Buffalo New York is not generally the sort of place people think of as a tourist destination, but if you happen to be in the area there is a very nice hotel in nearby East Aurora. It is called the Roycroft Inn and is just over 100 years old. Built in an American version of the Arts and Crafts style that was popular in England late in the 19th century, the Roycroft continues to be furnished in that style. Even the lamps and silverware are the same type that were used when the hotel opened. Rooms have been modernized with the addition of private baths, but are decorated in vintage style, and every room is different. The Roycroft is a pleasant change from the usual cookie-cutter hotel or motel.
The Roycroft was founded by Elbert Hubbard, a writer, lecturer and entrepreneur who was very popular at the turn of the 20th century. He established a colony of employees and followers who worked in adjacent shops to produce books, copperware, leather goods and mission style furniture. Some of these products can still be purchased today.
Hubbard and his wife died in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, but their son carried on the work of the industries and the inn. Today the Roycroft and its outbuildings are owned by a foundation.
While I have yet to stay overnight at the Roycroft, I have eaten lunch there several times. Food was tasty American style and reasonably priced, and service was pleasant. The surroundings are delightful, especially in summer when it is possible to eat outside on a covered patio near flowering trees. The Roycroft is at 40 South Grove Street, East Aurora NY 14052, telephone 716 652-5552.
East Aurora has other attractions, including the small birthplace of Millard Fillmore, one of the lesser known American Presidents, and a couple of bookstores. Tony Rome's restaurant offers Italian fare and is located in the buidling that used to house Fillmore's law office. The whole town is picturesque, with large stately houses and lots of big trees. For Canadians, there is even a Tim Hortons.
If you drive east on Route 20 from East Aurora you pass through pastoral countryside that seems light years away from the hustle and bustle of big cities or the Dewey Threwey, (Interstate 90.)
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