By Mary Heyl

Where has the beautiful fall foliage caught your eye this month? Perhaps you enjoyed Ellicottville’s Fall Festival last Saturday or went on a picnic at Allegany State Park on Sunday. Whatever your plans are during these final weeks of October, make sure
Randolph, N.Y., nestled in the southern part of Cattaraugus County, is first on your list of places to visit!

If you and your family are looking for a unique adventure this weekend, consider visiting an alpaca farm. Just a glance at the alpacas at Sue Bean’s farm, A Slice of Heaven Alpacas, located on Pope Road in Randolph, reveals that these sweet, docile cousins of the camel are a joy to all who meet them. Although alpacas are generally shy animals, they are receptive to visitors’ strokes and curious gazes, for no other animal of that size is as soft, loving, and yes, litter-trained as the alpaca. Walk inside Sue Bean’s beautiful gift shop, Simply Natural, and explore the luxurious gift items made from alpacas’ fleece. Warm socks, monogrammed alpaca blankets, and handsome hand-knit gloves and scarves are just a few of the items available for purchase at Simply Natural.

Also on Pope Road are several Amish homes and businesses, as this road is one of several that are part of Cattaraugus County’s Amish Trail. Breathtaking views of the foliage are juxtaposed against the vast expanses of Amish fields, where you just might see a few hand-tied haystacks. Whether you’re looking for a tasty donut or butternut squash, hand-painted signs will direct you to the right place.

Motorists in search of hardier fare, like hand-crafted furniture or hand-stitched quilts will also find helpful homemade signs guiding them along the way. However, if the idea of driving through Amish country with only these small markings intimidates you (forget about using GPS!), then fear not. Start your journey in downtown Randolph, where every Main Street business has copies of the Amish Trail guide, complete with a map and Amish business directory.

Once you’re downtown, however, you may find yourself hesitant to leave!

Why not book your weekend at the Inn at One Bank Street, a beautifully remodeled 1904 firehouse that has four guest rooms, including two comfortable suites.

Visitors can start their day or pause for refreshment at one of several restaurants downtown, such as Pete’s Place, which has the best burgers in town. Enjoy lunch and breakfast daily at Vern’s on Jamestown Street, or, if you’re lucky enough to be in Randolph on a Saturday, have a fish fry at BB’s Family Restaurant on Main Street.

The wearied traveler should book a massage at Senn-Sations Salon and Day Spa in one of Randolph’s most beautiful Greek Revival historic buildings. Then discover the various shopping opportunities on Main Street by starting with Randolph Retail Company, home of unique gifts, home décor, and beautiful ladies’ clothing. Venture next door to Destination 129 Main, which houses antiques and furniture, as well as a ceramic shop, Ceramic emPOURium. Knitters and crocheters will be delighted to find Yarn for Ewe, the next shop along Main Street. Check out all types and colors of yarns, from wool to cotton to acrylic, sock yarn, lace yarn, crochet thread, and much more!

Weekends are the perfect time to visit Randolph, but keep in mind that although the shops are closed on Sundays, most restaurants are open on that day.

Although there are many communities with fun places to shop and dine, Randolph is unique in that it is a center of learning and creativity. On Saturday, Sept. 20, Randolph celebrated its first annual Class Kick-Off, where community members and visitors were invited to the shops along Main Street to explore the various classes being held throughout the fall and winter.

Learn knitting and crochet at Yarn for Ewe, paint and glaze ceramics at Ceramic emPOURium, or take painting classes and miniature garden classes at Randolph Retail Company. Get fit with dance lessons, kickboxing, or yoga at The Village Dance Studio or take sewing and quilting lessons at Betsey’s Country Shop. Students can take just one class, which is ideal for out of town visitors, or sign up for a series of classes, typically at a discounted rate.

Potential students can visit to contact these businesses for more information about classes, or to find out about all of Randolph’s businesses, restaurants, and upcoming events, including Country Christmas on Dec. 5–6.