jimmy carter preaching churchThe piercing blue eyes which compelled Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat to sign the Camp David Accords were only five feet away from me and staring keenly into mine. Their owner had just asked me where I was from and, for a moment, I was speechless answering this simple request. Such is life when meeting former president Jimmy Carter. At 88-years-old he’s a bit more slight than I remember but still boasts the commanding presence of a world leader and Annapolis graduate.

Despite once being the most powerful person in the world, he and First Lady Rosalynn are down-to-earth globetrotters building homes for Habitat for Humanity, monitoring elections and fighting disease in developing nations through the Carter Center and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet he still keeps a regular appointment teaching Bible studies at the Marantha Baptist Church in his boyhood home of Plains, Georgia.

Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school prior to the main service. Afterwards, under the vigilant watch of a Secret Service detail, he and Rosalynn pose for photos with churchgoers basking in the glow of history. No tickets are required for this unique opportunity to witness and hear the thoughts of an American president up close.

jimmy carter rocky statue

The Carters were kind enough to pose with the Rocky statue after the service.

While the lesson is a highlight of a trip to Plains, it is not the only activity. The town now hosts the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site which encompasses the turn-of-the-last-century Main Street, Carter’s boyhood home and farm, the model railroad-sized wooden train depot he used as his campaign headquarters for both presidential runs, and a museum dedicated to his life in the old Plains High School which he, Rosalynn and their three sons attended.

For the full Plains experience it’s best to stay right on Main Street at the Plains Historic Inn. The seven rooms are each decorated to match a decade of Carter’s life; from the room filled with furnishings from the 1920s to mark the decade of his birth to the 1980s room marking his return to Plains. Mrs. Carter helped select the antiques for each room while her occasional carpenter husband pitched in building walls and refinishing the wooden stairs.

Historic Plains Inn Larissa (625x497)

With its 7-inch black-and-white screen nestled in a large slab of blonde-wood furniture, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the authentic TV in the 1950s room blared an episode of I Love Lucy out of the tweed-covered speaker. For those with higher aspirations, the 1970s room with its formal furniture and vibe could have been cribbed right from the private quarters of the White House.

“Miss Jan” the innkeeper is a friend of the Carters. She revealed, “My husband’s known him his whole life.” Just about everyone in this close-knit farming town of 685 people claims such a connection.

plains georgia main street

Only a block long, the well-preserved Main Street resembles a movie set. Most of the businesses, including a well-stocked antiques mall, political memorabilia shop and snack bar, cater to tourists. Since Carter was the country’s most famous peanut farmer before his 1976 victory, the shops continue with that nutty flavor.

Try Plain Peanuts at 128 Main Street for all things peanut including homemade peanut ice cream, peanut fudge and boiled peanuts, a Southern delicacy that you must try at least once; but make sure they’re served warm. You can’t miss the shop since it’s located in the former Carter peanut warehouse that is now emblazoned with the famous 10-foot-high red-white-and-blue striped sign that proudly proclaims Plains, Georgia as the home of “Our 39th President.”

jimmy carter home in plains georgia

Carter’s boyhood home and farm is a 2.5 mile drive out of town. It’s been restored by the National Park Service to its appearance when the future president lived there. A park ranger at the entrance was boiling up some peanuts in a crusty iron pot suspended over burning wood to prepare boiled peanuts for visitors. We each accepted a bag and sat on old wooden rockers in the screened-in front porch to munch on our snack.

The view from the porch is unchanged since the 1920s so this brief respite from the heat felt like a ride in a time capsule to a simpler era. The bright orange clay that nourishes the peanuts blends land and sky at sunset into a fiery tableau. Mr. Carter lives just up the road and occasionally rides his bike over to the sight, surprising visitors whom he regales with stories of his upbringing, while underscoring the unique opportunity to visit a National Park devoted to a living president who still resides in the area.

jimy carter national historical site

Back at the church I finally managed to blurt out “Pennsylvania” in response to Mr. Carter’s request for my home state as he continued to work the room. Satisfied that he knew where everyone in attendance was from, Mr. Carter began his lesson on the day’s theme, which was discovering how to pray. He interspersed passages from the Bible with side trips visiting topics ranging from the Iranian hostage crisis to the current kerfuffle about the NSA monitoring the phone calls of ordinary Americans. Somehow he managed to seamlessly weave a theology lesson with his thoughts about world events and political history.

giant peanut plains jimmy carter smileMr. Carter also tied in stories from his youth recalling, “the two or three sweethearts I had, well, you don’t need to hear about that. That was before I met the love of my life, Rosalynn” he chuckled, while flashing his famous toothy grin. It is clear that faith has always been very important to Jimmy Carter. So important that a man with one of the busiest schedules on Earth still takes time to teach Sunday school at his local church. Just make sure you remember where you’re from when he asks you.

Visitor Information 

President Carter’s speaking schedule is available on the Marantha Baptist Church web site.

If you’d like to stay in town when President Carter is speaking, book a room at least a month in advance at the Plains Historic Inn & Antiques: http://www.plainsinn.net/ Other options for lodging are in nearby Americus.

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

One of my early food memories is from when I was nine years old and my mom took us on a trip of a lifetime out West. In Arizona we went to a rodeo where I had my first taste of Navajo fry bread. Just like it sounds, it was a hunk of dough that was deep-fried, what’s not to like?

It was a lot to absorb for a kid from Long Island. (And did I absorb it, I was quite a chubby child.) That taste of Navajo frybread led to a lifelong love of fried dough, resulting in my latent donut fetish, although that’s probably not a good thing.

We were in northern Arizona recently where my taste buds perked up with signs stating “Navajo fry bread tacos” and “Indian tacos.” What? Is there a way to improve upon the humble fry bread?

Navajo fry bread tuuvi cafe half eaten (640x493)

We were staying in Tuba City on the western end of Navajo Nation and stopped for a meal at the Tuuvi Cafe. The restaurant is conveniently attached to a gas station and every table was packed; since we were the only anglos there I figured the food would be pretty authentic.

The waitress assured me that the fry bread taco was the best we’d find anywhere, so how could I resist? (To make things a bit confusing the Tuuvi Center is Hopi-owned so they eschew the “Navajo” designation and simply call theirs a “Tuuvi taco.”) When she brought out my plate with a massive heaping of food I looked around to see how many other people were joining me.

An Indian fry bread taco is just like the names says: Take a large portion of ground beef, mix it up with spices and peppers, melt some cheese on top, cover it with lettuce and tomatoes and plop the whole thing on a hubcap-sized piece of freshly fried dough. Picture eating a cheeseburger with all the fixings on a giant donut and you get the idea.

The meat was perfectly spiced with a bit of heat but not too much. The frybread underneath stayed crispy for the first few minutes before it gave into the juicy beef assault. I finished most of the topping but barely made a dent in the main event, the frybread.

navajo indian fry bread

A dessert fry bread at Fry Bread House in Phoenix.

The verdict: A Navajo frybread taco is one of those things you should try once. But for me, as much as I love donuts, the combination of fried bread and beefy taco filling was a bit much. But Arizonans love it, in 1995 they voted it the state dish of Arizona.

A week later we stopped at Fry Bread House in Phoenix for a piece of hot fry bread adorned with just cinnamon and sugar that melted into the crispy dough. That was more to my taste.

What do you think, does the Navajo fry bread taco sound too good to pass up?

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Ask someone about their favorite pizza and you’re likely to end up in a heated discussion. Some prefer New York, others Chicago’s deep-dish while New Haven white clam pizza often gets a nod.

For years I’ve been reading that Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona makes the best pizza in America. That’s a pretty bold statement. Since I’m a bit obsessed with pizza I scurried to Phoenix, with my somewhat jaded eyes wide open, to test the claims made about Pizzeria Bianco.

First a little background. Pizza chef Chris Bianco is a native New Yorker who moved to Phoenix in the 1980s. He had a gift for making pizza which he honed during a two-year stint in Italy. When he returned to America in 1994 he became a pioneer making artisanal pizza in the U.S.

pizzeria bianco phoenix

He starts out with high-protein flour, San Marzano tomatoes and house-made mozzarella. The pizzas are baked for three minutes at 800 degrees in a wood-fired brick oven and arrive at the table with the crust still crackling. Bianco’s devotion to fresh ingredients and locally sourced products is legendary; earning a James Beard Award in 2003 and accolades from the likes of the New York Times and Racheal Ray.

But is it really the best pizza in America?

The menu at Pizzeria Bianco is refreshingly simple: a few appetizers, salads and six pizzas. We went with the classic, a Margherita with just tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. Oh, and a side order of house-made crispy Italian bread and olive oil; you can never have too many carbs.

pizzeria bianco wood burning oven

When the pizza arrived it looked like something out of a magazine on “What pizza should look like.” The crust had reacted properly to the extreme heat of the oven and was buckled with charred air bubbles, just how I like it. The basil was torn into big enough chunks so you still knew it was basil and the melted cheese made itself one with the bright red sauce. Underneath the crust was just how I like it; charred in bits from the brick floor of the oven.

The feel of the pizza was just right. I grew up in New York so I’m a pizza folder and each slice folded nicely. There was enough spring in the crispy crust that it didn’t crack. The crust had just the right blend of crispy and chewy.

pizzeria bianco crust

The sauce gave a full tomato feel but Larissa thought it could have used some spices, if there were onions in it we didn’t pick it up. Fresh mozzarella is usually more bland than regular so she also ended up sprinkling a little salt on her slice. I’m not as into salt so I went without.

At $15, the 12″ pizza was not cheap but with the bread dish we were able to fill up on a single pie at lunch. One pie probably wouldn’t be enough for dinner for two people but I couldn’t see spending $30 on two pizzas.

pizzeria bianco pizza peels (640x491)

What does “best” really mean?

But back to the original question, is Pizzeria Bianco the best pizza in America? Well no, but is there really a “best” pizza, or anything for that matter? It certainly ranks as one of our top pies and we’re glad we made it to Phoenix to check out what all the fuss was about. Rather than rest on its laurels, Pizzeria Bianco still puts out a top-notch pizza. But it’s really not fair to make it live up to “best pizza in America” status.

The reality is that because of Chris Bianco there are now many places out there emulating him and creating outstanding pizzas every day. And from what I’ve read about the unassuming chef, I think he’d be just fine with that.

Are you hungry for some more pizza? Here’s our story about tasting pizza on six continents to seek the best pizza in the world.

What is your favorite pizza place?

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In August 2011 we started out from the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia to begin our journey around the world, along with a statue of Rocky Balboa to encourage us to “go the distance.” So far “Little Rocky” has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. After 2+ years on the road we’ve put together an album of some of our favorite Little Rocky moments on Flickr. Here are a few highlights:

rocky statue malaysia

Little Rocky at a Hindu shrine, Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.

So far we’ve traveled over 100,000 miles and Little Rocky has made new friends around the world. (Although in Asia a few people confused him with someone named Rambo.) He’s been great at getting conversations started and makes people smile wherever we go. A restaurant in Cambodia even whipped up a cheesesteak for him because he was missing his favorite food from Philly.

Rocky Buddhist nuns (640x621)

We were a bit surprised that these Buddhist nuns in Saigon were big Rocky fans.

rocky colosseum rome

Rocky returned to his roots in Rome where perhaps his ancestors were gladiators at the Colosseum.

jimmy carter rocky statue

With former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Miss Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

rocky statue petra

Little Rocky made like Indiana Jones at Petra in Jordan.

Rocky San People Namibia

With the San people in Namibia.

After two years on the road check out our photo album of “The Rocky Statue Travels Around the World” where he was hoisted by such luminaries as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; actors Danny DeVito and Andrew McCarthy; and Steve McCurry, the photographer of the iconic “Afghan Girl” cover for National Geographic.

Special Announcement

Rocky Eiffel Tower (514x700)If all these photos are making you hanker for your very own Rocky statue you’re in luck. Due to popular demand the statues are back. You can now purchase the official 12″ ROCKY Statues. Schomberg Studios, the original creator of the Rocky sculpture for the Rocky movies, is selling a limited edition of this fine statue that is recognized around the world.

We know from personal experience that these statues are very hard to find so this is a remarkable opportunity. For information on buying a Rocky statue go to the Official Rocky Sculpture Store. Yo!

Big Rocky has made six movies, so Little Rocky thought it was time for his own debut. Here (on the small screen, naturally) is a video compilation of some of the places the Rocky statue has been and the cool new people he’s met so far. We’ll be updating this as we visit more places and make even more new friends.

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For years I’ve dreamed of a vacation out west, but I had no idea how to choose a dude ranch.  I’ve always loved the beauty and romance of the wide open spaces. As a kid I avidly watched John Wayne movies; my secret fantasy was that I’d be the only girl ropin’ and ridin’ in the movie The Cowboys.

The reality is I grew up in the suburbs back east. Ropin’ and ridin’ weren’t everyday activities—shucks, ma’am, they weren’t activities at all. My experience with horses was limited to a few tame pony rides and a 30-minute lesson in a cramped paddock. I wanted a place where I could get some good riding experience while satisfying my “old west” craving.

how to choose a dude ranch clydesdale horse (640x534)

I didn’t know how to choose a dude ranch that fit the bill. Plenty of hotels and resorts out west call themselves “ranches,” offering horseback riding as one of the amenities. But the idea of a few horses stabled out behind the golf course and tennis courts didn’t provide that “authentic” experience I was seeking.

Fortunately I discovered the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA), a non-profit organization  dedicated to promoting dude ranch vacations while preserving western heritage. The association was formed in 1926 and has over 100 member ranches in the western US and Canada. All ranches must go through a rigorous 2-year qualification process to ensure they meet the criteria of the association, including horsemanship and hospitality.

how to choose a dude ranch-white stallion cookout (640x522)

The association’s website is a treasure trove of information to assist with planning the perfect dude ranch vacation for you. There are so many options; the site has checklists to help you narrow down your choices. Although all offer excellent riding programs for every level of rider (including ultra-beginners such as Michael and me), there are plenty of other options. Some points to consider:

  • Time of year: Most ranches are open during their mildest weather season; ranches up north are active in the summer months, southern ranches are open during the winter and spring.
  • Families vs. couples or adults-only: Many guest ranches cater to both, with extra family programs during school holiday periods.
  • Non-riding activities: If you don’t want to spend all your time in a saddle, ranches offer all sorts of alternatives, from cooking classes to skeet shooting, photography seminars, pools and even spas for tired muscles. Each ranch is different; the DRA site will help you select based on your preference.
  • Scenery and riding environment: Depending on location, ranches will offer riding on mountain trails, open meadows, southwestern desert or combinations of all three.
  • Number of guests: Some ranches cater to only 10-12 guests, while others accommodate 80-100. Choose a size that will provide you the social life (or solitude) you crave.
  • Distance from the nearest town or airport: Some guest ranches offer shuttle services, eliminating the need for a rental car. In other cases you might want the freedom to go exploring.

The DRA website has detailed descriptions of each of its member ranches, helpful maps, pricing guidelines and photos along with links to each ranch’s direct website. Once Michael and I decided to visit a ranch in the southwestern US, we spent many happy hours perusing the DRA’s website to make our selection.

We promise we’ll report soon on our ropin’ and ridin’ experience, think “Sun and Saddles.” 🙂

The photo of us on horseback at the top of this page was taken at Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia, Arizona and the remainder (including those delicious steaks) were taken at White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.

How to choose a dude ranch-White Stallion ranch stables (640x469)

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When we visited Buffalo, New York this year we faced an abundance of choices for things to see. We already wrote about 11 things to do in Buffalo, well here are 10 more.

1) 40,000 city planning fans can’t be wrong

allentownmusic buffalo (575x403)

The heart of downtown Buffalo is a neighborhood called Elmwood Village. It’s a funky neighborhood of boutiques, bars, restaurants and artist’s havens. Dating back to 1804, the American Planning Association has called it one of “10 Great Neighborhoods in America.”

Queen Anne-style homes within walking distance of retail and public transportation dominate the residential architecture. Adding to this mix, how many neighborhoods can boast architectural gems designed by H. H. Richardson, Frank Lloyd Wright and the father-and-son duo of Eliel and Eero Saarinen? My fave shops are Allentown Music to check out cigar box guitars and Poster Art USA for Buffalo-centric objects like “Pegulaville” t-shirts. (Ask a local to explain.)

2) Get Righteous at Babeville

babeville buffalo photo

Buffalo native singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco saved a 19th-century Gothic Revival church from destruction to create a multi-use arts facility called Babeville. Several venues provide intimate settings for concerts and art galleries plus the offices of Ani’s Righteous Babe Records. There’s no better place to see hip indie bands like Velvet Elvis.

 3) Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site

teddy roosevelt inaugural site buffalo

At the turn of the last century Buffalo was booming. It was the 8th largest city in America and hosted the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Unfortunately for history, when President William McKinley visited the fair he was assassinated by an anarchist. Teddy Roosevelt rushed off to Buffalo and was sworn in as President where he was staying at a friend’s house.

That house is now the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. It’s one of the few places where an American president was inaugurated outside Washington, D.C. The house is set up with furnishings of the period while the upstairs has been given over to interactive exhibits.

4) Truly honest historic markers

Buffalo john love murder sight

Most areas cover up their warts and focus on historic signs that usually mention when George Washington slept in the area. So it was quite refreshing to come across this signpost outside an idyllic farmhouse. It mentions a notorious murder that once happened here. Just up the road another sign notes a water well that started a cholera outbreak. Seriously, you have to appreciate that honesty.

5) Go take a bike

buffalo NY bike riding

Buffalo ranks 14th in the nation in bike commuter rate and was judged a Bronze Level Biking Community by the League of American Cyclists in terms of bicycle friendliness. From trails along the Buffalo River to city loops, Buffalo provides a range of bike rides. Plus we liked their funky bike racks. For more go to: Go Bike Buffalo.

6) Don’t miss a beet at the Bistro Europa

bistro europa buffalo NY

Any restaurant that serves house-made pierogi, salmon pastrami and locally sourced ingredients is A-OK in my book. But my favorite at Elmwood Village’s Bistro Europa is the “Local Beets 5 ways – Carpaccio, Tartare, Pickled, Roasted, Mousse and Goat Cheese with a Pistachio Truffle,” a bargain at $10; but learn from me and don’t wear a white shirt for this dish.

Update 2016 ~ Bistro Europa has closed while owners Steve and Ellen Gedra renovated larger quarters at the former Golden Key Tavern at 367 Connecticut Street. It is now the Black Sheep Restaurant and Bar.

7) Down on Main Street

buffalo NY aurora theater

Only 20 minutes south of Buffalo, East Aurora could have been a model for Norman Rockwell’s idyllic villages. It houses the circa 1925 Aurora Theatre, President Millard Fillmore’s home, the sprawling Vidler’s 5 & 10, which could be a trip in itself, and the Roycroft Campus; founded at the turn of the 20th-century, it grew into a diverse community housing artisans from the Arts & Crafts movement.

8) The other baseball Hall-of-Fame in upstate New York

buffalo bisons hall of fame

Yeah, you’ve already been to the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but there’s also a baseball Hall-of-Fame tucked into Coca-Cola Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons, the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Buffalo boasts a long and distinguished baseball history that dates to 1877. The team used to play at War Memorial Stadium. Film buffs will recognize it as the setting for Robert Redford’s baseball heroics in The Natural.

The Bisons Hall-of-Fame honors a surprising roster of All-Stars who passed through Buffalo on the way to the majors including: Warren Spahn, Johnny Bench and Ferguson Jenkins. The knowledgeable guide stationed in the museum during game time is an energetic font of information about all things Buffalo baseball related.

9) View the lake effect

lake erie view of buffalo skyline

Follow the Great Lakes Seaway Trail about 10 miles southwest of Buffalo to the town of Evans where you’ll find the Sturgeon Point Marina. A stone causeway jutting into Lake Erie offers one of the finest waterfront views of downtown Buffalo with the mists from Niagara Falls rising in the distance. On the way back stop off at Graycliff, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home whose restoration is ongoing.

10) Oh yeah, you can see Niagara Falls too

visiting niagara falls

With over 12,000,000 visitors each year, Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist sights in the world. We were so busy in Buffalo we almost didn’t make the 20-mile drive to the Falls. It’s a fun day trip from Buffalo that seems to be on everyone’s bucket list. At least now you know there is so much more to do in the Buffalo Niagara region when you make your pilgrimage to Niagara Falls.

Bonus Pick:

11) Mazurek’s Bakery is growing

mazureks bakery in buffaloAs this post went to print we learned that our favorite bakery, Mazurek’s, is adding a downtown location so office workers can get their fill of Mazurek’s famous seeded NY rye bread and fresh donuts. Calorie counters, you’ve been warned. Watch for the Grand Opening of their second location at: Mazurek’s Bakery.

What do you recommend we try on our return trip to Buffalo?

For more check out Part 1 of this post: Unique things to do in Buffalo.

And if you’re hungry check out our guide to Buffalo hot dogs.

For more information about Buffalo go to Visit Buffalo Niagara.

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Shop for Buffalo items:

What are kolaches?

While driving through the small village of Calvert, Texas we saw a sign that declared “America loves kolaches” attached to a building housing Zamykal Kolaches. That was the 3rd sign we’d come across in Central Texas for kolaches but had no idea what they were. Read more

In February, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed an Executive Order placing all people of Japanese ancestry into relocation centers. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had occurred only two months before; the two events were related. Read more

Biscuits, barbecue, burgers and more, the central part of North Carolina including Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh is a foodie’s paradise. Although it goes by the more prosaic label Research Triangle, it is really a great place to get your fill of another geometric shape, the Southern food pyramid.

Southern Biscuits

biscuits north carolina

We stayed in Chapel Hill for the summer in a house that was within walking distance of the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. Fortunately the walk back was all uphill to work off some of those fluffy carbs. Their main competition arose from Rise in Durham, whose strip mall location belies its down-home food and recipes. Between the two Rise would get our vote for top biscuit. Rise gets credit for also specializing in donuts, the chocolate pudding donut with a toffee topping was a favorite for Larissa but mine was the cronie, basically a round croissant that is fried; really the best of both worlds.

North Carolina Barbecue

north carolina barbecue

The South is barbecue heaven and central North Carolina is blessed with too many to choose from. The regional specialty is slow-smoked pork butt or shoulder, served with a vinegary sauce. I’m not a huge pulled pork fan because in the wrong hands it can be a mushy mess that is more reminiscent of canned tuna fish. The Hillsborough BBQ Company strays from the pig-centric menu of most North Carolina barbecue joints and also offers my favorite, brisket. It manages to do both well.

Over in Durham The Original Q Shack feels like a Texas roadhouse plopped down from on high. Which makes sense since the owner hails from the Lone Star State. All the meats are hickory and mesquite smoked but the brisket is the star of the show along with barbecued baked beans. Back in Chapel Hill The Pig is run by Sam Suchoff, a former vegan from California. Aside from the usual assortment of NC ‘cue, Suchoff makes his own hot dogs, bologna and pastrami. A slab of the delicious house-made coconut cake, with toasted coconut on top, is big enough to serve as a wheel chock for a 747.

Farm to Market

Locavores have many markets to choose from. Our favorite was the Carrboro Farmers’ Market which was open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The produce, and vendors, still retain the hard-earned grit from the fields. This is the place to get heirloom varieties of tomatoes, eggplants and more that you’ve never heard of. A few blocks away is the original branch of the Weaver Street Market. It buys as much as it can from local producers and is one the most happening places in town. Despite all the healthy food, it makes the best baked goods in Chapel Hill. Other branches are in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill.

Burger Battles

chargrilled burgers north carolina

Burgers have jumped over from fast food staple to trendy hipster snack and we’re still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing. But we know we loved the burgers at Buns in downtown Chapel Hill where you choose from a wide range of free toppings. Just down the street, On the Top is the new kid on the burger block. Their grilling device looks like a leftover from the Space Shuttle program. The gleaming block of silver metal presses down on the burger to sear the outside while retaining the tasty juices. Elevation Burger is making inroads into the local burger scene with their first outpost in Raleigh. The Virginia-based chain touts beef that is organic, free-range and grass-fed.

If you want to go old-school, regional chain Cook Out produces a burger that tastes like what a good fast-food burger used to taste like. Their fresh milkshakes were recently written up as a Top Ten shake in the country. The smoky aromas of Char-Grill in Raleigh waft over several blocks. Just like their name implies, they flame-cook their burgers the old-fashioned way to get that char-grilled flavor.

Breakfast Treats

ye olde waffle shoppe chapel hill

My favorite meal out is breakfast and nothing could be finer than Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe (they seem to have a thing for ending words in “e”) on Franklin Street in the heart of Chapel Hill. It’s been serving waffles since 1972 and you can even order them cooked how you like them, which for me was extra crispy. If you’re into flaky danishes and buttery croissants, Guglhupf on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, is the best choice for a full bakery in the area.

Counter Culture

suttons pharmacy lunch counter chapel hill

Perhaps our favorite spot in the area was Sutton’s, a pharmacy that’s been open since 1923. Tucked next to the metal shelves stocked with back-to-school supplies and cold remedies, is an old-fashioned soda shop.

We sat at the counter, our elbows pressed up against our fellow diners, and chatted with cabinet-maker Rob and his octogenarian father Bill who eats lunch at Sutton’s five days a week. (His favorite is peanut butter and honey on toast for those of you who keep track of such things.)

Bon Appetit magazine named Chapel Hill “America’s foodiest small town” and based on our tasting foray there, it just may live up to that billing.

What are some of your favorite food places in North Carolina?

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The abandoned Michigan Central Station in Detroit is one of America’s most haunting architectural ruins. It shouldn’t be surprising that in the Motor City a train station would eventually fall into disuse. But the building that was left behind by the automotive boom is enormous, reflecting Detroit’s great wealth Read more

Sometimes the best travel trips come from the people we stay with, another argument for renting apartments rather than staying at hotels. That’s how we ended up at a cozy spot overlooking Goodyear Lake just outside Cooperstown, NY.

Of course we knew about the top sites in town: the Baseball Hall-of-Fame. But we became mightily intrigued when our hostess Doris mentioned, “Will you be going to the pancake fly-in breakfast in Cooperstown?” Say what? We’re airplane geeks who love to eat breakfast so what could be better?

fly-in breakfast in cooperstown

Held every 3rd Saturday from May to September, the Old Airplane Fly-In Pancake Breakfast is a fundraiser for the Middlefield Fire Department. It’s held at Cooperstown/Westville Airport, which boasts an old-fashioned grass runway. The food is served in one of the hangars overlooking the field. The cost of the all-you-can-eat breakfast and entertainment provided by the planes was only $7.

cooperstown westville fly-in pancake breakfast

To make the day even better the pancakes, sausage, cooked-to-order eggs and coffee are served with REAL maple syrup, not the gloppy “table” syrup served at most places. (We also learned that upstate New York syrup producers sell much of their batch to Vermont where it’s repackaged as real Vermont maple syrup. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.)

Breakfast in the hangar at Cooperstown airport (575x447)

We ate breakfast in the hangar to the sweet drone of propeller planes gliding in for the event. The doors were flung open so we could watch the planes coming and going as we munched on our freshly-made breakfast. We have to say the pancakes made from scratch were among the best we’ve had anywhere.

fly-in breakfast in cooperstown

Pilots, many of them in vintage planes, fly in from all over New York and New England for this combination breakfast and airplane show. They line the aircraft up along the runway so you can marvel at their glossy finishes after downing your carbs.

experimental airplane

Some of the planes are experimental light aircraft that looked like they’re powered by a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine with a propeller no bigger than the ones you see on those goofy hats.

vintage curtiss airplane

Many of the planes also seem to be flown by vintage pilots. We watched one older couple shuffle and squeeze themselves into the cramped cockpit of a gorgeous burgundy 1947 Beechman when he turned to us and said, “They say if you can climb in then you can still fly.”

piper airplane logo

We stood by the side of the runway while he and his wife taxied for take off. While they rumbled down the runway and slid into the air, his wife gave us a parting wave as they flew away into the wild blue yonder.

Cooperstown airport safety sign (575x418)

Here’s a comforting airport sign.

If you’re into vintage planes you might like this biplane ride over The Lord of the Rings sites in New Zealand.

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The turquoise Princess phone in the corner was the first clue that the Plains Historic Inn in Plains, Georgia was going to be different from any other place we’d ever stayed. The second was the note from former President Jimmy Carter welcoming guests to the inn.

The Plains Historic Inn is located right on Main Street, the quaint block-long avenue that became famous to millions of Americans in 1976 when Jimmy Carter ran for president.  The town is the anchor for the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site which is run by the National Park Service. Despite traveling all over the world, Mr. Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn still live in town, just a few blocks away.

Plains Georgia Main Street

The Inn’s seven rooms are decorated in the style of different decades of Jimmy Carter’s life; from his birth in the 1920s to his return to Plains in 1980. Rosalynn Carter helped select and find the antiques for each room while her part-time carpenter husband built out walls and refinished the wooden stairs.

We stayed in the 1950s room in all its retro glory. Besides the Princess phone there was an old-fashioned TV, the type with a 7″ black-and-white monitor nestled in a large piece of wood furniture. (For those who want to watch current shows, a modern flat-screen TV sits above it.)

plains historic inn

Each room is also decorated with magazines of the period which are fun to flip through to see the old ads. Speaking of advertising, the 1960s room feels very Mad Men, making it a perfect spot to watch the show on Sunday evenings.

Guests can soak in a claw foot tub in the 1920s room while those feeling particularly presidential should book the 1980s room; with its formal décor it appears as if it just popped out of the White House.

jimmy carter preaching plains georgia

Most of the weekend guests at the Plains Historic Inn are there to watch Mr. Carter teach Sunday School at the Marantha Baptist Church, where he teaches two or three days a month. Innkeeper Miss Jan is able to get front row seats for her guests to witness history in action.

Even without the Jimmy Carter connection, the Inn is one of the coolest places we’ve stayed anywhere. If you can visit when Mr. Carter is preaching, so much the better.

jimmy carter plains georgia marantha church rocky

The Carters were incredibly gracious to pose with us and Little Rocky afterwards.

Further information

For information on the Inn go to: Plains Historic Inn

For President Carter’s Sunday School teaching schedule go to: Marantha Baptist Church

Click here for the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.


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Buffalo, New York may be the hot dog capital of the world. Buffalonians insist that their hot dogs be grilled over charcoal, just like at an old-fashioned backyard barbecue, and hanker for the foot-long hot dogs that were the Holy Grail of our youth. Most of the places in Buffalo serve Sahlen’s hot dogs, a Buffalo institution that’s been around since 1869.

hot dogs in buffalo new york

Hot Dog Day Afternoon

So we set off to eat as many hot dogs as we could to compile our guide to the best Buffalo hot dogs. If you have any to add, or disagree with our selections, please chime in at the comments section below. (We also learned that Buffalonians are not shy about their opinions.)

Our Buffalo hot dog tour started a bit inauspiciously when we showed up at the first spot, Louie’s Hot Dogs in Elmwood Village, to find its windows covered with plywood, the victim of a recent fire. I guess chargrilling does have its risks.

Buffalo hot dogs louies

Moving right along, we were told their main rival was Ted’s which opened in 1923 and now has seven locations in the area. Ted’s brags about their hot dogs cooking over “a bed of real hardwood charcoal,” the long lines at their locations attesting to their popularity. The crispy hand-battered onion rings are pretty good too.

Just across the street from Ted’s in Orchard Park we hit up Taffy’s Red Hots in a circa 1940s beach-style shack at the corner of Routes 240 and 40. It’s still owned by the 96-years-young Nellie Eliah. Taffy’s also boasts 110 milk shake flavors. Taffy’s crispy dogs are enhanced by their own hot sauce.

best hot dogs in buffalo NY taffys

Dog Days of Summer Tour

We followed a recommendation and headed towards Lake Erie to try Connors. The Lake Shore Road location in Angola serves a beachfront vacation community, look for the sign with the green shamrock. Connor’s was brave enough not to serve Sahlen’s hot dogs, instead using Wardynski’s, which their menu refers to as “Buffalo’s finest hot dogs.” There must be some story behind that rivalry. We didn’t think they had the same snap as Sahlen’s, perhaps it was because they were cooked over gas.

connors hot dog stand angola ny

Connors is also known for their fried baloney sandwich.

Next up, a trip north to Sullivan’s in Niagara Falls. The cook there really works the hot dogs, rolling them vigorously with his tongs until the skin punctures, creating smoky flavor inside the dog. Just like Connors though, Sullivan’s cooks over gas, maybe it’s an Irish thing? They slap the dog on a Schwebel’s bun, which appears to be the go-to bread in the Buffalo Niagara region.

sullivnas hot dogs niagara falls

The blistered dogs at Sullivan’s showcase the cook’s efforts.

Top Dog

Back in Tonawanda, just north of Buffalo, we met our favorite dog of the trip. Old Man River is a quirky spot that’s recognizable by the giant blue whale floating on the roof. The smoky aroma that hit us when we got out of our car, plus the piles of charwood stacked up inside the entrance, told us this was going to be a charbroiled delight, and it was. We asked for our dogs well done and they arrived super crispy and charred, just how we like them.

hot dogs in buffalo new york old man river

For you vegetarians out there, who probably didn’t make it this far in the story anyway, they serve a Bunny Dog; a marinated and grilled carrot served on a hot dog roll. We like carrots but confess we didn’t try it.

One wag told us that Nathan’s, the famous Brooklyn hot dog chain, tried to make it in Buffalo and failed. Locals deemed the griddle-cooked hot dogs too greasy. We’ve always been big fans of Nathan’s but after tasting the chargrilled franks of Buffalo we’re hooked. Hopefully on our return visit Louie’s will have reopened.

Let us know what hot dog places you recommend, in Buffalo and elsewhere.

Pin it!The city of Buffalo, New York is famous for char-grilled hot dogs. Here's a guide of our favorites.

For more things Buffalo read: 11 Unique Things to do in Buffalo

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

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August 5th was the birthday of a person who will be remembered centuries after the memories of pop stars and sports figures have faded: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who died in 2012.

While his achievements are honored around the world,  Read more

Cornbread is one of the signature foods of the American South.  Cornmeal is a staple ingredient in the South and it shows up on the table in a multitude of shapes and preparations, but all are essentially a variation on basic cornbread.

While traveling through the region, I wanted to learn how to make cornbread, this most Southern of foods, so I took a cooking class specializing in cornbread at Southern Season, the giant gourmet market and cooking school in Chapel Hill, NC.

how to make cornbread

What are these fresh veggies doing in a cornbread class?  In the South, cornbread is not just for breakfast!

Having grown up in the northeastern US, to me cornbread was always a bit of a novelty. We’d occasionally make corn muffins or cornbread, which were more corn-flavored versions of a quick bread, typically for breakfast or brunch.  They were often either too gummy or too dry, which made me wonder what all the fuss was about.

In the South cornbread shows up at every meal: sweet, savory, baked, fried, you name it. During our class chef Charis West explained some of the ways Southern cooks vary the use of cornmeal, including some of the tricks to ensure great flavor. A few basic tips to remember:

It’s made with cornmeal

Sounds simple, right? But too often recipes veer from Southern tradition and make cornmeal a secondary ingredient, which takes away the characteristic grainy texture and crunch.  Flour is sometimes added to round out the batter, but always in smaller amounts than cornmeal itself.  Flip the ratio, using more flour than cornmeal, and you’ll end up with corn-flavored cakey stuff (such as those gummy “Yankee-style” muffins of my youth).


True Southern cornbread has a coarse, crumbly texture. Bacon drippings are used in this version to grease the pan and provide a tasty, crispy crust.

Grease the skids:

Traditional foods such as cornbread came about from combining ingredients that were on hand.  Butter, shortening, oil, or even bacon drippings (ooh!) are all acceptable options for the fat, providing unique flavors depending on the end use.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Hot, Hot, Hot:

Cornbread should be crusty. To achieve this, be sure to preheat the pan (and the fat) in the oven before adding the batter.   A heavy pan that holds the heat is best; use either a ceramic baking dish or a cast iron frying pan.  Pouring the batter into a hot greased pan will give it a sizzling start in the oven.

Cornbread5-Spoonbread or Corn Pudding

A preheated ceramic casserole dish provides the ideal baking pan for a crispy, fluffy cornbread pudding (also known as spoonbread).

Once we had the basics techniques down, Chef Charis showed us several variations on the cornbread theme. . .

Salads using Cornbread


Crisp, crumbly cornbread is the perfect base for a panzanella (bread salad) that showcases the fresh vegetables of a southern summer. Featured here are fresh corn, black-eyed peas, cherry tomatoes, spinach and cheese with a tomato-basil aoili dressing.

Fried Cornbread, aka Hush Puppies


It wouldn’t be the South without something yummy and fried!  Deep-fried hush puppies can be savory or sweet. Here we sizzle up a savory version that includes caramelized shallots. A great accompaniment to good ole’ barbecue.

Main Courses that showcase Cornbread

Cornbread with Shrimp

Our crispy, fluffy spoonbread can be used like polenta. Here it is combined with shrimp and a lemon cream sauce for an elegant main dish with a definite southern flair.

Cornbread-inspired Desserts

Cornbread6-Buttermilk Pie

Pie made with cornmeal?  Why not!  Cornmeal provides a crisp, crumbly crust, similar to graham cracker crumbs. A buttermilk pie fresh from the oven (above), and sliced to reveal it’s creamy lemon curd filling (below).


Lemony buttermilk pie with cornmeal crust: the perfect end to a Southern meal!

This class demystified cornmeal for me, an ingredient that I’ve rarely used in the kitchen.  I now see how versatile it can be, and I’ve also learned a little bit more about Southern culture through one of it’s fundamental foods.  So save your bacon drippings, y’all.

Here’s information on cooking classes at Southern Season in Chapel Hill.

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There is no better classic American road trip than a drive on Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. Although much of the road has been replaced by interstates, there are still plenty of spots to drive on the old rutted concrete surface and seek out the tasty and the offbeat.

One of my favorites is a run-down section in northeast Oklahoma where Route 66 is a one lane highway. Now that’s not a single lane in each direction but a single lane in total. When cars arrive from opposite directions they have to pull over onto the shoulder to let the other one pass by.

When I first heard about this quirk I though it was some type of urban, or in this case rural, legend. How could the famous “Mother Road” in which so many Okies fled Dust Bowl-era Oklahoma for California have been only a solitary lane? Surely by now that situation had been fixed, right? Well, as it turns out, wrong.

one lane route 66 oklahoma

In an area just south of Miami, Oklahoma Route 66 turns into a “ribbon road,” at 9 feet wide it’s more like a large sidewalk. Back in the 1920s the state of Oklahoma was trying to save money building Route 66. They figured if they built it half as wide they’d spend half as much money. (Fortunately they didn’t apply the same philosophy to bridges and build them half as long.)

With the help of a detailed guidebook, Route 66: EZ 66 Guide for Travelers by Jerry McClanahan, I found the single-lane stretch. Motoring along the pitted road and kicking up dust from the orange clay, I felt like I was back in the 1920s.

The stretch of highway looked like the type of remote landscape that could hide outlaws like Bonnie & Clyde. It turns out that they often drove along Route 66 as they roamed throughout the area. In the last months of their lives they kidnapped the police chief in the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma.

commerce oklahoma route 66 old gas station

Even 28 years after officially passing out of existence, Route 66 still reveals new surprises to the curious road tripper. The “ribbon road” in Oklahoma is just one of many that make driving America’s Main Street so enticing.

walylans ku ku hamburgers miami

And if you’re hungry, and who isn’t after all that driving, head back to Miami and stop in at one of the great old-time burger joints: Waylan’s Ku Ku Burger. This joint’s been flipping patties for almost 50 years.

waylans ku ku burger route 66

Near this section of Route 66 is Picher, Oklahoma — a modern American ghost town.

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Much to Larissa’s chagrin it is hard for me to pass up a prison tour. I’ve dragged her along to some of the classics from Alcatraz to Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin and even to the interrogation center used by the East German secret police in Berlin.

But somehow it took me until this year to visit one of the most historic jails in the world, Eastern State Penitentiary, located in our hometown of Philadelphia. In prison terms Eastern State is the mother of them all, the one that put the “penitent” in penitentiary.

eastern state interior hall horizontal (640x480)

Philadelphia was founded by pacifist Quakers. They believed that criminals would be better human beings if they were given the opportunity to live in solitary confinement 24 hours a day; then they could find God and reflect upon what got them there in the first place. Such solitary soul-searching would lead the wrongdoers to become penitent about their actions and eventually lead a better life. Among the more famous prisoners at Eastern State for whom this philosophy turned out to be wrong were gangster Al Capone and notorious bank robber Willie Sutton.

Completed in 1836 the massive structure, with its crenelated towers and 14-foot thick stone walls, resembles a medieval European castle more than a New World institution. British-born architect John Haviland designed it to intimidate. It certainly did then and still does now. It was the first of America’s mega-prisons, a step up from the town or county jail.

eastern state cell door rvsd (420x640)

For all the Gothic charm on the exterior, on the inside its architecture was revolutionary and quite modern. The design consisted of a radical new idea; it featured a central guard tower with long corridors radiating from it like spokes on a wheel, so the guards could monitor all the cells from one location. It became the model for over 300 prisons worldwide.

Despite its foreboding image, not all inside the walls was gloom and doom. Each prisoner had their own private cell which was centrally heated and they even had running water and a flush toilet. That was pretty radical at the time when you consider that President Andrew Jackson was still peeing into a chamber pot at the White House.

Alexis de Tocqueville and Charles Dickens were among the luminaries to visit Eastern State. When Dickens visited America he had two sites on his must-see agenda: Niagara Falls and the prison. De Tocqueville was so impressed that a few years later one could buy a complete dinner service from a French porcelain factory that featured plates depicting various views of the prison. How’s that for a festive supper?

The prison today provides a fascinating 45-minute self-guided audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. The site appeals to travelers on many different levels. There are the prison people who just like seeing old jails (sorry Larissa); historic preservationists who recoil at the fact that at one time the prison was going to be torn down for a strip center; ghost hunters (the prison hosts the top rated Halloween haunted house in America each year); and film buffs who want to roam the corridors that portrayed the psyche ward in the movie 12 Monkeys (starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt).

And to those who think crime does not pay I leave you with two photos. The first shows a typical cell, albeit in somewhat dilapidated condition, but you can tell it wasn’t like staying at The Ritz. The second photo is a recreation of Al Capone’s cell, decorated as it was when he was a prisoner with cushy furniture and an Oriental rug.

eastern state cell with bed (640x480)
Typical cell above.

eastern state capone suite (640x480)
Al Capone’s cell as he had it furnished.

For the latest visitor information go to their official web site: Eastern State Penitentiary. And if you’re in the area, remember that the world famous Rocky Steps are only a few blocks away.

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We were planning to spend a week in the Niagara Falls region when something caught our eye, the city of Buffalo only 20 minutes to the south. We realized that there are many unique things to do in Buffalo so we decided to make Buffalo our base for touring. Although we spent a week there, we didn’t get around to all the exciting attractions in what was once the 8th-largest city in America.

Click here for tours and experiences in Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

11 unique things to do in Buffalo, New York

1) See the Wright Stuff

FLW house

A young architect named Frank Lloyd Wright made his mark on Buffalo, designing homes for wealthy industrialists. Those homes are now available for touring including the Martin House complex, Graycliff Estate and more. The sites are less crowded but just as exciting as Wright’s more well-known houses in Chicago.

2) Hot dogging it around Buffalo

visit buffalo hot dogs

Forget chicken wings, if we had known that Buffalo was the home of chargrilled hot dogs we would have visited much sooner. Most places cook their dogs, or franks if you prefer, over good old-fashioned charcoal, just like our dads did when we were kids. We tried as many places as possible in one week but declared the winner at Old Man River, a quirky spot overlooking the Niagara River where the bags of authentic charwood are stacked up out front.

3) Go with the grain

silo city rocks buffalo

Due to its location at the foot (head?) of Lake Erie and the Erie Canal, Buffalo stored much of the grain grown in the Midwest, America’s breadbasket. Today it houses the largest collection of concrete grain silos in the world, which reportedly inspired the round shapes of the Bauhaus movement. Well what do you do with all those large structures? The folks at Silo City Rocks are turning a group of them into the tallest (190 feet) rock climbing wall in the world. It’s due to open in September.

4) A wing and a prayer

we just call them wings tshirt

You want to start a heated discussion in a Buffalo bar? Ask the locals for the best place to try chicken wings, the devouring of which takes on an almost religious fervor. Just don’t call them “Buffalo” wings. Here they’re just wings.

5) The Pierce-Arrow Museum (it’s not dedicated to Cupid)

pierce-arrow hood ornament

The legendary Pierce-Arrow automobile, the Maserati of its day, was manufactured in Buffalo. The Pierce-Arrow Museum houses a collection of these and other vintage automobiles. In a new wing the curator is building a Frank Lloyd Wright designed filling station from his original plans. It’s one of his many designs that never got built and the last one to be authorized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

6) The last of the Mazureks

things to do in buffalo mazureks bakery

Mazurek’s Bakery is the last of the old-time Polish bakeries in Buffalo’s First Ward. Since Larissa’s maiden name is Mazurek, we just had to visit this spot. They even let us work there for a day, starting out with the baking and donut-frying crew at 6 AM. Mazurek’s is justly renowned for its crusty New York rye bread.

7) Taste the toast of the town

five points bakery toast cafe buffalo

Of course, we can never limit ourselves to just one bakery. The Five Points Bakery is also the first “Toast Café” we’ve encountered. Sweet and savory selections of perfectly toasted, thick slices of bread were paired with locally sourced toppings. Above is the cheese-stuffed bread with sides of bleu cheese, hot sauce and sour cream; sort of a toasty take on Buffalo wings.

8) Try sweets that are sponge-worthy

sponge candy ice cream

Sponge candy is a local delicacy, although the name is somewhat of a misnomer. Sugar is boiled until it gets all foamy then allowed to harden to a crispy crunch as it cools. It’s then encased in creamy chocolate. As good as the candy is, we particularly liked the new Sponge Candy Perry’s ice cream. Try to turn this one down: caramel sugar flavored ice cream with caramelized sugar swirls and sponge candy pieces.

9) Tour an open-air museum of architecture

Buffalo City Hall

The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Buffalo for its annual convention in 2011. They were attracted by one of the best collections of Art Deco architecture in the country. During the 1920s the city was riding an economic boom and it shows in the buildings. One of the best is City Hall, billed as the 2nd-tallest in the country, which offers free tours at noon.

10) Of Presidents and Superfreaks

rick james headstone Buffalo

Buffalo provided the country with two presidents, Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland, and was the inauguration spot of another, Teddy Roosevelt. The house where TR was sworn in is a National Historic Site. But here’s a great trivia contest question: What do Millard Fillmore and Superfreak singer Rick James have in common? They’re both buried at Forest Lawn cemetery in Buffalo.

11) Where else can you find Burmese, Peruvian, Thai, Japanese and Ethiopian food under one roof?

buffalo west side bazaar

Buffalo participates in a United Nations program that resettles refugees to the United States. The result has been a dynamic impact on the burgeoning food scene. The above cuisines can all be found in the West Side Bazaar, a pilot program that assists entrepreneurial efforts. Stop by to taste these foods and make sure you also try locally produced Koop’s Kitchen, his barbecue sauce is one of the best we’ve found anywhere.

Bonus Pick:

12) Attend the school of hard Knox

Jackson pollack albright knox gallery

Learn about contemporary art at The Albright-Knox Art Gallery which houses one of the most exciting collections in the world. See if you can spot Larissa in this wall-sized Jackson Pollock.

Interested in seeing more of the region? Check out these Niagara Falls area tours with Viator!

Like it? Share it . . . Pin it!Buffalo, NY is a wonderful city with plenty of unique things to do

At first we thought Buffalo would be just a side trip from Niagara Falls, but the more we explored the city the more we stuck around and the Falls became the side trip. For more visit Buffalo Niagara tourism.

Oh, and did we mention that Buffalo might be the hot dog capital of the world? Here’s our review of Buffalo hot dogs.

We found so many things to do in Buffalo that we wrote another one: More unique things to do in Buffalo Part 2.
28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

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