ShareThis Page
Home

Road Trip! Destination: Chautauqua, N.Y.

| Monday, June 18, 2012, 7:55 a.m.
Tom Ridge addresses audience in Chautauqua Amphitheater
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
Tom Ridge addresses audience in Chautauqua Amphitheater For Chautauqua road trip story photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
Boat moored at piers on Chautauqua Lake
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo: Catherine Artman  |  Tribune-Review
Boat moored at piers on Chautauqua Lake For Chautauqua road trip story photo: Catherine Artman | Tribune-Review
Lily pads flower under a pier on Chautauqua Lake
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo: Catherine Artman  |  Tribune-Review
Lily pads flower under a pier on Chautauqua Lake For Chautauqua road trip story photo: Catherine Artman | Tribune-Review
Panama Rocks Scenic Park in Panama, N.Y.
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo courtesy Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Panama Rocks Scenic Park in Panama, N.Y. For Chautauqua road trip story photo courtesy Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Panama Rocks Scenic Park in Panama, N.Y.
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo courtesy Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Panama Rocks Scenic Park in Panama, N.Y. For Chautauqua road trip story photo courtesy Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Bronco riding at the Gerry Fireman's Rodeo, held annually in Gerry, N.Y.
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
Bronco riding at the Gerry Fireman's Rodeo, held annually in Gerry, N.Y. For Chautauqua road trip story photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
A vendor's display at the YWCA Westfield Arts and Crafts Show in Westfield, N.Y.
For Chautauqua road trip story
(note: the image is small; 2 cols maximum, and maybe not that big)
photo: Catherine Artman  |  Tribune-Review
A vendor's display at the YWCA Westfield Arts and Crafts Show in Westfield, N.Y. For Chautauqua road trip story (note: the image is small; 2 cols maximum, and maybe not that big) photo: Catherine Artman | Tribune-Review
Dining on the deck at Village Casino restaurant in Bemus Point, N.Y.
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
Dining on the deck at Village Casino restaurant in Bemus Point, N.Y. For Chautauqua road trip story photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
Watermark restaurant in Mayville, N.Y., on the shore of Chautauqua Lake
For Chautauqua road trip story
photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau
Watermark restaurant in Mayville, N.Y., on the shore of Chautauqua Lake For Chautauqua road trip story photo courtesy Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau

A recent yoga class ended with a meditation in which we were guided to imagine relaxing by a sea. Afterward, the woman who had been next to me commented that she had fallen asleep. I volunteered that I tried to picture a warm tropical beach but, instead, thought of Chautauqua where I lived for years and where I visit every summer.

I didn't specify “Chautauqua Lake,” and she assumed I meant “Chautauqua Institution.” I was puzzled when she rattled off vaguely familiar names. It seems she knows the wife of a descendant of an Institution founder. She didn't understand why I don't know them.

What she forgot is that the Institution is but a small enclave along the shoreline of a good-size lake. There are many other places to visit,

But before we move on to a few of those, note that the Institution's 2012 season will start June 23 and run through Aug. 26, For a listing of the many entertainment programs and classes and for ticket information, visit www.ciweb.org. If you want to just walk around and soak in the atmosphere, no gate fees are charged on Sundays.

Rocky path

If you've traveled from a city to Chautauqua County, then you've already gotten away from it all. Want to get away a little farther? Panama Rocks Scenic Park is a nature park that's been in operation since 1885. Exploring it is basically like clambering over the rocks in your favorite creek — except there's no creek, and the rocks are huge. The quartz conglomerate-rock formations reach a height of 60 feet, according to the park's website. Hemlocks, mosses, ferns and snaking tree roots add interest along the one-mile hiking trail. People of all ages can enjoy Panama Rocks, but keep safety in mind. It's easy to slip or stumble, and the path runs along cliffs and crevices. It's not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 14.

Details: panamarocks.com

Ride ‘em, cowboy

Don't let that yearning to see bull riding go unrequited. Bull riding, bronc riding, roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing will fill the 4,000-seat arena at the Gerry Fireman's Rodeo. The 68th annual rodeo, billed as the “oldest consecutive rodeo east of the Mississippi” will be held at 8 p.m. Aug. 1 through 4. Details: www.gerryrodeo.org.

Creative endeavors

Sometimes, it seems as though “Chautauqua” must be Indian for “arts and crafts.” (It's often written that the lake's name is Iroquois for “bag tied in the middle” or “moccasins tied together.” Both refer to the lake's shape.) Gift shops and art galleries abound. You'll find plenty on your own, no doubt, but for help, check out the Art Trail website, www.chautauquaarttrail.com.

In addition, look for festivals such as the YWCA Westfield Arts and Crafts Show, which will be up and running — rain or shine — from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 27 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 28. The festival has been held annually since the 1970s in Moore Park, at the intersection of routes 20 and 394 in the village of Westfield. A farmers market is held in conjunction with the crafts show. Admission is free. Free parking and shuttle service are available. Details: ywcawestfield.org/Arts_crafts.html

Relax as the waves lap

Free public beach areas can be found around Chautauqua Lake and along Lake Erie. But splashing around in the drink isn't the only route to refreshment. Both lakes are great for just looking at, too, while you drink or dine. In Mayville, near Chautauqua Institution, the Watermark is lakeside. Webb's Captain's Table, also in Mayville, isn't right on Chautauqua Lake's shore — it's on the other side of Route 394 — but its upper deck offers a view across the water. On the opposite side of the lake, in Bemus Point, restaurants such as the Village Casino and the Italian Fisherman have a lakeside advantage.

Want to watch the sun set on Lake Erie? Follow Route 394 to Barcelona; when you can't go any farther, you're at ZeBro's Harbor House. The restaurant has an outdoor bar, fire pits and a walkway down the beach toward the waves. Across the road from ZeBros is a small diner, Jack's Barcelona Drive-in, which for decades has been serving up unpretentious comfort food. The outdoor patio is open for the summer.

Details: watermarkrestaurant.net, www.webbscaptainstable.com, www.bemuspointcasino.com, www.italianfisherman.com, zebrosharborhouse.com, www.jacksbarcelonadrivein.com

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me