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Birthday Weekend in Ellicottville

I had the extreme pleasure of spending a couple days in Ellicottville, NY. It feels like it is “up North” when it is, in fact, a Ski-Town South of Buffalo. The city is best known for the Holiday Valley Ski Resort not too far from the “downtown” area. It is a small village, but it is a lovely place to visit. My boyfriend’s grandparents have had property there for decades and he says the little town is becoming more of a destination throughout the year

Ellicottville Weekend.

They have a great brewing company in the main stretch, and I wanted to tour their facilities. They offer a tour that lasts about an hour, AND it came with some great samples of their new and seasonal beers…and a cute little engraved glass.

Ellicottville Brewing Co

The young man in charge of the tour was a wealth of information on the brewing process in general, and the specifics of EBC. It was really neat to see all of the equipment that they had…some of it was very old, others were state-of-the-art.

Ellicottville Brewing Co

One of the other great things about the tour was the upstairs/banquet area. The addition is newer (it still smells like fresh-cut wood) and is generally reserved for large parties or weddings. The guide showed us some of the large planks of wood were put together using traditional Amish building techniques without the use of metal screws or nails. The beautiful coloration on the ceiling planks is due to beetles and pests that have been causing damage to trees in the Pacific Northwest… Apparently the beetles dig into the wood and eventually die there, leaving their pigmentation in the wood.

EBC tour

After admiring the woodwork, we went on to sample some delicious beers. They had a small upstairs bar where they offered some of their signature beers and some new seasonal options. Sadly my favorite, the peach beer, is available only at the brewery. **Obligatory birthday photo. Look at my cute little EBC glass!**

The next day we woke up (sort of) early and went on a hike. There is a lot of greenery in Ellicottville, which is great. This area was not far from where we stayed. We went on a short hike here, but had plans to visit the Arboretum, so we did not go too far.

Ellicottville Weekend

There were loads of toads and other wildlife. We didn’t see any foxes, though. That would have really made my day

.Ellicottville Weekend

After our hike, we went and got coffee, a most important ingredient in my mornings.

Ellicottville Weekend

At the coffee shop, we got directions to the Arboretum. The Arboretum was lovely, although it was small. There were many different plants and birds that we saw along the way. My favorite part of the space was the Torii Gates. We have a tiny Torii Gate for the Hermit Crabs, so it made me think of the little guys.

After the Arboretum, we went to Holiday Valley.

Ellicottville Weekend

In the summer and early fall, Holiday Valley has a fun action-filled set up called “Sky High Adventure Park”. The weather was not supposed to hold up all day, so we decided to do the most fun option available. They have this awesome little roller-coaster called the “Mountain Coaster”. It is basically a tiny roller-coaster down the mountain in which you are able to control the brakes and the overall speed of the ride. It was super fun and a little scary in parts. The ride is nearly a mile in length, and my boyfriend and I were able to ride it with no other people on the track. It was so fun, and the perfect end to a lovely birthday weekend.

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TRIP TO GUATEMALA: TRAVELING TO THE MAYAN RUINS AND ANTIGUA

Our trip took us to the countryside of Guatemala. Traveling from Guatemala City to Antigua and the Mayan ruins, we saw many things along the way. I took hundreds of photos on the trip, many of them on the road between the city and the country. Here are a selection of my favorites.

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Despite the clouds, you could see for miles.

Driving through the countryside, this is what I thought ALL of Guatemala would be like. I was surprised how quickly the city stopped and the country began. No suburban communities, housing developments. Just city, then country.

Hotel Mayan
A sign on the side of the mountain. Way cooler than billboards!

One of the coolest things about the Guatemalan roads is their busses. Our guide told us that they are school busses that are drivable but no longer up-to-code for driving in the USA. (I guess all those smog tests really do mean something) I could tell that there were emission problems with some of the busses, but most of them seemed to be a lifeline in the countryside communities. The busses are much like the run-of-the-mill city busses in LA. They always seemed full of people when we were on the road. Often, people’s luggage was stored on the racks installed on the top of the bus. It reminded me of Romancing the Stone.

Cool Bus
This custom paint job is excellent! Is “Patzuneria” the buses’ name?

I think my favorite part about the buses is their fabulous paint jobs. Our guide said that sometimes the drivers will either paint the bus themselves or hire an artist to do the detailing.

Cool Bus
This bus means BUSiness!
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This one was my favorite. A lot of detail went into this beauty.
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A splash of color on a cloudy day!
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You can see some luggage up top.

Once we made it into smaller cities outside of Antigua, I saw the Guatemala I had been imagining. The rural areas were full of farmland and shops selling the necessities.

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I never did find out who or what “Lider” was.
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This looked like a good place to stop where you could get food AND tires for your car.
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Hospital de Los Angeles!
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A handsome building with overgrowth on part of the roof.
Lider
There’s that “Lider” fellow again…
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Dispensa Familiar: a superstore (similar to Walmart). I love their logo.
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A dentist’s office. Love the painting on the wall!
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There were dozens of churches along the road. This one was the only green one that I recall.
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“Welcome to Antigua”

Once we arrived in Antigua, our first stop was in a monestary. It was a beautiful space full of beauty and a little mystery.

A Building in Antigua
A cross. By happenstance or was it painted on?
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Ruins in downtown Antigua.
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I believe that some of the monks were buried in this area to the left.

Our guide said that this was a destination spot for tourists and locals alike. The space housed many private and semi-private areas that would be perfect for parties or even weddings. There was a beautiful garden with all manner of plants and a man who had performing parrots with him. There was a wedding in one of the private areas.

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The parrot was not to be bothered by paparazzi.
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A small glimpse of the flowers before we got caught in a torrential downpour!

As we were exploring the grounds, an incredible storm rolled through and we made our way to the covered shops. I was able to buy some fantastic coffee and some chocolates to bring home with me. My coworkers purchased some other (fancier) goods from street vendors including a jade jaguar for Paul’s wife and Toni got a blanket for her mother. Both got great deals. I wasn’t so good at haggling, but I did get some trinkets for my family back home.

Sign in Antigua
I tried to find some painted tiles like this, but to no avail…
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We had to stop here to get some home-made treats before we headed out of town.

After we purchased (more than our fair share of) treats from El Rosario, we headed on our way to see the Mayan Ruins. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see them!

Antigua
Beautiful plants growing on the roof of this building.

And now we begin our journey to the ruins…

To the Ruins
Wonderful signage to point the way to the ruins!