Winter isn't the only season in Buffalo

What a Buffalonian can do for Spring Break

The Spectrum

It seems that the extravagant, drunk Spring Break beach parties of MTV and Girls Gone Wild are inaccessible to the average college student. But that doesn't mean you have to stay inside your apartment all day, venturing out only for food and coffee.

It may seem like snowy Buffalo simply isn't the place to be during Spring Break.

With just a little bit of gas money and Google, you can prove that assumption wrong. Throughout Buffalo are treasures that can lead to days spent outside, perusing shops or admiring internationally renowned artwork. Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to relax and experience the city for which UB is named.

Elmwood Village and Allentown

You're not going to get a taste of local shopping in the form of the Walden Galleria, the Eastern Hills Mall or the Niagara Falls Fashion Outlets. You've got to hop on the 290-W, to the 190-S and make your way to the Elmwood Village, which was voted one of the 10 Greatest Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association, according to Visit Buffalo Niagara's website. Only a few blocks away is Allentown, "one of the first and largest residential historic districts in the United States" that is "simultaneously high society and bohemian," according to the Allentown Association's website.

In addition to offering some of the most creatively painted homes in the city, Elmwood and Allentown are the hubs of eccentric boutiques, caf?(c)s and bookshops where's it easy to while away the hours.

Across from the Lexington Co-op, a locally operated and sourced cooperative market, is the consignment store, Second Chic, located at 810 Elmwood Ave. Selling both vintage and modern men and women's clothing, accessories and shoes, Second Chic never fails to deliver a unique shopping experience. The store recently expanded, now encompassing two large rooms.

ShoeFly, a shoe store at 801 Elmwood carrying the quirkiest of stock, "concentrates on styles and brands that are not readily available elsewhere in Buffalo [including] TOMS shoes, Frye, Poetic Licence, [and] Seychelles" according to the store's website.

Just a block south of Second Chic and ShoeFly is the Globe Market, at 762 Elmwood. Globe Market serves delicious, healthy, locally sourced foods, including quiches, wraps and sandwiches. The restaurant is winner of local newsweekly Artvoice's Best Salad in 2005 and from 2008-2012, Best Soup in 2011 and 2012 and Best Small Caterer in 2012, according to the Globe Market's website, this is just the place for much-needed refreshments after shopping.

Heading just a mile closer toward the city will bring you into Allentown, the home of many local bars, about a dozen art galleries and the Bubble Man (look above Jim's Steak Out on the corner of Elmwood and Allen and you just might see him).

Rust Belt Books, just off the corner of Elmwood and Allen, is by far the best bookstore in the city. With literary criticism, poetry, old editions of Playboy and foreign literature at significantly marked-down prices, Rust Belt is the key bookstore for college students on a budget who are looking to educate themselves beyond a syllabus. The bookstore also holds many of the readings for the Poetics Plus Program, organized by Dr. Steve McCaffery, a UB professor.

Though Second Chic caters to both modern and vintage clothing, Black Cat Vintage at 85 Allen St. exclusively carries restored vintage clothing and accessories for men and women.

Only a few doors down from Black Cat Vintage is the Allen Street Dress Shop, which changes their window display daily. The shop sells higher price-point garments than the vintage shops, but the website encourages visitors to "wander among a few of our gypsies and roses" to discover nearly one-of-a-kind pieces.

This is just a taste of Elmwood and Allentown; exploring the rest is up to you.

Delaware Park

Buffalo's perpetual winter may have you believing that it is our sole season, but have no fear: predicts that during the week of Spring Break, average temperatures will be in the low 40's. Spring Break is the time to start getting Vitamin D back in your system and the upcoming sunny days are the perfect time to rejuvenate with a stroll in the park.

Delaware Park is part of the Buffalo Olmstead Park System, which is comprised of six major parks and various parkways and traffic circles throughout the city, according to the park system's website.The park offers ample space to wander through the willow trees lining Hoyt Lake or take a moment to rest in the Japanese Gardens,

For those of you familiar with New York City's Central Park, you've already seen the work of Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of the park. Olmstead was invited to Buffalo in 1868 to create "the first system of parks and interconnecting parkways," according to the Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy.

From the Park you are within walking distance to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Buffalo History Museum, Forest Lawn Cemetery (seriously, its beautiful and not that morbid) and the Elmwood Village.

The Screening Room

A hidden gem of Western New York, the Screening Room Cinema Caf?(c), at 3131 Sheridan Drive, recaptures the movie-as-event experience," according to The Buffalo News.

Located behind the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in the Northtown Plaza Business Center, the Screening Room is the only boutique cinema in the area, showing "classic, foreign, cult and new independent movies," according to the cinema's website.

Bob Golibersuch, the president, founder and director of programming of the Screening Room, believes the alternative seating in the cinema is its main draw to visitors.

Golibersuch described the seating as 'communal,' allowing large groups to sit together rather than stretched across a room, like at a typical multiplex. Golibersuch said audience members can sit on couches, at a bar or at small tables.

The venue is small, seating just about 90 people and Golibersuch said on weekends it is typical to have 60-70 people at the shows.

"Even if the movie is showing on TV at the same time, [the Screening Room] will fill up," Golibersuch said, as the cinema offers that 'special something' sitting at home often lacks.

The venue has snacks, beer, wine and floats available during shows, giving the cinema an ambiance unavailable in typical multiplexes. The Screening Room is not just a place to watch a movie, but it also allows you to enjoy the company of others while taking in works of cinematic art.

Whereas multiplexes cost about $10 per person, seeing a film at the Screening Room typically costs $5-$7. The cinema's website also says that gift certificates are available at the door, offering deals like $25 for two tickets, two popcorns and two drinks, including beer and wine.

During Spring Break week, Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie will be playing Tuesday, Thursday and Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Marnie follows the bizarre behavior of a woman who embezzles from her employer before relocating and repeating her crimes. If Hitchcock doesn't appeal to you, Wednesday is Poetry Night at the Screening Room.

Taking a night during Spring Break to see a film that is both inexpensive and out-of-the-ordinary at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe may just become a cult tradition as you sit back, sip some wine and enjoy the show.

Letchworth State Park

Although there is plenty to do within a few miles of campus, taking a day trip offers an escape from looming piles of homework and academic pressure.

Chances are you'll get lost almost immediately and the maps aren't particularly helpful, but suddenly you'll look around and see why Letchworth is the "Grand Canyon of the East." The Genesee River snaking through the park has created an incredible gulf in the land.

With 66 miles of hiking trails, three waterfalls as high as 600 feet and an imposing railroad bridge, Letchworth State Park is a natural must-see.

A few other notable places to try and visit during break include the Buffalo History Museum, the Buffalo Museum of Science, the two Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums (located within walking distance of each other on Porter Avenue and North Srteet), Our Lady of Victory Basilica, Chestnut Ridge Park, the Erie Basin Marina and the Outer Harbor.

I can't possibly discuss even a fraction of what Buffalo has to offer as the weather warms up. Take the time off to discover Buffalo for yourself.