Many of Buffalo’s wealthiest families in the Roaring Twenties built grand summer homes along the Lake Erie shore south of the city. In 1924, the 17,000 square foot Suncliff mansion was completed as a summer home for Hans and Helen Schmidt. Built on 15 acres of Lake Erie shoreline property, the mansion and grounds feature an amazing vista of Lake Erie. In 1947, the mansion was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which built an addition and used the property as the Columban Center Retreat House until 2017. In 2017, Suncliff was purchased for use as a wedding venue and cultural center. On this walking tour, explore the grounds of the estate while learning about what summers were like for Buffalo’s elite along the Lake Erie shore during the Roaring Twenties.
The tour begins by the parking lot at Suncliff, 6892 Lake Shore Road in Derby. Suncliff is about 25 minutes by car from downtown Buffalo. Parking is available on site. For more information about Suncliff’s restaurant for dining after the tour, please click here.
Walking Tour Prices:
- General Admission: $15
- Student Admission: $5
- Explorer Pass Members: FREE
COVID-19 Tour Procedures & Policies:
- Advance reservations are required for all tours, including for Explorer Pass holders. Walk-ups without reservations cannot be accommodated. All tours are limited to a maximum of 10 people per group.
- Reservations close two hours before the tour’s scheduled start time (for example, reservations close at 8am for a 10am tour).
- Reservations can be made online; please email email@example.com or call (716) 245-3032 if you need assistance.
- If you have an Explore Buffalo walking pass (orange or blue), please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tour.
- The Explore Buffalo docent for your tour will have a list of tour reservations for their tour; you do not need to print or bring any tour confirmation.
- It is required that both tour guests and the Explore Buffalo docent wear a face covering over their mouth and nose at all times. In addition, all tour guests must maintain a distance of at least six feet from others in the tour group, except for those in their own household.
- At this time, all Explore Buffalo tours are fully outdoors; no building interiors will be included until further notice. Please note that restrooms are generally unavailable during any Explore Buffalo tour at this time.
- All Explore Buffalo tours will be 100% contactless due to our advance reservations requirement (no sign-in process) and tours being fully outdoors (no doorknobs, handrails, etc.). Explore Buffalo requests that tour guests bring their own hand sanitizer to use to follow the recommendations of health authorities for frequent hand washing and/or sanitizing.
- Please do not attend an Explore Buffalo tour if you have are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have experienced COVID-19 symptoms within the past 14 days; have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; or have been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. We will be happy to reschedule or refund your reservation.
- By confirming your reservation for any Explore Buffalo tour, you acknowledge and accept Explore Buffalo’s COVID-19 policies.
- Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. In the event of weather that requires a tour cancellation, we will contact registered tour guests in advance of the tour.
- See our FAQs page for our refund policy and answers to other questions.