From the bustling city of Boston we flew to Buffalo, Northern New York State Our flight to Buffalo from Boston departed at 07:40 so we were very grateful that the hotel offered a free courier service.
We were told to be ready at 06:00 which we were but there were 2 other guests who had also been told 06:00 but ambled down nearly 15mins later. They weren’t concerned as their flight only left at 08:00 so they had time but we were as we would get to the airport just on an hour before the flight was due to leave.
We were asked by a few people why we would go to Buffalo as it has no great claim to fame in the US except that it gets the most snow but we were very glad we did. We booked to stay there rather than Niagara Falls (the town) as we had been informed that it is not currently the best place to stay. Buffalo is the nearest town to the Niagara Falls so we booked into what turned out to be a wonderful hotel. Once again we arrived at the hotel too early to book in so we left our luggage and went for a walk around the town. Arriving early was deliberate as we had only 1 full day there and that was booked for the Falls themselves so this gave us time to see Buffalo.
Front entrance to our Hotel, the Hotel Henry
The long ‘hospital’ passage
Buffalo turned out to be a very attractive town with a number of interesting places to see. Initially we walked around our hotel which used to be a Psychiatric Hospital until about a year before. In the US the move is to assimilate persons with mental problems into the community rather than have them in hospitals. We discovered this when we were with family in Tennessee where one of them had been working in the local hospital for psychiatric and mentally challenged persons and had lost her job due to this move. There the hospital is still standing empty.
As in any hospital the corridors were long with plain white doors on either side but inside the rooms were beautiful. It was a strangely laid out hotel with the Reception on the 2nd floor (take the lift to the 2nd floor, turn right and then right again and then left to find Reception on your left, the Valet at the entrance told us). It turned out that the Ground and 1st floors were to be occupied by an architectural company in a couple of months’ time. Finding one’s way around the building was quite a challenge. We ended up in the kitchen by taking a wrong lift once.
The gardens were lovely and blooming all over. As we walked down a path between 2 gardens which were a mixture of herbs, vegetables and flowers we found a crate with some table cloths and other hotel linen hidden behind a wall. Thinking that it was an odd place for linen to be stored we reported it to the hotel Reception who expressed concern but we have no idea if anything came of it.
Hotel gardens. The crate with linen was behind the wall on the right
Across the road from the hotel were university buildings. There is just 1 university in Buffalo, known as UB or the University at Buffalo, with extensive grounds for its 30 600+ students. Significantly bigger than when it opened as a Medical School in 1846. The buildings near the hotel were part of the Arts Faculty. The first one we came to was Rockwell Hall, School of Music and Drama. As the door was open we ventured in but heard violins and a piano as well what seemed to be a drama practice so left quietly.
To the right of Rockwell Hall was the Burchfield Penney Art Center which was open and we were able to take a look around. There was art from all over the world as well as that completed by students and staff so it was really interesting to see. I am sure that those students felt quite proud to have the paintings shown in the same room as Monet, van Gogh and others.
Rockwell Hall (left) and the Burchfield Penney Art Center
Further down the road was the Albright-Knox Art Gallery with 2 most interesting sculptures outside. The first was an abstract metal one placed near the road in front of what we thought was the front of the building until we went around the next 2 corners. The second sculpture was of stone and it was to the side of the building.
Rear entrance to the Art Gallery
Abstract metal sculpture
Stone Sculpture at side of the building
Once we had walked across the front of the Gallery we went down some steps to a park with a large lake and, of course, it had ducks on it. The way they followed us around one would think that they had never been fed. It was a lovely peaceful spot to walk along and then we followed a path up into a forested area. We watched some youngsters playing soccer in an open area while passing a number of people walking their dogs. Before we knew it we came to a set of gates which were shown to be the main entrance to the cool forest.
Front entrance to the Art Gallery
We walked down the hill first seeing a large cemetery on the right hand side and came to a bridge. It was over the river from which the lake had been formed and a fountain could be seen in the distance.
Lake and fountain from outer road
We then went up the hill, fairly steep, to see if we could find something to eat. We found not an upmarket restaurant, nor even a small coffee shop but a petrol station with a take-away counter. The pies were delicious as was the cup of coffee. We ate these while sitting on the side of a pair of fountain sin the middle of a downtown circular intersection. There is not a lot of traffic in Buffalo so crossing the road didn’t cause too many problems.
Fountains down town
From there we made our way back to the hotel passing some very beautiful and interesting homes. The small problem is that the streets were not straight and a couple of times we found ourselves at a corner where we had been before.
2 homes made of wood
These homes are not made of brick but are covered with a brick facade
We did get back safely and booked into our beautiful and classy room.
This is a small part of our room