Here’s your new favorite thing: floating along the Buffalo Blueway. It gets you back to Buffalo’s industrial roots and back to nature, and naturally there’s a lot to see. Our first list had 52 sites on it. Our editor told us we had to cut it down a bit and picked four at random. And what a four! Each with a unique, paddler’s-eye view. So grab your Coast Guard Approved Personal Flotation Device (because safety is always in style) and start planning your Blueway adventure.
We’re launching this list where you’ll launch your adventure. The new and fully accessible paddlecraft roller dock and direct-entry points make getting on the water safe and simple. Bring your own or rent kayaks, paddleboats and hydrobikes right at the site. Fuel up at the restaurant before you head out and skim the bar menu for that post-paddle celebration. Look sharp—this is a high-traffic area, so stay along the shore to avoid any close encounters with larger craft.
Concrete Central Elevator
Completed in 1917, it was the largest grain elevator in the world at the time, with a capacity of 4.5 million bushels. Since it was built at the height of World War I, the plans and construction methods were classified as top secret to prevent sabotage. Crews could handle 20 railroad cars an hour, all while loading or unloading three massive lake freighters. It stopped operation in 1972, and in 2003 was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Bailey Avenue Bridge
The first bridge spanning the Buffalo River and Cazenovia Creek was built in 1930. The years took a toll on the old bridge, and after a $22 million investment, a new bridge took its place in 2018. While some folks still call it the Bailey Ave. Bridge, its official name is now the Sheriff Thomas F. Higgins Riverfront Bridge and Park. And in one of those coincidences that make for fun facts in lists, Sherriff Higgins was born a short distance away in the old First Ward. In 1930. Oar drop.
Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park
The Blueway is all about connecting people with the waterways that have played such an important role in our history and helping restore the natural environment of this former industrial site. And the best place to experience both is at Red Jacket Park. It’s hard to imagine, but this quiet, remote spot was once at the very heart of a very busy port. It’s a site in transition as environmentalists remove invasive plants and create a habitat that’s proving very popular with native turtles and nature tours.