Small City Journey: 7 Causes to Go to Medina, New York

For me, 2014 was the Yr of the Small Metropolis. Chattanooga. Raleigh. Buffalo.

Final month, we went even smaller. On a visit by western New York, we stopped within the small city (they like “village” really) of Medina NY. It’s not the stereotypical “one cease gentle” city, nevertheless it’s shut. For me, that makes it all of the extra attention-grabbing. I love small cities and the folks in them. I’m fascinated by them: how they dwell, the place they eat, what they do.

Whereas we solely stayed the night time, we left the subsequent day bummed and wishing we’d deliberate for a couple of extra days to discover. We have been shocked at how cool of a city (er, village) Medina was and simply how a lot there was to see and do!

Listed below are seven of our favourite causes to go to Medina NY …

Issues to Do in Medina NY (New York)

#1: The Quintessential Small City Principal Road

Main Street Clock in Medina, New York
© Mike Richard

The pint-sized “downtown” core of Medina NY spans simply 12 acres from the Erie Canal to the railroad tracks. However, like many quintessential small city predominant streets, it’s full of historical past (in 1995 it was designated a historic district and listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations), stunning structure, pleasant folks, and a smattering of small-town outlets. It’s simple to wile away half a day exploring Principal Road alone.

ellen j goods in Medina
ellen j items in Medina © ellen j items

At ellen j items, house owners Lynne and JR supply repurposed and refinished furnishings and equipment that vary in type from Delicate Industrial to French Nation and Farmhouse Cottage to Retro Cool. The Guide Shoppe (with an “e”) is a traditional small-town bookstore with simply the correct amount of classics, new releases, and even a again room youngsters space.

Della’s Goodies gives handmade artisan candies, together with truffles, chocolate patties, and vacation candies. And The English Rose Tea Shoppe (once more with an “e”) is a British-inspired tea-ery full with British music and lace window remedies. They provide an assortment of free leaf and bagged teas, in addition to tea-centric equipment.

#2: … and the Quintessential Small City Mayor

Andrew Meier, Mayor of Medina, New York
Andrew Meier (proper), Mayor of Medina, New York © Kelsie Withey

Sure, Mayor Andrew Meier is worthy of his personal purpose to go to Medina. As a result of, not solely is he the village mayor, but additionally the church organist, lawyer, hotelier, historian … and all-around superior man. As a born and raised Medinan (that sounds proper), he’s main the cost for the village’s present revitalization efforts.

He turned a fantastic, historic shirt manufacturing facility right into a boutique lodge, cafe, and meadery (extra on that under). He’s now focusing his efforts on restoring the crown jewel of the village’s historical past – a Civil Battle-era opera home.

The perfect half? You may typically discover him tooling round city or at his Hart Home lodge, the place he’s glad to greet new guests to the village he loves.

#3: The Shirt Manufacturing facility Constructing

Mayor Meier (how good is that title?) has spent appreciable time restoring the city’s historic Shirt Manufacturing facility Constructing. Inbuilt 1876, the R. H. Newell Constructing was initially designed to be used as a lodge. It may very well be stated that this constructing and its restoration signify the mannequin for Medina’s approach ahead. Totally embracing its wealthy, small-town historical past with a watch in direction of fastidiously repurposing its most necessary buildings and structure for modern-day makes use of.

Shirt Factory Building in Medina, New York
Shirt Manufacturing facility Constructing in Medina, New York © Preservation Studios

Medina’s Coolest Digs: Hart Home Resort

The RHN Constructing was transformed to make use of as a manufacturing facility earlier than Meier bought it this century and re-converted it again into, amongst different issues, a lodge. Specifically, the Hart Home Resort.

Churchill Room at Hart House Hotel in Medina
Churchill Room at Hart Home Resort in Medina, New York © Kelsie Withey

This surprisingly fashionable design appears completely suited to a boutique lodge in Brooklyn or San Francisco. Meier designed a lot of the inside himself and every room is uniquely outfitted in an city, loft-inspired decor. It goes with out saying that it’s the best lodging in Medina.

Shirt Factory Cafe in Medina, NY
Shirt Manufacturing facility Cafe in Medina, NY © Mike Richard

Shirt Manufacturing facility Cafe

Downstairs, within the Shirt Manufacturing facility Constructing, the appropriately named Shirt Manufacturing facility Cafe gives nice, made-to-order meals and breakfast served all day. The Cufflinks Espresso – commonplace iced espresso with a vanilla ice cream base – was an attention-grabbing, just-sweet-enough shock. As we loved our breakfast at a leisurely tempo, a gradual stream of locals got here and went, all exchanging pleasantries and first names.

#4: The Authentic, Civil Battle-era Opera Home

Bent's Opera House in Medina, New York
Bent's Opera Home in Medina © Mike Richard

Historians will discover sufficient purpose to go to Medina NY in Bent’s Opera Home alone. This gorgeous, Civil Battle-era theater was constructed in 1865 and stays largely intact.

For a lot of many years, Bent’s Opera Home was a distinguished venue in Medina for live shows, performs, exhibits, commencements, elections, and different public features. P. T. Barnum and William “Buffalo Invoice” Cody have been among the many a whole bunch of touring performers who introduced their abilities to the Bent’s stage.

As movement photos and different types of leisure grew to become well-liked within the twentieth century, the Opera Home fell into disuse. But its legacy was not utterly forgotten, as Bent’s Corridor was included as a contributing property to Medina’s Principal Road Historic District, which was listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1995.

Mayor Meier is overseeing its reconstruction with the assistance of beneficiant donations from locals and sympathetic vacationers. The mission continues to be in its early levels with a protracted highway to full restoration forward. However touring it now, in its uncooked and most authentic type, is among the many most fascinating experiences I’ve had within the U.S. It’s actually a step again in time by American historical past.

#5: The Starting/Finish of the Niagara Wine Path

Western New York’s Niagara Wine Path is formed like an enormous apostrophe. So, relying on the way you map it, Medina NY is probably going your first or final cease (assuming you pattern each and, actually, why wouldn’t you?). You’re forgiven in case your first response to discovering good wine in western New York is, “Huh?”

Consider it or not, the Larger Niagara area is likely one of the fasting rising wine areas within the state. It additionally boasts its personal American Viticultural Space (or AVA). Leonard Oakes explains:

The signature terroir of the area is outlined by the soil construction and topography carved out by the glaciers of the final Ice Age. The pure escarpment, fertile soils wealthy with deltaic glacial deposits, and the moderating results of Lake Ontario create a lush macroclimate for the vineyards …

Bottle at Leonard Oakes Winery in Medina, NY

This implies the wines of western NY have a powerful minerality and earthiness. You may actually style the area’s rock, dust, and soil in each glass. And that’s factor. I discovered a number of the finest white wines I’ve tasted within the jap U.S. right here.

Medina’s personal Leonard Oakes Vineyard boasts a cool, fashionable tasting room that’s solely sudden among the many easy houses and rustic farmhouses of rural Route 104.

As an added bonus, Leonard Oakes additionally gives a novel Steampunk Cider. That any rural vineyard is hip sufficient to get the steampunk reference is a testomony to how cool this place is.

#6: The Uncommon Meadery: Meadworks

810 Meadworks in Medina, New York
810 Meadworks in Medina © 810 Meadworks

Exterior of America’s main cities, meaderies have begun quietly peppering the nation’s map. They’re on the rise however nonetheless sufficient below the radar that you simply really feel as if you’re sampling one thing particular. Medina’s newly opened 810 Meadworks is amongst a choose few in western New York and fairly stunning for a city of simply 6,000 folks.

The meadery is so named for the Bible verse Nehemiah 8:10:

Go and revel in alternative meals and candy drinks, and ship some to those that don’t have anything ready. At the present time is holy to our Lord. Don’t grieve, for the enjoyment of the Lord is your energy.

Any enterprise that locations god and booze in the identical context is a-ok in my ebook. Apart from mead tastings, Meadworks additionally gives mead by the glass and bottle, handcrafted candies, sizzling tea and honey soda, and
native handicrafts and merchandise on the market.

#7: The Upscale Consolation Meals at Zambistro

I’m not certified to say that Zambistro is the very best meal in western New York. Nevertheless it needs to be fairly shut. It’s among the many finest meals I’ve eaten in a protracted, very long time. At one level throughout our meal, Mrs. Vagabondish questioned, “Is it inappropriate if I lick the plate?” It was that good.

Zambistro Restaurant in Medina, New York
Scallops at Zambistro in Medina

They concentrate on upscale consolation meals, the type that might care much less about foolish phrases like “coronary heart wholesome” and “carb aware”. Suppose: crispy risotto balls with marinara and herbed cream sauce. And lobster pasta – an insanely wealthy mix of fettuccine, lobster claw meat, asparagus, mushrooms, and brandy cream sauce topped with shaved Romano cheese.

I used to be shocked to seek out one in all my all-time favourite dishes on the menu: espresso-rubbed steak. Naturally it’s topped with brown butter smashed potatoes and Gouda spinach, topped with crispy onion strings. Discuss gilding the lily.

We capped it off with their creamy, richer-than-normal espresso creme brulee with a refined espresso flavoring that complemented the dish properly.

After solely at some point, we have been unhappy to depart Medina. It’s a uncommon vacation spot that’s managed to embrace its historic roots and small city allure, whereas nonetheless seeking to the long run. All whereas staying largely off the vacationer radar. Which is to say: get there earlier than everybody else does.

Have you ever visited Medina NY? What are your favourite issues to do there?

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