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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Ellicottville, N.Y., not just for skiers

Tags: Travel
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Mountain biking  at Holiday Valley

The well-groomed slopes surrounding Ellicottville in western New York state attract many downhill skiers during the winter months, but the town of Ellicottville welcomes visitors throughout the year.

There are plenty of year-round activities in the historic town and at the Holiday Valley Mountain Resort & Conference Center, a picturesque resort. Holiday Valley has been a fixture in the community for 50 years.

The quaint streets of Ellicottville boast a number of boutiques, restaurants and a lovely full-service spa housed in a stately home. The Ellicottville Oasis Spa is owned by former Ontario resident Joanne Bennett Timkey. Besides the nine treatment areas, in the warmer months, the spa offers manicure and pedicure services on its front porch.

Ellicottville loves its festivals. This summer featured a music festival and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Weekend in September. The Fall Festival takes place Oct. 6 and 7.

Nearby activities include the Seneca Allegany Casino, run by the Seneca Nation, in the neighbouring community of Salamanca. The casino has a large showroom with Vegas-style entertainment.

Also in the vicinity are the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum and the Allegany State Park, the largest park in New York state. Family fun can be had at Griffis Sculpture Park, an eclectic outdoor art space surrounded by hiking trails, fields, forests and ponds.

You could spend days just having fun at Holiday Valley. Besides skiing in the winters, visitors can golf on the newly renovated 6,500-yard, par 70 Double Black Diamond Golf Course, checking out the driving range or taking a lesson at the Phil Ritson/Mel Sole Golf School with actual PGA teachers. Kids can participate in the Junior Golf Camp. Golfing and lodging packages are available.

Holiday Valley has three public pools, including a large swimming area near John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House. Daily pool rates or seasonal memberships are available. Holiday Valley has terrific hiking and biking trails, and mountain bikes are available for rent.

A trip to Holiday Valley isn’t complete without spending some time at Sky High, which includes the Aerial Adventure Park. Promoted as a playground in the trees, Sky High features a series of platforms and bridges made of logs, ropes and other less identifiable objects. After testing your endurance and balance, take a thrill ride on the Mountain Coaster, where you get to control the speed of your car.

Once done, you really deserve to relax and kick up your feet at the adventure park’s point of entrance, the Tannenbaum Lodge. This is a favourite spot for weddings.

 If your Sky High adventure makes your muscles stiff, then stop by the resort’s Falling Water Spa, a soothing spa decorated in warm hues. The spa is located in the Tamarack Club, where there’s a healthy choice of esthetic and massage services to help you unwind, offered in seven treatment rooms, including two couples’ rooms.

There are a number of options when it comes to staying in the area, including the Inn At Holiday Valley. Rooms at this slope-side inn come with a continental breakfast. Amenities include Wi-Fi, indoor/outdoor heated pool, sauna, hot tub and an in-room mini fridge.

The newest offering at Holiday Valley is the Tamarack Club, a fractional ownership offering just up the hill from the Inn. The luxurious club has 138 units, from full-service deluxe hotel rooms to spacious three-bedroom condominiums suites available to rent. There’s a heated indoor/outdoor pool, two outdoor hot tubs, sauna, fitness centre, Wi-Fi and underground parking. The suites feature fireplaces, balconies and full kitchens. The standard hotel rooms boast efficiency kitchens. Holiday Valley Properties represents more than 200 privately owned rental accommodations throughout Ellicottville and offers a shuttle service to and from Holiday Valley’s slopes.

If You Visit: For more information about Ellicottville, visit www.EllicottvilleNY.com or call 1-800-349-9099. Holiday Valley: www.holidayvalley.com, 716-699-2345; Falling Water Spa at Holiday Valley: 716-677-9700; Ellicottville Oasis Spa: 716-699-8996, www.ElllicottvilleOasis.com. For more information about Seneca Nation, visit www.senecanation.com.

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