Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 Travels: Rogers Centre – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The closest Major League Baseball park to the Buffalo area is Toronto’s Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, who happen to be the parent team for our own Buffalo Bisons beginning this season. For the past few years, I’ve made the trek via bus trip to Rogers Centre to see my favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, play; I most recently attended a game there on Saturday, April 20th, and my Yankees won 5-3 in extra innings.
Reasons why I love heading to Rogers Centre via bus trips:
·         Parking - you don’t have to worry about it! I saw some pretty steep costs on lots up in Toronto, but the cost of the trip includes parking in a bus lot that’s just across the street from the stadium.
·         Traffic – much like there are no parking hassles, a professional gets you through the crazy Toronto traffic, so you can just sit back and relax on the way there.
·         Seats – each time I’ve been there, I’ve sat just past first base, about 20 to 25 rows up from the field – great views!
·         Bring something to do and to eat – I always take a book, magazines or newspaper to read on the bus, and something to eat – that way, I don’t have to spend money on stadium food (which is, not surprisingly, ridiculously priced). Sometimes the bus trip packages also include a ballpark picnic, which often includes hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, nachos and soda pop, among other things.
Here are a few shots from the game (with my Canon SX50 – awesome sports camera!).
all photos: Paula Thompson Freelance

Monday, April 15, 2013

Six Venues for Cheap Summer Tunes in the Buffalo-Niagara Region

The Buffalo-Niagara Region lures in some of the best free and cheap concerts around each summer, thanks to some awesome venues. From the Niagara Gorge to the Erie Basin Marina to Lockport, outdoor venues in the area are plentiful for national acts looking to come through the Western New York area. These six venues are the biggest in the area, bringing national acts to the Buffalo-Niagara Region each summer.
Sheryl Crow at Artpark - 2013
copyright Paula Thompson Freelance
Artpark, located in Lewiston (near Niagara Falls), is a multi-use facility that hosts art camps, theatre productions, and musical entertainment, and also offers fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing and picnic facilities. During the summer, however, Artpark’s two outdoor summer concert series, Tuesday in the Park and Wednesday at the Gorge, draw in thousands of music lovers. Past Artpark concerts have included ZZ Top, Trisha Yearwood, Blue Rodeo and Pat Benatar. Tuesday night concerts are inexpensive, with advance tickets priced at $5 and $10, while Wednesday night shows are free.
Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls is the home of the recently-introduced Hard Rock Cafe Saturday night concert series, which drew thousands in 2011 for a line-up which included Canadian rockers Our Lady Peace and 54-40, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Blood Sweat and Tears.

Our Lady Peace in Lockport
(Ulrich City Centre)
copyright Paula Thompson Freelance
The Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf, which began hosting the Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor series on selected weekends during the summer, now hosts what used to be the Thursday at the Square concert series.  The Thursday at the Harbor series runs throughout the summer, while Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor shows happen approximately one weekend each month.
The Buffalo Outer Harbor concert site, at 325 Fuhrman Blvd. in Buffalo, is a recent edition to the downtown outdoor music venue list. Located behind the First Niagara Center, it’s the former home of The Pier restaurant and bar.
The Labatt Canal Concert Series moves from the Ulrich City Centre to a city-owned parking lot at Chestnut and Elm Streets in Lockport for 2013. The series is expected to run from late June to mid-August at the new site.
Gratwick Park in North Tonawanda will be the home of Cornerstone’s Niagara River Rocks concert series, which is expected to feature three shows during the 2013 season.