Experience the many different flavors of fall in western New York State.
Plan an adventure during Chautauqua County’s season long fall learning festival, the Colors of Chautauqua. The season offers dozens of workshops on culinary, creative, and cultural topics as well as experiences like fly fishing or golf that can be booked upon request. Learning opportunities take place in both indoor and outdoor settings across Chautauqua County.
Take a drive or a bicycle ride through America’s Grape Country, the largest grape growing region in the country east of the Rockies. Enjoy the scenery while inhaling the intoxicating aroma of the grapes ready for harvest. Stop at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield and learn the heritage of grape growing in the oldest Concord grape growing region in the world. Visit the 25 wineries along the Lake Erie Wine Country wine trail, tasting award winning varieties including dessert and ice wines. Plan to return during the Harvest Wine Celebration for two weekends in November with featured wine and food pairings and a booklet of recipes with entertaining ideas for the holidays.
Discover local history and American heroes at museums throughout the region like the McClurg Museum in Westfield, home of the Chautauqua County Historical Society and the Lincoln Legacy, the Robert H. Jackson Center for Justice, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute for Natural History, and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy. Join the Lucy-Desi Center’s effort to set a Guinness World Record for the most people stomping grapes (30 tons of them!) on October 11, 2014 during the Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K weekend.
Engage in history with tours of century old cemeteries. On October 17 and 18 the cemetery comes alive during Festivals Fredonia’s Harvest Moon Cemetery Tours led by ghostly guides in horse-drawn trolleys. The 45 minute tour includes stories of Fredonia’s founding families, national heroes, Revolutionary, Union, and Confederate soldiers, artists, entrepreneurs and industrialists. In Jamestown, learn some of the more than 43,000 personal stories of saints and sinners buried in Lake View Cemetery with tours led by members of the Fenton History Center on October 4th and 11th. Take an afternoon or nighttime walk through the spectacular 1859 cemetery and hear costumed actors tell the stories of Jamestown’s past including a murder as the result of a love triangle, a woman missionary doctor that changed lives, and a heartbreaking story of a WWII soldier that survived the Bataan death march. Tours can be walking or horse-drawn and take about an hour. Twilight Mausoleum Tours take place October 12th. Be sure to plan ahead as reservations are required for all cemetery tours.
Find many colorful experiences all season long. Visit picturesque lakeside and Victorian villages and shop for local crafts, food, and gifts at a variety of boutique shops and cafes. Stop at a farm stand or attend one of several farmers markets held through mid to late October. The Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market in Westfield stays open every Saturday until December 20th and features 22,000 square feet of displays and products from local farmers, craftsmen, and artisans.
Attend a fall festival. Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa’s annual Fall Fest toasts the warm weather and colorful foliage over two weekends, October 11-12 and 18-19. Festivities include a juried craft show, pumpkin cannon, ski lift rides, snow sports equipment swap, corn hole tournament, car show, live music, children’s games and entertainment. A new pumpkin carving contest takes place October 18 and 19, along with the 2nd Annual Peak Mountain Challenge on October 18th, when participants race to the top of Sugar Shack mountain. The first male and female finishers will win full season ski passes. Peek’n Peak’s new dual zip lines, Mountain Adventure Park with its series of increasingly challenging aerial courses, and Segway tours will also be open and available during the festival.
Take a hike and enjoy the fall foliage and vibrant landscapes from rolling hills to lake plains. The Chautauqua Rails to Trails system includes more than 17 miles of trails that wind through wetlands, pine and hardwood forest, pastures and vineyards, from the Lake Erie escarpment to the Chautauqua Plateau. Two Overland Trails offer a little more challenging terrain while Overview Parks offer panoramic views of the countryside. At the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary, five miles of easy hiking trails provide viewing access to a 600-acre wildlife sanctuary. Take note of the Audubon’s fall events including workshops and the Enchanted Forest, an imaginative, educational, and non-scary alternative to Halloween events.
This fall, plan a weekend retreat or mid-week getaway to Chautauqua County, New York. Enjoy the landscape and brilliant fall colors while tasting local foods and wine and taking part in a learning adventure. For more information on the Colors of Chautauqua and events offered throughout the year, visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau or call 1-866-908-4569.