Feb 24 2022 12:02 | Updated Feb 24 2022 12:02
Interestingly Ellicottville NY is known as a skiing and snowboarding destination. This is the best season to visit. But more than just wintertime, this is slowly becoming a destination to travel to throughout the year.
Located in western New York, Ellicottville is a good 5.5 hour drive from NYC. A nice weekend getaway from the city can include the amazing mountains, ironically called The Enchanted Mountains, spas, golf, breweries, biking and so much more in this charming town. Alternatively, it’s a short 55 minute drive from Buffalo.
With the pandemic hopefully wrapping up, restrictions might be lifted too. But to be sure, keep your New York State Excelsior Pass Wallet handy.
In fact, this village was founded in 1820 and named after Joseph Ellicott, the principal land agent of the Holland Land Company. Ellicottville celebrated its bicentennial with free events, festivals, Civil War reenactments and a barbecue.
Even if you missed all that, there is always something to do here. These are the top 10 things to do in Ellicottville in Upstate New York.
This ski resort is what this mountain town is known for. Holiday Valley offers cross-country trails for skiing, snowboarding and hiking. In the summer, they turn into a summer adventure park where one can rent mountain bikes to hit the trails. Holiday Valley resort has also a private golf course to enjoy in good weather. Of course, for a cozy stay, the Inn at Holiday Valley has luxury condominiums for short and long-term rentals.
Sky High is Holiday Valley’s summer, outdoor park, located near Tannenbaum Lodge. They have an Aerial Park and Climbing Forest designed for hours of treetop activities like ziplines. There is also a Mountain Coaster to look down from, if you dare to open your eyes. Gem Mining is an all ages activity where kids as young as two years old can learn the good old gold-panning techniques to pan for fossils and gemstones. Chairlift rides, biking and more make up the outdoor activities. Sky High is the largest outdoor aerial adventure park in New York and the third largest in the whole country.
Ranked one of the best brewpubs in New York State, the Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC) is also on the New York State Beer Trail. The brewpub was inspired by pairing old brewing techniques with winter and ski culture. It also makes this one of the oldest breweries in New York State making craft beer since 1995. Their blueberry wheat beer is popular with one visitor saying that “it is always a great pick for summer.” But EBC has more than a couple of dozen seasonal and specialty beers. So much so that they also opened brewpubs in two other locations.
One of the main points of interest for visitors is the Nannen Arboretum. The botanical gardens is a great place to stroll amongst the eight acres to see the 250 species of trees, herbs, shrubs. On this nature trail one will walk through the many Japanese gardens and even see the ponds with fish. The venue is a nonprofit and they accept donations for their upkeep. They also reserve and schedule events like weddings under the Chapman Sanctuary, an outdoor chapel in the arboretum.
Salt therapy is said to help cure modern ailments like colds, allergies and congestion. The spa boasts of transporting 20 tons of Himalayan salt to this European-style spa by Polish builders who were the architects of the spa. A single session is 45 minutes, costs $40, and can hold up to five people at a time. Then there is the infrared sauna with its combination of hot and dry environment that throws out the body's impurities, loosening up muscles and easing any pain. This 30 minute session costs about $50 per person and can accommodate up to three people at a time. There are other treatments like foot scrubs, massages and facials that one can schedule while at Ellicottville.
Upstate New York may have many chocolatiers. In fact Buffalo was named one of the six candy capitals in the world. But Ellicottville in Western New York is said to have the best sponge candy with chunks of caramelized spun sugar coated in melted chocolate. The 75 year old Watson’s Chocolates is the place to get this at. The shop has been in business over four generations and also has truffles, chocolate creams, butter crunches, nut clusters and more that you can get at their candy counter.
Sharing wheels for up to eight people are available. Painting, glass fusing, ceramics and many such craft activities are available for all ages to enjoy. The themes can change depending on the season you visit. At Christmas time there are ceramic christmas trees available to buy. The space also turns into a venue for birthday parties, baby showers and corporate events.
Bar games like darts and pool have nothing on axe throwing. An activity sure to get adults to get in touch with their primitive side, The Ratchet Hatchet is Ellicottville’s only axe throwing bar. Lane booking can be made for an hour and costs $34.99 per person. They offer “cut-proof” axes, though we’re not fully sure what that means.
Socks are all season attire. But The Purple Doorknob in Ellicottville takes socks from just a necessity to fun attire. Shop according to your interests. Choices include dogs, cats, booze, coffee, books, presidents, food and other such fun categories. Also shop according to your favorite holiday - valentine’s day socks in fall or halloween socks in the summer, the choice is yours.
There are many fun and seasonal events like the Ellicottville’s Summer Music Festival or the Ellicottville Winter Carnival that happens every year. Taste of Ellicottville is another popular summer event. The Ellicottville Chamber Of Commerce hosts many exciting events throughout the year so no matter when one is visiting, there is likely something happening for everyone.