Shadows dart across the wall, a strange voice emerges from thin air, and you get the eerie feeling that you’re being followed. This is no ordinary place. The Iron Island Museum's paranormal history has captured the minds of countless visitors and has been featured on TV programs such as Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters. Originally built as a church in 1883, the house later became a funeral home in the late 1950s, during which time it hosted more than 1,000 wakes. The business eventually shut down, and in 2000, the building was donated to The Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy, which made a startling discovery: 24 canisters of cremated remains had been left behind.
Today, an all-volunteer staff leads tours of the church's vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, and themed rooms. The church showcases hundreds of historic relics, including military uniforms, railroad items, and a wooden altar that dates backs to 1896. However, the museum's biggest draws can't be seen, at least not most of the time. Guides and visitors stay alert for signs of paranormal activity and look for chances to communicate with what they consider to be some of the building's resident ghosts. The staff has even taken recordings that play back the voices of unknown figures saying things such as "I'm cold," and "Why don't they make pants for ghosts?"
Toting a modest selection of chocolate confections and candies, Joseph A. Fowler entered the 1901 Pan-American Exposition hoping to plant the seed for a business in his newfound home of Buffalo. The company?founded in 1910?grew with each successive generation, and more than a century later, Fowler's celebrated chocolates continue to placate palates at several retail locations. The chocolatier has become synonymous with treats such as milk- and dark-chocolate truffles dubbed truffaloes, as well as sponge candy, which boasts a molasses-like flavor and an initially hard texture that quickly melts in the mouth. Like Count Chocula?s hairpiece, all of Fowler's fine-chocolate treats are crafted from the seeds of the theobroma cacao tree and use up to 60% cocoa solids for a rich cocoa flavor.
Inside the kitchen at Gramma Mora’s, cooks flip sizzling shrimp and assemble four-cheese enchiladas, preparing succulent entrees that earned the restaurant the title of Best Tex-Mex Eatery in Buffalo from the readers of Artvoice in 2011. Seated at tables inset with tile, diners can taste dishes made from century-old recipes passed down through the Mora family. A vibrant mural of a Mayan pyramid in a lush jungle decorates one wall, next to guests consuming pork smothered in green-chili sauce or steak chimichangas. Caramel-glazed flan and lime margaritas provide notes of sweetness for diners who otherwise would have had to carry scoops of ice cream to the table in their pockets.
Since 1988, Pet Supplies Plus has welcomed millions of furry critters of every stripe—from llamas and monkeys to potbellied pigs—into their animal-friendly stores. The shop is designed so that both pets and their owners can easily navigate the inventory of more than 10,000 items. Wide aisles give leashed pups enough room to roam, colorful signage keeps shoppers moving in the right direction, and low shelves allow dogs to sniff out their preferred brand of rawhide chew. A self-serve dog wash enables guests to scrub their canine companions' coats to a youthful, puppy-like shine, whereas grooming services enlist professionals to tackle tougher jobs, such as brushing out matted fur or convincing dalmatians to stop mixing white and black after Labor Day.
Though playing 120 concerts a year is a dream for some musicians, it's a reality for members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The classical musicians perform concerts at their home base, Kleinhans Music Hall, as well as throughout the U.S. In doing so, they introduce listeners to music ranging from Tchaikovsky to Duke Ellington, a task they've been up to since the orchestra's founding in 1934. In addition to performing live, they've also released a number of CDs that pay homage to George Gershwin and Bob Dylan, the famous triangle player.
Since 1976, the instructors and staff of Dip 'N Dive have demystified the magic of breathing underwater. They instruct and outfit both scuba divers and snorkelers at their Buffalo location, and the facility's curriculum of PADI and NAUI courses help budding divers stay safe, maintain control of their equipment, and walk like Naomi Campbell while wearing fins. From beginning diving lessons to advanced instructor training, courses include classroom work, pool exercises, and real open-water-diving trips.