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.
Founded by the architectural adepts of Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo Tours educates residents and visitors alike on the architectural heritage of the city and simultaneously raises funds for ongoing preservation efforts. More than 20 available walking tours, which vary seasonally, highlight such treasures as Buffalo’s most hallowed restaurants. The Parkside Neighborhood tour grants glimpses of an angular abode designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who often used 1:16 models of his old projects as straight edges when designing his new ones. A historical Crime & Scandal tour explores Prohibition-era haunts and old presidential philandery. Boat, bus, and bike tours, alternatively, give hooves a break while their owners cruise down the Buffalo River, visiting War of 1812 battlefields or four of Buffalo’s museums.
Tours operate year-round, exploring city hall and downtown by winter and other locales daily from May to October. Members gain access to members-only events, often at a discounted rate, as well as a regular newsletter, which bestows information about the area's history, updates from the organization, and detailed landscaping horoscopes.
Open-Air Autobus tours, guided by the members of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, are anchored in affection for the preservation of Buffalo's architecture, landscapes, and other histori-cultural sites. The 100 Years of Bungalows and 'Foursquares' Tour highlights the architectural styles that boomed in the early 20th century, while The Whirlwind Tour, Open-Air Autobus's most popular excursion, provides a fast-paced look at Buffalo's masterworks by Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and more. Tours focusing specifically on Wright and delving into prime historic-neighborhood pockets are also offered; click here to see complete tour descriptions.
Eveningside Vineyards’ owner and winemaker, Randy Biehl, was captivated by the millennia-long history of winemaking. Determined to contribute his own spin on this timeless beverage, he founded his own vineyard, beginning its first chardonnay, riesling, and cabernet franc in 2001. Since then the roster of wines has expanded to include pinot noir, merlot, and many others.
Hidden Valley Animal Adventure's 60 acres are home to more than 30 species of animals—including zebras, wildebeest, and emu—who freely roam and peacefully coexist among the park's rolling plains and lush forests. Here, the park’s safaris leisurely tour through more than two miles of trails that cut through the non-African badlands. Guests hop aboard trolleys, soaking in the scenery as knowledgeable guides broaden their zoological horizons and impart facts about the park. Upon meeting a slew of animals along the path, guests outstretch feed-filled hands to nourish passing llama, camels, and hungry groundskeepers. During winter months, horse-drawn carriages gracefully escort guests through snow-covered paths behind strapping belgian draft steeds.
Located on Hidden Valley's expansive grounds, The Lodge accommodates guests with rustic hotel rooms, and its woodsy event space hosts banquets, weddings, and special events. After daylong romps through animal habitats, guests can partake in locally grown foodstuffs and libations at the Trailside Grill & Bar, sating thirsts worked up while trying to outspit a llama.