seed and struck up a conversation with the woman behind the desk. I lamented my inability to tackle the snow-filled trails. Minutes later, my husband and I had the car crammed with bird seed…and we were being fitted with snowshoes.

This is the best “cheap date”ever! You can rent a pair of snowshoes for $5. The beautiful scenery is free!


I grabbed a hat, gloves and wool socks from the car. My husband was not so equally prepared. However, my pair of wool socks substituted nicely as gloves. We tromped through the parking lot and across Welch Road. Into the woods we went.



We walked for over two hours without seeing or hearing another human. On a few of the trails, our shoes walked on virgin snow. The wind was calm. Snowflakes fell gently from a grey sky.

Taking in the scenery.
Next year’s Christmas card, perhaps?




After the walk, we were hankering for something to warm us up. The staff at Beaver Meadow extended a kindness and offered us each a hot beverage. With hot cocoa in hand, we sat upstairs in a room that overlooked several birdfeeders . We watched as nuthatches, chickadees, and woodpeckers flitted about, dining at the many feeders. A hawk flew nearby.

dsc04882Effectively warmed, we wandered through the educational center, taking in the displays. We made our way back to the parking lot, happy to have spent the afternoon communing with nature.

If you’re thinking of visiting, you’ll be happy to know that there isn’t a fee to walk the trails or visit the Center. However, donations are gratefully accepted.