When someone mentions New York, we all seem to think of New York City, or at least skyscrapers and concrete. However, that’s only a very small portion of the the state. A lot of it looks like this area on the way to Jamestown, New York. We passed through there on our way to Salamanca, NY. Where?
Salamanca is a town just inside the Allegheny Indian Reservation that is governed by the Seneca Nation. It’s about 20 miles west of Olean and 60 miles south of Buffalo. The population was 5,815 at the 2010 census. (Wikipedia) On the way, we started noticing that road signs were in English and another language. It wasn’t Spanish nor French. We later found out it was the Seneca language when we discovered we were on the reservation!
Salamanca is an old town with a few modern touches as evidenced by some of the architecture. The only industry there is casinos with a couple of hotels nearby. But one entire city block in the heart of town is a very neatly kept antique mall. The Family Dollar and the Goober’s Cafe have entrances both inside the mall and out. We spent a pleasant hour there.
The reason we were there was because we were attending the graduation of a relative. This year, for the first time in the 131 years of graduations from Salamanca High School, the ceremony incorporated a greeting from the Seneca Tribe Members graduating. The greeting was in their native language and they wore traditional tribal dress instead of caps and gowns. It was impressive. Here are the still pictures I took. (The lighting was impacted by other people’s flashes that fooled my camera’s eye!)
One more interesting thing about Salamanca is The Plaza Restaurant on Broad Street. It’s just a little place with a counter and wobbly stools and a few booths along the side, the classic little “hole in the wall” diner. But the grill man, who is also the owner of 30 years, was poetry in motion. He would crack an egg with one hand, swing his arm behind him and without looking, let go of the shell which promptly fell into a garbage bin under the counter. Watching him put four slices of toast and push down the levers with one hand in one motion was amazing. We were there for lunch and had to wait for a seat which we were lucky enough to get at the counter. If you go there, don’t miss this piece of Americana!
One more little thing. There is a nice historic restaurant and inn named Myers Steakhouse where we had dinner the first night. We chanced to meet a couple, also driving a Prius, and their young daughter who were passing through on their way home to Wisconsin! Small world, as they say. We got to chatting and had dinner together. Turns out he writes a blog, too, but it’s not about traveling. Check it out here.
All in all, it was an interesting three days in Salamanca.