Monday, August 01, 2011

Buffalo and Beyond

We went to Buffalo this weekend. It was a quick, easy drive even though we stopped twice, once at Wendy's for me and Aaron (I still hate the new fries) and once at a Pennsylvania rest area for a pee break. I didn't realize Buffalo was so close. Four hours?

Anyhow, after Adam arrived from Maryland, Friday night's agenda was dinner at the Anchor Bar - you know, the original Buffalo wing place. It was a madhouse - that was clearly uninterested in repeat customers. The atmosphere was lame (super-loud jazz band during dinner, ugh), and the beer selection was atrocious (nothing local unless you count Genesee Cream). The food was okay. I didn't find the wings horrible or anything, but they weren't anything special. The hot should have been a little hotter and less buttery. The pizza logs that we had as an appetizer were clearly not freshly made. The salad was iceberg. The vibe was so bad that I skipped dessert!

We got a 12-pack of beer on the way back to the hotel and called it an early night.

On Saturday, we had breakfast and then headed to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park where there are three ships that you can explore. (And I just realized that we didn't even look at the museum.) The Destroyer (USS Sullivans) was like the ship that Aaron's dad spent a couple of years on when he was in the Navy. Honestly, all of those guns kind of freak me out.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

We skipped the Little Rock (although we did walk through the missile room) and went straight to the USS Croaker, the submarine. Pretty neat.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

(More pictures of the Naval park here.)

Afterward, we hydrated - it was hot and sunny on Saturday - and headed to the Welland Canal in St. Catharines, Canada. Luckily we go there about 4, which was about 30 minutes before a ginormous ship was going to cross from Ontario to Erie. We had just enough time for a snack.

After watching the big-ass ship go through (took about 20 minutes), we got to see a sailboat cross the other way. Apparently they had to wait around until the lock was full so that they could go across. Simple idea, but very neat to watch.

Welland Canal

Welland Canal

My pictures do not do the whole ship crossing from one lake to the other justice. A time-lapse video would have been a good idea. I'm sure one exists somewhere, but I am simple too lazy to find one. I saw it live - I don't need it!

Then we headed back south. We drove by the falls (we've all been so no one was dying to spend $$$ to park and then deal with a bunch of tourists) and then we waited forever to get back to the US. And then there was dinner.

We noticed this Pearl Street Grill and Brewery near the Naval museum, and Adam looked it up on his phone. A bunch of good reviews and we were sold. I was really craving some local beer! (That's how I explore new areas.) Apparently the Tragically Hip were playing nearby (and like 11k people were there to see them! Including a guy I went to college with), so luckily we missed the crowd from that. We were seated immediately.

I had two beers their - their summer ale and the Sabre's Edge double IPA. Both were good (the double IPA was better than the summer, though). I tried the stout, which was also tasty. Everything was good. We ordered stuffed banana peppers and onion rings to start. Aaron and I shared a pizza, which was delicious. Adam got pot roast, which he devoured, and their dad got the six-cheese pasta with shrimp. The only thing we brought out of there was a gallon growler (GALLON - twice the size of a normal growler) full of the double IPA. The three kids drank that and went to sleep.

On the way out of town yesterday, we swung by a relative's house. I didn't take any pictures because it was just too sad. It used to be a cute Italian neighborhood, now it's pretty ghetto. The house is abandoned and falling apart. It's a whole family thing that isn't my story to tell (although the deceased aunt apparently has a really interesting history).

Unfortunately the drive back wasn't as easy as the drive there. We probably spent an extra hour or hour and a half in stop-and-go on the highway until we were finally diverted off. Must have been a pretty serious accident to close the highway. Truthfully, I didn't care that much - I was heavily into The Book Thief at that point and didn't care when we got home.

This post is long. I should have blogged from the road! But I wouldn't have had the opportunity to add pictures because I only brought the iPad (first-gen, so it sadly has no picture-taking ability either - not that I would have been taking pictures on the go with it!).

No comments: