Let’s all agree, the seasonal segue between summer and fall is one of the best times of the year. Temperatures taper off, but we’re not reaching for our second (or third) layers to ward off the chill just yet. The pressure to pack everything into the summer months has dwindled, and, with back-to-school and work routines picking up, free time during our evenings and weekends become all the more valuable. It’s a great time to seek out spots off the beaten path for a moment or two of quiet, and there are plenty of spots in and around Buffalo perfect for doing so.
1. Silo City
85 Silo City Row, Buffalo, NY 14203
At once both haunting and magnificent, Silo City boasts lush natural beauty framed against a dramatic backdrop of towering industrial relics. A flower-lined pond attracts bees and butterflies, and a short venture along the nearby paths allows for striking views of the old grain silos. Nearby restaurant and cantina Duende is an oasis tucked away among the juxtaposition of old machinery and new growth—great for a quick bite, especially if you go with a group.
2. Blue Sky Mausoleum
Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14209
716-288-5999 / blueskymausoleum.com
Nestled in the rolling hills of Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, the Blue Sky Mausoleum was commissioned by Darwin Martin, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and finally built in 2004. Its inverted design features 24 crypts laid out like steps down to a pond below, and there are a couple benches next to the monument’s central obelisk to sit and take in your stately surroundings. It’s especially gorgeous when fall foliage is in full effect.
3. The Plant Shack
Knox Farm State Park, Carriage House, Stables, 437 Buffalo Rd, East Aurora NY 14052
716-324-1187 / facebook.com/theplantshackWNY
Perhaps millennials aren’t buying houses, but they are buying house plants. Lots of them. And Knox Farm State Park’s latest addition caters perfectly to a demographic as careful about their Instagram aesthetic as they are about their potted green companions. Housed in the Knox Farm carriage house in the heart of the sprawling state park, the Plant Shack is a sweet spot to pick up a gift, add to your flourishing succulent collection or feel inspired to start your own leafy sanctuary at home.
4. Unitarian Universalist Church
695 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
716-885-2136 / buffalouu.org
Boasting beautiful bee-friendly gardens and a shady lawn, the grounds of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood Avenue, insulated from the rush of traffic by a row of meticulous hedges, are certainly worth a quick stroll when you’re in the neighborhood.
5. Anna Mae Bacon Bird Sanctuary
1-85 NY-391, Hamburg, NY 14075
This one might be a little on the nose, but the Anna Mae Bacon Bird Sanctuary is a lovely spot for bird watching and photography or for a quiet moment along 18 Mile Creek. The nature preserve’s six acres were named for a former Hamburg High School science teacher who was fondly known as “The Hamburg Bird Lady” (truly the sort of legacy we should all aspire to have). A short path leads you from the observation point down to the bend of the creek below.
6. Arlington Park
9 Arlington Pl, Buffalo, NY 14201
Tucked away from the before-and-after-hours activity of Allen and sandwiched between Arlington Pl and College St, Arlington Park is a peaceful spot to lay out a blanket and read or set up a picnic (the No. 25 from nearby Buffalo Melting Point, featuring a generous amount of chevre and pickled beets on pumpernickel, is a good starting point). In the summer, the meticulously manicured front gardens of surrounding homes provide a colorful backsplash, but it’s equally serene in the snowy calm of colder months.
7. Buffalo Shakespeare Garden
453 Porter Ave, Buffalo, NY 14021
716-783-9653 / facebook
Just up the road from Arlington Park, the Buffalo Shakespeare Garden is a small oasis at the busy intersection of Porter Ave and Jersey St. in the protective shadow of The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. This pocket sanctuary features an array of plants and flowers referenced in the works of William Shakespeare. It’s home to willowy wildflowers and a crop of sunflowers, resplendent in their peak at the height of summer. The creep of ivy on the museum’s stone façade truly completes the Shakespearean allure of a forest setting not unlike the one beyond the walls of Athens in a Midsummer Night’s Dream.