Travel to the westernmost region of New York state and you will find Chautauqua County—a place to live, learn, and love.
There’s a special charm in this Northern New York region. The county is one of the most gorgeous locations you can visit in New York, rich with deep history, breathtaking natural landscapes, historical character, and a plethora of winter outdoor activities. It’s also home to the legendary actress, Lucille Ball.
Chautauqua County, NY, is located near Buffalo, Erie, Niagara Falls, and Cleveland, and borders the Great Lakes on the shores of Lake Erie.
We’re kicking off our “Profiles of the U.S.” series by highlighting the rich beauty, history, and culture of Chautauqua County. All pieces in our series will document special regions, counties, and towns found across the United States. If you’re looking for your next travel destination or perhaps a place to call home, read on to learn more.
Chautauqua County serves as the Western entrance to New York State, with 27 towns, 15 villages and the two cities of Jamestown and Dunkirk. Chautauqua Lake is a jewel of the area, with locals and travelers boating, fishing, and relaxing on ferry rides on its waters in the summer months.
David Witoslawski, author, teacher, and travel writer for “Interesting Pennsylvania and Beyond,” shared his amazing experience at Webb’s World Resort’s restaurant, saying that the “food was delicious and the views were stunning.”
Not far from Chautauqua Lake is the beautiful Lake Erie, along the shores of which lies Barcelona Harbor, home to the lighthouse dating back to 1829 and the reproduction of a 16th century British sailing ship, the “Sea Lion.” David speaks of this ship fondly, noting “it is a cool relic and has become a landmark for the beautiful coastal town of Barcelona, NY.”
Living in or travelling to Chatauqua County offers much in recreational opportunities—from hiking, to biking, skiing, boating canoeing, and more. Locals cite the beautiful lakes as one of the prime selling points for the region. The area also has numerous parks and trails that offer the most gorgeous views and wildlife in New York.
The village of Fredonia in Chautauqua County has a lovely town square, of which David says: “The idea of a vibrant and pristine town square, where the town comes together, is something that always draws me to a town.” South of Fredonia is the town of Laona, home to “a beautiful little waterfall” as well as the Fredonia Opera House.
Glen Mills Falls, is located in Westfield in Chautauqua County, and David says that it is “a great place for a little romantic or relaxing afternoon lunch.” You can even go to the observation area there which has a picnic table; it’s a really quaint and charming place to visit. If you’re looking for family-friendly fun, visit Midway State Park, which features children’s rides, fields, courts, carnival games, and more.
The county is rich with wineries, since it is the largest commercial area of vineyards in the USA. If you visit Chautauqua County during winter, you must visit “Frozen”, the festival of ice and wine held at the Grape Discovery Center. Stephanie Burdo, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, advises this is a can’t miss seasonal gathering. “If you want to sample a taste of Chautauqua County at its finest, the ice wine festival is the place to be.”
Beyond that, Stephanie believes Chatauqua County is the perfect place to visit for museums, historical sites, and more. “The most visited attractions in Chautauqua County include Chautauqua Institution, the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy with a National Comedy Center coming in 2017, Peek’n Peak Resort and Spa, the Lily Dale Assembly, Lake Erie Wine Country, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Panama Rocks, Dunkirk Lighthouse, Chautauqua Lake, Lake Erie, and several small villages including Bemus Point, Findley Lake, Lakewood, and Fredonia.”
David Wiroslawski reiterates why he makes it a point to travel to the area with his wife several times a year. “This is a county that has a diverse mixture of tourism, agriculture, historical, and rural aspects, the perfect place for a quiet getaway.”
Whether searching for peace and quiet, New York state charm, or recreation on the water, Chautauqua County makes for a beautiful getaway destination or home.
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