Along Route 20A a few miles east of Orchard Park  lies East Aurora (www.eastaurorany.com ), an idyllic village surrounded by hilly dairy country. East Aurora was once home to President Millard Fillmore, and to Elbert Hubbard, a former soap salesman turned charismatic leader of the Arts and Crafts movement. “Conformists die, but heretics live forever,” Hubbard was fond of saying. “Weep not peeling other people’s onions.”
Hubbard was the founder of an idealistic crafts community, the Roycrofters, whose Roycroft Campus (31 S. Grove St., 716/655-0261, www.roycroftcampuscorporation.com ) still stands at the corner of Main and Grove Streets. Now a National Historic Landmark District, the 14-building complex still houses a number of artisans’ workshops, along with gift shops, offices, a small museum, and the Roycroft Inn.
At the heart of the campus, Roycroft Shops (31 S. Grove St., 716/655-0571) sells arts and crafts of Roycroft design. Out back is Roycroft Potters (37 S. Grove St., 716/652-7422). Down the street is the Elbert Hubbard-Roycroft Museum (363 Oakwood Ave., 716/652-4735, 1–4 p.m. Wed. and Sat.–Sun. June–Oct.), which documents the community’s history. Nearby is the Roycroft Inn (40 S. Grove St., 716/652-5552, www.roycroftinn.com ).
Another must-stop is Vidler’s 5 & 10 (690–694 Main St., 716/652-0481, www.vidlers5and10.com , 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–4 p.m. Sun.). Out front flaps a spiffy red-and-white awning; inside are creaky wooden floors and display cases from the 1920s selling old-fashioned stuff, including penny candy, wooden animals, marbles, magic cards, Buster Brown socks, mousetraps, lace, and ribbon. Almost everything costs under $1.
Two blocks off Main Street is the Toy Town Museum (636 Girard Ave., 716/687-5151, www.toytownusa.com , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sat., shorter hours in winter, free admission), a fascinating place for both children and adults. The museum documents the history of toys in the 20th century, along with children’s games, stuffed animals, marionettes, music, and books. On display are one-of-a-kind toys, special exhibits, and the Fisher-Price Toy Collection. The toy company has been based in East Aurora since 1930.
Just off Main Street is the 1826 Millard and Abigail Fillmore House (24 Shearer Ave., 716/652-8875, 1–4 p.m. Wed. and Sat.–Sun. June–Oct., suggested donation $3), built by the future U.S. president with his own hands in 1826. Fillmore was then a young lawyer fresh off the farm.