Signs of spring and preparations for summer are welcoming sites in Chautauqua County. Plan a getaway during Chautauqua in Spring, May 12 – June 18, a five week season of learning with dozens of hands-on experiences, a Baroque Music Festival, artists’ studio tours, and a celebration of wine and local foods. The county-wide spring festival honors the region’s tradition of leisure learning while celebrating the local bounty, history and great outdoors of western New York. Choose from a wide range of experiences from historic walking tours through the City of Jamestown to vineyard walks with winery owners and winemakers. Pack your binoculars and head to the Audubon Community Nature Center for a lesson in bird banding. Taste the difference in a 1950s Farm to Table experience hosted by the Fenton History Center and the Busti Historical Society. Add a behind the scenes tour of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown to your itinerary. Visit www.chqspring.com for more events and information.
Get into summer with a host of recreational opportunities from kayaking and sailing to hiking and cycling on trails throughout the county. The aerial adventure park at Peek’n Peak Resort near Findley Lake is a great way to explore the trees.Join Evergreen Outfitters for a kayaking expedition, offered weekly throughout the summer. Tuesday evening paddles take place before and during sunset on Lake Erie while Wednesday evening paddles explore the Chautauqua Lake Outlet. Once a month, there’s even a Full Moon Paddle on Chautauqua Lake. Participants are welcome to bring their own kayak or rent equipment through Evergreen Outfitters.
PGA TOUR’s Web.com Tour and LECOM Health Challenge returns to Peek’n Peak, July 3-9, with a schedule that includes a Pro-Am followed by four official rounds of tournament competition televised by The Golf Channel and a purse of $600,000. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved and volunteer for the event. Visit www.lecomhealthchallenge.com for details.
Explore Lake Erie Wine Country, 30,000 acres of vineyards and 23 wineries along the Lake Erie shoreline that runs from Silver Creek, NY to Harborcreek, PA. Stop at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield and learn about 150 years of grape growing in the oldest Concord grape growing region in the world. Browse the gift shop for local grape goodies including wine, explore the exhibit room, and then grab a grape juice or wine slushie in the tasting room and relax on the patio next to the vineyards. Look for special events as well as educational seminars in wine tasting and appreciation on their website at www.grapediscoverycenter.com. While in the region, stop at the Dunkirk Lighthouse and climb the spiral stairs of the 61 foot tower to look out over Lake Erie. Plan ahead and reserve a spot on a ghost tour.
For travel planning information and event dates and times, visit www.tourchautauqua.com or call the Chautauqua County Visitors' Bureau at 866-908-4569 and request a free travel guide. Visit information centers at the Main Gate at Chautauqua Institution or at the Chautauqua Lake Rest Area, eastbound on I-86 near Bemus Point.