Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Autumn Road Trip Part 2: Cleveland, Buffalo and Beyond!

Welcome back to our autumn road trip travel-blog! When we left off we'd just pulled out of Akron and a fabulous afternoon at Tiki Underground. Next stop: Cleveland!


I admit that I was a little anxious about our day in Cleveland, since we were scheduled to shoot at three locations, all carefully scheduled and coordinated. We got a bit of a later start than anticipated, due to some last minute shopping needs for our first shoot, at A Christmas Story House, but we needn't have worried. The people at A Christmas Story House were wonderful and I can honestly say that shooting there was one of the best experiences I've had doing this show. We were in the house from "A Christmas Story!" Sitting at their table! Pretending to taste Lifebuoy soap! It was unbelievably fabulous.

Rowley Inn, the bar and restaurant across the street from the house, HIGHLY recommended!
Our next stop was Porco Lounge and Tiki Room, which was chosen by Food Network as one of the best tiki bars in the country in 2016.  We always like to get our initial shots at a bar during the day, before they open, to avoid copyright issues with any music they have playing during business hours. Owner Stefan Was was there to greet us and we got our shots, although the real Porco fun came in the evening. Stefan and his crew were amazing to us. We sampled delicious cocktails, local liquor and...malort! We'd heard legends about malort, which is considered a dare in most circles. Malort is Swedish for wormwood and malort is incredibly bitter. However, it was not nearly as bad as I'd feared. We also sampled an amaro that was even more bitter, which, heaven help me, I actually liked! My taste buds must be seriously out of whack!

The sampling of the malort.

In between visits to Porco we shot an episode at the Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick, which will be online tomorrow, cocktail included! The Buckland Gallery, which packs a lot into a very small space, is the collection of Raymond Buckland. He began collecting in 1966 and the collection boasts everything from Ancient Egyptian ushabtis to documented items from the Salem witch trials. Pretty amazing! The museum also happens to be inside of A Separate Reality Records, so you know some record shopping happened! I don't know how, but I managed to get zero photos of the experience.

Speaking of shopping, we also managed to wedge in a visit to Suite Lorain, the "vintage department store" which I've been hearing about for years. Department store is right! There were rooms I didn't even get a chance to visit! I did, however, emerge with some Christmas and Thanksgiving items I can't wait to use!

After our whirlwind day in Cleveland we set off for Tonawanda New York and Cats Like Us, a store I've been visiting online for years and which I eagerly anticipated seeing in person. It did not disappoint. Andrew and Julie Ann were so sweet and welcoming and accommodated our every need. Some shopping happened there, too. It was a good trip for shopping!

We were hungry after all that shooting and shopping and took one of Andrew's suggestions and hit Swiston's Beef & Keg for lunch, which was nearby and the sort of place I adore: a time capsule with great food and drink. We sampled two Buffalo food legends in situ: beef on weck and wings.

We even managed to squeeze in an unplanned bonus visit to Niagara Falls! I'd never been before and can now check that one off of my kitsch travel card!

We followed that with a lovely evening with Andrew and Julie Ann. I would return to Buffalo in a second. We had a great time!


The next day it was time to head home. The day started out pretty uneventfully - a fairly long drive on I-90 on which we saw some pretty fall foliage but not much else. But Paul had suggested we have lunch at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, so we had to get off the nice even highway. If I'd known what I was getting into I might have protested, but I was eventually (after a couple of beers) glad we did. Brewery Ommegang was a long way from I-90 on some of the dinkiest country roads I have ever seen and I've driven across the country many times. I was pretty sure we were on private property at some points along the way. I expected Ned Beatty to pop out in front of us at any moment, but the only thing that jumped in front of our car was a stag. Yes, I was able to stop, but I was ready for that beer.

Thank heavens.

After Ommegang it was another FIFTY MILES on country roads to the highway that took us home! Highlights of that leg were times when the pavement ended and the goat. Believe it or not, the stag was not the strangest animal we saw in the road that day. A little black goat, just as proud of itself as it could be, was hanging out in the road, causing what passed for a traffic jam on that little highway. At that point in the journey I was ready to see a UFO land. However, I was glad we took that route, in spite of the seeming endlessness of it, because it DID eventually end, in Roscoe New York, home of Prohibition Distillery!

We shot an episode at Prohibition Distillery last year and love them to pieces! It was about 6:00 PM on Saturday and we weren't sure the tasting room would still be open. Happily for us, it was! We were able to (re)sample all of their offerings, replenish our supply of Bootlegger 21 gin and bourbon and they even gave us tacos! It was the perfect way to wrap up our trip!

We're home now, which is great, but I have to say I love being on the road. I really want to incorporate more road trips into our show. If you have a place you'd like us to visit, please let me know! We just might!

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