Category Archives: Outdoor Attractions

Boating: The View from the Water

July 9, 2020 by Beth Peyton

The View from the Water

Beautiful sunset
(author photo)

There is nothing more beautiful than the view of Chautauqua Lake from the water.  Any summer visit to Chautauqua Lake should involve a boat!  You can start your boating adventures right from the Maple Springs Lake Side Inn.  And during this time of COVID-19, boating is one of the safest activities you can pursue. It’s outdoors, and easy to maintain physical distances.


Guests staying at the Inn can use our kayaks to paddle around the lakefront.  Two kayaks are available; ask the Innkeeper for paddles and safety gear.  Other kayaks are available for rent if you need them for a larger group.

The View from the Water


Your Own Boat

If you let us know in advance, you are welcome to bring your own boat.  There is a small fee for using our dock and lift.

Pleasure Boats

Guests at the Inn are likely to take a ride on the Miss Rose, our own boat that we use to take folks for breakfast on the water.  Guests can also charter it for $100/hr.  Motorboats and sailboats are available to rent at some of the marinas around the lake.  And don’t forget to look for jet skis and other fun watercraft. The Innkeepers can help you locate what you want, and direct you to boat launches.


We also have a pontoon boat available to rent.  This boat is available for other people besides guests, so reserve it in advance if possible.   Those who rent the boat must be at least 25 years of age and furnish a drivers’ license.  It’s a great way to see the lake, swim, fish, or picnic with family and friends.  You maintain physical distance while you take in the view from the water.

View from the Water

Pleasure boating (author photo)

Fishing Boat Rentals

There are several places around the lake to rent fishing boats, and you are also welcome to tie one of them up at our dock if you need it for several days.  Chautauqua Marina and We Wan Chu Cottages are located near the Inn, and there are other places around the lake eager to rent you a boat, too.

Take a Ride on the Chautauqua Belle

View from the water

Chautauqua Belle

For a unique and fun way to take in the view from the water, take a ride on the Chautauqua Belle. Check the website for additional information and schedule. The most unique vessel on Chautauqua Lake, the Belle is a replica of an old paddlewheel steamship – one of only five such ships in the country.  Take a lunch or dinner cruise, watch the fireworks from the water, and learn about the history of the boat and the history of the lake while you leave the driving to the captain.  Have a cocktail and watch the sunset – a sunset that might be unparalleled in beauty as they often are on our beautiful Chautauqua Lake.

There are many thrilling and affordable ways to enjoy the view from the water.  Check the Sheriff’s website for information regarding restrictions and requirements for safe boating on Chautauqua Lake, and have a great time.




Staying Safe on Your Chautauqua Lake Vacation

May 28, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Chautauqua Lake Vacation

Paddle a Kayak

As the restrictions lift and more people are enjoying traveling for summer fun, there are some things that the experts recommend to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.  The Maple Springs Lake Side Inn has implemented a number of measures to comply with state and federal guidelines to ensure cleanliness and limit social interaction while you’re on-grounds.  Even so, there are other things that you can do make your Chautauqua Lake vacation restful, relaxing and safe.

Experts agree that the chances of contracting the coronavirus when exposed to a person who has it depend on a number of things.

“We can think of transmission risk with a simple phrase:  time, space, people, place,” said Dr William Miller, an epidemiologist at Ohio State University.

“Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space,” echoed Dr. Emily Landon at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Some travel tips to limit risk and enhance your stay follow, but there are a few considerations to always keep in mind.

Chautauqua Lake Vacation

Wash Your Hands Frequently

  • Do Not Travel if you are not well. If you are running a fever or feel sick, stay home.
  • If you are in a high-risk category – if you are over 65 years of age or have underlying health conditions – consider whether or not you should travel right now.
  • Wash Your Hands – frequently, with soap and warm water.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask if you are in a situation where you cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. This is to protect them as well as you.

Driving Tips

There are several things to consider and plan for if you will be driving to your Chautauqua Lake vacation destination. Plan your route to make sure you are allowed to travel, that you can stay in motels, that you can obtain food, drinks and other necessities, and that you are aware of any travel advisories.

Pack things you will need to sanitize yourself and surfaces if you need to stop for gas or food.  Try not to touch fixtures in public bathrooms after you’ve washed your hands and consider paying for things with a card (that you can sanitize after use) rather than cash.

Even in places where restaurants are open, you may experience a wait if service is limited.

If you need overnight accommodations on your trip, make reservations in advance and check to see that sanitization and social distancing guidelines are followed.

Flying Tips

It can be difficult or impossible to maintain social distance when flying.  Some airlines, but not all, are reducing the number of passengers on flights.

Do your research before you go.  Find out if the airline you travel requires masks of all passengers and ask if other safety precautions are in place or are required.  Some areas are requiring travelers to self-quarantine, especially if they have traveled overseas.

Studies have shown that air flow on planes is actually pretty good.  Try to move to a different seat if someone near you seems sick.  You can use the adjustable air control to further circulate air if people around you are coughing or sneezing.

It is a good idea to wipe down your seat area and tray table with a sanitizing wipe.  Bring wipes, hand sanitizer, masks and disposable gloves with you if you can. Try not to touch other people.  Wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face.

Chautauqua Lake Vacation

Relax and read a book

While You’re Here

Follow guidelines for social distancing and reducing your exposure to large groups of people while you are out of your room or off the grounds.

Many local restaurants have meals available for pick-up, and some for delivery.  Activities outside, including low density boat rides are low risk.  Avoid sharing food, drinks and utensils.  As much as possible, stay with the people in your “bubble;” those you live with, friends who you know have carefully isolated.  Wear a mask when you cannot social distance. Go fishing, take a hike or a bike ride. Paddle a kayak in the lake or read a book.

Enjoy your Chautauqua Lake vacation safely, and come back next year.



Peace on the Chautauqua Lakefront

May 20, 2020 by Beth Peyton

Chautauqua Lakefront

The dock is in!
(photo credit Jeff Hunter)

In the late spring, Chautauqua Lake – our lake — can be moody.  Sometimes it is still frozen in mid-April, and snowstorms can kick up in between the sixty-degree days.  Ice and snow pile up on the Chautauqua lakefront. Some days after it has thawed the wind howls and the waves are rough.  Other days, hard snow falls horizontally and the cold bites through the thickest down clothing.

Chautauqua Lakefront

Crocus: Harbinger of Spring (photo credit Jeff Hunter)

We marvel at the green stuff that is underneath the winter snow, and take photos of grape hyacinths, daffodils, snowdrops, trout lilies and trillium as they emerge.  We take photos again as they get a good dusting of snow.  Osprey and eagles lay their eggs and keep the hatchlings warm.  Buffleheads, the tiny black and white ducks, return along with loons, the mergansers with their crazy hairdos, and all sorts of other migratory waterfowl.

When the ice melts and the winds die down, there isn’t much that is more peaceful than walking along the Chautauqua lakefront or sitting on an old porch watching the world drift by. The sun casts long shadows on the lawn and makes diamonds on the surface of the water.  At dusk, colors explode into pinks, purples and oranges.

Changing Seasons on the Chautauqua Lakefront

Here it is again – April — and we are having a respite after a lot of wind, rain and snow.  April can be the cruelest month, promising spring but sometimes stingy to deliver. But today, April serves up a warm afternoon to walk with the dog and sit by the newly installed dock.  Usually restless and anxious to explore, on this day the dog stretches out and relaxes in the sun.  The little burst of warmth caused the dandelions to open their buttery faces and we can hear the buzzing of the bees as they fly from flower to flower.  The bees have awakened.

We walk by a pair of mallards paddling in the local frog pond and watch two pair of goldeneye ducks as they take turns diving for food.  A loon calls from off in the distance while a fat little vole scampers from his precarious shelter inside the firepit, onto the grass and back again.  The firepit is filled with fuel in preparation for the first bonfire of the season.  It will happen soon.

Chautauqua Lakefront

A dusting of snow in spring
(photo credit Jeff Hunter)

No matter the time of year, the sight of Chautauqua Lake lifts the spirits.  Catching the view of both the north and south basins from the bridge on the way to the grocery store turns a simple errand into a gift. Watching it flash through the trees driving around the north basin on Route 430 to breakfast, to play a round of golf, or to attend an event at the Chautauqua Institution is unforgettable.  The day when the dock goes in on the lakefront at The Maple Springs Lake Side Inn is a special day indeed.  It is a symbol of faith that summer will come.

Until that time, perhaps the best way to experience the Chautauqua lakefront it is to do what we did today.  Stand by it and take a moment to soak it in.  Sit for a while and listen.  Stay longer than you planned. Stand by the peaceful waters.


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