What to See Between Cleveland and Buffalo

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Today's Road Trip: Cleveland Ohio to Buffalo New York

Whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, there is no denying that everything is falling magically and comfortably in place for us on this road trip. Today was no exception. We were looking at a 203 mile drive today to get to Buffalo New York. Being very budget focused we would be avoiding toll roads so the drive would take us a little longer because we wouldn’t be able to stay on the interstate the entire way. We were OK with that because the impromptu exploring is 1/2 the fun.

Before we talk about that drive, let’s talk about our morning in Cleveland and our stop at Cuyahoga National Park.

Brandee checking out the Farmers Market

Yesterday, as Zach drove us home from the art museum, he pointed out a fairly large farmers market called the West Side Market. It isn’t open every day, so it wasn’t open when we drove by but lucky for us, Monday mornings the place opens at 7:00 am. Of course, that’s the first place we stopped after we left Zach’s place. Substantially smaller than the massive Eastern Market of Detroit, it was still huge when measured against the ones in our little mid-western town.

The stands full of food had our attention. Brandee and I both had the impulse to buy, buy, buy. We were both looking at different things but the temptation to buy was there just the same. Don’t worry, we resisted the urge. After all, we still had a cooler full of food, the goodies we just purchased in Detroit included. I specifically want to say that the pastries in both markets had looked delicious. Admittedly, if I hadn’t already been detoxing my body of sugar I might have caved and tried some.  Resisting the sweets was good for the blood sugar and the wallet.

As we were nearing the end of the market we found a small booth being set up that looked like it was for photo opportunities. The booth wasn’t completed yet but the gentleman that was setting up the booth stopped us to visit. He asked what we thought of the set up. It was pretty cute and if it had been completed I would have let Brandee take my picture.

Our road trip for the day starts at national park number 2, Cuyahoga National Park. This was a relatively short stop in the morning because we still had a big big day in front of us. In retrospect, I would have slowed down and taken more time here and on the entire trip down. All of the national parks deserved much more time and attention than we gave them. If you are planning a road trip with any of the national parks included, make sure you give yourself ample time at each one to get the full experience. 

The recommendation from Zach was to visit Brandywine Falls in the park. It was close by and we didn’t have to backtrack to get to this part of the park. In addition Brandywine Falls was just a short walk on easy to navigate paths. There are two observations decks with phenomenal views of Brandywine Water Fall.  This 65 foot waterfall was beautiful.

I would personally put it on the must see list if you’re in Cleveland and you appreciate natural beauty. The price is right too. Many of the national parks have an enterance fee, but Cuyahoga does not. At $0, this was once again an experience that we could fully appreciate that fits perfectly into the predetermine budget for this adventure.

Although the park is located in a fairly populated area, this time of year was fantastic to visit because there weren’t many people out and about on the paths.

Plenty of space to walk your pets, let the kids run around or just enjoy the scenery. A true escape from the city while inside the city.

It was a brisk day but we planned ahead before we left South Dakota and we were well equipped for the chilly breeze that was in the air while we were there. No matter the season you are traveling in, it’s always important to be prepared for the weather conditions that may arise.

Once we had our fill of the views it was time to start the trek to New York where we would meet one of our favorite hosts after a couple more stops along the way.

Our next stop on this leg of our road trip was unplanned and was about an hour into our drive. Brandee made an impulse decision to veer off the interstate and check out Geneva On The Lake. This trip is all about pulling over when we see something cool or interesting. We came across the sign for this little gem of a town so we took the 15 minute detour to find it. 

This little boardwalk town is nestled on the shores of Lake Erie. It was obvious that we were not visiting during their tourist season. Most of the fun little boardwalk shops were closed, but none-the-less, it was a cute little place.

The main street through town was right on the shoreline and you could see the sandy beach area where residents and guests to relax and go swimming. You could see the closed up shops, restaurants and amusement park rides would offer something for the entire family. A little off the beaten path but still known enough to cater to the tourist crowd, it would be worth another stop if I were traveling through during the warmer months. 

Back in the car and moving on, we continued seamlessly through the upper corner of Pennsylvania allowing us to count 2 more states today in our journey. We didn’t spend any time in Pennsylvania this time around but don’t worry, we’ll be back in a couple of weeks to spend some quality time in this state.

Our next detour came about 10 miles past the New York boarder. I-90 turns back into a toll road once you hit New York so to avoid those, we were taking the highways. An added bonus is that the highways give us a lot more flexibility in finding and seeing some hidden treasures of towns and activities that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. 

We’ve found quite a few on this trip already but the one we happened to stumble upon today was the Barcelona Light House in Westfield New York.

The highway led us right into Westfield and the lighthouse is situated on Lake Erie overlooking the Portland Harbor. More firsts for the list. Brandee’s first time ever seeing a lighthouse and a harbor. That, coupled with my love for anything water related ensured that we would get out and have a look around. We learned the interested fact that this was the first natural gas lighthouse in the United States. The lighthouse is no longer in operation but it still stands and is registered as a historic landmark. Very cool.

We continued on to Buffalo where we would meet our hosts for the night. They were  among our favorite couchsurfing experiences. I’ll be talking about that next week. Be sure to check back or subscribe to be updated as new posts are published.

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