A winter escape right here in Batavia
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A winter escape right here in Batavia

Feb 1, 2016

Winter has decidedly shaken off her ambivalence. With wide open lakes, the lake effect snow machine is in full operation. It does not take long for thoughts to turn to warmer places and escape. While some will head south and to other places for a long escape, most are left to local escapes and flights of fancy. Indulge this flight of fantasy and take in some great, local escapes

Decked out in a pink fedora with my traveling bag, sunsets by the sea were already in my eyes. By evening, I would be in a sweet tropical paradise. My personal jet would soon be gassed up and ready for flight.

The Batavia Airport is perhaps the closest local airport for many in the area.

“The amount of activity varies depending on the time of the year,” said John Woodworth, Line Service Worker.

The airport is a general aviation airport, with all kinds of air traffic including: helicopters, personal, commercial, and corporate-jets. While many aviation enthusiasts have been known to park their car and watch planes fly into and out of the airport, the public is welcome to come into the facility to watch planes take off.

“Everyone can come in. It is really hit or miss,” Jason Long, Batavia Airport Supervisor, said, in referring to the plane traffic at any given time. Weather and timing for private pilots are large factors.

As for places to find swank fedora hats for your escape, there are those, too. Mulberry Station in Pembroke is an antique store that has everything from vintage fedoras to antique automobile memorabilia. It’s a place where history and nostalgia lend themselves to a different type of shopping experience.

You can also try Charles Men’s Shop in Batavia. They carry fedoras and an extensive hat line in a personalized and unique shopping environment that rivals exclusive stores in larger cities.

“We have seen a resurgence in hats,” said Dave Howe, co-owner of Charles Men’s Shop. “I think the winter we had last year has really helped a lot. It’s a lot of fun,” said Dave Howe, co-owner of Charles’ Men Shop.

Decked out splendidly, I was on the move. Descending onto the runaway, I could see lights of the harbor and the famous concert hall in the distance. I could almost hear the melodies inside, unusual, new, and resonating somewhere deep.

Bent Opera House is a local landmark in Medina that was a one–time concert and performance hall and is on its way to being one once again. Built in 1865, its website (www.bentshall.org) describes it as one of the oldest theatres in the nation. With the building’s exquisite sandstone exterior and renovations well under way, the Orleans Renaissance Group is leading the charge to return this landmark back to its full former glory. Along with physical restoration, the hope is to make it a 21st century, viable, multi-use building suitable for business, entertainment, culinary and agri-tourism ventures. Tours are available by appointment and so is a fascinating history.

“It’s a piece of sleepy history,” said Chris Busch, president of the Orleans Renaissance Group. “It truly is quite extraordinary. The light in the afternoon on a sunny day is quite spectacular. It’s very, very pretty.”

After partaking in an afternoon concert, my brief walk back to the hotel left me warm and looking to cool off. The indoor/outdoor pool beckoned, as did the marina nearby.

Does the water call to you, when you think of escape? While a drive to Silver Lake or the Oak Orchard River will find icy or frozen waters this time of year and stored boats, there is a unique beauty to the water this time of year that is worth a drive. If you need the water, but also the warmth, Palm Island Indoor Water Park in the Clarion Hotel Batavia offers tropical respite from the biting cold. The park is a special feature for both guests staying at the Clarion, and those who would like to come in and just be in the swimming area. There is also an arcade, concession stand, and restaurant on the premises. There are general admission fees and spectator fees described at their website, along with special hotel packages (www.palmislandindoorwaterpark.com).

“Considering the weather outside, our weather is 85 degrees,” said Evan Sakeeb, manager at the Clarion Hotel. “It’s a great destination for everyone.”

After my swim, I simply wanted to rest my snow shovel-weary muscles. I just wanted to bask and take in the intoxicatingly gorgeous flowers that dotted this exotic landscape. After leaving behind endless white stretches of earth, I thought this must be Eden.

It is possible to find flowers in our area this time of the year that were at least started in local greenhouses.

“Our idea of beating the winter blues is people coming to see us and standing in our greenhouses and saying ‘ooh’ and ‘ah,’” said Aaron Harrington of Harrington’s Greenhouse.

They have started their geraniums pots at their Elma site and sell flowers out of their Batavia store. He said they always welcome tours.

It is quite possible to get rid of the winter doldrums in our area. With places for your ideas to literally take flight; outlets that are not the usual outlets for fun and high quality shopping; exquisite architecture to observe; frozen natural wonders to marvel at and enjoy; tropical places to swim; and new, fresh flowers to see and smell, winter really isn’t so bad. There’s great escape right here.


by Nicole Kelly, The Daily News
For online article, click here!

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