Development of the Roycroft Campus began in 1897 by author, lecturer, and entrepreneur Elbert Hubbbard, who sought to create a utopian society of artisans in reaction to the mass production of the Industrial Age. Drawing on inspiration by leaders of the arts-and-crafts movement in the UK, Hubbard founded the Roycroft Press to produce monthly publications, books, and elaborate conspiracy theories. After gaining international recognition for an essay he wrote in 1899, Hubbard was able to further expand and promote the Roycroft community, erecting 13 additional buildings on the campus over the next decade.
In its prime, the community was home to 23 presses and more imported handmade paper than all American printing institutions combined. More than 500 resident artists worked in wood, stained glass, and copper, and Roycroft became a thriving mecca for craftsmen, authors, artists, and philosophers. In 1986, the campus was designated a national historic landmark. Today it is home to 9 of the original 14 structures, preserved and restored throughout the last 17 years by the Roycroft Campus Corporation and open for exploration during guided walking tours.
Despite spending most of their 125-plus-year history as a minor-league organization, the Bisons began play as a major-league club from 1879–85. All told, nearly 3,000 players and managers have donned the Bisons uniform, including 20 who have been immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Currently, the Bisons compete every summer for an International League title, as well as the Thruway Cup—a regional- and bragging rights–based trophy chased by the Bisons, the Rochester Red Wings, and the Syracuse Chiefs. The Bisons have done half of their competing since 1988 at Coca-Cola Field, which boasts the largest video board in the minors and an infield kept moist by hoses that spray water and not soda as the field’s name would suggest.
Currently celebrating its 43rd season, the U.S. Sailing Association–accredited Seven Seas Sailing School of Buffalo offers landlubbers a taste of the aquatic life aboard sailboats manned by U.S. Coast Guard–certified captains. The team regularly exercises budding sailors' sea legs with certification courses and a seven-part Basic Sail program, and has also instructed students with multiple sclerosis and worked with the Sea Scouts to construct the world's first brick sailboat as part of a mission to take down rogue lighthouses. Seven Seas' headquarters on the Buffalo Ship Canal, complete with on-shore barbecues, a gazebo, and dockside gardens, hosts regular Friday-night family Sailabration events that combine food and fireworks with lively cruises and contests. When not sailing through their own programs, Seven Seas' captains and boats have been featured as crews in The Sullivans and Bruce Almighty.
Enveloped in cool lake winds and showers of sunlight, Bait Master Charters' boats have sailed the waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario since 1992. Each of the company's two fishing boats boasts cabins, private bathrooms, and decks, along with professional downriggers, outriggers, planer boards, and dipsy divers. Onboard, experienced fishermen guide customers on private fishing charters, scouring Lake Erie for walleye or combing Lake Ontario for salmon, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, and gold coins. Upon the trip's closure, the staff cleans and packages all catches so that customers can bring them home to cook.
The 12-foot-wide vertical wind tunnel at Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center stretches 20 feet to the ceiling. Inside, it churns with currents of recirculating air—a system that allows its operators to control the wind conditions and temperature regardless of outside weather. Padded walls and floors, as well as trained instructors, keep those inside safe as they're borne aloft by currents of up to 120 miles per hour. Instructors prepare adventurers—who may be as young as 7 years old—for these turbulent conditions during preflight training sessions, during which they divulge flight physics, safety, and communication hand signals. They also encase their visitors in all necessary safety gear, such as helmets, pads, flight suits, and invisible force fields.
Led by head coach Jesse Myers, who made several significant player acquisitions before the season, the Rochester Rhinos look to ramp up their scoring prowess for 2012. A member of the USL Pro league, the team incites cheers from loyal fans and whimpers from jostled gophers when playing on its home pitch at Sahlen's Stadium.
The dedicated teaching professionals at Village Glen Tennis Club oversee a wide variety of programs for adults and juniors of all skill levels, earning the club recognition as a Top 50 Tennis Welcome Center of 2007 from the U.S. Tennis Association. This honor followed on the heels of a major renovation of the club’s facilities in 2006 by a new management team, who modernized the six hard and eight clay courts and brought in new nets instead of pealing white picket fences. Today, players can take up the game through a series of classes that help them progress alongside players with similar abilities or hone specific strokes through drills designed to isolate and improve their technique. Players excited to show off a shiny new forehand or a pitch-perfect grunt can do so through the club’s adult leagues or socials.