By Jann Wiswall
Did you see it? Ellicottville on TV?
One of the more exciting things to happen in EVL this year was having a starring role in an ION Network movie, “A Christmas in Vermont,” which, despite its title, was shot almost entirely in the village and other locations in Western New York last March. Abigail Hawk (“Blue Bloods”), David O’Donnell, Howard Hesseman and Chevy Chase starred in this holiday tale about Riley Thomas (Hawk) who is sent by her profit-obsessed boss (Chase) to shut down one of the company’s holdings, a small outerwear company in Vermont, for missing profit targets. Thomas finds that the company is the lifeblood of the town and, instead of closing down the firm, she falls in love and learns valuable lessons beyond the bottom line.
The movie aired three times over the holiday season and it wasn’t hard for anyone who’s ever been here to see that Ellicottville’s charm was the perfect backdrop for a movie about love, redemption and determination.
In addition to scenes shot at Holiday Valley, the Jefferson Inn and along Washington Street, locations in East Aurora and Buffalo made cameos.Pretty cool stuff!
Investing in Fun
Of course, the real work that keeps a lot of people busy around Ellicottville has to do with fun.
As Ellicottville continues to build its four-season destination reputation, 2016 turned out to be pretty great, with new events and activities drawing more and more visitors to the region for fair-weather entertainment.
At the heart of this strategy are Holiday Valley and HoliMont, which both continued to reinvest in themselves and their fans throughout 2016.
Holiday Valley put the finishing touches on new pedestrian areas created by last year’s major realignment of Holiday Valley Road. Other projects include purchasing new automated snow guns, new equipment and upgrades for Sky High Adventure Park, new golf carts, grooming equipment and more.
HoliMont also invested in snowmaking equipment and infrastructure, and in improving some of its ski runs and operations buildings.
And with a strong lake effect machine producing copious amounts of snow in December, the entire community is already feeling great about this winter 2016-17 season.
Business is Growing
The resorts couldn’t thrive without the restaurants, shops and entertainment venues that support them in the Village of Ellicottville, and visitors will notice several new businesses that have opened their doors to cater to year-round visitors.
Finnerty’s Tap Room opened just last week at Washington and Mill Streets in the Village Centre behind the Kwik Fill/Red Apple. The restaurant offers 19 beers on tap, an extensive lunch and dinner menu with something for everyone and a great entertainment environment for sports, music and more.
Monroe Street Brick & Brew, a new brick-oven, gourmet pizza restaurant, opened in May to great reviews. The restaurant offers dine-in, carry out and delivery within a three-mile radius.
On Washington Street, The Gin Mill opened a name-sake “Mercantile” shop next door to the popular dining and nightlife hot spot. It offers logo merchandise, as well as gifts, fresh baked treats and more.
The Daily Grind, the new coffee shop on Washington Street, retained some of the character of a former café in the same spot (notably the outdoor firepit), but has added some great new features, including a menu that has something for everyone, from meat lovers to vegans, at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The commercial success of Ellicottville Brewing Company’s line of products, whose flagship restaurant and brewery is located at 28 Monroe Street in the village, has prompted the company to expand its brewing and bottling functions into a vacant warehouse in the town of Little Valley. The new manufacturing facility will include a tasting room, tours, an outdoor concert space and a beer museum. Construction is expected to begin early this year.
Speaking of craft beverages, there’s also a new distillery in town. Take the short drive out Route 242 to visit the Ellicottville Distillery, where owners use locally-produced grains and fruits to make various vodkas and, in the future, gins and honey spirits. A retail space offers tasting flights and cocktails, as well as bottle purchases.
On the Move
Meanwhile, other village businesses have moved or plan to relocate soon. Ellicottville Oasis Spa, formerly located on Jefferson Street, moved in May to the Tamarack Club at Holiday Valley, where customers can enjoy more space and amenities while being pampered by the same service-oriented professionals.
Holiday Valley moved its headquarters for Holiday Valley Realty and Rental Management this year to the convenient corner of Rt. 219 and Holiday Valley Road (across from the Inn).
And M&T Bank, currently located at 3 Washington Street, will soon be moving down the street to a newly-renovated building where you’ll find great service, more parking and a drive-up ATM.
Both the Town and Village of Ellicottville are under new leadership this year. Matt McAndrew was sworn in on Jan. 1 as the new town supervisor. And in March, the town’s previous supervisor, John Burrell, was elected as Village Mayor.
One of McAndrew’s first actions was to hire, with the board’s approval, Tom Scharf as its new Town Highway Superintendent.
One of Burrell’s first actions was to create a dozen new public parking spots on Martha Street.
A major theme for both municipalities for 2017 is how they can work together to conserve and share resources for projects of importance to both communities. This year, the two shared the cost of a new tablet computer for the sewer department and each contributed to the restoration of the Village Park’s tennis and basketball courts, a new park security system and a new dog park.
They are now looking at ways to simplify other processes and eliminate duplication of effort by potentially merging certain services and reorganizing some departments.
Meanwhile, the top ranked Ellicottville Central School District started the 2016-17 school year with 651 K-12 students – the largest enrollment in the district in 13 years.
WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway Dedicated
A 37-mile stretch of highway looping from the Erie/Cattaraugus County border and back was officially dedicated as the newest section of the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway at a ceremony in May. This new section runs along portions of routes 219, 240 and 242 in the towns of Ashford and Ellicottville and the Village of Ellicottville. In November, Village Mayor Burrell was appointed to the Byway’s board of directors. He is the first Cattaraugus County representative on that board.
Efforts to build a recreational trail linking Ellicottville and Great Valley continue and the trail committee has kicked off a major capital fundraising drive to pay for the first leg of the trail that will run from the Town Center/Nannen Arboretum east to Route 219. They’re also finding creative ways to make things happen through partnerships with local municipalities, developers and even students at the Ellicottville BOCES who, through instructor Terry Fuller, volunteered to build a new trailhead structure at the Town Center.
In August, Ellicottville Times owner and executive editor, Jennie Acklin, started the Springville Times, which features news from in and around Springville, NY, just north of Ellicottville, along Route 219. Managing editor of both papers is Alicia Dziak, who has been with the Ellicottville Times for four years, and who resides in the Springville school district. The two papers can be found together all over both Springville and Ellicottville, and tie the two communities together, promoting events, businesses and people in both.
Want to keep up with all the news, announcements and events in Ellicottville this year? The Ellicottville Times is FREE on newsstands throughout the area every Friday, and is always online at www.ellicottvilletimes.com and on Facebook at The Ellicottville Times. Subscriptions are also available.