Category Archives: Attraction

Explore Jamestown and Vicinity

July 13, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Explore Jamestown

Relax on the Riverwalk (photo by Sheila Webster)

After you’re finished at the National Comedy Center — or before you go! – you’ll want to explore Jamestown and the nearby vicinity.  There is lots to see and do, and plenty of places to enjoy great food and drinks. Parking is available on the street and in several lots around town.  Make sure to check on hours and availability before you go to a particular destination.

Dine and Drink

There are all sorts of places to eat and drink in and around Jamestown, and many are within easy walking distance from the National Comedy Center.  Here are a few of the hot spots:

Forte has a wonderful menu and has been voted one of the top twenty restaurants in New York.  Don’t miss it for fine dining.  Other restaurants featuring fine dining include the new Chop House, and The Landmark, an old favorite.  Try Gialy’s, Pace’s Pizza and Sauce for Italian food; the Taco Hut and El Jarocho for Mexican.  Crown Street Roasting serves breakfast, lunch and, of course, fresh roasted coffee.  Labyrinth Press Company serves wonderful vegetarian food and partners with Brazil Craft Beer and Wine Lounge to make sure you get the best in craft beers and cocktails.

Shopping

Explore Jamestown

Always time for shopping!

If you have a few minutes, you might want to poke around in some of the retail stores that line the streets.  Dot’s Gift Boutique has some great gifts and fun novelties.  Nouveau Home Boutique has unique home décor items and some home essentials.  The furniture is abundant and the service is terrific at Lafayette Corners Furniture Store, where they feature high quality furniture with a personal touch.  And the Dykeman Young Antique Emporium features authentic treasures from the past – and from the movies!

Riverwalk

Take a stroll along the riverwalk to rest from the hustle and bustle.  The beautiful Chadakoin river runs right through the city and is a destination for nature lovers.

Celoron

The Village of Celoron is a short drive from Jamestown and has some sights and experiences that should not be missed.  Visit the Lucille Ball Memorial Park, the site of an old amusement park that folks remember with fondness.  You can see the Celoron Lighthouse and visit the statue of Lucille Ball, a beautiful bronze sculpture.  Scary Lucy is nearby – don’t miss her!

Explore Jamestown

Lucy

The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, a beautiful, upscale hotel complex is located on the lakefront in Celeron.  Lounge in one of the many seating areas located along the 1100-foot lakefront or enjoy a fire as you watch the sunset.  The Lakehouse Tap & Grille serves fine food and cocktails for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There is plenty of lakeside dining outside, as well as a roomy and safely-distanced area for inside dining.  During the summer season, the Carousel Bar is available for cocktails right on the water. You’ll be captivated by the gardens, patios, and activities, and are welcome to drop in anytime.

Explore Jamestown

Harbor Hotel at night
(photo by Sheila Webster)

Learn

Along with learning about the history and impact of comedy, a number of exciting educational, historic, and interesting opportunities exist in the Jamestown area.  Jamestown is the birthplace of Roger Tory Peterson, and the home of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.  That guidebook you use to identify your backyard birds?  It’s his!

The Audubon Community Nature Center is a lovely way to experience the outdoors, with paths and trails through marshland and woods.  The facility is filled with exhibits – many hands-on – that inform and fascinate with information about our natural world.  Lots of things for the kids to do, too.  You’ll see plants, animals, Liberty, the bald eagle, and maybe watch a cocoon turn into a monarch butterfly!

Learn about justice, the rule of law and the distinguished career of Robert H. Jackson at the Robert H. Jackson Center.  Visit the beautiful Fenton History Center to learn about local history, including the role that Jamestown played in the Underground Railroad, and more about Lucille Ball.

Enjoy your time as you explore Jamestown.  Send the guys out fishing and get to know the rest of Chautauqua!

 

Funny You Should Ask About the National Comedy Center

July 2, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Comedy Delight

Fun Times at the National Comedy Center

The National Comedy Center, named best new museum in the country by USA TODAY in 2020, is difficult to describe.  It’s so different, so interesting, so FABULOUS, it simply must be experienced.  And experienced again.  It is a true comedy delight. With over 50 interactive, personalized exhibits, a single visit to this unique place only whets the appetite.

Housed in a beautiful old train station in Jamestown, the museum is about a 20-minute drive from the Maple Springs Lake Side Inn.  Many large rooms, spread over 37,000 square feet, hold memorabilia, film footage, stations where visitors can explore internet humor, late-night shows or hilarious roasts. Props, like whoopie cushions, bananas, and pies trigger film clips showing how they inspired comedy. Screenplays and notes showcase the craft of brilliant writers and comedians.

What to Expect

When you enter the National Comedy Center, you spend a few minutes identifying your favorite comedians, comedy shows, and funny movies. This introductory process whets your appetite, but its purpose is to record your selections on a wristband you will wear as you explore the center.  This gives you a personalized experience:  what you will see and hear is tailored to your own sense of humor.  Displays, memorabilia, interactive booths, theaters, and libraries allow you to enjoy the laughs, or to dig deeper and learn about the history of comedy, the trajectory of specific comedians, or to go behind the scenes.

There is a snack bar and lounge in the building, and visitors can enjoy food and drinks while in the facility.  You can try your hand at performing your own stand-up routine – a comedy karaoke – or take a ride with Lucy and Desi, Fred and Ethel.  The pictures will be emailed to you later!  You can have a joke contest with your companions – first person to laugh loses.  If you’re over 18, you can venture into the “Blue Room” to see the comedians and the acts that are a bit more provocative.

Like all good museums (and good comedy) you exit through the gift shop.  You won’t leave empty handed.

More Fun

Admission to the Comedy Center entitles you to admission at the Lucy Desi Museum, too.  You’ll enjoy experiencing the nostalgia and brilliance of Lucille Ball, who served as the inspiration for the development of the National Comedy Center.  She wanted her hometown of Jamestown to be a destination for comedy.  Now it is THE destination for comedy.

Although the 30th Annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival has been postponed until 2021, the Center is open for visitors.  There is plenty of room for social distancing, and the management and staff have worked with the renowned University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to implement state-of-the art safety and sanitation measures.

Now that travel restrictions are loosening, make sure your trip includes experiencing this comedy delight for some laughs while you enjoy relaxing on Chautauqua Lake.  Check the website for hours and updates.

Things to Do in Bemus Point

June 26, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Things to Do in Bemus Point

Hotel Lenhart
(photo with permission)

One visit to Bemus Point will show you why it is one of the most popular places on the lake.  In addition to terrific places to eat and drink, there are lots of things to do in Bemus Point. It’s a quick boat or car ride from the Maple Springs Lake Side Inn.

Shopping

Because of the COVID-19 uncertainties, shop hours and restrictions may vary during the 2020 season, and some shops may not open at all.  It is a good idea to check the website or Facebook page of each shop for current information.  Nonetheless, shopping is a favorite thing to do in Bemus Point.

Skillman’s has been in Bemus Point, and in the same family, since 1908.  It is one of the premier boutiques and gift shops in the region.  Skillman’s specializes in high-quality apparel, footwear, jewelry, and accessories, and has a terrific line of jigsaw puzzles.  Open for in-store shopping – check for hours – and available for on-line shopping all the time.

The Musky Mall, on Alburtus Street, is home to two terrific shops:  Bemus Point Pottery and Petals and Twigs.  Shop here for unique gifts, artwork, indoor and outdoor décor, jewelry and one-of-a-kind items.  Quality children’s clothing, Chautauqua Lake gear, toys and books round out the experience.

Wired on Main serves up fun and funky clothing, home décor items and gifts, along with great coffee and an eclectic menu.

Events

Each year, the Bemus Point Business Association sponsors a Spring Fest and a Fall Fest.  Vendors join with local shop owners to bring the community together, and you can get some pretty good deals in the process.  Check the website for updates, and to explore other businesses in the Bemus Point Community.

The Village of Bemus Point often hosts fireworks displays.  They’re cancelled for this season but stay tuned for future events.

The Stir of Artists show in Bemus park has been cancelled for 2020, but check back for next year.

Other Things to Do in Bemus Point

Ice Cream

Things to Do in Bemus Point

Ice Cream Window at the Bemus Point Market
(photo with permission)

It’s terrific fun to get a bowl or cone of Perry’s Ice Cream from the Bemus Point Market, take it to an outside table or bench, and watch the world go by.  You can always count on this place to have plenty of flavors.  They’ve recently added Dippin’ Dots to their ice cream selection, and they have a display devoted to S’mores.  While you’re at it, you can pick up groceries or beer.

Museums

Although currently on hold during the 2020 season, The Bemus Point Historical Society, located on Albertus Avenue (next to the fire department) contains memorabilia, objects and ephemera related to the storied history of Bemus Point.  The Lawson Center Boat Museum has wonderful antique boats on display, along with historical information about boats and boating on Chautauqua Lake over the years.  And watch for an announcement of the Chautauqua Lake Antique and Classic Boat Show.

Nostalgia with a View

The Lamplighter Cocktail Room at the Hotel Lenhart, located on the lakefront, will be open this summer with social distancing protocols.  You can take your beverages out to the famous porch or have a seat on the expansive lawn.  You’ll hear a trumpet playing Taps to signify the setting of the sun.  The Hotel is celebrating 140 years in

Things to Do in Bemus Point

Rocking Chairs on the Porch at the Hotel Lenhart
(photograph with permission)

business in 2020 and marks the fourth generation of family ownership.   Hotel rooms will also be available for reservations beginning in July.  The dining room will not be open, but make sure to come back next year for a breakfast that is special in every way.

There is still plenty to do in Bemus Point, even though things are a bit slower because of COVID-19.  Don’t miss the opportunity!

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.

The Westfield Arts and Crafts Show will be held in Moore Park July 24-25.  Admission is free.

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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