A week or two of vacation of strictly "R&R" is going the way of
the passenger train. Instead, many travelers are seeking out
destinations offering what travel experts call "the learning
vacation," focusing less on relaxation of the body and more on
exercising the mind.
Today, many posh resorts, time-share communities, even
campgrounds, have an educational or experiential component on the
amenity list. Guests can learn a new skill or sport, brush up on
their American history, or dance, paint, and sing their holiday
The trend towards the "learning vacation" is apparent in
Western New York's Chautauqua County, home to the renowned
Chautauqua Institution. In existence since 1874, "The Institution"
started and perfected the learning vacation. Following are several
Chautauqua County venues, some offered for the first time this
year, that like the renowned "Institution" offers vacationers a
chance to exercise their minds.
1. THE CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION - The community located on
Chautauqua Lake hosts 180,000 visitors each nine-week season.
Guests are offered everything from foreign film discussions to
birding and gardening tips, lectures by leading thinkers of our
times, and live performances by American icons like Kenny Rogers.
Daily, guided and narrated tours of the grounds are available by
shuttle or walking. The tour focuses on the rich history of
Chautauqua. Tickets for tours can be purchased the day of the tour
at The Main Gate ticket window. For more information, Call
2. WINDOW ON JAMESTOWN-A HERITAGE TOUR-JULY 25, ONE DAY ONLY -
The tour highlights homes, churches, and businesses owned by
leading citizens 100 years ago. It includes admission to the Lucy-Desi
Museum and Fenton Historical Center, beginning in Brooklyn Square
at the Ames parking lot (corner of Harrison and South Main) where
parking is provided and you can jump on a shuttle bus to the
starting point of the walking tour. You can reserve lunch and
refreshments at three different tour sites as well as local
restaurants. The tour is from 10:30AM-4:30PM. You can purchase a
ticket for $20.00, a donation that goes to support The Marvin
Community House in Jamestown. Tickets are available at Reg Lenna
Civic Center Box Office, Viking Trader on Rt. 430 in Bemus Point
or at the Colonnade Building at Chautauqua. Or by mail to The
Marvin House, 2 West Fifth St. Jamestown, NY 14701. For more
information, e-mail MarvinHouseTour@aol.com
3. CHAUTAUQUA ART TRAIL- AND FALL FESTIVAL AT CHAUTAUQUA
INSTITUTION- The C.A.T. is a cultural medley of artistic places
and events throughout Chautauqua County from July-December, 2003.
Detailed maps of the trail are available, featuring artist
studios, galleries, storytelling, and ethnic celebrations. Major
events include the Chautauqua Fall Festival and Fly Fishing
Assembly, and an Artist Tour weekend all happening October 4-5,
when 18 artists open their working studios to the public.
Painters, sculptures, photographers, and glass blowers invite you
to observe them create and learn more about the arts
The Chautauqua Fall Festival held for the first time on the
grounds of "The Institution" includes two days of exhibits
featuring nature arts and fine crafts, quilts, organic produce,
pottery, wellness and natural living. Contradancing, an
Octoberfest buffet, and hayrides are also on tap. The Athenaeum
Hotel on the grounds of The Chautauqua Institution is hosting a
Fly Fishing Assembly during Fall Festival. The nation's leading
fly-fishing experrts will be on hand. On the agenda are casting
clinics with Lefty Kreh, fly tying demonstrations, and fly fishing
tales with James Prosek. There are programs especially for youth,
and steelhead and specialty workshops. For more information, call
1-800-821-1881 or go to ciweb.org.
4. LANA'S LITTLE HOUSE IN FORESTVILLE-Deep in the forest of
where else but Forestville is a whimsical dwelling that looks as
if it jumped off the pages of a Grimm's Fairy Tale. Lana's Little
House is actually a structure known as the Cotswold cottage, often
seen in the English countryside centuries ago. Although it looks
one hundred years old, it was built in 1980. And, like a true
Cotswold, Lana's Little House was fashioned and handmade by the
original owners strictly from materials found in the region. Oak
and hemlock timbers, flag stone, and timber were all used in its'
Lana Lewis purchased the home with 21 acres of hills, forest,
and gardens a little more than a year ago. Today she offers tours
featuring a discussion of the construction and history of this
most unusual dwelling. You can get your photo taken sitting on the
stone garden bench in the center of a flamboyant English garden.
For an additional charge, (Tours are $20.00 per person.) she’ll
serve you an elegant desert after the tour.
The Little House is available for photo backdrops, retreats,
and garden parties. And, Lewis says she's open to your suggestion
for other occasions or uses. To arrange a tour of one of America's
most unusual and charming homes, call Lana Lewis at 716-965-2798
and check out the website at www.Lana'sTheLittleHouse.com.
5. THE CHAUTAUQUA - LAKE ERIE WINE TRAIL - A dozen wineries
along the scenic shore of Lake Erie in northern Chautauqua County
offer tours and tastings all summer long. The "Wine Trail" runs
about 30 miles from North East PA in the west to Forestville in
the East. Together, the owners have produced several special
events each year to encourage locals and visitors alike to sample
the "fruits of the vine."
Local artisans will have arts and antiques on display and for
sale at each winery And, you'll receive samples of tasty BBQ
dishes paired with some of New York State's finest wines. Later in
the season on two consecutive November weekends, (Nov. 8,9, 15,
and 16,) The Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail hosts perhaps its'
most popular event, Wine, Wreaths, and Ornaments. Each guest
receives a grapevine wreath, special ornament from each winery,
and a recipe featuring festive food and wine pairings served at
each winery. Tickets are pre-sold by calling 716-679-1891
6. WALKING TOUR OF HISTORIC FREDONIA, RESIDENTIAL AND SCENIC-
That's the title of a new brochure produced by faculty members and
students of Fredonia State College. The pamphlet includes
descriptions and sketches of 14 homes on Risley Street, Temple
Street, and Forrest place in Fredonia. There's a keyed map,
illustration of the Canadaway Creek rapids and directions to the
Canadaway Creek bird sanctuary. Visitors are encouraged to pickup
a free brochure at the White Inn or Village Hall.
One of the brochure's producers, SUNY Professor of Art History,
Daniel Reiff says Fredonia has a wonderful sequence of distinctive
architecture. Within a few short blocks, there are models of Greek
Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Stickley Bungalow. Reiff
says those who use the brochure and take a self-guided tour will
be able to look at the architecture more intelligently. "They will
have the data, dates, and the terms, and it will allow them to
have a pleasant architectural tour through Fredonia.
7. SEAWAY TRAIL WALKING TOURS - WESTFIELD, NY Narrated walking
tours sponsored by The Seaway Trail continue each Monday in
Westfield through October 17. Meet at The Patterson Library for a
5PM start. The structures in this idyllic village span two
centuries of American architecture. You'll learn about private
palatial homes once occupied by political figures from the
nineteenth century and simple cottages inspired by European
immigrants. There are lofty churches, a commemorative monument,
and grand old Victorians restored to their original majesty well
over 100 years ago. The walks take place rain or shine are $8.00
and include a wine and cheese reception at the conclusion of the
tour. For mor