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Road Trip Series: How to Spend a Magical Weekend in Medina

A huge thank you to Scott, Alix, and the rest of the team at the Shirt Factory and the beautiful Hart Hotel for making me feel so welcome! As always, all opinions are my own.

Medina Road Trip / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Just under an hour outside of the city is the perfect location for a cozy overnight getaway. I first learned about the small village of Medina when my friends and I decided to try apple picking at a new location, Lynoaken Farms, to avoid the massive crowds at other apple orchards. From there, we always head into the village for a bite to eat and some samples of mead. The main strip has plenty of other cute shops, bakeries, and bars and the village has its own growing traditions for locals. This includes the very popular Olde Tyme Christmas celebration recognized by the Lieutenant Governor who said it resembles “It’s a wonderful life”!

Each year during the Olde Tyme Christmas Festival, they celebrate the kickoff to Christmas with a fireworks show, street vendors, and a parade of lights. The surrounding bars blast Christmas music while hosting after parties and create special pop up cocktails for the season. Although this event only happens annually after Thanksgiving, the holiday themed cocktails live on throughout the season for locals and visitors to enjoy. It was the perfect excuse to come back for a visit and explore the area.

Medina Road Trip / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Medina Road Trip / Photo x Jessica Kelly

After just a short time in the village, you’ll begin to notice just how encouraging the community is. Everyone seems to know everyone and local businesses don’t compete, they support each other the way neighbors should!

Here’s how to spend an overnight in Medina:

 

Day 1

Checking in at Hart House Hotel

113 W Center St, Medina, NY 14103 / (585) 735-6031 / harthousehotel.com

The Hart House Hotel dates back to 1876 when the building was packed with 30 rooms to cater to the bustling Erie Canal stop point. The cozy hotel in Medina even has a connection to the Thousand Islands! The proprietor, Elizur Kirke Hart, decided to build a modest summer home filled with 80 rooms on a island. I guess he loved his privacy? After he passed away, the island remained named after him (although, with the proper spelling of ‘heart’), but the cottage was torn apart and turned into the now famous Boldt Castle built for George C. Boldt on the St. Lawrence River.

The day of your check in, you’ll receive a text with a code for the keypad on your door. The simplicity of the check in is clutch because you can head right up to your room at your leisure to relax, not having to worry if someone will be at the desk.

Hart House Hotel / Photo x Jessica Kelly

I stayed in the 400 square ft MicroLoft on the 3rd floor with a comfy queen bed, high ceilings, exposed brick and rafters, and the original vintage paint that’s been preserved on the walls. The fireplace was lit when I arrived, making the room so warm and welcoming. There’s an espresso bar, plenty of channels to flip through before bed on the TV, and even a gym (you know, if that’s your thing) to workout in on the grounds just to name a few of the great amenities. Best of all, they’re just around the corner from the strip with shops and restaurants to explore!

Hart House Hotel / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Hart House Hotel / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Hart House Hotel / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Hart House Hotel / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Hart House Hotel / Photo x Jessica Kelly

 

Coffee and Shopping

Grab a festive coffee from the Shirt Factory cafe menu like their peppermint mocha sprinkled with candy cane pieces or the gingerbread ‘not my gumdrop buttons’ coffee, and head out to explore the village shops that come highly recommended from locals like Scott. If you love teas, fancy cups, and teapots you have to stop by the English Rose Tea Shoppe (527 Main St, Medina, NY 14103 theenglishroseteashoppe.com) for a new flavor.

Medina Road Trip / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Ellen J Goods (433 Main St, Medina, NY 14103 ellenjgoods.com) owned by JR and Lynne Brundage is a well-known vintage store in the village where you can find a truly unique piece to bring home. The Brundage’s find old, vintage, torn apart furniture or decor, and turn them into new treasures that will give your home character. Check it out for yourself the next time you’re in town!  

Sift through the clothes at A Lily And A Sparrow (438 Main St, Medina, NY 14103 alilyandasparrow.com) to find the perfect outfit to bring home or head over to Herbalty Cottage (415 Main St, Medina, NY 14103 herbaltycottage.com) for some new organic herbs, oils, vinegars, and gourmet ingredients to add to your kitchen pantry. You’ll need something to soak up those new oils and vinegars, so a loaf of fresh warm bread from The Bread Basket Bakery (513 Main St, Medina, NY 14103) is a must!

Thumb through the rows and rows of books at the local store, the Book Shoppe (519 Main St, Medina, NY 14103), to find something new to read. Then, end the day of shopping with a gorgeous bouquet of fragrant fresh flowers from Creekside Floral (509 Main St, Medina, NY 14103).

 

 

Grab Dinner

All that lifting of the wallet and walking will have you working up an appetite in no time, so you’ll need somewhere to fight the hangriness when it hits.

Mariachi De Oro

11417 Maple Ridge Rd, Medina, NY 14103 / (585) 798-8961 / mariachideoromexicangrill.com

After eating here on more than one occasion, I can safely say this is the best Mexican you will ever have. I fully understand that’s a bold statement, but everything from their drinks and guac to the chocolatey, slightly spiced mole sauce and sobes are authentic and full of flavor!

 

Avanti Pizza & Grill

500 Main St, Medina, NY 14103 / (585) 798-1100 / iloveavanti.com

If you’re starving, there’s nothing better than a gargantuan slice from Avanti. I needed a word bigger than giant or huge to use because seriously, one slice is a couple bucks and is pretty much an entire pizza. Hats off for their take on the Buffalo chicken slice. It was delicious!  

Avanti Pizza & Grill – Medina Road Trip / Photo x Jessica Kelly

 

 

Drinks @ Shirt Factory

115 W Center St, Medina, NY 14103 / (585) 798-2633 / shirtfactorymedina.com

The Shirt Factory opened up inside the same historical building as the Hart Hotel. Curious about the name? After the Hart House closed down in the early 1900s, the property was snacthed up by Robert H. Newell, a business guru that owned a growing high-end shirt business.  He established his business over 86 years inside the historical building throughout the spacious 3 floors where he made custom fit PJs, shirts, and event undergarments for customers. Some of his clientele included big names like John Jacob Astor, Bob Hope, and Winston Churchill. The newly established version of the Hart House Hotel paid tribute to some of the shirt factory visitors and the buildings history by naming the rooms after some of the famous names that got clothing from the building!

Medina Road Trip / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

So if you were heading there to get a shirt, don’t. If you’re heading there to have great conversation, food, cocktails, and local Buffalo beers, now you’re on the right track!

Two power couples, Scott Robinson & Alix Gilman and Adrienne & Evan Squires, came together to create the sun filled coffee cafe by day turned premium cocktail bar by night known as of the Shirt Factory, and business is already booming.

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

I had the opportunity to chat with Alix & Scott, the brains behind the wildly successful blog IN A DC MINUTE inadcminute.com and guac connoisseurs… and apparently interior decorators because it was adorable in there. Chip & Joanna or Scott & Alix? I can’t tell.

Scott Robinson, cocktail curator and mixologist for the Shirt Factory, definitely did his Christmas movie research to make the names of his creations unique and fun! I’m a sucker for the Instagrammable drinks, and trust me when I say, you’ll find them here.  

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Letters to Santa made with spiced cranberries had only a slightly tart taste and was finished with Aperol, a little splash of ginger bitters, bubbly, and Lillet. Anything with bubbles is delicious in my book, but they’re even getting small green notes printed to garnish the drink with that will read “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is…” When you order the drink, you can fill the note out with your Christmas wish, and they’ll be displayed along with walls of the bar. Seriously, how cute is that?

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Zuzu’s Petals came with actual mini rose petals sprinkled on top, so every time I went to sip it, the drink smelled like a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. The gin based drink was frothy on top from the vigorously shaken egg whites and polished off with sour lemon, cinnamon, sweet vermouth, and blackberry liqueur giving it both a nice flavor and color.

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

The Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree smelled unbelievable from the charred rosemary garnish. With an apple brandy base, the drink consists of pear liqueur, ginger bitters, rosemary syrup, and lime creating a mesh of crisp and fresh flavors. With my tolerance not being the same since college, three was my limit, but the Judy’s Hot Chocolate (Santa Clause), You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out (A Christmas Story), and the And Then We’ll Snuggle (Elf) are on my radar for next time!

They have a selection of sandwiches, veggies, and toasts perfect for picking at while you enjoy a drink. I chose to try the Brie and Bacon Toast with, you guessed it, creamy mild brie, crispy chopped up bacon bites, and caramelized onions on thick toasted Italian bread. Delicious!

Shirt Factory / Photo x Jessica Kelly

 

 

Day 2

Brunch at Mile 303

416 Main St, Medina, NY 14103 / (585) 206-1407 / mile303.com   

What looks like a bar actually doubles as an art museum, paying tribute to one of the main reasons the village was successful in the past.  Medina was a prime stopover point on the Erie Canal, so the unusual seating at Mile 303 is actually a replica of the Erie Canal, adding a touch of art and history to the restaurant. Although their brunch menu is limited, with just a small number of options, they pack some punch. The AM ‘Zaaa was fluffy and doughy, with some slightly charred bites throughout, and piled high with mozzarella and coijita (a salty, crumbly Mexican white cheese somewhat like feta), peppers, a runny egg, and chorizo.

Mile 303 / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Mile 303 / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Mile 303 / Photo x Jessica Kelly

Mile 303 / Photo x Jessica Kelly

 

Tastings of Mead

810 Meadworks

113 W Center St, Medina, NY 14103 / (585) 542-9810 / 810meadworks.com

Before you head out of the city, you have to visit the meadery (a kind of alcohol made with honey) located in the same building at the Shirt Factory and the Hart House Hotel! The owners Bryan & Larissa DeGraw moved back from NJ to WNY for family and to bless us with their meads and tasting bar.  They opened 810 Meadworks on November 29th in 2014 (happy 4 years!) and they’re consistently creating fun flavors like PB&J, Kremsickle, or their mead cocktails. The refreshing Liquid Sunshine with hints of lemon and lavender is a great place to start. Sweet Devotion, another popular bottle, has flavors of black currants, rose, wildflower, and black tea. They suggest pairing it with red meat or pouring a drizzle over ice cream! Grab a few bottles to keep in your home bar for those chilly winter nights when you want a special drink, but you don’t want to leave your house.

810 Meadworks / Photo x Jessica Kelly

810 Meadworks / Photo x Jessica Kelly

810 Meadworks / Photo x Jessica Kelly

810 Meadworks / Photo x Jessica Kelly

 

A huge thank you to Scott, Alix, and the rest of the team at the Shirt Factory and the beautiful Hart Hotel for making me feel so welcome! As always, all opinions are my own.

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