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Take the Road Less Traveled

Discover History, Camaraderie & Creative Workshops Not Far From Home
As the days become shorter and the nights become colder, every falling snowflake is a reminder that the Christmas season is now upon us! While the retail craze of “Black Friday” has become a holiday tradition in and of itself, there’s another shopping day that is becoming more recognized and celebrated every year: “Small Business Saturday.” That’s right - instead of heading to the malls and giant retailers for Christmas gifts, more and more shoppers choose to patronize locally-owned stores in their own towns on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. However, just a visit to Ellicottville or the quaint village of Randolph twenty minutes away proves that one day is just not enough to explore the many unique gift items and holiday events that the season offers.
Part Nostalgia, Part Novelty, and Part Delicious!
5364 Route 242 East
Ph. 716-699-6100
Shoppers must visit Tom and Laura McLeod’s Ellicottville Country Store & Antiques, housed in a building that is every bit as unique as the treasures within. This 150-year-old structure was originally built as a dry goods store, but later served as the post office until 1935; visitors can still see what remains of the post office inside. According to owner Laura McLeod, the structure of the building is part of its charm: upon entering the store, visitors can look straight up and see the second story. This gallery-like mercantile features gift items on the first floor, while the second floor holds a dozen antique booths from a variety of vendors.
Importantly, McLeod notes, her store has authentic antiques from the early 1800s to the 1960s. “This is the kind of place that people expect to spend five minutes in,” explains McLeod, “but actually spend a couple of hours perusing.”
It’s not hard to understand why: a washing machine from the 1870s, a 19th century Edison Victrola, and sealed antique medicine vials are just a few of the rare antiques on the store’s second floor. For the savvy antique shopper, McLeod’s store offers a constantly changing selection of antiques, as nothing stays in the store for too long.
For shoppers considering Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers, the first floor boasts a wide selection of gift items, many of which are made locally. Handmade artisan jewelry, quilts and paintings are beautifully displayed throughout the first floor, and many shoppers are interested in Pure Integrity Soy Candles, which McLeod’s store is the sole distributor of. “These candles burn brighter, longer, and cleaner,” according to McLeod, “and the scent lasts longer too.”
Indeed, there’s something for everyone to discover at Ellicottville Country Store & Antiques. For the outdoorsy folks, there’s a large selection of Lodge cast iron cookware and cookbooks, as well as fishing tackle, birdfeeders, and gardening supplies. On the first floor, there’s a children’s toy section, but perhaps even more enticing than that is the thirty-foot train outside the store that the youngest of visitors will be eager to explore.
After a few hours of shopping, there’s nothing more refreshing than a hot breakfast or lunch, and visitors to McLeod’s store don’t have to go far. Adjoined to the shop is a diner that has become a local favorite serving breakfast and lunch. Stuffed French toast, eggs benedict, and “the omelette of the day” are always popular menu items, but none more so than the home fries, which are fondly known as the best in the Southern Tier! For lunch, diners can enjoy homemade soups, sandwiches, burgers, and beef on wick, which must be followed up by one of McLeod’s homemade desserts; this dessert menu consisting of such delectable delights as pie and cake changes weekly.
Ellicottville Country Store & Antiques is open Wednesday-Sunday from 9:30am-4pm, and the diner is open Thursday-Sunday from 7am-2pm, with breakfast ending at noon.  Looking for a special gift or a particular antique? “If we don’t have what a customer is looking for, we’ll call around until we can find it,” explained McLeod. “It’s one of the things we pride ourselves on and is part of our motto: ‘Quality goods, fair prices, and old-fashioned service’.”
With timeless values such as these, it’s no wonder Ellicottville Country Store & Antiques has become a destination for holiday shopping as well as year-round adventure.
Shops Offer Classes Through the Winter Months
Downtown Randolph
What do painting, dance, knitting, crochet, ceramics, quilting, and miniature gardens all have in common? These are just some of the classes that Randolph has to offer! On Sept. 20, Randolph held its First Annual Class Kick Off; visitors explored the downtown shops where class instructors displayed their projects, shared their class schedules, and helped prospective students sign up for fall classes. Now that winter is here, there’s no better time to expand one’s creative skills, as classes are continuing throughout the snowy months. Visitors in town for just the day or the season are invited to join one of Randolph’s many classes!
Create your own little oasis in Cathy Congdon’s miniature garden classes at her ladies’ clothing and gift store, Randolph Retail Company, 127 Main Street. The beach-themed garden and the cheery Christmas garden can brighten your windowsill or make a beautiful gift. For a schedule of upcoming classes, contact Randolph Retail Company at 716-358-5758.
Yarn for Ewe, located at 133 Main Street, offers knitting and crochet classes year round for the newbie and the seasoned knitter/crocheter. Knitting classes run regularly throughout the winter in the morning and afternoon (10am-noon and 1-3pm) on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Prospective students can learn socks, hats and mittens, or get help on any works in progress. Visit Yarn for Ewe’s Facebook page to see pictures of class projects or call the shop at 716-267-2070 for more information.
Venture next door to Anthony Ercolani’s Destination 129 Main, where one can learn how to paint and glaze ceramics. Glaze your own retro-lighted Christmas tree, Old World Santa, or ornaments with instructor Karen Keuther on Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30pm. Also on Thursday nights, Vicki Reding teaches painting classes to students at all levels: learn how to paint on canvas, use watercolors, or learn a surprisingly beautiful technique with colored pencils! Reding’s Thursday night classes and Tuesday daytime classes are held at Randolph Retail Company. For more on Reding’s winter class schedule, contact her at 716-358-3023.
Betsey Dubois teaches quilting and sewing classes from 1-4pm at her fabric shop, Betsey’s Country Shop, located at 12 Jamestown Street. To find out more about the different sewing and quilting projects that Betsey and her students are working on, contact her at 716-358-9704. On Tuesday nights, Barb Pitts teaches quilting classes at Randolph’s Municipal Building on Main Street, where she encourages beginners to give quilting a try. Every third Thursday of the month, Pitts leads an all-day sew at the Municipal Building that quilters are welcome to join (December’s sew will meet on the second Saturday of the month). For more details, contact Pitts at 716-358-6548.
Stay in shape this winter at Expressions Performing Arts Center, located at 75 Main Street, where studio owner and director Melissa Anderson offers classes in jazz, tap, hip hop, cheer dance, and ballet. Expressions is the proud sponsor of this year’s Randolph Country Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11am. The theme of this year’s parade is “Christmas at the Movies’,” and will celebrate classic and new Christmas films alike, as well as the big man himself, Mr. Santa Claus! Put in your Christmas requests with him and enjoy a carriage ride along Main Street at this anticipated annual celebration. After the parade, visitors are encouraged to continue down Main Street to Randolph Central School, where the annual Christmas Craft Show will take place all day. A must for Christmas-shopping families is the Snowflake Walk, an all-day “scavenger hunt” where Main Street shops will have a special treat for young visitors who should keep their eyes open to find the themed Christmas tree in every shop!  Learn more about other events and classes at www.enjoyrandolph.com.