It’s the end of October and most of the colorful leaves have fallen in Chautauqua County and western New York. Snow will soon be on its way, along with preparations for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, sharpening of snowboards and skis, and inspections of snowmobiles and trails. For those looking for unique gifts, home decorations, and fun holiday shopping experiences, there are plenty of opportunities in the region.
Visit several villages around the county for special shopping days, village-wide celebrations, and sales. Bemus Point offers a Holiday Open House, November 7-9, 2014 with 20% off almost everything in participating stores along with specials at local restaurants. The Village of Westfield celebrates Christmas in the Village, November 21-23. Nearby, the merchants of Mayville hold an open house on Saturday, November 22nd. Findley Lake hosts Christmas Thru the Village and Fredonia welcomes December with a Miracle on Main Street on Saturday, December 6th.
In Jamestown, the holiday exhibit at the Fenton History Center opens November 28th and runs through January 19, 2015. Returning this year, costumed guides will provide candlelight tours through the decorated mansion on Saturdays evenings in December. Across town, the annual Holiday Parade marches along Third Street on December 5th.
For 59 years, the American Association of University Women in Jamestown has held a What’s New Fair to raise money for scholarships for women graduating from Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College who are going on for four year degrees. In 2014, the event takes place November 8 and 9 at the Hamilton Collegiate Center at Jamestown Community College with close to 70 merchants and crafts people from Western New York.
Spend a Saturday at the Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market. Located in the rural Chautauqua countryside between Sherman and Westfield, the Cross Roads Market features dozens of individual vendors known for their crafts, artwork, woodwork, imported gifts, specialty supplies, unique collectibles, foodstuffs, candy, coffee, hand-made clothing and home décor, and an eclectic assortment of retail gifts. The Cross Roads Market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm through December 2oth as well as on Black Friday, November 28th.
Take a tour through Amish Country on November 15th. Offered through SUNY Fredonia Lifelong Learning and Special Programs, Holiday Shopping in Amish Country offers a day-long tour through the Old Order Amish community. Learn about the Amish way of life and shop for handcrafted gifts at a quilt shop, toy factory, cheese shop, and bake stand. An Amish-style lunch is included, served at the Cherry Creek Inn. The cost is $59 per person and includes lunch and transportation. Register by November 7th at 716-673-3177.
Stop at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield and shop for locally made gifts, grape inspired products, and foods. See and talk to visiting artists on November 15th during the North Shore Arts Alliance Fall Art Day. On December 13th, enjoy Christmas in the Vineyards with 20% discounts throughout the gift shop. Plan to return January 17, 2015 for an Ice Wine Festival with ice carvings, a bonfire, and featured ice wines from local wineries.
Winter is a special time in Chautauqua County. Blanketed by lake effect snowstorms, the region welcomes those who love to play in the snow. Prepare for the season with a Peak 5 pass, five all day lift tickets at Peek’n Peak Resort and Spa for $216, valid any weekday or weekend and available for purchase until December 15th. Ask the Peek about all-inclusive beginner packages starting at $40 that include rental equipment, lift ticket, lesson and a coupon good for practicing later.
Look for sleigh rides around the grounds of Chautauqua Institution starting December 27th and a Currier and Ives Sleigh Rally on January 18, 2015. For more shopping ideas, holiday events, and things to see and do around Chautauqua County throughout the year, visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau at www.tourchautauqua.com.