Because of the frequent long lineups and stone-faced officials, crossing the border into New York State can require a lot of patience. But on our way to a recent weekend getaway in Ellicottville, New York, we must have had good timing and a lot of luck on our side because we went through like a breeze.
It’s an easy two-hour drive from Burlington to Ellicottville, which is as famous for its skiing as it is for shopping. Holiday Valley Resort estimates that 30% of their skiers last year were from Canada, while HoliMont Ski Resort reports similar numbers. Luckily for me, my friend’s chalet is at the foot of the HoliMont Resort so it makes for an easy walk to the hills. With 52 slopes spread over 152 acres, I find HoliMont a skier’s paradise. I really enjoy the trails that take you from one hill to the next through gently rolling wooded areas. They make a nice break from the fast pace of downhill skiing. Due to its location in the snow-belt of upstate New York, Ellicottville usually gets tons of snow and can boast excellent ski conditions from December through to mid-March.
This weekend was about having fun on our way down as well as relaxing when we got to our destination. That meant doing some shopping in one of the many malls and outlets just across the border. For most, Walden Galleria (just off I-90 on the outskirts of Buffalo) is the big draw and it’s little wonder. The mall is a two-storey shopping extravaganza with more than 200 stores and restaurants.
Downtown Ellicottville is quaint enough to substitute for a movie set, with lots of charming restaurants and stores. The Bike and Bean on Washington Street serves all types of burritos, but you can also buy a bike and have it serviced here too. There’s the delicious comfort food at Dina’s Restaurant, or you can step back in time at the Ellicottville Country Store and Antiques where the shelves are stocked with old-fashioned penny candy and homemade soups and pies. They also serve a great breakfast. For an excellent hometown-brewed pint and a tour, stop by The Ellicottville Brewing Company, where you will also find an extensive lunch and dinner menu.
If you’re not a skier, Ellicottville has plenty of hiking trails, including the Nannen Arboretum on Parkside Drive, an eight-acre sanctuary filled with trees, perennial flowers, herbs and even a Japanese meditation garden. Many Canadians come down and ski for the day, then head back at night. But if you need accommodation, there’s the quaint Black Dog Lodge or the much larger Holiday Valley Resort, which offers the convenience of ski in-ski out access to the hills.
On a previous visit with our families, we ended the weekend by going tubing. While there’s nothing quite like the thrill of flying down the hill on an inner tube, this time we decided to take a quiet wintry walk through the trails. It was exactly what we needed to cap off our perfect two-day reprieve.
Things to do in Ellicottville
Holiday Valley Resort
HoliMont Ski Resort
Open to all skiers on weekdays, members only on weekends.
Harley-Day Valley @ Holiday Valley
January 25, 2014
Your Turn Women’s Ski Clinic @ Holiday Valley
February 10-11, 2014
Telestock @ Holiday Valley
February 28, 2014
Mardi Gras @ HoliMont
March 8, 2014
Article Written by Denise Davy