A huge thanks to Kent O.Smith for a extra large bucket of wings report from Buffalo. So we need to break it into two parts. mmmmm maybe with some Blue Cheese, and… Take it away Mr Kent O “what and eye you have” Smith.
If you’ve never been to the Niagara Frontier Chapter show, then I highly recommend that you shuffle off to Buffalo next year. You’ll be treated to a great venue of wonderful boats as well as a delicious culinary experience.
Buffalo wings were conceived in, well, Buffalo of course, at the famous Anchor Bar. Late one night in 1964, the bar tender’s friends showed up hungry. He asked his mother, the cook, to prepare something for them to eat. She had some wings that were slated for the soup pot, but instead deep fried them and tossed them in a hot sauce. An instant classic was born. When in Buffalo, you have to have wings. Chapter locals told me the Anchor Bar wings have declined in quality and the place has become too touristy, so they steered me to Duff’s, another local joint that started serving wings in 1969. So the food here is as classic as our boats.
Speaking of food, don’t forget to try the beef on a weck, which is thin sliced roast beef in au jus on a roll that is topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds. And bulk up on breakfast with a peanut donut, crushed peanuts on donut dough but in the shape of a Twinkie. But enough food…
On to the sights! I was born and raised in New York, spent most of my life here, but had never been to Niagara Falls. So early Friday morning I made a quick trip to see the landmark firsthand. From what I understand, the view from the Canadian side is better, but at least I experienced the US version for once.
By the time I arrived at the show, a few boats had arrived. The event is actually on Grand Island at the famous Buffalo Launch Club, founded in 1903, it’s the oldest powerboat club in North America, and known for the speedboat races that took place there on the Niagara River. Most member boats would leave for the day of the show to leave dock space for the exhibitors.
Friday afternoon featured a cruise to Buffalo proper and up the Buffalo River. Buffalo was a very industrial city back in the day, with large grain silos and other commercial structures along its shoreline. Heading south from the Launch Club, the Niagara River narrows, flowing at a rate of over five mile per hour under the Peace Bridge, making navigation tricky.
As we neared Lake Erie, the waves increased in size substantially. While it’s a Great Lake, it’s more like an ocean to our small runabouts. Turning east, we pass the breakwater and enter the Buffalo River. There we pass by a Navy Cruiser and various industrial buildings. Some locals call it the “concrete canyon.” There are few waterfront restaurants but it seems the area is under some redevelopment.
The scale of the massive structures compared to our small boats is breathtaking. Most of my boating has been on scenic bodies of water like Lake George (NY) so this is new to me. We even pass by a dilapidated tour boat named “Columbia,” a 207’ a steamboat that used to carry 3200 passengers back in the day.
Exiting the river, the wind has picked up off Lake Erie and we encounter 3 to 4 foot rollers with chop on top. The larger boats are able to throttle up and push through it, but the smaller boats wisely choose to take the canal route back. The canal entails multiple no wake zones and one lock where we drop about seven feet. Thankfully, this part of the journey is very calm, though takes much longer, and no one thought to bring a cooler with refreshments!
Back at the club, we are treated to a nice sunset and a great meal of Buffalo favorites. A few more boats have arrived and it’s great to see some old boat friends in addition to meeting new ones.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 – A HUNGOVER KENT O.SMITH GOES OUT FOR SOME AMAZING WATER SHOTS. About 45 Photos. OH POOR KENT, And who ever the poor boaters were behind him. Those wings needed to fly!