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Become a Leaf Peeper

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Check Out the Family-Friendly Happenings in EVL

By Eva Potter

The leaves on the surrounding Ellicottville hillsides are turning brilliant shades of crimson, copper, gold and eggplant — that’s why you should become a peeper — a leaf peeper, that is.

The leaves, along with a slew of fall activities and events, make Ellicottville the place to be this fall.

Leaf Watch

There is a plethora of must-see leaf peeping opportunities in the Ellicottville area and within short drives of the village. Whether you like to watch from the ground, climb right through the colorful trees, hit a few golf balls, experience some epic singletrack or enjoy a leisurely chairlift ride, head to Holiday Valley to view bursts of gorgeous fall color.

Nannen Arboretum, in the heart of the village, offers paved and stone paths for leisurely strolls. Nearby Griffis Sculpture Park displays fall’s hues amid more than 250 gigantic artistic sculptures on hillsides, in fields and forest — even in a pond.

Allegany State Park provides you with more than 65,000 acres of leaf peeping paradise along lakes, hiking/biking trails and at special vantage points like the Stone Tower with great views. Be sure to bring your camera!

Rock City Park wows visitors with a spectacular panoramic view high above the treetops, providing a gorgeous view of the rolling hills and valley housing the city of Olean below.

Zoar Valley’s spectacular scenery offers brilliant flashes of color along hiking trails near the impressive gorge, while Little Rock City Park is perfect for climbing the natural outcrop of huge conglomerate rocks nestled in the forest. Both are a short drive from Ellicottville.

An afternoon road trip along the Amish Trail provides a different kind of escape to a more peaceful part of the county down back roads, over hills, past Amish farmsteads and fields to view colorful scenery and glimpse into a simpler way of life.

Fall Festival

The annual Fall Festival, an exuberant celebration of fall, attracts thousands of excited visitors to Ellicottville. The weekend of Oct. 9–11, you can look forward to the best ski and snowboard sales of the year in tents and shops, as well as at Holiday Valley and HoliMont. You’ll find fantastic shopping at local businesses, beautiful original art and crafts along vendors’ row, fun carnival rides and food specialties, live music and more.

On Fall Festival weekend, you can also navigate Holiday Valley’s Sky High Aerial Park, climb to 45 feet high in the Climbing Forest or take a whooshing ride down the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster. Other weekends through Oct. 18, you can ride Holiday Valley’s Spruce Lake chair to the top to enjoy the view. Then hike down the new 1.25-mile Orange Trail or ride the chair to the bottom.

Family Time

Head to Pumpkinville with the whole family. Both kids and adults love all the things to see, do and eat. Check out the corn maze, pedal carts, farm animals, singing chicken show, Jumpin’ Pillows and more. Then fill your belly with cider, barbeque, as well as pumpkin and maple treats.

For those who love a screaming good scare, take a Nightmare Hayride on Sommerville Street, which includes an other-worldly hayride with live monsters, a creepy maze and dizzying haunted barn.

Night Lights has returned to Griffis Sculpture Park for the third year. The illuminated evening light show features new and improved lighting to showcase Griffis’ amazing sculptures, along with the addition of two sound systems that add soundscapes to the already hypnotic landscape. The show runs Sept. 30–Oct. 3 and Oct. 7–Oct. 12.

Friendly Competition

If you’re the competitive and sporty type, here’s your chance to garner some bragging rights. Sign up for the Fall Fest 5K Walk/Run on Oct. 10 or the annual Mountain Bike Race on Oct. 11 at Holiday Valley.

The EVL Half and 5K return to town Saturday, Oct. 24. Costumes are encouraged, so gather up some friends and get in on the fun!

Or how about a rousing game of golf before the course closes for the season?

For some indoor excitement, get your poker face on and head to the Seneca Allegany Casino & Resort in nearby Salamanca for some exciting games of chance including slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, 7-card stud and more.

Ellicottville offers an exciting variety of things to do year round, but fall is truly a special time to visit so don’t miss it.

Find more information about the above places, events and activities at www.ellicottvilleny.com, www.holidayvalley.com and www.enchantedmountains.com.

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