Activities

Postcard from Ellicottville, New York

Sandra E. Martin learns that there's a lot more than skiing to this quaint 19th-century town

By Sandra E. Martin

Postcard from Ellicottville, New York

Postcard from Ellicottville, New York

Postcard from Ellicottville, New York

I've never been a beach bunny. No matter how worn out or in need of a vegetative vacation I feel, sitting on the sand with a book never lasts more than a couple hours, tops. The same goes for the rest of my fam – husband Matt, nine-year-old Bronwyn and five-year-old Isobel. They’re doers, not dawdlers. So when we heard that Ellicottville, NY, had been named one of National Geographic’s 100 best American adventure destinations, we paid attention. Not far from Lake Placid – site of the 1980 Winter Olympics – Ellicottville is becoming as sought-after for summer biking, hiking and zip lining as it is for winter skiing and snowboarding. It’s not called “the Aspen of the East” for nothing! Could a sleepy town of 1,800 souls possibly impress my tough customers?

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Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto by aabejon/iStockphoto.com

What to do: Sky High Aventure Park

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Shoot down the mountain in a one- or two-person sled on rails. You can curb your speed with dual handbrakes – but why? (Isobel kept shouting, “Faster, faster!”) It’s open to kids three and up, as long as they ride with an adult ($8 per ride or $42 for an all-day pass). Kids seven and up can clamber across log bridges and zip line through the trees at the Aerial Park ($45 and up).




 

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto by Marta Nardini/Getty Images

What to do: Spring snow sports

At this time of year, you might still be able to grab a little late-season skiing or snowboarding. Peak-time lift tickets at Holiday Valley feel like a steal at $59/day for adults; $45/day for kids six to 11; kids five and under free. 

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto by LUGO/iStockphoto.com

What to do: Allegany State Park


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Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto by Brad Wrobleski/Masterfile

The best brew pub

The beauty of a ski town: eateries are all super casual! Check out the brew kettles while you wait for your nosh at Ellicottville Brewing Company (ellicottvillebrewing.com).

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto via 123RF.com

The best place to stay

Crash at one of Ellicottvillas’ luxury townhomes (ellicottvillas.com). A full kitchen (complete with Sub-Zero fridge – *drool*) means you can prepare meals yourself.

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto by LivingImages/iStockphoto.com

The best shopping find

If you’re into premium denim brands like Hudson, you’ll love the prices at Ellicottville Jeans Company (evljeans.com).

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkPhoto by 123RF.com

The best way to tire out the kids

Hike to the top of Holiday Valley! Hill walking is allowed, as long as you stay clear of the trails.

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkiStockphoto.com

The best way to get there

Drive three hours from Toronto or one hour from the airport in Buffalo, NY.

Postcard from Ellicottville, New YorkiStockphoto.com

Did you know ...

·      Ellicottville’s nicknames include: “EVL” (watch for it on bumper stickers) and “E-ville.”
·      Many of the buildings in town date back to E-ville’s early-19th-century origins.
·      The town’s main streets are named after US presidents: Washington, Monroe, Jefferson.
·      There’s a 20-acre man-made lake at the top of HoliMont (holimont.com) that you can swim in and that’s also used for triathlons.

Postcard from Ellicottville, New York

This article was originally published on Mar 21, 2012
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