Beaver Island State Park stretches out over 950 acres at the southern end of Grand Island, on the shores of the upper Niagara River. The park's sandy half-mile beach welcomes swimmers and boaters. Nearby, an 80-slip marina with a boat launch lets mariners set sail in boats, kayaks, canoes, or origami yachts made from newspaper. Landlubbers swing clubs at an 18-hole championship golf course, venture down biking and hiking trails, and unpack picnic baskets on the park's scenic grounds. Guests seeking a break from the sun can visit a nature center with interactive exhibits on local flora and fauna. Guests also can drop by the River Lea house and museum, home to the Grand Island Historical Society and constructed by Grover Cleveland's cousin. In the winter, the park hosts snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers willing to brave the frigid air and rabid snowmen.
Course at a Glance:
When water freezes it not only expands, it makes for great grace and sport. At Mitchell Skating Center, experienced coaches take advantage of that fact to lead figure-skating and hockey classes for everyone aged 4 to adult. Those 30-minute lessons ensure individualized attention and cater to all skill levels. During classes they teach basic skills and even have walkers so beginners' wobbly legs won't send them tumbling too often. Private lessons are available as well, and, when ready, skaters can join teams to experience the icy thrill of competition.
The 18-hole Audubon Golf Course stretches along the southeastern edge of the University at Buffalo's North Campus. The quiet pop of clubs against golf balls has drifted across the green fields since the town of Amherst opened them to players in 1942. The 6,635-yard test is characterized by slim fairways and dry, punishing waste areas that work to keep golfers from shooting the par of 71. Though course designer William Harries did not make water hazards a prominent feature, two holes do force players to fly their golf balls over Ellicott Creek.
Course at a Glance:
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.