Category Archives: Attraction

Chautauqua Lake Vacation: The Arts are Thriving!

May 31, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Chautauqua Lake Vacation

Portage Hill Gallery
(vase and photo by Audrey Dowling)

The weather is warming up, the boats are on the water, and Chautauqua County is moving to open up.  The arts are thriving, and many galleries and events are located near the Maple Springs Lake Side Inn.  Even with current restrictions, you can be sure to include art in your Chautauqua Lake vacation.

The annual Chautauqua-Lake Erie Open Studio and Gallery Tour has been rescheduled to take place during Labor Day 2020 Weekend.  Take a drive along the trail to “discover the places where artists work while enjoying the landscape that inspires them — verdant vineyards, charming towns, rolling hills and lake shores. Follow the trail from studio to studio and meet painters, potters, photographers, sculptors, fabric artists, jewelers and stained-glass artists. Find favorite new works and purchase treasures to be enjoyed at home.” Many of the artists on the art trail have works for sale in their own galleries or in other area galleries.

Galleries Feature Local Chautauqua Artists

There are many fine galleries on or near Chautauqua Lake, and several that are very close to the Inn.  These are some of our favorites:

Reno Pottery

Portage Hill Gallery

Chautauqua Art Gallery

The Art Loft

The Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library

Chautauqua Institution Visual Arts

Painted Finch Gallery, Corry, PA

Be sure to check with each gallery/shop for opening information and hours.

Chautauqua Lake Vacation

Reno Pottery
Hummingbird Plate

Chautauqua Lake Art shows

No Chautauqua Lake summer vacation is complete without attending one of the many art shows scattered throughout the area. More may be coming on-line as the summer transpires.

Arts Alliance juried Fine Crafts Shows will be held on-line in 2020 and will return to the Chautauqua Institution Grounds in 2021.

A Stir of Artists is scheduled for August 8-9, 2020 in Bemus Point. The event is located in the Village Park on the water between the Lenhart Hotel and the Village Casino.

Arts and Crafts Show in Letchworth, scheduled over Columbus Day Weekend in October, 2020.  This is a great show with over 300 artists in a beautiful place.

Check with the Innkeepers for other artsy activities, shops and events.  Enjoy your Chautauqua Lake experience!

Explore Chautauqua Institution

May 20, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Explore Chautauqua Institution

Gathering in the Amphitheater (photo credit: Chautauqua Institution)

Summer of 2020 will be a great time for visitors to the Maple Springs Lake Side Inn to explore Chautauqua Institution.  Because of the COVID-19 virus, for the first time since its founding in 1874 the Institution will not have their regular season on-grounds.  Instead, they will be offering some of their terrific programming on-line, and much of it will be free.  In addition, the grounds will be open to residents and visitors. Safety guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State will be followed. There will be no gate fees to enter the grounds of the Institution.

We share the sadness expressed by Michael Hill, the President of the Chautauqua Institution, in his message to the community announcing the response to the pandemic.  It is a big loss for visitors and homeowners at Chautauqua, and a blow to the county and the region.  The Institution has met each summer to bring together “lifelong learners of the arts, education, interfaith and recreational programming.” They even met during the 1918 flu pandemic, the great depression, and both world wars.

The Chautauqua Experience

Every summer during their 9-week season, visitors and residents participate in a wide range of educational and cultural offerings at Chautauqua.  Each week there are lectures, concerts, plays, sermons, and other activities that are loosely structured around themes.  This summer, we will miss gathering for sermons and lectures.  We will miss religious, literary and other talks at the Hall of Philosophy.  We will miss the plays, the opera, and the symphony.  We will miss taking a boat ride over in the evening to see a big-name act or an up-and-coming talent outdoors, under the roof of the amphitheater.  We will miss the conviviality, mutuality and sense of community that is engendered by participating in these things together.

Explore Chautauqua Institution

Bestor Plaza
(Photo credit Chautauqua Institution)

The president will convene the Assembly of the Chautauqua Institution.  This year, it will be convened on-line, and in ways that will support and expand the dialogue and sense of community that is fundamental to the Chautauqua experience.  And while there are losses associated with this new, temporary reality, there are also some wonderful opportunities – some of which are currently unfolding.

The topics and themes of this year’s season remain the same.  The Institution will be curating and creating opportunities to listen and learn as the season unfolds.  Some lectures, sermons and other events will occur on-line.  Many of the courses that are offered throughout the season may also be available on-line for a modest fee, just like they are during regular seasons.  Those who can’t gather in-person for a writing workshop can participate remotely, and with Zoom and other technologies, real classroom communities can be formed.

A New Opportunity to Explore Chautauqua Institution

Explore Chautauqua Institution

Beautiful grounds
(photo credit Chautauqua Institution)

Guests who perhaps have not been for an event can still explore Chautauqua Institution by going over and walking the beautiful grounds – for free.  Imagine the quaint cottages and hotels fully occupied, the shops brisk with customers, the restaurants with waiting lists.  As you walk by the lush gardens, imagine the sounds of the symphony floating off the rafters of the amphitheater, down to the lakefront and across the water.  Imagine turning a corner and hearing a beautiful poetry reading, or seeing Bestor Plaza filled with art and artists, food and food trucks.

While you’re imagining, take an on-line course, listen to brilliant leaders discuss important topics. Nourish your soul with sermons by preeminent religious leaders from all faiths as part of Chautauqua’s on-line 2020 season.  More information and opportunities will unfold during the next few months.  In addition, some facilities and services may be open to serve residents and guests, in compliance with safety guidelines.  Check the Chautauqua Institution’s website and register for updates to stay abreast of the information.

Make plans to come back in 2021, to relax at the Inn and explore the Chautauqua Institution when it’s in full swing.  There is nothing else like it.

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