Whether you’re seeking a place to relax and learn something new, or a purely recreational vacation experience, Chautauqua County has plenty to offer.
Chautauqua County: The World’s Learning Center, provides unique experiences for visitors and residents alike with a focus on leisure and lifelong learning. A magnet for writers, artists, scientists, business people, politicians, and teachers of all disciplines to share their expertise in a relaxing vacation setting at the world-renowned Chautauqua Institution. For nine weeks each summer, this spectacular historic Victorian village on Chautauqua Lake comes alive with opportunities for all ages and interests from arts and education to religion and recreation. Each day bustles with activity from worship services and lectures to classes, camp activities, and performances. Music, golf, and sailing are all parts of this destination experience.
In 2018 the brand new National Comedy Center will open its doors in Jamestown, becoming the only national-scale visitor experience in the United States dedicated to comedy. The center will celebrate the comedic arts in all of its forms, and provide visitors with a high-tech personally tailored experience guaranteed to leave them laughing. The National Comedy Center will open in August.
With 50 miles of Lake Erie shoreline plus Chautauqua Lake, the Cassadaga Lakes, Findley Lake, and numerous creeks and waterways, Chautauqua County is a fisherman’s and boater’s paradise. With golf courses for all levels of play, ski resorts, and trails for hiking, horseback riding and snowmobiling, Chautauqua County is a four-season recreational playground. Opportunities abound for tennis, sailing, rowing, and more. Learn the basics with sailing courses or simply rent a boat and spend a day on the beautiful waters of Chautauqua Lake. In the winter snowmobilers enjoy over 200 miles of scenic well-maintained trails. Downhill and cross country skiing and snowshoeing are favorite winter pastimes.
The Northwest Arena features hockey and figure skating, and hosts a number of events throughout the year, and minor league baseball is home at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park each summer. Year-round events range from concerts and Lucy-Fest in the summer to the wildly popular Mayville Winter Festival featuring construction of a large ice castle.
While visiting America’s Grape Country, guests can experience farm tours, farmers markets, winery tours, or one of the many agriculture and food oriented events held each year. With over 30,000 acres of vineyards, Chautauqua County is the oldest and largest Concord grape growing region in the world; celebrated by the Grape Discovery Center. If other beverages suit you more, you may enjoy a tour and tasting at the Southern Tier Brewing Company or at New York State’s first combination winery, distillery and brewery at Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing. Chautauqua County is also home to a variety of restaurants from sidewalk cafes to home-style diners to fine dining experiences.
From summer camps and interpretive trails to bird migration flyways, Chautauqua County’s four seasons offer plenty of opportunities for exploring nature. Witness spectacular views of field, forest, and pond and meet many of wildlife’s wonders at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary. You can hike over five miles of trails on this 600-acre wetland preserve.
Dedicated to the life and works of a key pioneer in the environmental movement and the father of birding, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute promotes the teaching and study of nature. The center is the home of Peterson’s collected works from a long and fruitful life as a naturalist and nature artist.
History comes alive in Chautauqua County through gatherings at lakeside assemblies including Lily Dale, the world’s largest center for Spiritualism which features a summer-long program schedule. You can learn about Chautauqua Lake and its history with a tour aboard the Chautauqua Belle, a replica 19th Century paddlewheel steamer, or on the Summer Wind dinner cruiser. Learn about the life and work of Lucille Ball, or former Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson; visit the Fenton History Center, the McClurg Museum, or take a cemetery tour for glimpses into Chautauqua County’s past. Learn about Abraham Lincoln’s connection to Chautauqua County. Take a drive through Amish country or visit historic Lake Erie lighthouses at Dunkirk and Barcelona.