This week Kim and Tamara are catching up on their respective August travels. Kim shares what it is like to cross the land border between Canada and the USA right now, plus what you need to know before you go. Meanwhile, Tamara almost made it to the Canadian border on her Western New York road trip, but not quite. She tells us about her eating adventures along the Upstate Eats Trail in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, New York.
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Crossing the Canadian Border
- The land border is still currently closed for Canadians looking to enter the USA, but US citizens are permitted to visit Canada.
- To cross the border, US citizens need to show a negative COVID test result taken within 72 hours of crossing (note 72 hours NOT 3 days so test timing matters). Tests need to be PCR tests done through a lab (not an at-home test).
- Anyone age-eligible needs to be fully vaccinated to enter Canada and be prepared to show your vaccination card. Children under 12 crossing with a vaccinated parent may need to be tested again at the border crossing.
- You also need to have a quarantine plan (identify a hotel where you would stay if you needed to quarantine in Canada.)
- Canada can also do random COVID testing at the border.
- You currently do NOT need a negative COVID test to return from Canada to the United States if you are crossing via a land border (anyone arriving into the US by air still needs to have a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of boarding the plane.)
- You can upload all your documents into the Arrive CAN app prior to travel.
- Keep in mind that if you are driving through Western Canada you will want to pay close attention to any wildfires and road closures when planning your route.
- Be sure to check the Canadian government website for the latest updates.
Upstate Eats Trail Road Trip Stops
- The Upstate Eats Trail runs from Binghampton to Buffalo to Rochester to Syracuse, New York with local food stops along the way
- This area also has a lot of history with the Erie Canal, suffrage movement, and Underground Railroad
- See Tamara’s full blog post about the Upstate Eats Trail
- In Syracuse, Green Lakes State Park is home to a glacial lake with a beautiful blue color like you see in the some of the lakes up in Canada.
- In Downtown Syracuse, Dinosaur BBQ is a popular restaurant with excellent barbecue.
- Salt City Market is a food hall in Downtown Buffalo with many different types of cuisine from Burmese to Jamaican, Thai, and more.
- The Marriott in Downtown Syracuse is a beautiful historic hotel and has a great location for exploring downtown.
- On the way from Syracuse to Rochester, stop in Auburn, New York at the Harriet Tubman House National Historic Site and the New York State Equal Rights Center.
- In Rochester, stop at Bill Gray’s for their red and white hot dogs with meat sauce. One location is right on Lake Ontario. Nearby you can grab a soft serve frozen custard Abbott’s.
- Rochester is famous for the garbage plate, which was invented at Nick Tahou Hots. A garbage plate has potatoes (usually fries), macaroni salad, and is topped with either hamburgers or hot dogs and covered with meat sauce, onions, and other toppings.
- If you are visiting Rochester with kids, be sure to visit the Strong Museum of Play. This interactive museum focuses on play and has areas with interactive play as well as a Toy Hall of Fame and toys from different decades.
- High Falls is another spot to check out in Rochester, which is a 90′ waterfall in the center of town. There is a nice bridge and viewing point overlooking the falls.
- Genessee Brew House is located right near the falls. Famous for Genessee Cream Ale, they now have a craft brewery and restaurant.
- Buffalo is known for a wide selection of food beyond wings, 35 craft breweries, 5 distilleries, street art, history and a revitalized waterfront.
- Tamara stayed at the Downtown Marriott in Buffalo in the Canalside district, which is where the boat tours leave and where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and water bikes.
- Buffalo River History Tours runs boat tours that explain the history of the river and the grain silos that line the banks.
- River Works is another entertainment district along the river that is home to ice hockey/roller derby rinks, a ropes course, a brewery, restaurant, tiki bar, entertainment venue and soon a Ferris wheel and zip lining.
- Silo City is home to a large number of grain silos and elevators that are being converted into lofts and commercial / exhibition space. Duende is a fun bar in Silo City that features live music on some evenings, outdoor space, and fun cocktails or local craft beers.
- General Mills still has a plant in Buffalo that manufactures Cheerios and Lucky Charms, and the area around it smells like cereal.
- There are many breweries in Buffalo and one favorite is Resurgence Brewing.
- Ted’s Hot Dogs is famous for its spicy meat sauce.
- Anchor Bar is home to the original buffalo wings.
- Other local Buffalo foods to try include beef on weck, sponge candy, and Buffalo-style pizza.
- If you enjoy architecture, be sure to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House.
- See more things to do on a Buffalo girls’ trip.
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.000] – Kim Tate
We’re saying goodbye to summer. Here’s the latest of what we’ve been up to.
[00:00:15.440] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:29.940] – Kim Tate
Today’s episode is brought to us by our continuing sponsor, Room Steals. Room Steals is an extension that you can add to your browser. And while you’re shopping for your next hotel room, you can see if you’re getting the very best rate.
[00:00:43.230] – Tamara Gruber
I don’t know if I had mentioned to you, but my family is planning on doing a Thanksgiving get away this year with all of Glenn’s family. It is a multi generational trip, hopefully to Aruba. It was something that was supposed to happen a couple of years ago and was cancelled. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but right now that’s what our plan is. And so I was like, you know what? It’s Thanksgiving week. I don’t think that there would be any deals on Room Steals, but let me just give it a quick look.
[00:01:08.730] – Tamara Gruber
So I looked and we were going to do the Ritz Carlton in Aruba, and it looks like we could save almost $900 if we use Room Steals because it depends on what room types. Some would be like $400. Some would be 600 or would be $800. So now I need to go and tell my father in law, but he’s going to pay for quite a few rooms. So if you think about if that’s like $800 per room, you know, when you’re doing, like, five rooms, that’s a lot of money.
[00:01:37.110] – Kim Tate
That’s a lot of money.
[00:01:37.930] – Tamara Gruber
It’s a lot of money. So anyway, if anyone is thinking of planning some travel, I definitely suggest checking out Room Steals. As we mentioned, it’s a Chrome browser extension that works alongside all of these different booking sites, like hotels or Booking or Expedia or even Google. And the nice thing is, you can see what the rate would be for free. And then if you want to book that rate, that’s when you can sign up for Room Steals membership. And they are offering our listeners 20% off the annual membership fee with the promotion code, vacationmavens. It is Vacation Mavens. All one word, all lower case. Go ahead and check it out at Room Steals dot com.
[00:02:18.200] – Tamara Gruber
So, Kim, I was hoping to use this episode to talk about our big announcement of a big trip that we’re doing that we’re going to see each other on for the first time in how long? I know. I don’t know. I don’t think we have an announcement to make.
[00:02:33.330] – Kim Tate
I don’t think we can announce it yet, but I can at least say what we’re crossing our fingers for. We are crossing our fingers that Tamara and I will be going to Portugal in October. So I’m still hoping I’m crossing my fingers and my heart.
[00:02:49.080] – Tamara Gruber
I think anyone that’s trying to plan any trips right now is very much in this state of is it happening? Is it not happening? Especially if it’s international. We’re all trying to make the best decisions and look at the most recent information. And just recently we’ve gone through, do we do this or not? And we’re like, okay, Portugal has the second best vaccination rate in Europe. Their cases are flattening out. They’ve got all these great measures in place.
[00:03:18.380] – Tamara Gruber
Everything was coming together, all getting organized. We’re ready to go. And it’s like one of those things where just when you’re about to pull the trigger, it’s like because Europe announces that they are taking the US off of their safe list of countries that they’re accepting into the European Union. So at first that’s like, what is that going to mean? You read into it a little bit more. It looks like it probably will be mostly targeted towards unvaccinated travelers, but it’s really up to each individual country now to determine what they’re going to decide to do.
[00:03:55.110] – Tamara Gruber
And so I think probably a lot of them will do is that you need to be both vaccinated and have a negative test for arrival and then implementing that vaccine passport that they’re using throughout Europe to be able to check into hotels and go to restaurants and things like that. So it is definitely something to keep your eye on very closely as it can change at anytime.
[00:04:18.380] – Kim Tate
I mean, we’re over a year into this, so hopefully we’ve all learned to keep things fluid, but it’s definitely a a situation that’s up in the air. And like Tamara said, we’re just trying to really follow all the rules and regulations, make sure. And the thing is, you have to make sure you’re doing the research yourself because I saw someone recently. They showed up to the airport and they had done their own research and knew that they had to get a test and all this stuff. But people were at the airport and being denied their flight because they didn’t have a test to show the airport check in, and they were complaining.
[00:04:52.500] – Kim Tate
Well, the airline never sent us this information. They never told us this was needed, so you can’t rely on getting your information from one source. You have to really kind of do the leg work yourself.
[00:05:03.120] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of that, like, just not understanding what needs to happen. And I think sometimes I pay a little too much attention to the news, but you need to definitely follow all that information. I just put up a little Instagram story the other day just with some steps to take, make sure that you register for the Smart Traveler enrollment program, the Step program through the State Department, make sure you are following and read through everything on the embassy page to understand what the rules are and following those kind of resources, especially on social media, is that probably gets updated more quickly.
[00:05:39.220] – Tamara Gruber
So you definitely need to get some information. But things are always changing even here in the US, right. We were just kind of talking about how difficult it is even to plan a travel podcast, because some of the things that we wanted to talk to you guys about this fall. Now it’s probably not the best time to visit those destinations. So between fires and storms and other things, travel is continued to be fluid. But road trips tend to still be good. And you and I both made a road trip recently, right.
[00:06:09.540] – Kim Tate
[00:06:10.360] – Tamara Gruber
[00:06:10.890] – Kim Tate
I think it’s hopefully still in our ability. However, there’s some interesting stuff, even with road tripping, it we had experience when we were in Canada, but yeah, I think that things right now. I mean, just as we’ve always said, things, you have to really pack your patience and do your research and be flexible and fluid.
[00:06:29.340] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So you got to finally visit Paul’s family, which I’m so glad you were able to do that. So what was it like driving across the border? I guess both ways, especially since we’re a little bit unequal partners in that. We are now allowed into Canada. But Canadians are not allowed to cross our border. So there’s all these different rules to sort out. We talked about it a little bit last time, but now that you’ve been through it, maybe you could just talk about that would like, yeah, definitely.
[00:06:53.880] – Kim Tate
So it’s probably good to let everyone know what the experience was. In actuality, we got up to the border. We made good time. We were the only car at the border crossing where we went, and we were using one of the border crossings. That’s not as busy up here. We have three that we well, actually, there’s four that we can use kind of across the Washington, our side of the border that we do when we’re traveling up to Edmonton, we normally pick ones that are a little bit further east than the traditional Vancouver ones.
[00:07:22.280] – Kim Tate
So we passed at a slower location, and it was we were the only people there. We got up there and they wanted to see our passports. And then I had put our vaccine cards in my passport and it dropped, of course. And he’s like, I just want your passports now. So he didn’t want to see my card, but he saw that we had it. I’m guessing. So he gave that to us and looked at our passport, scan them and everything. And then he wanted to see our negative COVID test.
[00:07:52.420] – Kim Tate
And so I pulled mine up on my phone. But the girls, they don’t have digital ones because they’re minors, so they don’t have the digital account. So we had gotten print outs in advance, and he looked because I know that mine. We actually we got tested separately and mine and Mia was exactly three days before. And whereas Paul and Lizzy there was two days before, but early in the morning and he looked at his watch because he was looking for the 72 hours. So I was curious how that would work if they really hold to the 72 hours or it would be just kind of like three days before.
[00:08:28.270] – Kim Tate
But he looked at his watch because ours got processed at 05:00 p.m.. And he wanted to make sure that the time that you got the test or the time that the results came for us. It was the time that the test was administered. So what happened, though, is we collected. We gave our sample probably around 1:20, but the test results said sample process at 05:00 p.m.. So there was like a holding period before they actually ran our sample. But our results didn’t come in for two days after that.
[00:08:58.220] – Kim Tate
But it’s not based on when you’re basically, I would say, is have your sample collected no sooner than 72 hours before you think you’re going to pass that, you know, that border. And I know there’s different rulings on if you’re originating in one place and then connecting somewhere. And I think there’s some stuff with that as well.
[00:09:20.230] – Tamara Gruber
Well, you really have to account for traffic there, too, just yet.
[00:09:23.610] – Kim Tate
I know that’s what I was saying. So that’s where we were, because it’s like, okay, well, we want to leave the house at this time, but knowing my family, we’re probably going to know we give it that time. So I want to give myself an hour cushion. But then we had, like I said, we had quite a bit of a cushion from just when the processing was when the test was processed. It was a few hours after we’d given our samples.
[00:09:48.540] – Tamara Gruber
Did you do that through like, a standard state testing site. We did pharmacy or anything.
[00:09:54.690] – Kim Tate
We did it through our normal clinic site. So our hospital, like our doctor’s clinic has a drive through clinic set up for all the patients. And so we were able to just drive through there and do our little swabs and stick and imagine it has to be PCR. It has to be PCR. And Canada does not allow those Abbott ones.
[00:10:19.370] – Tamara Gruber
Unless they’ve started self administered one.
[00:10:21.800] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it has to be through a lab and stuff in there. They have different rules. So you just need to really make sure you’re doing it the right way and stuff. So we got them and no problem. So he checked that. Now we had used the app that was the arrive can app, and I had it pulled up and in there. And again, I wonder how much they noticed this and don’t ask for it then, because he didn’t ask us for vaccination cards, and he didn’t ask to see the app.
[00:10:46.760] – Kim Tate
But I had it already, like in the hand on my lap. So then we got through. It’s kind of funny how we did this because we drove separately. So Paul and Mia were right behind us, and they got up there and he wanted to see their arrive can, and he wanted to see their vaccination cards in addition to everything else. So I don’t know how that worked, but yeah, so we had everything in order. So we had the arrived can filled out. The tricky thing about the arrive can is they actually make you create a quarantine, not create, but tell them what your quarantine plan is because because they can spontaneously request a test at the border.
[00:11:24.150] – Kim Tate
And I’m guessing this is done more when you’re flying. But I did have a friend recently say that it happened to their kids because they weren’t able to get vaccinated. But those tests don’t come through for three days or can be three days. And so when they give you the results, they’ve already let you into the country. But when they give you the results, if you’re positive, you have to go into quarantine immediately at that point, and you have to follow that plan that you input into this app.
[00:11:52.290] – Kim Tate
So we just put that we would stay at a residence in that was near his family. So that’s just something to be mindful of that you do have to know what your arrangements will be. And you can’t just say, oh, we’ll just stay with family because it has to be in a situation where you can not touch or be around anyone else. So you have to be able to get your own food. You have to be able to not be with anyone who is not part of your traveling party.
[00:12:18.500] – Tamara Gruber
Well, that’s challenging. But you didn’t have to make a reservation just in case.
[00:12:23.220] – Kim Tate
No, I did not have to make a reservation. They just wanted to know what you would do. And I thought for some people who were going to Vancouver, I wondered if you could just put your home address in there and say, hey, I just turn around and go right back home.
[00:12:35.540] – Tamara Gruber
[00:12:36.050] – Kim Tate
But I don’t know if the US. So that was the other. So then we get to the other flip side of it, which was once. The reason we drove up separately is because we actually parked one car at the airport, and we were driving up to together to visit Paul’s family. And then we were able to me and I flew back early on our own to at an airport and picked up the car and drove home because she had a camp that started the day. And normally we do that drive in two days.
[00:13:00.300] – Kim Tate
It’s a little long for a one day drive. So we had that experience when we were ready to cross back in the border, we went through the same again, very small border crossing, and it was closed off. And so I was a little worried because I was like, okay, I didn’t check the hours. But it was like, 10:00 a.m.. I was like, sure, truly, it’s open at 10:00 a.m.. Maybe it’s a weekend. And there was a border patrol agent there and got out of his car and it was like, pull forward.
[00:13:25.670] – Kim Tate
And I was like, okay. And I rolled down the line. I’m like, Is this crossing not open? And he’s like, Well, the border has been closed since March of 2020. Don’t you know that? And I was like, no we are Americans. And so he’s like, sdo you have American passports? And I was like. Yes, here they are.
[00:13:42.030] – Kim Tate
And so he looked at him and he took them. And I was like, we’re just visiting my husband’s family, my in laws. And we’re just coming back home. And he’s like, okay, and move the thing. And he’s like, drive forward to the booth. So we drove forward. I went through the process. And that was so like, they didn’t want to test. They didn’t want anything. They were just like, welcome home. Then we went through.
[00:14:02.340] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I was listening to the Miles to Go podcast. And he also recently had gone up to Canada, I think, to visit family. And apparently you don’t need a test to come back into the US when you are at a land crossing. Yes, you only do for a flight. Which seems so odd. I don’t know why you wouldn’t just have the same rule. But did you know that ahead of time, I had you gotten tested, just in case.
[00:14:27.690] – Kim Tate
When I recorded the previous podcast, I had mentioned that we were going to buy those Abbott Binax and just do a testing. But then I had two friends who had both crossed recently. One had been crossing regularly to visit her family, and then the other one had just gone up to visit his family. But both of them said they’ve never been. There’s nothing with testing required when you’re crossing at the land border. So we did not buy those Abbott tests. And we just took it at words at the word.
[00:14:56.040] – Kim Tate
And sure enough, they did not ask for any kind of test. So interesting. Yeah, it is kind of interesting. I don’t know how that works, but we’re thankfully lucky enough that we didn’t have to do that extra step and expense.
[00:15:07.050] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Glad everything worked out and that you have a family.
[00:15:10.620] – Kim Tate
It was so nice. I’m so glad we went. And it was good to be around my, you know, one niece, she had a new baby. So we were able to see him. And it was great.
[00:15:22.310] – Tamara Gruber
It was nice.
[00:15:23.400] – Kim Tate
We went to West Edmonton Mall. So for those people are curious, we didn’t do it. We did mostly just hang out with family. But we did go out to eat a couple of times. They had some patio seating. And with it being summer, it was actually really nice to be in Edmonton and we went to West Edmonton mall, and the girls got some back to school shopping done. And we happened to be during a big hockey tournament. So there’s a bunch of kids playing. They have a big ice rink in the middle of their West Edmonton wall.
[00:15:53.520] – Tamara Gruber
As they do in Edmonton.
[00:15:54.990] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. It’s like, is anyone surprised that they have a big hockey rink? If anyone doesn’t know West Edmonton mall, I used to be kind of the largest mall in North America, and it and Mall of America, which is in Minnesota. I think they used to go back and forth. I don’t know who’s the current reigning champion because they would add on and do different things. But anyways, while the girls were shopping, we kind of stood and watched the kids play a hockey tournament. And it was a fun, very Canadian that.
[00:16:27.300] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it was. And we got Tim Hortons coffee. So Tim Bits, it was a very Canadian esque situation. My sister in law is actually a pilot, a small plane pilot. She’s working up her. She just got commercial pilots, but she’s working up her hours and stuff. But she took Paul and the girls up in her little four seater plane up for a flight one day. So that was another fun thing they got to do. And they loved that. It’s neat. Yeah. I stayed on the ground.
[00:16:56.350] – Kim Tate
I did not go.
[00:16:57.540] – Tamara Gruber
I’d be in after my one experience with the glider plane. I’m okay on small planes.
[00:17:04.130] – Kim Tate
I remember when you and I have that chance to go on the helicopter in Ireland.
[00:17:09.170] – Tamara Gruber
And we both were like.
[00:17:10.250] – Kim Tate
No, maybe not a good idea.
[00:17:11.750] – Tamara Gruber
See the helicopter for me is more about the motion sickness.
[00:17:15.560] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that’s what I was worried about.
[00:17:17.180] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I was little planes. I’m just not a fan of the little plane inside.
[00:17:20.680] – Kim Tate
Yeah. For me, I was pretty sure that I just know I’m not a calm flyer. Like I have fear flying. I used to have it really bad. And then as I flew more, I’ve gotten over it. But turbulence and stuff is just a problem. But I also know on the smaller planes, the motion sickness would really get to me if I couldn’t be looking out continually and stuff.
[00:17:42.110] – Tamara Gruber
Especially when they’re like, oh, let’s Zoom in to see the scenery. I really enjoyed our float plane that we did in Alaska when we went to see the bears and stuff, but it was short. So I did get to the motion sickness wasn’t too bad, but yeah, well, I was up right near the Canadian border. I thought of you.
[00:18:01.870] – Kim Tate
Exactly. You didn’t quite cross. Yeah. Had you considered it?
Initially, I was tempted. But it’s funny because a friend of mine met me in Buffalo, and I’ll explain the trip in a minute. But she’s from New Jersey, and she actually never had Tim Hortons, which here in New England. There are some Tim Hortons around okay. So it’s not like a brand new thing, but she was like, oh, what is that? I’ve never heard of it. And we’re like, what have you never heard? It’s important. So anyway, we’re very used to our Dunkin Donuts here.
[00:18:29.570] – Kim Tate
And, yeah, that’s something. I don’t even know if I’ve ever had a Dunkin Donuts. I can’t think if I ever have.
[00:18:37.360] – Tamara Gruber
Well, you know, I’m not a coffee person, so I don’t get into that hole to be all I can evaluate the Donuts.
[00:18:43.490] – Kim Tate
Yeah, I have to say that Tim Hortons, I like Tim Hortons more than McDonald’s, but that’s about where the level is at. So for people who are wondering, it’s not like, you know, in Seattle, I’m so spoiled because we have a coffee stand booth of, you know, like, small source coffees at every corner. So it’s a little different. So it’s definitely like, drive through coffee. So I don’t know if I could compare honestly what Duncan ones versus McDonald’s versus Tim Hortons. I don’t know if I could do any justice to that in there.
[00:19:13.740] – Kim Tate
Yeah, but, yeah, I want to hear all about because I know you went up to Buffalo to do a big foodie trail. So what was that like?
[00:19:20.150] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I had talked to the tourism board from Visit Buffalo back in January. So this is a trip that they hosted me on because what intrigued me about Buffalo is it kind of has some similarities to where I live here in Providence. They talked about a big revitalization of their waterfront, a good foodie scene, craft breweries, things like that. So I thought, you know what that sounds like a fun summer getaway summer or fall. I didn’t really want to go up to Buffalo in the winter. And so they’ve put together this entire Upstate Eats trail.
[00:19:55.190] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s really more Western New York. You could hit Binghamton, which is down more like Upstate, but a little closer to where the Finger Lakes and then cut through the Finger Lakes up to Buffalo. What I did, though, since I’m coming from Rhode Island, is I went right across Interstate 90, and I stopped first in Syracuse and spent a night there, and then one night in Rochester and then three nights in Buffalo. So I got to experience three stops along the Upstate Eats Trail and kind of got to see the unique foods of that area, which I just have so much fun discovering what foods are really unique and special.
[00:20:34.050] – Tamara Gruber
And sometimes it’s just like a twist on something like a hot dog. But it’s just the thing that they have up there. So I found that when I moved to Rhode Island, so many people that live in Rhode Island have lived there all their lives, and they may not recognize that these things are not everywhere. But when I moved to Rhode Island, I’m like, oh, there’s so many very unique foods. And I remember writing a post about the must try foods in Rhode Island. So it’s become my thing to really discover those unique foods that you only find in certain places.
[00:21:04.500] – Tamara Gruber
And I found a lot of other things along the way because that area just has so much history between the suffrage movement, the Underground Railroad, just overall industrialism and stuff. There’s just so much history to explore there, too. So there were a lot of places in between those cities that I wanted to stop at. That I didn’t always have a chance to. So I did a few on the way back. I’m working on a whole blog post that I’ll link to in our show notes when this comes out about the different stops along the way.
[00:21:35.150] – Tamara Gruber
But, yeah, my first surprise was that when I got to Syracuse, they have a glacial Lake there. That is that beautiful color that you see, like in Canada. I’m like, wait, I didn’t know that we had this in New York, but then Syracuse, downtown. Syracuse is big for the University, Syracuse University, but it has a good downtown. There’s a lot of diversity there. I didn’t have. I didn’t get a chance to do some of the things I would have liked to have done because it was a Monday in museums and some other things were closed.
[00:22:08.220] – Tamara Gruber
But it’s also that area is because of the Great Lakes. You see so much distribution and things. So the Erie Canal was a huge deal in terms of getting goods from the Great Lakes down into other parts of the state. So they have an Erie Canal Museum. And there’s also stops along the Underground Railroad. They’re in Syracuse. So the thing that I got to do, of course, was eat. I asked people, where should I eat? And certain places always came up in Syracuse. It was dinosaur barbecue.
[00:22:44.720] – Tamara Gruber
So it was just like a big, famous place for barbecue. Which is funny. I was actually in my grocery store yesterday, and I had to buy a barbecue sauce, and I saw that they have dinosaur barbecue sauce. I’m like, either I’ve never noticed that before or I just didn’t know where it came from. Right.
[00:22:59.330] – Kim Tate
[00:23:00.260] – Tamara Gruber
[00:23:01.080] – Kim Tate
Like the sauce, right.
[00:23:02.610] – Tamara Gruber
I didn’t realize that that was a restaurant. So I did that. And then kind of just spent my time walking around town. And then in the evening, I went to they have a food hall.
[00:23:12.710] – Kim Tate
I love those.
[00:23:13.800] – Tamara Gruber
So this food Hall, Salt City Market, was right next to the hotel where I was staying at, which was like a Marriott, which was beautiful. It was an old historic hotel that had been renovated and changed into a Marriott. And the food hall had all kinds of different cuisine. I had, like, I think I got a Jamaican meat pie. And then they had another place they made, like, homemade, I think, a peach pie, different things. They had Vietnamese and Burmese and Cambodian. So tons of different cuisines that you could try and sample.
[00:23:44.870] – Tamara Gruber
So that was the cool thing. I always like when I see these kind of interesting food experiences. Yeah. Definitely.
[00:23:51.200] – Kim Tate
We were talking about that when I was in Irvine. It’s neat because we get so stuck in kind of the standard stuff. And maybe when you’re traveling far away, you think of it. But yeah, that’s nice.
[00:24:00.980] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And then in Rochester, I went up. Well, first I stopped like an Auburn, and I stopped the Harriet Tubman house and did a tour there, just trying to take in a little bit more of the history. I’ve been through this area a couple of times and stopped at a few historic sites. And we’re trying to put it all together at some point that I’ve seen a lot of it and also in Auburn, and they have an equal rights. It’s like a New York State equal rights center.
[00:24:24.520] – Tamara Gruber
So it deals with women’s rights, civil rights and LGBTQ rights. So it’s like this whole kind of all of the luminaries within New York who have fought for equal rights of some type. So that was an interesting little stop, too. Then in Rochester, I went to a place called Bill Grays, and they’re famous for their red hots. So the red hot and their white hot. So apparently it’s like you’re talking about.
[00:24:52.000] – Kim Tate
Like, the candy, right? No.
[00:24:53.610] – Tamara Gruber
[00:24:54.210] – Kim Tate
[00:24:55.140] – Tamara Gruber
I’m talking about hot dogs. Okay.
[00:24:57.600] – Kim Tate
[00:24:58.410] – Tamara Gruber
It’s confusing, right?
[00:25:00.280] – Kim Tate
That’s what I thought.
[00:25:01.210] – Tamara Gruber
Too, when I saw the red hots listed. So there’s just all these different hot dog joints. They use specific hot dogs that are produced there. And this particular place, Bill Grays, has a white one. So it’s like a white hot dog. Kind of looks like a sausage or something or what. But it’s not those bright red hot dogs that you’ve seen. And sometimes in Maine, those are just kind of crazy from outer space. Hot dogs. There’s kind of like a regular hot dog or a white hot dog.
[00:25:31.170] – Tamara Gruber
But they put a meat sauce and onion and a bunch of other stuff on it. I’m kind of used to usually and onions. Yeah. But it’s not chilly. It’s kind of close. So that’s kind of what makes it unique, like, where you go. And I know how there’s always like, oh, I like this one because they do something in their particular style. I think everyone develops a style that they like. So anyway, I try to wait one just to see what it was like. And it’s fine.
[00:25:59.910] – Tamara Gruber
So I did that. And then I was right on Lake Ontario there. So I took a little to walk on the Lake. And every time I’m on the Great Lakes, I’m just amazed by, of course, how big they are. But you and the beach also felt like it was a nice, soft sand beach. And this is actually really nice.
[00:26:15.840] – Kim Tate
You know, that’s an area I’ve never been to or discovered. So that’s nice. I think it’s I’m sure it feels like it’s overlooked by a lot of people. But I’m sure there’s a lot of people who know about it. Probably it’s probably got a great tourism industry.
[00:26:29.210] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. But I don’t think when you think of New York, you think generally, of course, New York City, you think maybe the catskills, the other index, the finger likes things that we’ve talked about. And I think this section of Western New York isn’t thought of as a tourist destination unless it’s Niagara. But I will say Buffalo is only like half an hour from Niagara Falls, so it’s easy to add in a few days there and expand what you can do in that area. It’s also there’s a lot of great ice cream stand.
[00:26:59.900] – Tamara Gruber
It’s a lot of this kind of, like, fast casual types of food. It definitely brought my tum along, but it was fun to explore the different styles. But one thing that they have in Rochester that is just so cool is the Museum of Play. And I’ve heard about this for a long time. Everyone always says it’s something you have to do when you go to Rochester. So even though I wasn’t going with a kid, I was by myself. I still went to the Strong. It’s the National Museum of Play, and it has this whole reading area where it’s focused on different genre or characters from books.
[00:27:38.710] – Tamara Gruber
And it’s like an amazing children’s Museum, but with a real focus on play. So there’s an area where it has toys from different generations. There’s a Toy Hall of Fame. So it kind of reminds me of a place that you and I went to in Kansas City.
[00:27:55.550] – Kim Tate
Where in Kansas City.
[00:27:57.130] – Tamara Gruber
Where you look back and you’re like, oh, I remember light bright. Remember that. Remember all this kind of different toys? So there’s, like, the nostalgia factor. But then there’s also an area where there’s a whole Sesame Street thing or like a movement thing where you’re building paper airplanes and learning, trying to see how far you can make them fly. There’s a Wegman, which is like the big grocery store chain up there. So it’s like the little like you would go to at a children’s Museum where you’re pretending to shop and pretending to check out.
[00:28:27.820] – Tamara Gruber
And I imagine if I lived up there, I would have had a membership and been taking my kid there all the time. So much fun. They had a whole butterfly garden. There were, like a pinball arcade, like another type of arcade, just so much to do. That’s very interactive. You could easily spend hours and hours. They are you’re with kids. So if you do make it to that area with kids, definitely check out the Strong Museum of Play and also downtown. There’s this area called High Falls.
[00:28:59.080] – Tamara Gruber
That is basically I think it’s like a 90 foot waterfall in the middle of town. It’s like one of these surprising things that you’re in the middle of what feels like not industrial city. But you have a strong presence there of Kodak and some other large commercial buildings. And there’s really interesting architecture downtown. So you don’t really expect to see this big waterfall in town. There’s a great bridge that you can walk and get a good view of it. It’s right by the genes. Have you heard of Genesee Cremale?
[00:29:33.210] – Tamara Gruber
Jenny Cream ale? Is that just like an East Coast thing?
[00:29:36.130] – Kim Tate
But I was like.
[00:29:36.780] – Tamara Gruber
I haven’t heard it very much. I think what people’s grandfather’s drink, it’s like an old cream ale. So it’s like one of the breweries that’s been around for a long time. But now they still produce that. But they also have more of, like a craft brewery side as well. So I actually had dinner there because it’s kind of like the next generation of these original breweries. And I did not try the cream ale, but I tried some others, and those were pretty good. And the other thing that Rochester is really famous for is called a garbage plate.
[00:30:06.930] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s one of their famous dishes that was created. And I was feeling exactly. It was so funny. I was talking to the tourism in person, and she was saying like, yeah, some people are like, why would you want to advertise your city with something with garbage in the name? But at the same time, so many people search for that because they know that that’s the thing to eat there. So it’s like, where are you going to get the best garbage plate. So I went to the place that invented the garbage plate, which is like a total little hole in the wall kind of place.
[00:30:35.970] – Tamara Gruber
But now everywhere you go for dinner, if it’s a casual place has their version of the garbage plate. So they might call it the everything plate or something like that. But it is basically like a pile of French fries, a bunch bunch of macaroni salad, which is like a strange combination to begin with, topped with either like burgers or cheeseburgers or hot dogs without buns. And then on top of that, just like this meat sauce and onions and ketchup and mustard. And who knows what else?
[00:31:07.910] – Tamara Gruber
I’m not even sure. So it’s just like this pile of carbs and meat I just presented to you on a plate. It’s pretty funny. I think it’s the kind of thing where if you are looking for something after a late night, it would hit the spot. I was really surprised at the place that I went to that originated it closed at, like, six. I’m like, is this more like a two in the morning kind of thing to eat?
[00:31:31.730] – Kim Tate
Maybe they need to open up a thing in Colorado or Seattle? I’m just kidding.
[00:31:42.760] – Tamara Gruber
But it was good to experience that because it was something that everyone’s like, you got to try the garbage plate.
[00:31:47.830] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it sounds. I don’t know.
[00:31:50.500] – Tamara Gruber
Oh, well, I like fries. So fries.
[00:31:53.420] – Kim Tate
I like fries, but are you talking about macaroni salad, like the creamy potato salad thing?
[00:32:00.080] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. I thought it was going to be like, Mac and cheese. Yeah. But it’s like macaroni salad, like the mayonnaise based one. Yeah.I like macaroni salad, like on a picnic and stuff.
[00:32:13.160] – Tamara Gruber
But, like, apart from the so it would not be good for the people that are like, I don’t like my food touching.
[00:32:19.670] – Kim Tate
[00:32:20.800] – Tamara Gruber
Definitely not good.
[00:32:21.680] – Kim Tate
My husband is not one of those people. He would probably be if he ate meat. He would be all over it, I’m sure.
[00:32:29.170] – Tamara Gruber
But it’s something like if you go there, you have to try it. Try it.
[00:32:32.870] – Kim Tate
No, that’s awesome. I’m glad you tried it. So you could report back. I’m sure there’s some people listening right now on this podcast. They’re like, oh, yeah. I’m craving one right now.
[00:32:40.240] – Tamara Gruber
And people were, like, telling me where to go to favorite was funny. Yeah. But then I drove from Rochester over to Buffalo, and Buffalo was definitely so fun. I mean, if you’re looking for a place where there’s a wide selection of food, it’s not just Buffalo wings. There are 35 craft breweries, five distilleries. There’s a ton of street art. They have all these different areas that they’ve developed along the river front that are being revitalized. There’s history. So there’s a lot to do there now pretty busy for our three days there.
[00:33:19.270] – Tamara Gruber
So we had a great time. It’s like a lot of what interests me. I think when you go to a place and luckily, the friend that met me, there was not somebody that travels a lot, but she was really happy to have discovered something that she would have never thought to go to. And I was like, That’s what I love to do. And she’s like, Well, I need to travel with you more often. I’m like, yeah, come along.
[00:33:40.060] – Tamara Gruber
So it was fun. But a couple of things that I’ll call out. So we stayed at the downtown Marriott in Buffalo, which is a rate in the Canal Side District. So this is an area that has different boat tours going out from. We took one called the Buffalo River History Tour, and there’s also one that go out more onto Lake Erie. And you can also rent kayaks and paddle boards and even those water bikes if you just want to explore the river front on your own. So you can do all of that rate in this Canal Side district.
[00:34:14.370] – Tamara Gruber
And there’s also a naval or more of a military ships park there. So if you like to climb onto an old naval ships and submarine, that kind of thing. So that would be a fun thing to do, I think, with kids as well. And it’s just an area where they have, like, a carousel. And there’s a little beer garden, and they do a lot of outdoor events. So they would do music there. I know the day that we were checking out, I look down from our hotel room and you could see this big lawn.
[00:34:42.550] – Tamara Gruber
And there was a big yoga class taking place out there because it’s very community driven to have a lot of entertainment, like free entertainment available for people as well. So that’s one area there’s this other area called River Works, which was about a mile from where we were staying. But we walked because it was pretty easy. And there they actually they’re building out more of a whole entertainment center or district. I should say they have a couple of ice or roller banks, so they will do curling, their ice hockey, roller Derby.
[00:35:18.610] – Tamara Gruber
They have a ropes course. There’s a couple of bars there’s a brewery, there’s a Tiki bar. There’s one of those floating Tiki bars that leaves from there as well. And what they’re building right now is like a Ferris wheel. And then they’re going to have zip lining between grain silos and some other rides and entertainment there. So it’s going to be like this whole district. There’s quite a bit of it. They are already and you can tell that they do concerts because the inside of the one restaurant was huge and clearly had a stage where they would have live entertainment.
[00:35:52.540] – Tamara Gruber
So definitely like a fun place there. And another section that’s being developed. It’s called Silo City. So one of the things that Buffalo is really famous for is all these green silos, because their position on the Great Lakes, like corn and wheat would come in from the Midwest. And then they would put it onto trains or into the canals or whatever. And they would also process some of it there. They’re actually still a General Mills plant there. And so when you’re going by, it smells like Cheerios.
[00:36:26.580] – Kim Tate
[00:36:27.570] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So like Cheerios or I don’t know, something very sweet, because what’s the one with the little leprechun, Lucky Charms, because they have a mural right next to the plants with those two things on it. So I’m like, really, it makes you hungry when you’re near there that they have the largest collection of green silos in one area in the world. But a lot of them are abandoned now. And so when you go along the river front, you learn about this history. You see all these big old structures, but they’re like, prime real estate for developing into different kinds of things.
[00:37:01.820] – Tamara Gruber
So some of them this area of Silo City, they’re into, like, lofts. And so that will be like part residential, part commercial. And they have an entertainment space and some of them or they will do, like art exhibits or poetry readings or live music, something like that. And we went to one of the bar. Well, there’s 1 bar that’s there as well called Duende, and we went good cocktails, local craft beer. And they had live music playing outside or just like a very cool settings. So there’s a lot of these cool little places, you know, when you’re just walking somewhere and you’re like, oh, this is neat.
[00:37:40.820] – Tamara Gruber
This is cool. This is not chain restaurants or overly busy, overly commercial. It has this nice modern vibe to it. And so we took a walking tour one day, and we met at one of the breweries called Resurgence Brewery. And again, that was a really cool space that felt like it was probably an industrial building and that’s been transformed into this brewery. And that’s something that we see here in Providence a lot, too. And great beer. So it was a lot of fun. And we definitely did a range of things for the food scene.
[00:38:16.420] – Tamara Gruber
We went to Ted’s Hot Dogs, which is famous for their spicy meat sauce that they put on their hot dog, of course, went to Anchor Bar because Buffalo wings were invented there. Okay.
[00:38:28.330] – Kim Tate
I never knew. I figured it’s funny how that becomes such a thing. Are you a Buffalo Wings fan to start with?
[00:38:37.160] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I love buffalo wings but I like them crispy with a lot of sauce.
[00:38:44.110] – Kim Tate
I don’t like the skin to be kind of rubbery. No, I like it crispy. And I also like lots of sauce. It’s tricky finding those, because so often I find that they’re not fried enough.
[00:38:57.580] – Tamara Gruber
I agree. And I actually will say I Anchor Bar not my favorite wings that I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely a tourist attraction. It’s the kind of thing where you can buy swag from the T shirts and all that. And it’s like a food challenge.
[00:39:10.850] – Kim Tate
Like you have to eat a plate of wings to earn a shirt or something.
[00:39:13.750] – Tamara Gruber
All the locals are, like, the only people that go to Anchor Bar, the tourist.
[00:39:18.380] – Kim Tate
[00:39:19.130] – Tamara Gruber
They have a good business for that. Everyone has their own favorites, and they also have Buffalo style pizza. They have something called sponge candy, which I remember when I was told about it. I expect it to be like those marshmallowy kind of candies that you get in a sampler box. But it’s not. It’s actually like the circus peanuts kind of. And I wonder if it was going to be like that, too, but it’s actually more of like a coffee, like a square, like an inch square crunchy butter crunch or coffee type of candy.
[00:39:51.880] – Kim Tate
So I’m near bubbles in it. That’s where it’s sponge.
[00:39:55.240] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And actually, what we found out was if you just leave it out when it’s not sealed, then it I get spongy. It was not as crispy the second day. Yeah, it wasn’t, again, my favorite, but it was interesting to seek it out. And it’s just one of those things that you see everywhere, and people just don’t understand that you don’t know what sponge candy is.
[00:40:15.440] – Kim Tate
Yeah. That’s funny.
[00:40:16.850] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, it was fun just exploring all of that. I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy the kind of things that I talked about, then give it a shot. Actually, I was looking into flying there, and I think they have direct flights from 20 different cities across the country, so maybe easier to get to than you might expect.
[00:40:38.980] – Kim Tate
That sounds cool. It sounds like you had a lot of good experiences.
[00:40:41.870] – Tamara Gruber
We did, and I got to hang out with a friend of mine that I used to be very close to. That just don’t get to see very much anymore. So that was nice as well. The other thing we did was we visited one of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses.
[00:40:53.960] – Kim Tate
Oh, yeah. I saw that.
[00:40:55.130] – Tamara Gruber
[00:40:55.630] – Kim Tate
That’s the one architect I knew. And you were like, which architect? Yes.
[00:41:00.260] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Exactly. I know it’s pretty easy between his style and the fact that he is probably the most famous architect. It’s an easy guess, right?
[00:41:08.980] – Kim Tate
Exactly. Well, it sounds like we both had kind of a nice little end to our summer, and you got to eat some good food. I got some good family time. And now, as we mentioned earlier, cross our fingers that we will see each other in person in October.
[00:41:24.520] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. We will let you guys know so you can follow along. Yeah. Otherwise, good luck with back to school shall even mention that that are going back to school.
[00:41:33.890] – Kim Tate
Should you even mention what?
[00:41:35.330] – Tamara Gruber
That we both have seniors?
[00:41:38.320] – Kim Tate
[00:41:38.540] – Tamara Gruber
[00:41:40.330] – Kim Tate
For those of you who know that we are in the stressful College application time frame of our lives right now, right?
[00:41:49.210] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Well, especially for me. It’s like the last is the last that it’s like.
[00:41:55.330] – Kim Tate
[00:41:55.960] – Tamara Gruber
The thing of having only one is that it’s your first and last at the same time.
[00:42:00.130] – Kim Tate
Right? I guess for me, it’s also the first one. I feel kind of guilty because my first one’s kind of mad that she didn’t know more advance. And so she’s telling her little sister everything and making me feel really bad. Why didn’t you have me take more AP classes?
[00:42:15.740] – Tamara Gruber
I’m like. I don’t know. So anyways, well, I’m pretty sure if you were, like, take all of these AP classes, she would have said, I don’t want to take all these AP classes.
[00:42:27.260] – Kim Tate
Well, it’s just weird. It’s sad how competitive it’s gotten because she doesn’t love history and routine, so I would never push her into those APS. So she took all the APS she could with math and science. But when you’re going against people who’ve had seven and ten APS, it’s a little hard to show up before, but she’s a great student, and I’m sure she’s going to end up where she’s supposed to end up and have a great College experience.
[00:42:54.170] – Tamara Gruber
I and Hannah will tell her she’s better off that she didn’t take a push because it’s not really fun class.
[00:43:01.900] – Kim Tate
[00:43:02.200] – Tamara Gruber
Exactly. Yeah. So anyway, best of luck to everyone out there this year, back to school because obviously continues to be challenging.
[00:43:12.660] – Kim Tate
Those who are going back to school. Enjoy your travels. I’m on your time not having to manage it, but, yeah. Thanks for joining us again. And we will look forward to talking to you guys again.
[00:43:23.260] – Tamara Gruber
Soon. Take care.