After All these Years, I’m Still Talking Proud of Buffalo, N.Y.

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Without fail, every time I mention my annual pilgrimage to Buffalo, N.Y.,  it’s always met with a snarky comment about keeping warm. True, having lived in the Sunshine State since 1997 my blood has thinned to that of a Florida Cracker, but I can’t change the time of year when Christmas falls.

My reason for visiting Western New York in the heart of winter has little to do with snow, ice and below-freezing temperatures. It’s about family and hometown pride.

Bonding Over Buffalo
There’s an immediate shared bond beyond wings and beef on weck among those of us who grew up in Buffalo then moved away. Oh yes, sharing our favorite flavors of Buffalo plays a role in this bonding but it goes much deeper than blue cheese and Weber’s mustard. We meet as strangers and leave as friends after reminiscing about Commander Tom and Rocketship 7, Dyngus Day, and “dance club” runs to Fort Erie at the age of 19 while commiserating over the misconception of Buffalo’s weather. I suppose immediate bonds are formed because Buffalo is called the City of Good Neighbors.

Related Post: To Market, to Market to Buy Smoked Turkey Butts? Visiting Buffalo’s Broadway Market

Buffalo isn’t the Only City Where it Snows
Yes, it snows during the winter as it does in dozens of cities across the Northern and Western U.S., but the destination compensates with indoor and outdoor winter activities, perfect summer days, colorful autumns, a vibrant arts and culture scene, respectable professional and semi-pro sports teams and lots and lots of glorious food. Living in Florida for more than 15 years, I notice how young Buffalo’s residents seem and being around their energy is refreshing.

Buffalonians Love their Sports Teams
During my recent trip north, I felt that good ole’ Buffalo pride even more while attending a Sabres game. Apparently, the team hasn’t been doing that well – I was once a die-hard fan but these days I don’t follow hockey  – yet the arena, the First Niagara Center, was sold out.

Hmm, I Think the Puck Hat Flattens My Hair Too Much. Just Having Fun Before the Sabres Game, Dec. 23, 2013

Hmm, I Think the Puck Hat Flattens My Hair Too Much. Just Having Fun Before the Sabres Game, Dec. 23, 2013

Comparing that to baseball here in Tampa Bay, I can count the number of times Tropicana Field has sold out when the Rays were in the playoffs. Buffalo fans don’t seem to be as fickle about their professional sports teams as other cities, at least they’re not to the point of not attending games because their team is on a losing streak.

Will the Dec. 23, 2103 Sabres vs. Coyotes Hockey Game Go Down in History Because of the Puck in the Pants in Overtime?

Will the Dec. 23, 2103 Sabres vs. Coyotes Hockey Game Go Down in History Because of the Puck in the Pants in Overtime?

It so happened the hockey game my family and a friend attended will probably be marked in the history books as an odd win for the Sabres. In overtime, the winning goal was scored by the opposing team’s goalie after the puck fell into his pants and he backed into the net. What are the chances of that happening again?

Related Post: Sal’s Lounge: Buffalo’s Secret for Chicken Wings

Wegman's Makes it Easy to Spot Made in New York Products

Wegman’s Makes it Easy to Spot Made in New York Products

Flavors of Buffalo Beyond Wings
I love consuming Buffalo calories in the form of wings, beef on weck and Weber’s mustard. Mighty Taco  for a Super Mighty Burrito, Ted’s for a charboiled hot dog and golden onion rings, and Wegman’s are typical must-stops when I visit. Sahlen’s hot dogs, Weber’s mustard, Chiavetta’s marinade, sponge candy and Buffalo-made hot sauce are frequently packed in my suitcase. Shopping at Wegman’s, an über grocery store chain, makes it easy to find Buffalo and New York-made products.

Related Post: A Saucy, Zesty Time at the Annual National Buffalo Wing Festival

Sampling of Fun Buffalo Mementos I Received for Christmas

Sampling of Fun Buffalo Mementos I Received Last Christmas

I also appreciate the handcrafted arts and crafts celebrating Buffalo. My collection includes a chicken wing ornament, wing key chain, and wing silver charm, Buffalo-shaped clay magnet and glass Buffalo ornament and a set of lovely Buffalo-shaped note cards printed on old maps of the city by The Secret Chicken.

I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about Buffalo and Western New York and I love discovering something new to me with each visit.

Related Post: Winter Adventures in Buffalo: Beautiful Botanicals, Father Baker and a Piebald Deer in a Cemetery

Love these Buffalo Die-Cut, Map Note Cards by The Secret Chicken

Love these Buffalo Die-Cut, Map Note Cards by The Secret Chicken

Buffalo, “We’re Talking Proud”
Growing up, I remember Buffalo’s “We’re Talking Proud” marketing campaign. I recall the commercials, print ads and die-cut signs sporting a dashing Buffalo and reading, “We’re Talking Proud.” Although just a kid, it made me excited to be part of something bigger and made me proud of my community. Thirty-some years later, I’m still talking proud of Buffalo not because of a marketing campaign but because the Queen City has so much to offer anyone willing to give it a chance.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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1 Comment

  1. Let’s Go Buffalo!! Great, great post Jennifer!

    This really brings back memories as it’s been 6 and 1/2 years since I’ve been back to Buffalo, but I used to go back more frequently before moving to Europe. Now my father, sister and friends are in Florida so I go there yearly. My mom’s side is in Buffalo though.

    What a hockey game you saw! And that’s wonderful the arena was sold out, despite the team not doing well. Buffalo has great sports supporters.

    I love so much of what you wrote. The whole Buffalo area is very underrated and Bell really fell in love with it when we last visited my family there.

    Some things I remember as a kid- Fantasy Island on Grand Island, getting so close to the Falls on Goat Island, Darien Lake and I also love Buffalo pizza. Pizza Junction in Tonawanda was awesome but I just googled it and they very recently closed down.

    Again, wonderful post, this does the city proud. HAPPY NEW! 🙂

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