6 Things to Try This January

By Eva Potter

Ellicottville’s fabulous shopping, featuring chic winter ensembles, interesting gifts, beautiful jewelry, high-tech snowsports gear, a variety of holiday trinkets, signature Ellicottville wear, gourmet foods, local wines and craft beers, along with fine dining and live nightly entertainment in many establishments are part of what draws visitors and regional residents to this charming town. But there’s much more to do and January offers many events that your whole family will enjoy.

If you’re in the mood for some fresh air, then head to Allegany State Park on Jan. 1, 2016, for a First Day Hike. Suit up and head to the Summit Area Warming Hut for a self-guided hike on the Red House side of the park. The off-trail walk is only about 1 mile long and easy to moderate in intensity with some minor inclines and declines. Just follow the old mountain bike trail to Stone Tower and make a loop back along the warming hut. There’s even a scavenger hunt along the way. The event runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and you can pick up your trail map and guide in the Summit Warming Hut, and be sure to dress for the weather. If the weather permits, feel free to bring your snowshoes, trekking poles or anything else you need for your hike. For more information, please call the Environmental Interpretation Dept. at (716) 354-9101, ext. 236, or email Katie.vecellio@parks.ny.gov.

Canadian Friendship Week runs Jan. 4-10 and offers Canadian visitors special deals, including accepting Canadian cash and checks on par when purchasing lift tickets and rental equipment at Holiday Valley. Don’t forget to check out the specials and deals down in the village as well!

Head for Holiday Valley and take part in the World’s Largest Beginner Ski and Snowboard Lesson on Jan. 8. Learn a Snowsport Month starts with a high-energy event taking place across the country with an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records. Take a free beginner lesson at 10 a.m. that day at Holiday Valley. Your ticket purchase includes rental equipment and a lift ticket for beginner’s lifts. Call (716) 699-3506 for reservations.

Nothing goes better with beer than some soulful blues and this year’s Winter Blues and Brews weekend, Jan. 22-24, will cover all the bases. This year’s event has been kicked up a notch with loads of talent from around the region and beyond coming to Ellicottville to perform live. Plus, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association will be in the village to offer you all sorts of great beer tasting opportunities as you try to shake off the winter doldrums. You’ll find talented musicians at the Gin Mill, Balloons, Ellicottville Brewing Co., Madigan’s and other establishments where you can look forward to hearing the talented sounds of Miller and the Other Sinners, Tommy Z Band, Never Been, Hoagy and the Blues Bombers, QPhunk and more. Check www.ellicottvilleny.com for a schedule of Winter Blues and Brews locations and bands.

It will be hard to miss the distinct rumbling sound of Harley-Davidson motorcycles on Jan. 23 when the Harley-Day Valley event returns to Holiday Valley. Head to the second floor of the Lodge and enjoy a day filled with giveaways, food specials, entertainment and more. You can even “test drive” the Jumpstart, a real Harley simulator complete with shifting gears. Everyone is invited to stay for the Saturday night party with live music and prizes.

Looking for an alternative slope sport? Then head to Holiday Valley Tubing Park on Rt. 242, just 4 miles north of Ellicottville. Almost anyone can go tubing when two handle-tows pull you up the hill and all you have to do is let gravity do the work as you slip and slide down your lane. The 22, 900-foot lanes drop 100 vertical feet for an exhilarating ride. And according to Snow Tubing Source, the Holiday Valley Tubing Company is the fifth largest park in the U.S. A free shuttle will take you to the park from Holiday Valley’s Resort Services Center every two hours.

These and other fun things to do around the village will make Ellicottville a hopping place this January!