One of the wonderful things about Niagara is its central location to so many other fabulous finds. We love to take day trips or overnights to some of these places. One of our favorites is Chautauqua! It’s a short drive from Buffalo and Niagara, and an easy and pleasant day trip, to be sure.
The Lake Chautauqua region of Western New York is fresh and full of voluminous vistas. The hills which rise up from Lake Erie and house Lake Chautauqua, offer beauty to the beholder, around many twists and turns.
One of the largest grape growing regions in America, the Chautauqua area is a supplier to Welch’s grape juice and has several wineries as well. (See link below).
My favorite season to visit this area is the autumn, when the leaves are turning, the air is still warm and the scent of grapes tickles your nostrils with happy little joy tendrils.
My cousin and I rented a condo on the property of the Chautauqua Institute and did everything we could to enjoy ourselves! We love taking photos and walking and this is a regular paradise to do so. There is some interesting architecture here and the Institute is filled with charming homes from around the turn of the 20th Century. The owners take pride in dressing up their front porches with delightful flower arrangements and greenery by the dozens. Who wouldn’t be happy taking pictures of such a place?
A community, reminiscent of days past still exists in the summer, with a small bleed over into the fall. People sit and rock on their porches, magazine in hand, chatting with neighbors and drinking iced tea. Ideas are born this way.
The Atheneum is an old hotel, on property, with a delightful wrap around porch, facing the Lake and the famous clock tower. In the autumn many of the porches’ chairs are empty whereas during the summer season you’re lucky to snag one! http://www.athenaeum-hotel.com/ The hotel lobby is a step back into yesteryear, with a gracious environment long gone. It somehow reminds me of Mark Twain. Oh wait, yeah he was here. This is a cool article describing the roots of the Institute, (but note, it’s an older article and the prices are not correct): http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/03/travel/chautauqua-s-quiet-charm.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
There’s also the Busti Apple Festival a way out in the country, in the town of Busti that is well worth the trek. They’ve got the old mill up and running, fiddlers fiddling, cider pumping, corn a shuckin’ and lots of vendors selling their arts and crafts. They also display some crafting, like caning, with the demonstrators in costume. It’s held the last Sunday in September and runs from 9-5. http://www.townofbsti.com/apple.htmlu
During the winter, the President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival is held in Mayville and includes a Snowball Dance, snowmobile rides, a Lego Creation Building Contest and a fireworks display. http://www.chautauquachamber.org/events/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=260
At the beginning of spring, buckets can be seen hanging from maple trees all along the countryside. A Maple Syrup Festival is held then, in nearby Jamestown. http://aboutchautauqua.com/page/4
Of course, in the summertime the Chautauqua Institute reigns supreme with all she has to offer: http://www.ciweb.org/#1 and humbler activities such as boating, canoeing, hiking, biking, antiquing and wine tasting, museums and children’s activities are all easily available with a variety of accommodations to choose from. (See links below).
For general information on activities: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g1987130-Activities-Chautauqua_County_New_York.html
For wineries and tastings: http://www.chautauqua-wine-trail.com/wineries.html ,
For water activities and more: http://www.chautauquarentals.net/Links.html
For hiking and biking: http://www.post-journal.com/page/contkent.detail/id/501773.html?nav=5099
Photography, hiking, biking, wine tasting, boating, festivals, Niagara, Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Institute, Buffalo, New York State, crafts, maple syrup, Atheneum, Mark Twain, Antiquing, Legos, Lego Creation Building Contest.