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.


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!


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.


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


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)


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.

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