Can you find the common thread between … Hot air balloons, a town named after Alexander Hamilton’s sweetheart – Angelica and attractions dedicated to famous comedians from all over North America?
Answer: All are reasons to travel to the Southern tier of New York.
New York is a BIG state. Many people confuse the Southern Tier with “Upstate” or the Adirondack area. But, if you are familiar with New York – you will know that the Southern Tier is largely rural with areas that are truly gems to visit. And yes, there is much more to discover in this state than New York City and Niagra Falls.
July is a perfect month to visit Wellsville, New York – a hamlet tucked among the Allegheny mountains and adjacent to the Genesee River. Known for good food and people – this town is where I went to junior and senior High School and holds a special place in my heart. . It also is home to the Wellsville Balloon Rally! This weekend event (usually Friday – Sunday) is all about community spirit and beautiful hot air balloons. In conjunction to the rally, the entire town comes out to hear an Elvis impersonator sing on the lawn of the beautiful David A. Howe Library and attend the street fair where bargains are every where including at Northern Lights Candles where my family competed a large portion of early holiday shopping!
It also is about weather.
Too hot, too windy or any rain will ground the balloons! However, if conditions permit, the balloonists will have an “afterglow” at dusk – meaning they tether in place – even if they can’t launch. Below are photos from this year’s festival. (A special thanks to Bye Bye Hot Air Balloon for allowing us to check out their balloon and gondola “up close”.)
Tip: Book hotel rooms early – as this is a very popular event and rooms go FAST and are in limited supply!
Angelica, New York. I have a very peculiar recollection of this town. It revolves around the annual Allegheny County Fair. I recall the first and only time we went. There were kids laughing, lots of animals, the smell of fried dough and I think hot dogs and tons of carnival rides. The “peculiar” memory? Well – this is where I learned I hate carnival rides as I “lost my cookies” on something called, THE ROCKET!. (Sorry if TMI!)
I only mention the above memory to say that I have let my decades old fear of Angelica go as I returned to this town earlier this summer. The old memories have been replaced by new ones. I now see beyond the carnival scene and learned to enjoy the lovely streets sprinkled with Victorian homes, antique shops, and small eateries.
Favorite Angelica “hot spot” – The Canteena which was exceptionally fun as it reminded me of college town fare and drink. Plus, this place was a stone’s throw to antique shops that had lots of toy and game memorabilia.
Fun fact about Angelica – this is the town that was purportedly named for Angelica Church – the beloved sister-in – law/ love interest of Alexander Hamilton. With less than 1000 residents, Angelica has seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity due to some savvy Main Street planning and the connection to the Broadway show- Hamilton!
About three weeks ago I visited Jamestown, New York for probably only the second time in my life. The first time was en route to Chautauqua Lake . In fact, many people have made Jamestown a “drive through” destination versus a place to stop. My money is that Jamestown will now be a very “trendy” place to visit with thanks to some new awesome attractions – the I LOVE LUCY Museum (two actually) and the National Comedy Theater. I am only going to whet your appetite about these places in this blog. Soon, I will be dedicating my blog to a more in-depth look at these attractions. By the way- the National Comedy Center is INTERACTIVE and open captions all film content for the Deaf.
However, IF you can’t wait – enjoy the photos below and click the links to go their respective websites.
I OBVIOUSLY have a keen interest with travel. And, I find it sad and disheartening that some families cannot travel or experience area attractions because they have family members that have unique challenges (eg. Autism, Deafness, mobility issues’ etc.). I really, really, really would like to address these issues in upcoming blogs and add links to destinations, hotels, airlines and more that are dedicated to inclusion and allow for all families to enjoy!
IF you have any information – please use this contact form and I’ll get back to you asap! Thank you.