Among rock gardens, stone pathways, and the old-growth forests of the Allegheny Mountains, Hilltop Lodge's redwood cabins proffer comfortable rooms near breathtaking nature. Sitting 2,217 feet above sea level, the cabins house two full-size beds and private bathrooms, while providing overnighters with access to private campfire areas. Inside the redwood lodge, built in 1928, chefs whip up Italian specialties, seafood, and hearty cuts of meat to refuel stomachs after days of golfing at nearby greens, exploring the outdoors, or duct-taping broken branches back onto trees.
During visits, travelers can enjoy Allegany County attractions—including fishing, hunting, and horseback riding—read books on the stone patio, or meander through the rock garden bordering Hilltop's pond, reciting poetry or reading the contents of cereal boxes aloud. Before departing, travelers can stop by the gnome-themed gift shop, which allows customers to take a bit of forest magic back home.
Since 1910, Hallmark has stocked its shelves with a wide variety of greeting cards, gifts, and thoughtful keepsakes. Patrons can write a formal request for better candy from neighbors with Halloween greeting cards ($0.99+ each) or record a personalized greeting card to document a baby's first words in English or made-up baby language. Keepsake ornaments ($9.95+) inspired by the memorable Peanuts comic strip feature Snoopy, Lucy, and Charlie Brown decked out in Halloween costumes, and a variety of scrapbook kits and photo albums help to preserve memories without having to pickle the brain. A large selection of wrapping paper, ribbons, and bags encloses gifts in layers of festivity.
Diners at Dina's mull over a unique menu of healthful eats crafted from fresh, local ingredients. Succulent starters include the bacon-wrapped dates, stuffed with Stilton blue cheese and almonds under a sprinkle of balsamic syrup ($9.95), and the baked brie, buoyed by an orchard of apples, grapes, and pears ($9.95). Share a slice of the boss gourmet pizza, plastered with mushrooms, sausage, green peppers, kalamata olives, and mozzarella ($17.95 for a large), or monopolistically hoard entrees such as the chicken parmesan ($18.95) or Cowgirl ribs. During a.m. hours, diners can nosh on massive pancakes ($7.75) or eggy burrito bombs ($8.75) in the open air of Dina's sidewalk seating, or lounge amongst brick-bedecked walls of the upstairs loft while cooing sweet nothings to the eatery’s sandwiches.
Erma “Mama” D’Avolio arrived at Ellis Island in 1935 from Collarmele, Italy, with an armful of children and a headful of recipes that soon gained her notoriety throughout Little Italy. Though an excellent cook who honed her skills over decades in the family restaurant, Erma swore that her delicious dishes had but one secret: the highest quality olive oil she could find. Inspired by her example, her grandson Danny Gagliardo opened D’Avolio Olive Oils & Vinegars to honor her and offer the best varietals from around the world. The store sources its extra-virgin olive oils from California-based Veronica Foods, whose husband-wife duo has spent decades roaming the globe to find the most interesting oils.
Elsewhere in the store, balsamic vinegars come ready to drizzle over desserts, flavored salts offer zesty alternatives to bland white crystals, and ready-to-eat appetizers cut down on party prep better spent hilariously coating the foyer floor in olive oil. While shopping, guests can avail themselves of the helpful staff for suggested pairings to help experimental cooks create the perfect dish.
In the winter of 1995, a few New Yorkers on a skiing trip to Vail were so inspired by the area's bounty of craft breweries that they decided to return home and start their own, Ellicottville Brewing Company. Nearly two decades later, the brewery's two locations in Ellicottville and Fredonia have built up a diverse repertoire of 25 beers produced by master craft brewers via an authentic Hungarian brewing system. These range from crisp lagers and dark ales brewed year-round to experimental, hop-heavy, and small-batch varieties produced according to the season or the whims of the local czar.
EBC even lifts the veil on its brewing operations with regular tours that demonstrate the standard brewing process and include tastings.
EBC also pairs its brews with a menu of East Coast American and English pub grub. Chesapeake Bay crab cakes and chili-steamed mussels pave the way for heartier entrees, such as Texas-style dry-rubbed beef brisket, ale-braised lamb, and wild-mushroom risotto.
To the Spicola family, wine isn't simply something sipped on at dinner or during a party. Rather, it's the family heritage, which forms a bridge between generations. Today, Dominic Spicola runs the Winery of Ellicottville with his son-in-law, but years ago, he worked alongside his father, Francesco, an Italian immigrant schooled in his home country's winemaking tradition. Together, the duo crushed and pressed annual harvests into barrels of wine, making sure their relatives had enough to fill glasses at dinner and water balloons at family picnics throughout the year.
Today, Dominic and his son-in-law mesh this Old World wisdom with New World techniques to craft chardonnays and merlots, reds and whites. They sell their bottles from an unassuming shop on Monroe Street, where sky-blue walls, family pictures, and shelved knickknacks surround a sun-splashed bar.