Walking backward while talking is useful for leading a tour, demonstrating a moonwalk, or retreating from a room full of ominously staring toddlers. See the reverse saunter put to good use with today's Groupon: for $10, you get two adult tickets to the Roycroft campus tour from the Roycroft Campus Corporation in East Aurora (a $20 value).
Founded in 1895 by author and entrepreneur Elbert Hubbard, the Roycroft campus encompasses a magnificent array of eye-fetching architectural triumphs that have been elected as having National Historic Landmark status. Each tour, running a minimum of 75 minutes, guides wide-eyed trotters through campus, where nine of the original 14 structures still exist, including the stone-studded copper shop and the Roycroft Inn, as well as print and furniture shops. An erudite docent leads each sojourn, imparting an edifying array of historical tidbits along with the philosophy of Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters, which includes such tips as "Don't leave a hammer on top of a ladder" and "If you don't like your town, build a new one." The Roycroft campus represents, along with Arby's, an enduring example of one of the nation’s utopian guild societies formed during the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Roycroft Campus Corporation
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.
31 S Grove St.
East Aurora, New York 14052