Images courtesy of http://www.ellicottvilleny.com/
Heading south on the 219 and less than two hours away from Mississauga is the beautiful, bustling town of Ellicottville, New York. It combines a traditional small-town feel with unique shops, festivals and attractions. Add in their very busy calendar with year-round events and you’ve got a great vacation option practically on your doorstep!
Typically when you hear of Ellicottville, it’s because of its renown as a great ski town, boasting Holiday Valley as the most visited resort in New York State, and HoliMont, the largest private ski area in the United States. But there are many other compelling reasons for visiting and indulging in a little adventure, leisure, cuisine and entertainment year-round.
I visited some well known bars with great live music, and the world-class Ellicottville Brewing Company which makes and serves delicious beer, with great food and a lively atmosphere. I’m a decent golfer, but many friends of mine are very good and they would be amazed by the stunning double-black-diamond golf course at Holiday Valley. For the hikers reading this, there are plenty of hiking and biking options—too many to conquer in a single weekend. The International Mountain Bike Association rates these trails as “epic rides,” and they are indeed! There's also horseback riding for those who are interested.
The Sky High Adventure Park covers a whopping four acres (the largest in New York state) and consists of treetop platforms and bridges for those who like to take their adventure into the canopies. It’s an exercise in strategy and balance, and the views are breathtaking.
The Annual Ellicottville Jazz and Blues weekend from July 29 to 31 is perfect for a lively few days of music, with plenty of great food and fabulous entertainment. This is a popular highlight of the summer season that attracts visitors from across Canada and the States.
August 13th and 14th, 2016 is the Taste of Ellicottville where everyone can sample the best that Ellicottville’s fine restaurants have to offer as they set up “Cafe Style” on the streets. Tickets are $1 each and items are between $1-$4. You can purchase tickets at the main ticket booth centrally located in the village. The event will take place throughout the village from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM both Saturday and Sunday.
The village’s ever-increasing popularity means you’ll find a variety of wonderful accommodations, including the fabulous Wingate Hotel. Meander through the quaint downtown area and discover eclectic and interesting shops, a local winery and most intriguing, a place called Bike and Bean—it’s a burrito joint and a bike shop under one roof! If you’re a foodie, the options are plentiful. Dina’s boasts dine-in and takeout, offering healthy and delicious choices—including gourmet pizza. Balloon’s is ready for a party with 12 television screens, draft choices beyond conception, great wings and live music. Another not-to-be missed spot is the Depot (across from Holiday Valley), which has a spectacular menu but is particularly famous for their pizza (ask for Moose, the owner, and tell him I referred you). There’s much more for your dining and sampling pleasure. My advice? Try them all, ask the locals and follow the crowds!
I met a Toronto couple during my visit who, after spending so many weekends there, were very excited to rent a summer house in Ellicottville. According to Brian McFadden, Executive Director at Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, an increasing number of Canadian visitors extend their winter stay to take advantage of escaping to Ellicottville year-round. Something else worth considering!
I have wonderful memories of my three days in Ellicottville. Do yourself a favour and take that short drive and experience its charming beauty, friendly atmosphere and fresh excitement.