Predator. Viper. Red Hawk. Though these could be the monikers of assassins in Kill Bill: Volume 3, they're actually the names of a few of Darien Lake Amusement Park's thrilling roller coasters. Eleven daring rides greet the adventurous and include rides like classic wooden coasters the Ride of Steel, which boasts speeds of up to 75 mph and a 205-foot plunge. But spending a day here isn't just about the scream-inducing rides. The park also features water excursions and kid- and family-friendly rides, such as the nostalgic Grande Carousel and the Moose on the Loose ride, not to be confused with the less popular Mole on a Stroll.
Those interested in aquatic fun can venture into Splashtown, Darien Lake's adjoining water park. There, people of all ages enjoy looping tube slides, a heated lazy river, and the popular Tornado—a 132-foot-long tunnel that shoots you into a giant funnel at 20 mph. And if one day isn't enough time, check out Darien Lake's lodging options, which include camping, glamping (ready-made campsites), RV rentals, and cabins.
Owned by David Mann Cyrkin—a ninth-generation IJO jeweler—and his wife Denise, David Mann Jewelers has been selling high-quality, custom-designed jewelry to the Genesee Valley community for 57 years. Along with adorning gemstones and helping clients design the one engagement ring to rule them all, David Mann carries collections from designers such as Elle and Parle. Trick out dull limbs with a Chamilia charm ($27+), a trinket from Beads by Betsy ($50+), or a silver bracelet ($15+), or keep ears anchored firmly in place with earrings ($20+). A hand-blown glass holder for rings ($25) gives the glitzy a stylish way to store all their precious bands and cereal-box decoders. David Mann will also happily appraise ($50+) your ornaments, determining if your Green Lantern power ring is authentic by testing its ability to affect yellow objects. In addition to designing and selling beautiful baubles, David Mann also performs expert ring sizing, jewelry repair, and cleaning.
Back in 1827, Rolling Hills Asylum was known as the Genesee County Poor House?a government-run self-sustained community for the impoverished and needy. Orphans, widows, the mentally unstable, physically disabled, and criminals all resided within its walls. In 1938 came the addition of The Genesee County Infirmary. There are over 1,700 documented deaths buried in potters field, with hundreds more unaccounted for.
Backed by all this dark, rich history, it may come as no surprise that the spot now known as Rolling Hills Asylum is believed to be one of the most haunted sites in the country. Disembodied voices and ominous sounds, people, are experienced within the walls of this asylum. To let the public investigate these supernatural happenings, the site hosts numerous tours classic horror movie nights, Para-Celebrity ghost hunts, and other special events. Public and private ghost hunts, meanwhile, provide a more interactive way to explore the building?and can last up to an entire night. RHA is open year-round for both public and private tours and ghost hunts.
Spruce Meadow Farm is owned and operated by Al and Karla Deacon, who lovingly tend to the 40 horses that reside inside a complex of three riding rings?including an indoor ring?and two barns. For the past 20 years, the couple has been assisting and administering year-round lessons for riders of all ages, guiding trainees toward stronger bonds with their equine counterparts. Their lessons detail proper mounting, grooming, and tacking techniques, and culminate with safe cool-down exercises rather than unsafe attempts at horseback surfing. Al and Karla also assist equine enthusiasts through walker-led pony rides and ferry services geared toward off-site rides. Gift certificates are also available, to give the gift of riding to friends and loved ones.
Owner Crista Botticello was only 19 when she opened Ooo La La’s doors to the East Aurora community, but her fashion-forward tastes suggest an intimate acquaintance with trends in America and abroad. That unique sensibility is reflected in her boutique’s selection of casual apparel and formalwear, which includes dresses, jackets, jewelry, and handbags designed by emerging locals or renowned artisans from New York and Los Angeles. Nestled in an idyllic brick storefront, the spacious store often hosts special events, such as fashion shows that benefit local charities or show off the cummerbund’s underappreciated versatility.
At Designing Dish, brushes flit quietly across the surfaces of ready-made ceramic bowls, piggy banks, and mugs. Art-deco blocks of color, portraits of loved ones, and the fingerprints of youngsters leap from the newly colorful pieces, dappled with color from the studio’s range of paints and glazes. A kiln uses powerful heat to make the works of art more colorful and solid so that they can be passed down through generations like a razor for shaving off all the hair from a family curse. In addition to ceramics, the instructors offer lessons in glass fusing, metal stamping, and copper enameling.