So Much to Do, So Little Time
By Alicia Dziak
The holiday break is here! How will you spend the last days of 2013?
While many people can’t get enough skiing and shopping, others might like at least a one-day hiatus from the hustle and bustle of the ski slopes and shops. Luckily, the region is brimming with many other great places to spend the holiday break time off.
X-C, Snowshoeing and Hiking
Getting out for a hike on foot or on snowshoes, or maybe a cross-country ski trek, are great ways to burn off some of those holiday calories. Both snowshoes and cross-country skis can be rented from Mud, Sweat N’ Gears and The City Garage in the village, as well as from Holiday Valley and HoliMont, and trail maps can be purchased at Ellicottville Bike and Bean, with all proceeds of map sales supporting WNYMBA (Western New York Mountain Biking Association).
Showshoeing is an easy winter sport to pick up, and if you find that it’s your thing, you can explore the groomed trails at Holiday Valley’s SnowPine Village and see the ski resort from a different perspective.
Allegany State Park (ASP) is another great option for snowshoeing, offering miles of trails that meander through New York State’s largest state park. Non-groomed trails throughout the park are open to foot and snowshoe hikers. The Art Roscoe Ski Area and trail system offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing, a ski and snowshoe rental shop, and a warm place to purchase the necessities of hot chocolate and chili.
In addition, as part of the third annual First Day Hikes across parks in New York State, ASP is offering a self-guided history hike Jan. 1, centered on ASP Route 3 in the Quaker area. Participants should sign in at the Quaker rental office at their leisure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and pick up a guide. This is an easy hike for all ages, spanning about 2 miles and including 20-plus historical tidbits about the area’s offerings that participants will learn about as they make their way up and down the ASP route. For more information, please call the ASP Recreation Department at (716) 354-9101 ext. 236.
Tubing and Ice Skating
Looking for some fast-paced adventure? Head over to the Holiday Valley Tubing Company located on Route 242 on the north side of Ellicottville. The Tubing Company boasts about a dozen lanes and two handle tows to pull guests back up the hill. It’s all the fun of racing down the hill but without the hard work! Those on a post-holiday budget will appreciate $10 Thursdays, when visitors can slide all night long for just $10. (During the winter season, the park is open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m.–9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon–9 p.m., although it will be open additional hours during Christmas week.) Visit www.holidayvalley.com for up-to-date information.
While you’re there, check out the outdoor ice rink. Bring your own skates and pay just $5 to skate. The rink will operate weather permitting.
The City of Olean Youth Bureau & Recreation Department also offers a wonderful indoor rink with many designated open skate time slots throughout the week. The regular cost is $4 adults and $2 children, but through the generosity of community businesses and organizations, free admission will be offered on several days over the holiday break, with a reasonable $2 skate rental fee. Free admission will be held from 6–8 p.m. on the following dates: Dec. 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 31. Other free admission days include Dec. 21 from 1:30–3 p.m., Dec. 24 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m., and Jan. 1 from 1–4 p.m. For other open skate hours, visit www.cityofolean.org/youth/winter/ice-skating.html.
Snowy Sleigh Rides
Looking for something truly unique? Check out the sleigh rides at Misty Ridge Carriages in Zoar Valley. Rides take travelers through the fields and woods, along the gorge and stop at a rustic cabin for refreshments. To make a reservation, call (716) 532-5859 or visit www.mistyridgecarriage.com.
The Crosspatch in Salamanca also offers old fashioned, horse drawn sleigh rides now through late February, weather permitting. For more information, call 716 938-6313.
Bowling and Pizza
Of course, sometimes you just want a break from the outdoors entirely. And when that happens, look no further than EVL Bowling, located at 2 Bristol Lane, right in the village of Ellicottville. EVL Bowling offers eight lanes, big screen TVs and open bowling from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, and from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (reservations on weekends are recommended). In addition to bowling, patrons can enjoy a variety of new arcade games and a new photo booth, complete with props, for loads of indoor fun! While you’re there, grab a slice of pizza or a delicious sub at Tim & Bonnie’s, which is conveniently attached to EVL Bowling.
With so many options for so many fun activities in and around Ellicottville, it’s hard to decide what to do first. Whatever you decide, enjoy the winter wonderland and the down time with friends and family. You’ll be sure to make memories that will last well beyond the end of the year!