Eat. Shop. Drink. Shop. Give. Sing. Eat. Shop. Drink. Repeat. 

This is a great time of year for Hertel. Today is Small Business Saturday which is sure to have the avenue abuzz. And next week, seemingly all the shops and restaurants and bars will come together to offer a great holiday experience – one filled with music, refreshments, sales and other surprises.

I’ve learned, maybe because I’m a family man now (or maybe because I’m just getting old) that holiday shopping should be an experience that creates special memories. I’m not talking about the special memories of losing sleep and ditching family gatherings, or even worse, of tragic injuries from the mob scenes of crazed shoppers.

Rather, memories that consist of quality time with friends and family, genuine interaction between store owners and shoppers, feelings of excitement when truly unique gifts are found, feelings of fulfillment knowing your supporting the local community, great food, festive ambiance…the list could go on.

Believe it or not, those things do exist and I think you have a better shot at achieving those memories if you spend your time shopping local. So, as said last year on Small Business Saturday, make it a point to come to the neighborhood, not the mall.

Also, one last suggestion. As you focus on purchasing and consuming, give some thought to helping others that aren’t as fortunate.

During the Hertel Holidays on December 4th & 5th, Daily Planet Coffee Co., Vanity Salon, MAC’s on Hertel and The Antique Lamp Co. and Gift Emporium are all hosting drives and/or taking donations for worthy causes. And bins manned by the WNY Coalition for Donated Goods will be located along Hertel on Saturday to donate new and good used clothing which will benefit local needy families.

Tis the season for a lot of things, and giving is most certainly one of them.

Happy Hertel Holidays!

Hertel Holidays 2015

Advertisements

Frame-worthy Houses

One of the appeals of living in North Buffalo, or the city in general for that matter, is being immersed in the beauty and charm that comes with the 100+ year old houses.

We truly love our 1910 house with all its history and character and curb appeal.

So last year, when our friend Julia sent us a holiday card with a drawing of her house on the cover, we were impressed (and maybe even a little envious). Obviously, at that moment Karen and I both decided it was imperative that we have a drawing of our house done at some point as well.

Here’s where the funny part of the story comes in. I acted quickly and enlisted the services of Karen Matchette, the artist who drew Julia’s house. Our house on Saranac was precisely drawn, double matted, framed and wrapped in August – a solid four months ahead of Christmas! Surely a record for me.

Fast forward to last week, and Karen starts snooping around for the same person’s contact information to have the same drawing done for my Christmas gift.

We are sooo soulmates aren’t we? It was definitely cute that we both had great intentions for the same holiday gift, but it did add an element of stress. In Julia’s frantic attempt to preserve my surprise while staying a loyal friend to both of us, she did the only thing she could do and lied to my wife. Mysteriously, as the story went, the artist upped and moved of town last month.

Yea, not really, but it seemed plausible.

Karen didn’t let it stop her and she immediately reached out to another artist in town who does similar work in her own style – Dana Saylor. Given that I knew Karen was hot on the trail to get this gift for me I pulled an audible and gave her the intended Christmas gift on her birthday Friday. Here’s how it turned out:

Drawing 1

She loved it. We love it. Then we laughed about our parallel journeys toward getting this done. Then we immediately reached out to Dana with an apology and a request to rip up the check she’ll soon be receiving. Then we hung it up. Then we wrote this blog.

In the end, we have a permanent commemoration of our first home that will hang on our wall for years to come. Should we ever leave this old, beautiful house, it’s great to know that, through this picture, it will always be with us no matter where we are. And you as a reader, now have two wonderful references should you wish to have this done for your house!

Drawing 2

Room Buffalo, dominating.

You may say this is old news or I’m late in posting this (it’s a whopping three days late). My apologies – it’s been quite a busy month for me!

But regardless, I wanted to put this out there, and in case you missed it, let you know that it was a pretty amazing month for Room BuCelebrating-10-Years-room-buffalo-michael-p-design-buffalo-ny-hertel-avenueffalo.

In addition to celebrating ten years of great success, the high-end Hertel Avenue interior design shop, and specifically, Michael P. as designer, was featured on HGTV’s House Hunters Renovations.

You can read much more detail about it in Buffalo Rising’s article, here.

I just want to offer my public kudos to Michael P. and Room Buffalo for taking their creativity, style and expertise to the national stage and representing North Buffalo so well. Pretty damn cool if you ask me!

I also learned that August 9th was deemed Michael P. day in Buffalo. If I was mayor Brown, I would’ve done that too. Congrats again to them, keep up the good work! And for all of you, stop in and peek around – I’m sure your decor can use an upgrade!

House-Renovations-Buffalo-NY

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House: Beyond The Architecture

77ccbb15-8b6f-4bfe-9741-1c0f2a2d8e75

The drive to Parkside, Buffalo’s first suburb designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a hop, skip and a jump away from Hertel, is bound to leave you astounded. And rightly so, because the sight is one of magnificent opulence. Pardon me, “organic” magnificent opulence.

main_banner_img_02

For it is in this historic neighborhood, at the conjuncture of Jewett Parkway and Summit Avenue that Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated Darwin D. Martin house stands in all its glory.

dmh-virtualtour

Completed in 1907 (yes, nineteen-o-seven), the six historic structures spread over a sprawling 29,000 square feet exemplify Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy about organic architecture, and his now-famous quote “form and function are one.”

main_banner_img_04

But there is more to the Darwin Martin House than meets the eye. Behind this perfect-prairie facade lies the dedication and hard work of volunteers – almost 400 of them. They could be serving as your docents or chaperones, helping you pick out a souvenir from the beautifully curated pieces of the museum gift store, or simply fluffing the cushions in the main living room (Frank Lloyd Wright cushions, pretty big deal!).

Buffalo-Darwin-D-Martin-House-interior

As a new volunteer at Darwin-Martin House myself, I can first-handedly vouch for the appreciation that the board and the staff has towards all of their volunteers. Be it the Director of Volunteers agreeing to chat with me for the blog, proudly beaming when telling me that her volunteers are the face of this organization and the most rewarding aspect of her job; or the Director of Retail Operations giving me a tour of the gift shop, narrating the story of every single art piece or souvenir that he offers in the store – it does not take long for one to realize why 400 people devote their time to this Buffalo monument (after all we do have a lot of options).

MHRC 10-8-1319096-1

So next time when you are on the tour, look beyond the architecture. Stop by the museum store to chat with the retail-store volunteers, ask your chaperones and docents for their stories. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Special thanks to Angela Laviano-Hamister and Joseph Incao for their precious time and cooperation.

Pictures: DarwinMartinHouse.org

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House is currently in Phase V of an expansive restoration project estimated to cost $50 million, out of which $40 million has already been raised.

Oooooh BABY…

Photo May 30, 7 03 31 PM

72 and Sunny.

Open Patios and Iced Coffees.

Live Music and Dancing Kids.

Bflo and 716.

It is officially summer in the Buff! (about time, he said)

So when Canalside pulled out the rainbow adirondack chairs, and store owners started hanging flower baskets lining the street of Elmwood, we kicked off the Hertel Summer of 2014 with a banging Shop, Rock and Stroll!

While some red-shirt-clad glad dudes belted out their best tunes under the North Park Theater marquee, folks drank cold beers and bottomless mimosas (Didn’t forget you lovely ladies!) on the patio at Mes Que.

Photo May 30, 6 55 10 PM

A couple storefronts ahead, the folks at Room were killing it with their chalkboard humor (isn’t that everyday, you say!), not to mention their gorgeous window displays.

Photo May 30, 6 56 48 PM

Right by Belsito on Saranac, another band was busy playing for their most important fans; cute little kiddies, who were laughing and dancing to these melodies.

Photo May 30, 7 00 20 PM

And literally, mommies and daddies of NoBo were “strolling” their little ones, for it is the season folks!

Photo May 30, 6 57 16 PM

As I concluded my Shop, Rock and Stroll on one of these lovely patios, me and my friend clinked our glasses for a wonderful summer.

I could not help, but extend the toast for a better NoBo, for a better Buffalo!