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At the Erie Basin Marina, while a spring storm ballyhooed across Lake Erie, my now husband, Dave, asked me to marry him. The meteorologists promised a tornado but the storm didn’t quite reach those proportions. After a year of courting, Dave knew I enjoyed the high spirits of a tempest and brought me to the marina to watch the storm touch down.

I moved to Buffalo from Seattle in 2001. After enduring my first white-out, thunder blizzard, several feet of drifting snow, fifty mile-per-hour winds, scary below zero temperatures and after I watched fisherman drill holes in the Lake Erie ice, I began to repeat a line my mother once used to describe the vicissitudes of my new home’s atmosphere: “the weather is the wonder in Buffalo.”

Dave took me at my word. On that day, a tempest rumbled: the winds whistled, the waves broke, and the clouds burst. The turbulent storm matched the excitement inside of me. I said, “Yes."

And, as much as I love the four seasons—each with its own particular, peculiar and dramatic climate patterns—I complain about weather as well. Love and weather have the same effect. When we are in their throes , we are thrilled, overcome and off our game. We are out of our comfort zone and yet fully alive.

If romance rouses heavenly expressions in your world, then Valentine’s Day in Buffalo is for you. Bundle up, wrap your arms around the one you love, throw a blanket around both of you and enjoy. Keeping your loved one warm in the face of wind chill factors can be an enduring and memorable romantic gesture. The frigid winter air brings us closer together. A thermos of hot chocolate or a hot toddy may be in order, as well.

Here are five chilly, romantic places to spend your Valentine's Day in our City of Light:

Grain Elevator Light Display - The façade of this vacant architectural icon fills with light every evening, all year round, from nightfall until 11:00pm. Stand or sit on the boardwalk with views of Lake Erie at Canalside or the Outer Harbor. This unique light sculpture, designed by Ambiances Design Productions, displays the four seasons with special light displays on holidays.

Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck - Take an elevator to the top of City Hall for a spectacular view of the Queen City! Walk up three flights and see the view from the 28th floor Observation Deck. Dedicated in 1932, City Hall is an Art Deco masterpiece with outstanding murals in the grand lobby and a magnificent skylight in the Common Council Chambers on the 13th floor. City Hall is open to the public, 8:30am-4:00pm Monday thru Friday, and there is a free guided tour at Noon each day.

Niagara Falls at night - Every evening at dusk, Niagara Falls is transformed into an incredible, multi-colored water and light masterpiece. From February 1st thru the 28th, the lights are on from 6:30 until midnight.

What could be more romantic than holding hands while ice skating under the lights of the city? Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza is a free and open-to-the-public ice rink in the heart of downtown Buffalo. Tuesday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:00pm & 5:00pm - 9:00pm; Saturday 11:00am - 9:00pm; and Sunday 11:00am - 6:00pm.

And if the chill is numbing your fingers, watch the outside light show at the Botanical Gardens and then go inside. Inside is toasty warm and enjoys its own light show. Lumagination is a captivating interactive exhibit that is transforming the Botanical Gardens with light, sound and imagination. February 14-21 6:00-9:00pm, Friday and Saturday 6:00-10:00pm.

Make sure to reserve a table at one of our excellent local restaurants. Take a taste of Lait Cru Brasserie's French Fare, the popular Providence Social, and the intimate Dapper Goose before committing.

Dave and I have been married for 13 years now and have two kids. Valentine’s Day is often spent eating spaghetti and drinking orange pop at the kitchen table. But we still enjoy Buffalo’s bouquet of weather on our date nights, whether its a picnic on a beach in the winter, climbing the ice floes in the spring at Cazenovia Park, listening to a thunderstorm on our porch, or simply scouring the horizon for the next big thing.

Lumagination

Wed Jan 25th → Tue Feb 21st

Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza

Mon Dec 5th → Mon Mar 13th
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Lesa Quale Ferguson

Lesa is a writer, website designer & manager, photographer, social media addict, and stay at home mom.
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