Clarence (New York)
A second-ring suburb of Buffalo, New York, affluent Clarence is a haven for antique shopping. Main Street in Clarence Hollow, the town's adorable, quaint business district, is where you'll find many of the antique stores that draw visitors to Clarence from all over the region—as well as a wide range of other charming shops, restaurants, and other attractions.
At the 2010 census, Clarence had a population of 30,673 citizens living on 53.5 square miles (138.6 km²) of land that's mostly flat, but bisected by the Onondaga Escarpment (known locally as "the Ledge") which runs in a roughly west-to-east direction through the southern part of town. With a median household income of $83,281 per year (in that same census), Clarence is the wealthiest town in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area. In addition to its upper-middle-class and somewhat snobby reputation, Clarence is known as a town that is politically conservative and overwhelmingly white (the 3.6% of the population that is Asian represents by far the largest visible minority in Clarence, with other groups making up no more than 1% of the population each).
Clarence's development pattern is typical of Buffalo's second-ring suburbs: the parts of town nearest the city—principally Harris Hill and the Transit Road corridor—are fully suburbanized with (respectively) leafy residential subdivisions and a massive commercial strip of shopping centers, stores and restaurants, while its outer fringes are still largely rural and agricultural, looking much as they did a century ago. In the transition zone is found some of the toniest real estate in the Buffalo area, with McMansions in exclusive communities such as Spaulding Lake selling for $750,000 on average—and often much more. Like many second-ring suburbs, over the past few years Clarence has sought to impose limits on suburbanization and particularly on the encroachment of new development onto agricultural land.
Of all the cities, towns and villages in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro area other than Buffalo itself, Clarence has the longest history. Like all of New York State west of the Genesee River, what is now called Clarence was, in 1793, purchased from the Seneca Indians and opened for settlement by the Holland Land Company, a syndicate of thirteen real estate investors from The Netherlands. Asa Ransom was the first white resident of what is now Clarence; he opened a tavern in 1799 in the southeast corner of the town, along the Great Iroquois Trail (today's Main Street) in an area first known as Pine Grove or Ransomville and which later came to be called Clarence Hollow. He was followed a few years later by Joseph Ellicott, a Holland Land Company agent who operated a branch office near the Ransom homestead beginning in 1801. Ellicott's presence encouraged more settlers to buy land in the vicinity; in 1808, the Town of Clarence—named after Prince William, Duke of Clarence, third son of Great Britain's King George III—was founded as one of the three original towns of Niagara County, of which Erie County was a part until 1821.
At the time of its foundation, Clarence—whose borders then also included all the land that today comprises Buffalo, Tonawanda, Grand Island, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Lancaster, West Seneca, Lackawanna, Newstead, Alden, and part of the towns of Elma and Marilla—had a population of perhaps 100 or 150 residents. Though Clarence's land area steadily decreased over the ensuing decades as new towns were cleaved off of it, its population increased steadily, particularly beginning in the second quarter of the 19th Century as a considerable number of Germans settled on the fertile, loamy soil of Clarence. The industriousness of these Germans, part of a wave of emigration from Germany to North America that peaked around the 1840s, eventually made Clarence one of the most prosperous towns in the county. Aside from Clarence Hollow—then as now, the town's population center—several hamlets coalesced in Clarence during the 19th Century. These include Harris Hill, which was centered around Asa Harris' homestead in the southwest corner of the town; Clarence Center, originally known as Van Tine's Corners and located near the geographic center of the town, adjacent to the New York Central Railroad's "Peanut Line"; a number of hamlets along Transit Road including Snearly's Corners, Swormville, Transit Station and Millersport; as well as the hamlets of Wolcottsburg and Hunt's Corners in the north and northeast parts of the town, which remain rural today.
Over the course of the 20th Century, Clarence remained predominantly farmland, with development limited almost exclusively to Main Street (a major route to Buffalo from points east in the days before the Interstate Highway System) and the aforementioned hamlets. However, a harbinger of the future for Clarence came in 1955, when construction began on the Transitown Plaza, a suburban-style shopping center located at the southeast corner of Main Street and Transit Road in the area that had once been called Snearly's Corners. Ten years later, a considerable number of residential tracts had since sprouted in Harris Hill, and the Clarence Mall (now more properly known as the "Shops at Main & Transit") was under construction across Main Street from the Transitown Plaza. The Eastern Hills Mall, at that time the largest shopping center in the Buffalo area, followed in 1972.
Tragedy struck Clarence in the early morning hours of February 12, 2009 when Continental Connections Flight 3407, en route from Newark to Buffalo in icy conditions, stalled due to pilot error on its approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. It crashed into a house in Clarence Center killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. The disaster inspired a rush of inquiries into the operation of regional air carriers in the United States, and spurred Congress to strengthen regulations affecting the airline industry.
Clarence's climate is similar to that of Buffalo and the rest of Western New York. Essentially the only variation within the Niagara Frontier region that is major enough to be notable to visitors is that northern Erie County, including Clarence, generally sees far less lake-effect snow than the hillier terrain of southern Erie County. But, of course, this is not to say that Clarence does not still see plenty of snow in the winter.
The Clarence Hollow Association maintains a website that boasts up-to-date coverage of attractions, restaurants, antique shops, other business listings, events, a historic walking tour, and other items of note to visitors not only to Clarence Hollow, but also to other areas of Clarence and neighboring towns.
By car, Clarence can be accessed most easily by Exit 49 of the New York State Thruway (I-90). After exiting the highway, turn left on NY 78 (Transit Road) and proceed north to NY 5 (Main Street), then turn right. Clarence Hollow—the focus of most of the town's attractions—is located along Main Street about 5½ miles (9km) east of Transit Road.
As a suburb of Buffalo, travelers arriving from outside the immediate area via plane, train, or bus should follow the directions listed in the corresponding section of the Buffalo article. Specifically, train and bus passengers should opt for, respectively, the Buffalo-Depew Amtrak station (BUF) and the bus stop at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport terminal—both of which are located relatively closer to Clarence than their counterparts in downtown Buffalo.
For all practical purposes, a car is an absolute necessity for traveling around Clarence.
Clarence's main street is, appropriately enough, Main Street. Also known as NY 5, Main Street runs in a roughly east-to-west direction at the southern edge of the town, passing through the suburban neighborhood of Harris Hill and the quaint business district of Clarence Hollow.
The most important north-south route in Clarence is Transit Road, or NY 78, which serves as Clarence's western boundary with the Town of Amherst. Transit Road is the only place in town where large shopping malls and plazas, chain restaurants, and other large-scale suburban retail can be found.
Other major roads that run through Clarence include:
East-West Routes: From south to north: Wehrle Drive, Sheridan Drive (NY 324), Greiner Road, Roll Road, Clarence Center Road, County Road, Tonawanda Creek Road.
North-South Routes: From west to east: Harris Hill Road, Shimerville Road, Goodrich Road, Strickler Road, Salt Road.
Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty have facilities at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. In addition, the following agencies also have offices directly in Clarence:
- Avis, 4545 Transit Rd. (At the Sears Auto Center in the Eastern Hills Mall), ☎ +1 716 634-1701.
- Enterprise, 6755 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 636-8400.
By public transportation
Buffalo and its surrounding area, including Clarence, is served by the NFTA Metro System, which comprises a network of buses and a light rail line. However, the affluence of the town's citizenry has meant that out of all Buffalo's major suburbs, Clarence is the least well-served by public transit. In fact, only three bus routes enter the Clarence town line—and these three buses only serve Transit Road!
- NFTA Metro Bus #48 — Williamsville begins at the University Metro Rail station and runs along Main Street through Amherst and Williamsville. At Transit Road it turns northward, passing the Transitown Plaza and the Shops at Main & Transit before ending at the Eastern Hills Mall. Bus #48 makes 20 trips on weekdays, eleven on Saturdays and ten on Sundays and legal holidays.
- NFTA Metro Bus #49 — Millard Suburban runs Monday through Friday eight times per day. Route #49 begins at the University Metro Rail station and runs through Amherst along Main Street, Bailey Avenue and Sheridan Drive. It then turns from Sheridan Drive onto Transit Road and continues northward, passing by the Eastern Hills Mall and the Eastgate Plaza, before turning westward at Maple Road back into Amherst and ending at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
- NFTA Metro Bus #66 — Williamsville Express begins in downtown Buffalo, passing through Buffalo and Cheektowaga along the Kensington Expressway and I-90 without stopping. It exits the highway at Main Street in Williamsville and proceeds eastward to Transit Road, where it turns north, passing by the Transitown Plaza and the Shops at Main & Transit and servicing the Eastern Hills Mall. "B" buses end at Eastern Hills, while "A" buses continue further north along Transit Road, passing by the Eastgate Plaza before ending their run at Millersport Highway at Clarence's northern border. Three buses—one "A" trip and two "B" trips—depart daily Monday through Friday, but it should be noted that outbound trips (from Buffalo to Clarence) take place in the evening only, whereas inbound trips take place in the morning only.
There are many delightful opportunities in Clarence for fans of bicycling. Paramount among them are the Clarence Pathways, described more thoroughly below. In addition to the trails themselves, the Clarence Hollow business district—where the majority of the town's attractions are located—is compact and charming, and (leaving aside the sometimes heavy traffic on Main Street) quite amenable to bicyclists.
- Clarence Arboretum, 1 Town Pl.. Dawn-dusk. Located on a tract of 18 acres (7.3 ha) at the north end of the Town Hall complex, on Goodrich Rd just south of Roll Rd near Clarence Center. Conceived in 2002, several years after Dutch elm disease and the installation of a new sewer line required many of the trees in this area to be cut down, the Arboretum now contains over a hundred trees representing dozens of native species, including rarities like the American Chestnut. Walking paths traverse a verdant setting, winding alongside two ponds, over a charming footbridge, and past a restored stone wall. Free.
- Clarence Historical Society, 10465 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-8575. Tu 4:30PM-7PM, W (except first W of each month) 10AM-2PM, first Sa of each month 11AM-3PM, Su 1PM-4PM Mar-Oct, also by appointment. Housed in a charming old Greek Revival-style church in Clarence Hollow that was built in 1844, this society has been enlightening visitors on the topic of the town's history since its opening in 1994. Exhibits here include a gamut of historical artifacts that bring to life the prominent individuals, community institutions, and daily life of the town in bygone days. However, the pride and joy of the society is the original pioneer log cabin built in 1815 and located at the rear of the museum building, and the Greatbatch Exhibit, which pays homage to Dr. Wilson Greatbatch, the Clarence native who was the inventor of the implantable cardiac pacemaker (and whose charitable fund was responsible for the foundation of the museum). This exhibition encompasses biographical information as well as many of Dr. Greatbatch's original laboratory tools and early prototypes of the invention that earned him international renown. Free.
- Escarpment Sanctuary, Greiner Rd at Green Valley Dr., ☎ +1 716 741-8927. Dawn-dusk. A lovely, 14-acre (5.7 ha) oasis of nature located at the base of the Onondaga Escarpment, a rocky ledge that runs west-to-east through Clarence and is some 60 feet (18m) in height here. Walking trails wind serenely through the landscape, with a viewing platform that offers breathtaking views of the forests, wetlands, ponds, and cliff. Free.
- Museum of European Art, 10545 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-6078, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. By appointment. Located next door to the Asa Ransom House in Clarence Hollow, the museum is a diminutive but charming institution where John Zavrel houses his impressive collection of original works by such luminaries of European art as Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, and Jean Carzou. Adjacent to the museum building is the Alexander Garden, a sculpture garden named after the marble bust of Alexander the Great that serves as its centerpiece. Travelling exhibits, lectures, and symposia are held on an occasional basis. Unique limited-edition lithographs and bronze sculptures are for sale at the gift shop. Free.
- Tillman Road Wildlife Management Area, Shisler Rd. between Bergtold Rd. and Wehrle Dr., ☎ +1 716 851-7010. Dawn-dusk. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation owns and operates this wildlife reserve that consists of 235 acres (95 ha) of low, swampy land at the southern edge of the town, a bit more than a mile (about 2km) southwest of Clarence Hollow. A variety of habitats—including cattail marsh, open water, and mature hardwood forest—are home to such local wildlife as beaver, raccoons, white-tailed deer, muskrats, turtles, and seven species of frog. Birdwatchers can expect to see Canada geese, herons, hawks, and ducks. Visitors can enjoy strolling along the boardwalk or the self-guided nature trail that takes in the southern portion of the reserve, or tackle two hiking trails further off the beaten path. Fishing is permitted in some areas. Free.
As mentioned earlier, by far the most popular activity for visitors to Clarence is antique shopping. For a comprehensive list of antique shops in and around Clarence, please see the "Buy" section below.
The Clarence Hollow Association's website includes a self-guided historic walking tour of Clarence Hollow. The tour recounts the historical significance behind about a dozen buildings along Main Street, some of which are among the oldest existing buildings in Erie County.
As mentioned in the "Get Around" section above, Clarence boasts a robust network of bike trails that are popular during the warmer months with joggers, cyclists and other outdoorsy types. Namely, the Clarence Pathways is a network of four multi-use trails that traverse Clarence and the neighboring town of Newstead; they were developed in conjunction with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and run along former railroad rights-of-way. Two of these trails are located partially or entirely within Clarence:
- The West Shore Trail runs for 3.5 miles (5.6km) along the former West Shore Railroad through the southern portion of Clarence. Beginning at the town's southern border, on Wehrle Drive about half a mile (1km) east of Shimerville Road, the trail proceeds in a northeastward direction through a mixture of landscapes including woods, fields and suburban residential areas before entering the business district of Clarence Hollow. Deviating slightly from the railroad right-of-way, bicycles are routed onto a dedicated bike lane on Main Street, from Sawmill Road eastward through the heart of the Hollow. The trail then turns north onto Salt Road for a few hundred feet (about 100m) and continues northeastward, again along the path of the railroad, through forests and farmland. After crossing the town line into Newstead, the trail becomes the Newstead Bike Path and continues onward to the small village of Akron—an additional 4.8 miles (7.7km).
- The Clarence Bike Path, also known as the Peanut Line Trail, bisects the town through the middle in a roughly east-west direction. It begins at Transit Road about half a mile (800m) north of Clarence Center Road and proceeds slightly south of due east, following the former path of the Canandaigua and Niagara Falls Railroad (better known as the New York Central system's "Peanut Line") for a distance of 6.1 miles (9.8km). The setting transitions from upscale suburb to rural farmland as you proceed eastward, passing Meadowlakes Park and the charming hamlet of Clarence Center before entering Newstead, where the trail proceeds through a rural milieu for an additional 2.3 miles (3.7km) and ends at the Newstead Bike Path.
- The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival, 11199 Main St., Newstead. The Great Pumpkin Farm, located just past the east end of Clarence Hollow adjacent to Antique World (technically in the town of Newstead), is the venue for Clarence's annual Fall Festival, which takes place each year from late September through the end of October. Festival organizers describe the event as "our way of celebrating the harvest of blessings we enjoy in our community and our nation" and as "by far the largest family event in the region" (though the latter claim is certainly debatable). In any event, a number of specially themed festival weekends are featured, kicking off in September with "Oinktoberfest", which bills itself as New York State's official barbeque cookoff and also features live music, and continuing into October with (among other events) the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off, the family-friendly Pumpkin Farm Olympics, the annual Pumpkin Drop, and a pumpkin pie-eating contest on various weekends. The pièce de résistance, however, is the final weekend of the festival, immediately before Halloween, when horse- and tractor-drawn hayrides, a petting zoo, a corn maze, and amusement rides are featured—and the admission fee is waived! All through the festival, pumpkins, apple cider, fresh baked goods, candy and other goodies are available at the festival store, and food, refreshments, and kids' activities can be had. $5, final weekend of festival free, extra charges for some individual attractions.
- Taste of Clarence & Cruise Night. Since 2004, the Clarence Chamber of Commerce has been acquainting—and reacquainting—residents of Clarence and elsewhere in Western New York with the delicious offerings of the town's restaurants with the Taste of Clarence. The festival takes place at Clarence Town Park for one day, usually at the beginning of August. Participating restaurants from around Clarence sell samples of their most popular dishes to hungry attendees, with a vendor market, a Chinese auction, and live music on the soundstage. Awards are given for best appetizer, entrée and dessert. In addition, hundreds of classic cars are displayed by their proud owners as part of Cruise Night, which takes place concurrently with the Taste of Clarence.
- Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd. (Eastern Hills Mall), ☎ +1 716 632-1080. Owned by Dipson Theatres, a local chain of movie houses, the Eastern Hills Cinema features three screens showing primarily arthouse, indie and foreign films.
- Clarence Bowling Academy, 10718 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-6701.
Transit Road, which runs along Clarence's western town line, is the destination for suburban big-box retail in Clarence (indeed, it's possibly the busiest commercial strip in Erie County). In addition to the bevy of stand-alone big-box stores, chain restaurants, and other such establishments, there are four major shopping centers along this corridor:
- The Transitown Plaza was the first suburban shopping center to be built in Clarence. Located in the extreme southwest corner of the town, on Transit Road south of Main Street, the Transitown Plaza's 40 stores and restaurants include anchor tenants such as T.J.Maxx, Aldi, and Red Door Ski & Snowboard Shop.
- The Shops at Main & Transit, directly across Main Street from the Transitown Plaza, is a shopping center established in 2007 after the partial demolition of the old Clarence Mall, which had been located at the same site since 1966. Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, and Petco are some of the major new tenants that have breathed new life into the formerly stagnant site, with Old Country Buffet and the ever-popular Brennan's Bowery Bar continuing on as holdovers from the old Clarence Mall days.
- The Eastern Hills Mall is the largest retail development along Transit Road, and the only one that is an actual enclosed shopping mall. The Eastern Hills Mall is located at the southeast corner of Transit Road and Sheridan Drive, and for a long time was the largest and busiest mall in the Buffalo area (a title now claimed by the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga). Still a major shopping center for residents of northern Erie County, the stores and restaurants of the Eastern Hills Mall prominently include Sears, JCPenney, The Bon-Ton, Macy's, Dave & Buster's, Orvis, and the newest location of Duff's, the local chain that many say makes the best chicken wings in the area.
- The Eastgate Plaza is the newest of the foursome, located along the entirety of Transit Road's east side between Sheridan Drive and Greiner Road. Anchor tenants here include BJ's Wholesale Club, Dick's Sporting Goods, Michael's, PetSmart, Famous Footwear, Dollar Tree, and the Buffalo area's first Walmart Supercenter.
In addition to shopping opportunities such as the above, a wide range of specialty stores are located throughout the town, catering to shoppers in search of a less mass-market sort of experience. The following sections list some of those options.
As a destination for visitors, Clarence is perhaps best known for its large selection of antique shops. Most of these shops are located in Clarence Hollow, more specifically clustered around the intersection of Main Street and Davison Road at its east end, straddling the Clarence/Newstead town line.
- Antiques at the Glencroft, 10210 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-1720. Sa-Su noon-4PM, M-F by chance, also by appointment. Specializing in locally-produced Craftsman-style furniture, lighting and decorative items, especially those produced by the Roycroft Community in East Aurora and Charles Rohlfs' Heintz Art Metal Company in Buffalo, as well as works of fine art by local artists.
- Antique World & Flea Market, 11111 Main St., Newstead, ☎ +1 716 759-8483. Expo Center Co-op M-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 8AM-5PM, flea markets Su 8AM-4PM. Western New York's largest antique and flea market, Antique World is actually a complex of different facilities including the Expo Center Co-op, a 10,000-square-foot (920m²) emporium of antiques, collectibles, gifts, and other such items, as well as an indoor and outdoor flea market whose stalls feature furniture, jewelry, clothing, toys, trading cards, and other collectibles for sale. There is a restaurant on-site. Parking $1 Apr-Oct, free Nov-Mar.
- Hen House Antiques & Decor, 5270 Salt Rd., ☎ +1 716 510-5645. Tu-F noon-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. Antiques, collectibles, furniture and other handcrafted items are for sale in a charming old 1936 house half a mile (800m) north of Clarence Hollow.
- Niagara Emporium's Olde Country Store, 10867 Main St., ☎ +1 716 407-3000. Daily 10AM-5PM. A country-style general store and gift shop that also buys and sells gold and silver costume jewelry, coins, and quality antiques such as glassware, furniture, taxidermy mounts, and more.
- Premier Antique Center, 11145 Main St., Newstead, ☎ +1 716 759-0455. Daily 10AM-5PM. A wide range of high-quality antiques and collectibles of all descriptions.
- 3 Old Dogs Antiques, 11079 Main St., Newstead, ☎ +1 716 479-7752. M-Tu & Th-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 8AM-5PM. Specializes in quality country-style and Victorian furniture, military relics (especially Civil War-era items), folk art, and Americana. Services include appraisals, estate sales, and liquidations.
As one might expect from a place that is situated directly on the DMZ between farm country and the edges of upscale suburbia, Clarence is a place where fresh, locally-grown produce can be had throughout most of the year from an abundance of popular farmers' markets. Naturally, these establishments tend to be busiest from late spring through late autumn, but a few of the markets listed below are open year-round.
- Clarence Hollow Farmers' Market, 10717 Main St., e-mail: email@example.com. Sat 8AM-1PM Jun-Oct, rain or shine. The mission of this weekly farmers' market held right in the heart of Clarence Hollow is to provide patrons with healthy, fresh and locally produced foods and other specialty products, to raise awareness of local food production and distribution, to support local farmers, and to bring the Clarence community together in an enjoyable atmosphere. To that end, a dizzying array of locally grown seasonal produce is offered each week at the Clarence Hollow Farmers' Market by as many as 30 different vendors. In addition, "Vivian's Wine Haus" features an ever-changing selection of local vintages, the "Kornerstone Coffee Hut" sells coffee by the cup and coffee beans by the pound to take home, and the Clarence Center Coffee Company's "Snack Shack" offers an assortment of light breakfasts and lunches. Community programs, local businesses of all types, and even live music are frequently showcased at the Clarence Hollow Farmers' Market.
- Greg's U-Pick Farm Market, 9270 Lapp Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-4239. Daily 10AM-6PM. Delicious items such as berries, pumpkins, squash, corn, apples, potatoes and more are available for purchase in season at the store, but the real draw at Greg's U-Pick Farm Market is the chance to venture into the fields yourself and pick your own farm-fresh produce to take home with you. Autumn weekends see Greg's open their "Corn Maze for Roswell", where a donation of $5 purchases a hayride and a fun-filled romp through a cornstalk labyrinth, with proceeds to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Fun for the whole family. Cash only.
- Niagara County Produce, 8555 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 625-9151. Daily 8AM-9PM. Don't be fooled by the name—Niagara County Produce is located adjacent to the county line, on Transit Road near Millersport Highway, but on the Clarence side of the border. Opened in 1961, Niagara County Produce is open daily year-round and proudly offers not only a wide selection of local produce such as fruit, corn, pumpkins, and other vegetables, but also deli meats and cheeses, local specialty items, and other groceries. The three greenhouses located on the property ensure that fresh vegetables are available to patrons of Niagara County Produce even in winter!
- Spoth's Farm Market, 5757 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 688-1110. Daily May-Dec, hours vary seasonally. Beginning in 1951 when "Red" Spoth set up a small fruit and vegetable stand in front of his Transit Road home, three generations of the Spoth family have been selling fresh, delicious produce grown on their ample property, including corn, tomatoes, peppers, and squash as well as items from their greenhouse. In November and December, as autumn turns to winter, Spoth's also does a brisk business selling Christmas trees and decorations.
Art and art supplies
- A Frame in Time, 9140 Main St., ☎ +1 716 810-0123. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. A Frame in Time offers custom framing for your photos and artwork, as well as canvas transfers. The adjacent Ashton Gallery features original art and prints for sale.
- Artsy Elements, 4773 Harris Hill Rd., ☎ +1 716 432-8316. W-Th 11AM-5PM, F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Artsy Elements is a newly opened store that sells the works of local artisans, specializing in hand-crafted gifts, jewelry, home decor, and—above all—pottery. Classes in pottery are also offered.
- Clear Light Studio, 10852 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-6480. At Clear Light Studio, William Jobling and Donna Ioviero produce and sell unique decorative items such as fountains, birdbaths, ceramic flowers, and other "garden jewels". As well, other sculptures, pen-and-ink drawings, and works of graphic art are available at this "Garden of Earthly Delights".
- Hyatt's All Things Creative, 8565 Main St., ☎ +1 716 632-0001. M-F 9:30AM-9PM, Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Charles Hyatt founded his eponymous art supply store in 1959; originally located in Buffalo's Allentown Historic District, Hyatt's now boasts two additional locations, the largest of which is located here in Clarence. Today, Hyatt's is Western New York's leading purveyor of art supplies of all kinds. Picture framing services, classes and workshops, and miscellaneous gifts are all on offer as well.
- McGee Art Gallery, 10391 Main St., ☎ +1 716 481-8737. By appointment. This charming gallery, situated in a leafy, almost bucolic setting at the west end of Clarence Hollow, displays and sells the work of Jamestown native Christopher McGee, a former punk rock drummer turned painter who creates both abstract and representational works that are studies in visually stunning, surrealist grotesquery.
- Adventures in Heat, 10189 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-4328. Tu-F 11AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. Adventures in Heat is a specialty shop that has served locals' outdoor grilling needs since 1999. Specializing in gas and charcoal grills, smokers and other appliances, Adventures in Heat also carries a dizzying array of gourmet food products, spices and marinades, barbecue sauces, and hot sauces.
- Aléthea's Chocolates, 8301 Main St., ☎ +1 716 633-8620. Daily 10AM-10PM. Operated by the Tassy family since 1967, whose matriarch, Aléthea, was known for her homemade candies, Aléthea's Chocolates manufactures and sells a wide variety of high-quality chocolates, including unique local specialties such as sponge candy and orange chocolate minikins. Additionally, a wide variety of other sweet treats are available such as licorice, marzipan, peanut brittle, as well as gifts and sugar-free confections.
- The Podge, 10205 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-2080. M-Sa 10AM-6PM. Located at the west end of Clarence Hollow, The Podge sells an array of gourmet foods such as baked goods, honey, jams, jellies and local specialties, as well as a wide variety of high-quality cookware and accessories.
- The Perfect Gift, 6000 Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-0722. M-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Sa 10AM-6PM. One of two charming specialty shops operated by Deb Tangelder in the historic Eshelman Building, at the central intersection of Clarence Center known as the "Four Corners", The Perfect Gift specializes in home decor and unique gifts including locally produced jewelry and artisanal goods, lotions and spa items, gifts for children and baby, as well as Vera Bradley living room sets, stationery and seasonal gifts.
- Sunshine Square Gift Shop, 10529 Main St. (At the Asa Ransom House), ☎ +1 716 741-0722. Daily 9AM-9PM. The Asa Ransom House offers a variety of unique and charming gifts at their gift shop, Sunshine Square, including handmade soaps, herbal teas, crafts, and specialty items.
- Buffalo Road Hobby Imports, 10120 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-7451. M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 1PM-5PM, Su (Dec only) 11AM-3PM. A comprehensive selection of scale-model die-cast cars, trucks and construction equipment, from toys to museum-quality replicas, with all major brands represented. Also carries model kits and custom decals.
- Cycles Plus, 9059 Main St., ☎ +1 716 626-1419. M-Tu & Th-F 10:30AM-6PM, Sa 10:30AM-4PM. For almost thirty years now, Cycles Plus has been a local institution dedicated to personally attending to the needs of cycling enthusiasts from all over Western New York and Southern Ontario. Cycles Plus is an authorized retailer for Bianchi, Masi, Haro, Marin, and Rans Recumbent bicycles, and also offers expert service and repairs, clothing, helmets and other accessories.
- Dkd. Studio, 10593 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-1574. W-Sa 11AM-5PM or by appointment. Rooted in Karen Dentinger's creative interest in crafting ornamental beads, Dkd. Studio was conceived in 2005 after her medium of choice shifted from glass to silver. Today, a wide array of handcrafted, personalized silver jewelry for men and women are offered in this restored former carriage house at the west end of Clarence Hollow, along with decorative items, fine paper goods, accessories, and other gifts.
- Get Heeled, 6000 Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-1310. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Th until 8PM. Since 2006, Deb Tangelder has owned and operated Get Heeled, the "sister store" to The Perfect Gift located in the Eshelman Building in Clarence Center. Get Heeled offers a wide variety of shoes of all descriptions—sandals, heels, boots, and comfortable leathers—as well as jewelry, apparel, scarves, and handbags and other accessories.
- Yours Truly, 6045 Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-4500. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. A brand-new business opened in 2009 in a restored brick storefront in Clarence Center, Yours Truly is Erie County's first paperie, offering an array of fine stationery, pens and other writing implements, stamps and embossers, and custom-designed greeting cards and invitations. A modest but eclectic range of fine glassware, jewelry, and other "useful, indulgent things" are on offer as well.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
- Clarence Grille, 10250 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-8917. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Located at the west end of Clarence Hollow, this "restaurant and rathskeller" is the purveyor of what they claim to be "Clarence's Best Chicken Wings", which are available in barbeque, parmesan, garlic and Cajun styles as well as traditional Buffalo style. In addition to the usual pub grub, the Clarence Grille boasts an admirable selection of burgers, sandwiches and hoagies that is matched by an equally extensive offering of salads and a full soup bar. Dinners are also offered, including Friday fish fries and baby back ribs, the latter a house specialty available in both half and full racks. $15-30.
- Gianni Mazia's on Main, 10325 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-2803. Su-Th 11AM-10PM, Fr-Sa 11AM-11PM. Evolving over the twenty years of its history from its roots as a humble take-out outfit offering pizza, wings and subs, today Gianni Mazia's is a full-service restaurant offering delicious food in a family-friendly environment at reasonable prices. Traditional, hearty Italian fare such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken Florentine, calzones, and wood-fired brick-oven pizzas form the core of the menu, with other simple fare such as burritos and fajitas, burgers and sandwiches, and barbeque wings present on the menu as well. Gianni Mazia's also offers delivery service. $15-30.
- The Hollow Bistro & Brew, 10641 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-7351. M-Sa 11:30AM-3PM & 5PM-9:45PM. This building has an impressive history: built in 1841, for over a decade it housed the Clarence Classical School; later it served as the home of several storied local businesses such as Wagner's Bakery, the Clarence Deli, and the "Heart of the Hollow" ice cream parlor. Since 2010, however, The Hollow Bistro & Brew has been its tenant. The menu here is almost inarguably the most innovative of any restaurant in Clarence Hollow: the dizzyingly eclectic menu encompasses interesting takes on standards such as steaks, pork chops, and grilled chicken. However, the prominent inspiration is Asian, with appetizers such as pork potstickers and mussels in red curry sauce and mains such as Thai curry shrimp, sesame chicken, and Hong Kong seafood stew served to loyal customers who are nearly unanimous in their acclaim. $15-40.
- Asa Ransom House, 10529 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-2315. Lunch W 11:30AM-2PM; Dinner Tu-Th & Su 4PM-8PM, Fr-Sa 5PM-8PM. The premier establishment of its kind in all of Erie County, the Asa Ransom House is not only a luxurious bed and breakfast but also a restaurant that offers cuisine of impeccable quality each evening from Tuesday through Sunday (including an elegant five-course dinner on Saturday nights for $40-55). A high proportion of Erie County residents cite the Asa Ransom House as their favorite local restaurant, and with good reason. The food at the Asa Ransom House has its basis in traditional country-style American cuisine—chicken pot pie, roast turkey, shepherd's pie, and "Jeffersonian Beef" with sherry mushroom sauce are prominent options—with occasional detours into various Continental cuisines exemplified by selections such as sauerbraten and fettuccine bolognese. The homemade desserts served here with legendary aplomb hew to the same culinary zeitgeist; traditional American selections such as apple strawberry rhubarb pie and berry cobbler are offset by European specialties, including crème brûlée and a delectable amaretto biscotti torte. Dinner theater is held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. $40-80.
- Kennedy's Cove, 9800 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-8961. M-Sa 4PM-10PM, Su 3PM-8PM. Do not be misled by this restaurant's name: seafood is only half of the equation here. In reality, Kennedy's Cove is an upscale steak and seafood restaurant situated about halfway between Harris Hill and Clarence Hollow. Generous cuts of steak, including New York strip, filet mignon, and others, share space on the menu with lamb chops, surf-and-turf specials, and—yes—seafood options such as salmon filets, Australian lobster tails, and scallops. The selection of appetizers, desserts, and fine wines at Kennedy's Cove is equally impressive. $40-60.
Transit Road commercial strip
In addition to the restaurants listed here, locations of pretty much every national chain imaginable can be found on Transit Road.
- The Pomegranate, 4125 Transit Rd. (Transitown Plaza), ☎ +1 716 631-0900. M-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. A brand-new restaurant specializing in Middle Eastern food with a special emphasis on Persian cuisine, the accent at the Pomegranate is on light and healthy fare at reasonable prices. A dizzying variety of beef, chicken, and lamb kebabs are on offer, in addition to a selection of delicious salads and hearty stews—all served in a clean, airy space with subtle yet delightful Middle Eastern flourishes in the decor. $15-25.
- Spilios Family Restaurant, 5175 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 633-2040. M-Th 8AM-10PM, F 8AM-11PM, Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 7AM-9PM. Don't be deceived by the somewhat humdrum exterior—the gyros, souvlaki, baklava and other specialties served here are well-prepared enough to elevate Spilios Family Restaurant a cut above the rest of the Greek diners and family restaurants of the type that are so common in the area. Spilios' persistent Achilles heel is the inattentive service its waitstaff is sometimes guilty of, but for visitors to Clarence who don't want to break the bank on a dinner out, Spilios certainly remains a worthwhile option. $15-25.
- Brennan's Bowery Bar, 4401 Transit Rd. (Shops at Main & Transit), ☎ +1 716 633-9630. Daily 11AM-7PM. Brennan's is an authentic Irish pub and restaurant that is a Transit Road institution. Though the business traces its roots to New York City, where it was founded in 1888—hence the "Bowery" portion of the restaurant's name—Brennan's relocated to Western New York in 1970 and has since adapted its menu to local tastes, integrating (quite successfully, according to local consensus) typical Western New York dishes such as chicken wings and beef on weck into the framework of more traditional old-world pub grub. Authentic Celtic musicians and bands take the stage at Brennan's frequently. Understandably, this is a popular place on St. Patrick's Day. $15-30.
- Gate House Grill, 8220 Main St., ☎ +1 716 565-0338. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 4PM-10PM. Opened in 2006, the Gate House Grill is, in the words of Buffalo News food critic Janice Okun, "a comfortable neighborhood restaurant with a sophisticated bar and good food". The food here is often quite innovative and high-quality: starters such as the Lollipop Lamb Chops (marinated in red wine with garlic and rosemary) and a chili con queso dip made with corn and chèvre, entrees such as their Chicken Paillard in lemon caper sauce, and lighter fare such as the Gouda Chicken Sandwich seem meant to stand out in what may seem to be a casual, even unassuming, environment. Gate House Grill's specialty, however, is its Chicken Rockefeller, which has won numerous awards at the Taste of Williamsville, as well as its delicious homemade desserts. $15-40.
- Hayes Seafood House, 8900 Main St., ☎ +1 716 632-1772. Tu-Th 11:30AM-8PM, F 11:30AM-9PM, Sa 3PM-8PM. The Hayes Fish Company has been a well-known purveyor of fresh fish and seafood in the Buffalo area since 1877. Though tough economic times recently caused the company to close their seafood markets in Kenmore and Snyder, the Hayes tradition continues at their restaurant in Clarence (which now also features a much smaller-scale fresh-fish counter on site). Sandwiches and soups (including both New England and Manhattan clam chowder) are available at Hayes Seafood House, in addition to a selection of fried or broiled dinners of tilapia, haddock, sole, salmon, catfish, shrimp, scallops, oysters and more. Non-seafood items, such as grilled chicken and steak sandwiches and a delicious half-pound Black Angus Burger, are also on sale. Not surprisingly, Friday fish fries pack the house at Hayes. $15-35.
- Kabab & Curry, 8445 Main St., ☎ +1 716 565-3822. Lunch M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Sa-Su 11:30AM-3PM; Dinner Su-M 5PM-9PM, Tu-Sa 5PM-9:30PM. Kabab & Curry is, according to general local consensus, the best and most authentic Indian restaurant in Erie County. This magnificent establishment matches the impeccable quality of its North Indian and Pakistani cuisine with customer service that is second to none in its attentiveness. Curries of lamb, beef and chicken—many of which are cooked in a deep circular pot, or karahi, typical of Pakistani cooking—are accompanied on the menu by rice-based biryanis and roasted meats and breads cooked in their own tandoor. Vegetarians are well cared-for at Kabab & Curry, particularly via their small selection of dosas, a sort of lentil-based crêpe typical of South Indian cuisine, and vegetarian curries. $20-45.
- Orazio's Restaurant, 9415 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-8888. M, W & Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 4PM-11PM, Su noon-9PM. At Orazio's Restaurant, the Ippolito family serves up enormous portions of delightful upscale Italian cuisine made from scratch, to legions of adoring patrons. Starters range from familiar but well-executed standards such as parmesan garlic bread and fried calamari to more creative options such as mussels Augustina, babalucci, and orangini. A similar mix of well-known and more exotic items characterizes Orazio's extensive slate of main courses, comprising seafood, pasta, chicken, and meat dishes; their award-winning pasta con vodka is an especial favorite. Cap your meal off with your choice of delicious homemade Italian desserts and coffees. A kids' menu is available for guests 12 and under. Again, guests should be prepared for enormous portions (the leftovers of which Orazio's staff will be more than happy to box up for you.) $20-40.
- Samuel's Grande Manor, 8750 Main St., ☎ +1 716 634-8425. M 9AM-5PM, Tu-Sa 9AM-8PM. One of the most elegant restaurants in the area, the refined ambience of Samuel's Grande Manor begins with the building itself, a stately Italian Renaissance-style edifice situated in the middle of a large parcel of verdant, impeccably manicured grounds that include gardens, fountains and a charming gazebo. The elegance continues inside, with upscale Continental cuisine served cheerfully by attentive professional waitstaff, in an expansive, airy and exquisitely-decorated dining room. Samuel's specialties are deliciously prepared steak and chicken dishes, the latter especially betraying the definite French and Italian influences on the cuisine. A small selection of seafood dishes is available, and dinner buffets and Sunday brunches are especially popular. Samuel's banquet room is a popular choice for weddings and other formal events. $20-45.
- Pautler's Drive-In, 6343 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 636-1690. Daily 11AM-9PM Apr-Sep. At first glance, Pautler's may seem to be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill drive-in that any town might have. But visitors will soon learn what it is—aside from plain old tradition; this place has been here forever—that makes Clarence residents flock to Pautler's every summer. It's the combination of the always delicious dessert treats this place serves up year after year, including Mexican sundaes and a unique specialty called the Mint Explosion, with consistent service and at prices that can't be beat. The other items that Pautler's serves—the usual range of hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches—are perfectly passable if not nearly as distinguished as the ice cream. The "Happy Days" feel that the whole package evokes is strengthened by the classic car shows that occur in Pautler's parking lot every Tuesday. Open in summer only. $5-15.
- Falletta's Restaurant, 8255 Clarence Center Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-7406. Tu-Th 5PM-9PM, Sa 5PM-10PM, Su 3PM-8PM. Originally located in Kenmore, Falletta's Restaurant has operated since 1999 in an Arts and Crafts-style farmhouse built in 1902 on Clarence Center Road, half a mile (1km) east of Transit Road on the banks of Gott Creek. Upscale Italian cuisine at surprisingly affordable prices is served in what is still a verdant and idyllic setting, with an ample selection of appetizers and salads (the latter served with a selection of homemade salad dressings brought to the table in carafes) accompanying a delectable range of main courses, among which the seafood entrees, including shrimp scampi and a filleted breaded haddock, have earned particularly rave reviews from patrons. Try one of the daily dessert specials to top everything off. $20-45.
- Ruzzine's Rock Bottom Eatery & Saloon, 6261 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 204-4004. M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 4:30PM-9PM. Ruzzine's Rock Bottom is located just across the street and one door down from Grover's Bar & Grill, and they give their competitors a run for their money in the burger department—theirs has been rated the #1 hamburger in Western New York by Buffalo Spree magazine. Compared to the standard-issue pub grub at Grover's, though, the menu at Ruzzine's is quite a bit more diverse; popular items on the menu include chicken parmesan and marsala, sirloin steaks, and a Greek chicken sandwich on pita bread. Beer, wine and cocktails are available at Ruzzine's full bar. $15-35.
- Clarence Pizza Company, 6235 Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-2888. Daily 11AM-10PM. Located on Goodrich Road about a quarter of a mile (300m) north of the Four Corners, the Clarence Pizza Company's specialty—not surprisingly—is a wide gamut of specialty pizzas offered in a variety of serving sizes, from single slices to full sheet pizzas. The creativity of the menu in this regard is epitomized by such selections as the Greek Pizza, Lasagna Pizza, the Italian Stallion Pizza (which includes pepperoni, salami, capicolla and Romano cheese), and not one but two varieties of Hawaiian pizza. Subs, tacos, appetizers, an impressive offering of salads, a modest range of pasta dishes and dinners, and well-regarded wings are also served at the Clarence Pizza Company, the latter available tossed in mild, medium or hot Buffalo sauce as well as Cajun, garlic parmesan, and two different varieties of barbeque sauce. $10-30.
The following local chains have locations in Clarence. Descriptions of these restaurants can be found here.
- Duff's Famous Wings, 4545 Transit Rd. (Eastern Hills Mall), ☎ +1 716 631-3833. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-10PM.
- Jim's Steakout, 5651 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 688-8300. Su-Th 10:30AM-2AM, F-Sa 10:30AM-5AM.
- Aldi, 4259 Transit Rd. (Transitown Plaza). M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-7PM.
- Dash's, 8845 Main St., ☎ +1 716 650-2888. Daily 6AM-11PM.
- Walmart Supercenter, 5033 Transit Rd. (Eastgate Plaza), ☎ +1 716 565-0250. Daily 24 hours.
In keeping with its reputation as a quiet, conservative, quaint, and largely rural town, Clarence is not exactly a hotbed of nightlife. Most of the places on this list are friendly, unpretentious neighborhood bars patronized mostly by long-time regulars. An exception is Brennan's, which attracts a somewhat more youthful and energetic crowd. In addition to the places listed here, many of the chain restaurants on Transit Road—Applebee's, Chili's, and so forth—have bars.
For more thorough descriptions of many of these places, see the "Eat" section, just above.
- Brennan's Bowery Bar, 4401 Transit Rd. (Shops at Main & Transit), ☎ +1 716 633-9630.
- Harris Hill Inn, 8585 Main St., ☎ +1 716 634-2464.
- Clarence Center Coffee Company and Café, 9475 Clarence Center Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-8573. M 7AM-6PM, Tu & F 7AM-11PM, W-Th 7AM-8PM, Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 8AM-6PM.
- Goodrich Coffee & Tea, 9450 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-1791. M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
- Ohlson's Bakery & Café, 8500 Sheridan Dr., ☎ +1 716 626-7783. M 7:30AM-6PM, Tu-W 6:30AM-6PM, Th-F 6:30AM-7PM, Sa 7:30AM-4PM.
- SPoT Coffee, 5205 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 276-8158. Su-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-midnight.
In addition to the lodgings listed here, travelers—especially those interested in a conventional chain-hotel experience—should consider the large group of establishments clustered around Exit 49 of the New York State Thruway, along Transit Road. Though these hotels are not located within Clarence per se, they are convenient to most major attractions in the town, as well as to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the Interstate, and restaurants and shopping.
Also, travelers along Main Street (NY 5) will note a large concentration of 1950s-style motels between Transit Road and Clarence Hollow. These motels are vestiges of the days before the construction of the Thruway, when Route 5 was the main road out of Buffalo from the east. Many of these motels have since been demolished or converted into apartments or offices, but some still cling precariously to life under their original purpose. Though perhaps interesting from a historical perspective, one would be hard-pressed (to say the least) to recommend most of these establishments to visitors.
Hotels and motels
- America's Best Value Inn & Suites Clarence/Buffalo East (Formerly Village Haven Motel), 9370 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-6845. Free Wi-Fi, free local and long-distance calling to US and Canada, outdoor pool open seasonally. Guest rooms include microwave, mini-fridge, coffeemaker, cable TV with ESPN; suites include whirlpool tub. Pets welcome for a nominal fee. $87-139/night in high season.
- Budget Inn Williamsville, 8255 Main St., ☎ +1 716 634-6622. Room service, fax & photocopy service. Free Wi-Fi. All rooms have cable TV with HBO, microwave and refrigerator. $60-90/night in high season.
- Staybridge Suites Buffalo Airport, 8005 Sheridan Dr., ☎ +1 716 810-7829. An all-suite property whose various-sized units all contain ample storage areas, large and well-lit workspaces, irons and ironing boards, and full kitchens including dishwasher, full-size refrigerator with ice maker, stove, toaster, coffeemaker, and microwave oven. Free wireless Internet. Fitness room, laundry room, business center, indoor and outdoor common areas. On-site convenience store. Complimentary breakfast buffet. Pets weighing less than 50 pounds (about 23kg) are welcome, subject to extra fees and restrictions. Located on the former site of the Sheridan Court Motel, a much less recommendable property that was demolished a few years ago. $129-185/night in high season.
- Asa Ransom House, 10529 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-2315. It was on this property that the first white settler of Clarence, Asa Ransom, built his home and grist mill in 1799 (though the present building is not the original one; it was built in the 1850s, some years after Ransom's death, by a subsequent owner). But that's not the only superlative that applies to the Asa Ransom House—today, it is known as almost inarguably the best-known and best-loved lodging in Clarence, as well as the most elegant and charming bed & breakfast in Erie County. Its restaurant is lauded by many locals as their favorite, the most elegant, the most romantic, ad infinitum. The ten rooms at the Asa Ransom House are delightfully appointed with period furniture, distinctive, individualized decor in eclectic styles, and lovely and serene views of the impeccably manicured grounds. All rooms contain private baths, radio and hidden TV with cable, free WiFi, individual climate-control units, hair dryers, and irons and ironing boards; all but one of the rooms also has a fireplace. Some rooms also contain refrigerators and porches or balconies. Additionally, a full country breakfast is provided to guests each morning. $135-$330/night.
Like the rest of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area, the area code in Clarence is 716. It is not necessary to dial the area code for local calls.
There are two post offices located in Clarence:
- the Clarence Post Office (ZIP Code 14031) at 9845 Main St. in Clarence Hollow.
- the Clarence Center Post Office (ZIP Code 14032) at 6045 Railroad St. in Clarence Center.
Additionally, many portions of western Clarence are served by ZIP Codes 14051 (East Amherst, NY) and 14221 (Williamsville, NY), whose post offices are located in the neighboring town of Amherst.
Like anywhere else, common sense — lock up valuables, keep your wits about you, etc. — applies. However, the crime rate in Clarence is negligible, and realistically speaking, travelers have nothing to worry about in this regard.
Clarence is locally notorious as probably the only town in Erie County that actively enforces the "residents only" policy of its parks. Visitors to Clarence town parks who are neither residents of the town nor guests of a resident could theoretically face trespassing charges, though in nearly all cases police will send visitors on their way without incident. Of course, it is more likely that the police will not happen to be around at all. Still, visit town parks at your own risk.
In case of medical emergency, Erie County, including Clarence, is well-served by a wide variety of hospitals and other medical facilities. The nearest major medical facility to Clarence is Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, located at 1540 Maple Rd in the neighboring town of Amherst. For non-emergency situations, Western New York Immediate Care has a facility at 7616 Transit Rd, across from the Eastern Hills Mall.
Since June 2012, the business office and broadcast studios of WBBZ Channel 67 have been located at the Eastern Hills Mall.
The weekly Clarence Bee has served the town since 1937, and is the most comprehensive source of local news specific to Clarence. Also, as above, Buffalo-based print media—especially the daily Buffalo News and the alternative weekly Artvoice—regularly cover Clarence news and events.
Laundry and dry cleaning
- Arthur's Executive Cleaners, 9450 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-1916. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-4PM.
- Big Four Cleaners, 8855 Sheridan Dr., ☎ +1 716 204-4454. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM.
- Massaro Cleaners, 6429 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 689-6810. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 8AM-6PM.
- Massaro Cleaners, 10611 Main St., ☎ +1 716 759-6412. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-4PM.
- Read's Laundry & Dry Cleaning, 8525 Main St., ☎ +1 716 633-8980. M-F 7AM-10PM, Sa 7AM-5PM.
Places of worship
The population of Clarence is overwhelmingly white and Christian, and the range of places of worship located there reflects those demographics to a great degree. South Asians, many of whom follow the Sikh religion, make up one of the largest visible minorities in Clarence.
- St. Mary's RC Church of Swormville, 6919 Transit Rd., ☎ +1 716 688-9380. One of the oldest parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, St. Mary's was founded in 1839. Its first priest, an itinerant Redemptorist preacher who was a native of Bohemia, would later be canonized as St. John Neumann.
- Clarence Church of Christ, 5375 Old Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-3030. One of Clarence's oldest existing congregations, the Clarence Church of Christ was founded in 1834 under the name of The First Congregation of the Disciples of Christ, Clarence, and worshipped for its first three decades in the building that is now the Clarence Historical Society. In 1950, the congregation formally severed its ties with the Disciples of Christ and has been nondenominational since then.
- Emmanuel Baptist Church, 5353 Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-3801.
- First Baptist Church of Clarence, 10800 Hunts Corners Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-3432.
- Harris Hill United Methodist Church, 8495 Main St., ☎ +1 716 632-4688. Another congregation with an exceptionally long history, this church was founded as the United Brethren Church of Harris Hill in 1858.
- New Hope Presbyterian Church, 6969 Strickler Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-6107. Serves a multiethnic congregation with services held in both the English and Korean languages.
- St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 7700 Goodrich Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-2500.
Community of Christ (Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
- Community of Christ Church, 5030 Thompson Rd., ☎ +1 716 741-3242.
There are no synagogues within Clarence's borders, but the bulk of the Jewish population in Erie County—and their places of worship—are located in the neighboring town of Amherst.
Buffalo is the nearest major city to Clarence, located an easy 20- or 30-minute drive west along Main Street or the Thruway. Buffalo boasts a full range of cultural institutions, world-class architecture, professional sports, fine dining, trendy neighborhoods, and other attractions in an urban setting.
Niagara Falls—one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the most popular tourist attraction in the region by far, and a genuinely awe-inspiring place to see—is 40 minutes from Clarence by car.
|Routes through Clarence|
|Buffalo ← Amherst ←||W E||→ Batavia → Albany|
|Buffalo ← Amherst ←||W E||→ Batavia → Auburn|
|Newfane ← Lockport ←||N S||→ Cheektowaga/Lancaster → Gainesville|
|Niagara Falls ← Amherst ←||W E||→ Merges with|