Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Western New York Walks: Elmwood Village & Gates Circle

The President's Council on Physical Fitness (PCOPF) calls walking the most popular form of exercise. A regular walking program can burn calories, reduce stress, and increase muscle tone.

Of course, walking the same route day after day can get a little boring. Over a series of blog posts, we'll take a look at places to walk in Western New York, starting with the Elmwood Village and Gates Circle.

Google Maps estimates that this route is about 2 miles long and takes 41 minutes to walk. I walk it at least once a week, and I'd estimate the time closer to an hour.

1. To start, park on Lexington Avenue.

Lexington Avenue is primarily residential, and street parking can be easily found on the upper end, toward Delaware Avenue.

As you would anywhere, make sure that you lock your doors and don't leave any valuables in sight.

2. Walk down the street towards Elmwood Avenue.

3. When you reach the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Lexington Avenue (there will be a Mobil gas station on the left), turn right.

At first, there won't be much in the way of businesses, except for a barber shop and a church.

Continue past the local shops. If you're walking at night, many of the stores will be closed, but if you absolutely must stop, visit Everything Elmwood – they tend to keep later hours than their neighbors.

If you want a drink to warm up, try Spot Coffee, which is at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Elmwood. Also nearby is the Globe Market across the street. You could even grab dinner to go – I recommend the caprese sandwich.

4a. Want a shorter walk? Turn right at Auburn Avenue to skip Gates Circle.

4b. If you're walking the full 2 miles, keep going straight until you reach St. James Place. Turn right.

St. James Place is residential, and you won't encounter any shops or restaurants for the rest of the route.

As you continue walking, you'll approach Gates Circle.


5. At the circle, turn right and cross the street to the park (where the red car is parked in the picture below).

6. Walk towards the stop sign and turn right onto Delaware Avenue.

This is the part where I usually fool myself that I'm almost done, that any minute I'll be rounding the corner to Lexington. Unfortunately, it's a little further. You'll know that you're getting closer when you see Canisius High School.

And Gilda's Club.

The road curves slightly uphill on Delaware Avenue, so it's a little more challenging.

7. Turn right onto Lexington Avenue.

If you'd like a more detailed view of the route, click here for a Google map.

What I Like About This Walk

There are plenty of places to grab a drink if you get thirsty – Tim Hortons inside the Mobile on the corner of Lexington and Elmwood, and Spot Coffee, Wilson Farms, and the Lexington Co-op on Elmwood. Unfortunately, this can also be a con. I've found myself stopping at Wilson Farms for a candy bar or getting a pastry at the Co-op, which means that I've probably gained more calories than I've burned. Self-control is a must.

I also like the architecture, which is easy to take for granted. "We don't have architecture like this in Georgia," someone once told me. And when you're walking, you have more time to look around you than when you're driving by on your way to work.

Have you taken this walk? Have any suggestions for future routes? Leave a note in the comments.

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