The Drive: Salamanca, New York Miles: 176 Get Outside: Need some sun? Ellicottville, 20 minutes north of Salamanca, hosts an annual Fall Festival Oct. 6 and 7. Get some vitamin D and plenty of changing foliage set among the Allegheny Mountains.
Do you feel lucky? Well, do you? A gin and tonic, 2,000 slot machines and the only live poker tables in the area are waiting at Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, N.Y. You supply the sunglasses, the bravado and the cash to let it all ride on red 36.
The Seneca is a single, 11-story modern glass building that slices through a skyline of mountains and forests. Owned by the Seneca Nation of Indians, it’s as sparkling, themed and decadent as anything on The Strip. The grandeur starts in the lobby, where a stunning copper fireplace reflects the spirit of the Seneca culture. There are Native American touches throughout: The High Limit Room celebrates harvest with basket-weave pillars and glass panels, and the Casino Bar plays on the weather with a background that resembles lightning and a ceiling with continuously shifting colors.
If you’re a high roller, and nothing less than a penthouse suite will do, you’ll find quarters you won’t ever want to leave. A posh bar, multiple flatscreen TVs, expansive views and a bedside Jacuzzi pamper deep-pocketed visitors (and regular travelers who realize how much they save by not having to fly to gamble in style).
Use your Saturday afternoon wisely: Hit the salon and spa for a massage, do a lazy lap or two at the pool, then glide into one of the casino’s restaurants. Hit Patria, an upscale Italian eatery, to drink red wine and feed each other cannoli. The porterhouse at The Western Door: A Seneca Steakhouse is perfect fuel for an all-night gambling blitz. And when you’re ready to call it a night (even if it’s the next morning), use your winnings to buy the table a round of pancakes inside the 24-hour Seneca Café. 1-877-553-9500, www.senecaalleganycasino.com