Blossoms, Boats and Baseball: Your Guide to a Perfect Chautauqua Spring

Spring never seems to arrive in Western New York quite as soon as we’d like, but here in Chautauqua County we’re ready to get the season goChautauqua Spring Skining as soon as the first tulip blooms. It’s the perfect time for a visit as we kickoff a slew of spring activities designed to shake off your winter blues.

We’ve got nature trails, wine tastings and fishing, but you can also count on us to offer unique experiences—-like paddling on the lake beneath a full moon, picking your own strawberries, or a Father’s Day brunch at a lovely resort. Below, take a look at some fun-filled weekend itineraries that are certain to put a little spring in your step.

Wednesday, May 17 to Sunday, May 21

If you can afford the extra time, this weekend lineup starts on Wednesday and moves headlong into Sunday. It’s a bit eclectic, encompassing wine, Amish shops, and a kayak ride beneath a full moon— not to mention a little Lucy fun tucked in between. Or, pick up the itinerary on a day that works for you.

 Wednesday:  If you’re checking into a hotel, you might consider The Oaks Bed and Breakfast Hotel on West Third St. in Jamestown.  It’s a beautiful old spot with enough sophistication that it pairs nicely with this week’s activities.  After checking in, take a short drive downtown to Forte the Restaurant for a delicious meal at one of the city’s most eclectic restaurants. Then head over to the Martz Observatory in Frewsburg for a night of star gazing at their public open house.

Thursday: It’s a perfect morning to sleep in, but after a light breakfast you may want to head to Reverie Creamery on Route 394 along the lake. This independent and sensational little creamery features hand-crafted cheeses from around the world, along with their own rich creations. It’s a nice ride too, passing several antique stores and an upscale wine shop called Bag and String in Lakewood.  Save some room for Andriaccio’sRestaurant tonight for dinner.

 Friday: Today is the perfect day to explore Amish communities and their unique heritage in western New York. You’ll watch spring blooming before your eyes in the pastoral lands of this popular activity with locations in both Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties. The Amish Trail Map will help you locate interesting stops along the way, including quilt shops, rugs, baked goods, candy, furniture, toys, baskets, eggs, and jams— just to name a few.  Relax after a long day at the Landmark Restaurant where you can order a light meal after settling in at a table by the fireplace.

Saturday: Rise and shine this morning with a gentle yoga class on the patio at Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing. Afterwards, reward yourself with a cold glass of delicious Five & 20 beer. A trip to Chautauqua County is never complete without getting a little Lucy in.  This afternoon, take in a tour of America’s favorite TV show — “I Love Lucy” at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. Have an early dinner by the lake in Bemus Point at the historic Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn then head down the road to Long Point State Park on Chautauqua Lake. Park the car and hike the roughly 1.25 miles, down and back trail to the Point to burn off dinner while appreciating the natural beauty of Chautauqua Lake and Bemus Bay.

Sunday:  You can’t leave town without visiting one of our beautiful wineries. Woodbury Vineyards in Fredonia is a great place to stop by for a tasting before you head home.

If You Go:

  • Oaks Bed and Breakfast: 1103 W Third St, Jamestown. (716) 720-5267.
  • Forte Restaurant: 114 E. Third St, Jamestown. (716) 484-6063.
  • Martz Observatory Public Viewing: May 18: 7:30-10:30pm. 176 Robbin Hill Rd, Frewsburg. (716) 569-3689.
  • Reverie Creamery: 3943 RT 394, Mayville. (716) 789-5757.
  • Bag and String Wine Merchants: 110 Chautauqua Ave, Lakewood. (716) 763-4000.
  • Andriaccio’s: 4837 W Lake Rd, Mayville. (716) 753-5200.
  • Landmark Restaurant: 516 W 4th St, Jamestown. (716) 720-5633.
  • Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing: 8398 US-20, Westfield. (716) 793-9463
  • Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum: Event: May 21: 11:00 am-4:00 pm.  2 West 3rd St, Jamestown. (716) 484-0800.
  • Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn: 64 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point. (716) 386-2181.
  • Woodbury Vineyards: Event: May 22: 10:45-12 pm. 3215 South Roberts Rd, Fredonia. (866) 691-9463.

Friday, May 26 to Sunday, May 28 – Memorial Day Weekend

There is no better way to kick off summer than a day at the beach! Head to Barcelona Harbor Beach in the morning to hunt for prized Lake Erie sea glass. When you’re ready for a change of pace, spend some time antiquing in Westfield’s town center.  A great place to enjoy dinner and then hang your hat for the night is the nearby Webb’s Resort located along Chautauqua Lake. Their gift shop is also worth a long look!

Saturday: You’re invited into the studios and homes of local artists today to view their work in 24 different venues along the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Art Trail. It’s a beautiful drive, and as you alight from place to place, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the scenery or browse in a shop. Later, take a ride to the infamous Southern Tier Brewing Company for a local craft-made beer and live entertainment on the sweeping lawn. Dinner tonight at nearby Craft Burgers and Beer in Lakewood is a perfect way to finish the day. If you’re not into art, rent a boat in the morning and head to busy Bemus Point for chicken wings at the Village Casino Restaurant. Enjoy shopping and people watching along Main St. The Watermark Restaurant near your hotel in Mayville is also a great place for seafood and a glass of wine tonight.

Sunday: It wouldn’t be a trip to Chautauqua Lake without stopping by an historic hotel. Sunday brunch at the Lenhart Hotel gives you the opportunity to savor a multi-course breakfast in a lovely, vintage setting. If you’ve got the kids in tow, head over to the classic Midway Sate Park—one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States.  Nearby Guppy’s Restaurant is a fun place to wrap up the day, and there’s something for everyone on their menu.

Monday: Revel in small town America with the annual Memorial Day Parade in Jamestown. It starts at 10:00 am on West Fourth St. and is sure to inspire a little country pride.  If you’re committed to spending the entire day, head to Chautauqua Institution to walk the grounds and take in the timeless aura of this famous cultural enclave. The kids will also love Panama Rocks with its climbable rock formations and short trails.

If You Go:

  • Webb’s Resort: 115 W Lake Rd, Mayville. (716) 753-2161.
  • Southern Tier Brewing Company: 2072 Stoneman Cir, Lakewood. (716) 763-5479.
  • Craft Burgers and Beer: 60 Chautauqua Ave, Lakewood. (716) 763-0051.
  • Village Casino Restaurant: 1 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point. (716) 386-2333.
  • Watermark Restaurant: 188 S Erie St, Mayville. (716) 753-2900.
  • Hotel Lenhart: 20-22 Lakeside Dr. Bemus Point. (716) 386-2715.
  • Midway State Park: 4859 NY-430, Bemus Point. (716) 386-3165.
  • Guppy’s Restaurant: 4663 NY-430, Bemus Point. (716) 386-4422.
  • Chautauqua Institution: Route 394, Chautauqua, NY. (716) 357-6250.
  • Panama Rocks: 11 Rock Hill Rd, Panama. (716) 782-2845.

Friday, June  to Sunday, June 4

Friday: If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend, book a room at the historic Hotel Lenhart in Bemus Point. Get close to nature by discovering one of the many scenic hikes through forest, gorge and waterfall. Kayak rentals are available for water enthusiasts, and there’s also fishing boats for rent so you can try your luck at catching one of the lake’s fabled muskies. Try dinner tonight at the lakeside Italian Fisherman in Bemus Point and watch the sunset from their dock. Before retiring to your room, grab a rocker and sit on the Lenhart’s front porch to enjoy the sunset and a cocktail.

 Roll up your sleeves and learn how to grow shiitake mushrooms first hand at the Fun with Fungi event at Green Heron Growers. After all the hard but fun work, you’ll be treated to lunch and sent packing with a log to fruit and skills to grow your own gourmet mushrooms. Keep the field to fork theme going by  picking your own fruit at a local farm. Strawberries are apt to be ripe this weekend and

they’re the perfect souvenir to remember your time at the lake.

If you didn’t get enough of  the water yesterday, make a reservation with Evergreen Outfitters for their Full Moon Paddle on Chautauqua Lake or test your nerve with a Ghost Hunt at the Dunkirk Lighthouse. Follow a guide equipped with equipment designed to detect paranormal activity through the hunted lighthouse until the early morning hours.

Sunday: Enjoy a leisurely Sunday with a garden stroll, wine tasting and a French picnic. Take a scenic drive to Johnson Estate Winery in Westfield, the oldest estate winery in New York. There you will find hundreds of iris flowers in full bloom. Buy picnic fare in the winery – baguettes, charcuterie, cheese and of course, wine – and enjoy a “plein air” picnic at tables set up adjacent to the iris beds.

If You Go:

  • Hotel Lenhart: 20-22 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point. (716) 386-2715.
  • Kayak Rentals: Evergreen Outfitters.  61 Water St, Mayville. (716) 763-2266.
  • Fishing Boat Rentals: Smith Boys Marina. 2310 W Lake Rd, Ashville. (716) 763-0140.
  • Italian Fisherman: 61 Lakeside Dr. Bemus Point. (716) 386-7000.
  • Green Heron Growers: 2361 Wait Corners Rd, Sherman. (716) 20-3695.
  • Dunkirk Lighthouse: 1 Point Dr. N, Dunkirk. (716) 366-5050.
  • Johnson Estate Winery: 8419 W. Main Rd, Westfield. (716) 326-2191

Friday, June 16 to Sunday, June 18 – Father’s Day Weekend

Friday: Head to Jamestown tonight and attend the 35th Annual Yassou Festival and sample Greek food and traditional dance. Look for a cottage rental along the lake so you can celebrate Father’s Day with a view this weekend.

_MG_6571Saturday: So much to do, so little time! Today is all about choices as you decide between farmers markets, craft shows, car races or history. New York State’s Path Through History takes place all over the state this weekend and there are plenty of museums throughout Chautauqua County to visit. Or you may want to head to Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market to take in the county’s unique crafts and artwork. Or how about a Jamestown Jammers baseball game? Tonight, after a pizza at Lena’s Café, head to the iconic Stateline Speedway for some dirt track auto racing—a fun event for the family.

It’s a lovely day to complete a project with dad! The Audubon Community and Nature Center is hosting a special Father’s Day Birdfeeder Building event.  Then check out the grain-grinding demonstration at the Busti Grist Mill. Or, head straight to Clymer and enjoy a very long and luxurious Father’s Day brunch at Peek ‘n Peak resort.

If You Go:

  • 35th Annual Yassou Festival: Event: Friday, June 16 to Saturday June 17. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. 15 Francis St, Jamestown. (716) 483-0022.
  • Cross Roads Farm & Craft Market: 6017 Sherman-Westfield Rd, Westfield. (716) 326-6278.
  • Jamestown Jammers Baseball: Event: June 17. 7:05 pm. 485 Falconer St, Jamestown.
  • Lena’s Café: 902 E 2nd St, Jamestown. (716) 484-0600.
  • Stateline Speedway: Dirt Track Auto Racing: June 17. 7:00 pm. 4150 Kortwright Rd, Jamestown. (716) 720-2403.
  • Audubon Community Nature Center: 1600 Riverside Rd, Jamestown. (716) 569-2345.
  • Busti Grist Mill: 3343 Lawson Rd, Jamestown. (716) 483-0134.
  • Peek’n Peak Resort: Father’s Day Brunch. June 17. 10:45 am. 1405 Old Rd, Clymer (716) 355-4141.

For a list of all the events happening throughout Chautauqua County in spring and throughout the year, visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau or call 866-908-4569 to request a free travel guide and map.

This post has been adapted from the original post on April 11, 2016 by Margot Russell. All updates were made by Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau staff to ensure all experiences mentioned are accurate and available during our 2017 Spring Chautauqua season.

Author Margot Russell is a journalist and freelance writer whose column “Lakewood Lens” appears in the Jamestown Post-Journal on Saturday. She is a script writer for the History Channel and an International Tour Director. She recently moved back to the area and lives in Lakewood. 


Posted in Events and Festivals, Lakes, Nature and Environment, Uncategorized, Vacation Learning, Wine, Culinary and Craft Beverages Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

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