GENCO: Traveling around Niagara

Joe Genco

I visited Tuscarora Woodworks with my wife Beth last weekend. It was featured in a Michele DeLuca story in our papers as they were having a grand opening and open house. Beth bought some earrings. As we shopped, owner Murisa Printup was talking about the article. She said “I just said ‘The store is in our front yard and it's always been my dream to have a store where I don't have to leave home,’ and then she put it in the article.’ ”

I turned around and engaged Murisa, who was laughing about it. “I work with Michele,” I said. “That’s how come we are here.”

“Thank you so much for the article,” Murisa said. “We got a lot of people today from that article.”

• Looked under the events tab at and saw a hemp festival at Smokin Joe’s. Continued on after Tuscarora Woodworks. It was $10 for entry, smokers everywhere. Way hippie. Lots of CBD, Delta 8 Cannabinoid products and even what appeared to be pot being sold. A Grateful Dead cover band on stage. Sixty or so chilled out vendors. We seemed somehow out of place. I don’t like pot even if it is legal now.

• Fascinated to visit the job fair at the General Motors plant in Lockport. I loved getting to tour the manufacturing facility. One element that didn’t make my story: The fleet of mechanics plying the manufacturing floor on tricycles with toolboxes on the back. Most seemed older, and male.

It was also nice to speak with Chad Lasher of Wilson, a veteran of four years in the Marine Corps who saw major parallels between the skills he learned in the military and those he uses daily on the manufacturing floor.

Much of the technology is similar to what has always been, but there is more automation as well as the glory of a caged robot welding on radiators for Duramax diesel engines. If you buy any full-size GM truck or SUV, it contains a part made in Lockport.

• Leaving work in Lockport, I spied canopies along the canal. Sure enough, the farmers market was open on a late Wednesday afternoon. Stopped and bought garlic (huge heads of “music”, one of my favorites), yellow squash, cukes. I left some tomato plants and my garlic crop in Clarence.

Also picked up a bottle of #NorthRidgeDistilling Maple Ridge Cherry brandy from Brennen O’Connor, who works in the family business with his father-in-law Ray Wendling. Might have to visit the distillery soon. It’s out in Medina.

• Last week while visiting the Rapids Theatre to hear about Coco Montoya and Walter Trout coming to play, we heard ghosts in the balcony. Creepy stuff. Nice to hear Montoya will be joined by “77 Stone” from Niagara Falls. Manager Stephanie Bareis told us about a margarita glass being thrown off a shelf.

• Several weeks ago I got a like request on Facebook from from #caskandcow in Lewiston. When a small business requests support I will always look at their page and share some love. Friday, we were headed to the Syros in Lewiston for Greek. I parked on Center Street. We went to Cask and Cow instead. We waited 10 minutes to be acknowledged but were seated quickly. Our dinner was great. Corn fritters with just enough kick. Mac and cheese and a mushroom/brie burger. Great meal. We are so used to being overfed that often, we now order an entree to split and an appetizer on the side. We still end up taking food home more often than not.

• After dinner, Gord, our poodle had been so good all day we were ready to take him for a long walk. He slipped out the front door before we could go. I chased him to Maple Avenue where I lost him only to see a menagerie of adolescents all gaze curiously in the same direction.

Sure enough, two young girls and two young boys were soon engaging with Gord. People across the street scared him away from crossing Lewiston Road

We play a bob and weave and chase game all the time. It’s his favorite. I reasoned that four energetic kids, if they saw me engage him, would join in the dance. They did. A young man named Joe grabbed his harness. I turned sternly to Gord.

”That’s it, Mister. You are in a lot of trouble. No walk. Straight in your crate with two books from your summer reading and no phone.”

One of the young girls looked at me, in her best adolescent voice. “No phone!” She has a future in a middle school play. All four belonged to the neighborhood and, at one point, went to Maple School together. They were outdoors, having fun like kids are supposed to.

Colin Ligamarri was driving by on her way to Home Depot, stopped, tried to help and saw the whole thing.

We left Gord home and hiked the top of the gorge to the Devil’s Hole stairs, following the trail to the Whirlpool Stairs. We weren’t equipped for darkness falling but the light of early evening in the gorge is glorious.


• I live and work in the Falls now, but for anyone who doesn’t know, holy cow, here's a great walk. Park in the lot just south of the Whirlpool on Whirlpool Street. Bridge. Walk down the stairs just to the left. The views are better than they have been in 100 years because the WNY Land Conservancy, through its "Restore the Gorge" project, took down all the Norway Maples as well as buckthorn. There are red elderberries growing in spectacular clusters everywhere in the gorge. The trail follows an old railroad grade and comes out by the Aquarium. The walk along that path, and back along the top is spectacular. Parking at the Whirlpool end is free which is why I suggest starting there. Dang. The stairs were temporarily closed when I pedaled past Thursday.

• Got my first parking ticket on my street. There are no signs and there is no way to know where you are supposed to park. Took it to the city court building and declared my intent to plead innocent. What the heck.

The kind clerk explained the even/odd system. Overnight parking follows the date odd days on odd-numbered side, even on even-numbered side.

Joe Genco is the regional news editor for the Union-Sun & Journal and the Niagara Gazette. Contact him at or 282-2311, extension 2250.

Trending Video

Recommended for you