Guest Blog by Simone Sellstrom
Instagram has changed the sightseeing game. What once was a quick stop at a local coffee shop or a beautiful day on the lake is now an opportunity to enhance your Instagram feed and show off those perfectly poised #instatravel images. So grab your phone (or fancy camera!) and get ready to photograph some Instagram-worthy sights around Chautauqua County!
Once a waning industrial city in the rustbelt, Jamestown is quickly seeing a resurgence and new energy in its downtown corridor, making it a perfect #instaplace for capturing the right mix of old architecture and revitalization.
1. Thurston Terrace
You can get another great shot of quaint small-town streets by heading to Fourth Street from Pine Street where you’ll find the frequently photographed Thurston Terrace. The white building and the ornate signs make for a nice contrast, this is also a great opportunity to vary your Instagram feed up with a black and white photo. Stop in to Labyrinth Press Company afterward for a picture-perfect cup of #instacoffee.
> Location: 25 E 4th St, Jamestown, NY 14701 (42.097383, -79.240618)
2. Potters Art gALLErY
Jamestown has creatively used alleyway space to feature local artists and their artwork. You can start your gallery walk at the top of Fourth Street right after Brazil Craft Beer and Wine Lounge. This would be a great opportunity for a wide shot featuring someone in a casual pose below the artwork.
> Location: 25 E 4th St, Jamestown, NY 14701 (42.097383, -79.240618)
3. Lucy Murals
You can’t visit Jamestown without a nod to Lucille Ball. There are 5 Lucy murals located on various buildings around downtown. The most prominent being the Vitameatagavegamin Postcard on the side of the parking garage located at the corner of Third and Spring streets. Take your time and wait for the cars and people to clear in order to get a great shot down Third Street with the Reg Lenna Theater on the left and the postcard mural on the right of your frame. Or be artsy, and capture the movement of the street with a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Have fun with these murals as they can add a lot of character and humor to your feed. Don’t skip town without checking out the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum or the new National Comedy Center.
> Multiple. Check out our Guide to Finding Lucille Ball in Chautauqua County and the companion map.
4. Twin Bridges
Head over to the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk to capture the newest addition to the city’s landscape: the twin industrial bridges over the Chadakoin River. Put your subject in the middle of one of the bridges for a lovely image driven by architectural lines. Or, stand on the shore to get a great shot of both of the bridges and the National Comedy Center as the backdrop.
>Location: 30-34 Harrison St, Jamestown, NY 14701 (42.092860, -79.242775)
5. The Brick-Eating Octopus
This piece of #streetart is new to Jamestown. The trick to finding this photogenic octopus is to look for Lucy and Ethel, then look down. Take a seat on the bricks or get in close for a selfie, it loves people, we promise!
> Locations: 24 E. Third St, Jamestown, NY 14701 (42.05471, -79.14251)
6. Lucy Statues
Head to Celoron for the Lucy statues. Here you’ll find “Ugly Lucy” as she is endearingly referred to as well as the new Lucy statue erected in 2016. To make a more interesting image, put Lucy (from her shoulder line up) in the bottom third of your screen and let the sky take prominence in your frame. This will make that famous smile the feature of your photo.
>Location: 48-24 Lindsey Pl, Jamestown, NY 14701 (42.110458, -79.282118)
7. Chautauqua Lake Lighthouses
Hopefully you arrive in Celoron near sunset or sunrise because the Celoron Park dazzles during these times and the lighthouse takes center stage. The Celoron Lighthouse is the perfect addition to an Instagram story – put up those grid lines (usually found in your camera settings) and align the lighthouse with the left vertical line of the grid with the lake occupying the rest of the frame. Captured at sunset, this is a perfect #goldenhour picture or spot it from the deck of the Summer Wind. You can do a series of lighthouses on Chautauqua Lake, as there are two more around the lake – one at the Bemus Point – Stow Ferry crossing at Stowe road and another in Mayville near the departure location for the Chautauqua Belle.
> Locations: Celoron Lighthouse – 1 Dunham Ave, Jamestown, NY 14701 (42.111353, -79.283046) | Stow Lighthouse – 5175 Stow Ferry Rd, Ashville, NY 14710 (42.157089, -79.400519) | Mayville Lighthouse – 16 Water St,, Mayville, NY 14757 (42.245294, -79.495386)
8. Chautauqua Institution
Founded in 1874, Chautauqua Institution is featured on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts some of the most ornate Victorian architecture in the region. You’ll find blooming hydrangeas, cruiser bikes, and charming brick pathways throughout the grounds (you can get in free on Sundays during the summer), making this a perfect place for a #nofilter photo.
Focus your lens on the details of the grounds. The Athenaeum Hotel is the oldest wooden building in the east and makes for interesting and unique shapes to capture in your image. Play with depth in the Hall of Philosophy by shooting different angles on the stairs leading up to the hall. Then, make your way to the Miller Bell Tower and get creative; this is one of the most photographed locations at the institute.
> Location: 1 Massey Ave, Chautauqua, NY 14722 (42.207760, -79.469799)
9. Long Point State Park
Long Point State Park is always hopping in the summer. You’ll find boaters tied up in a #floatila in the bay and picnickers grilling all along the point. But for the best picture, head to the end of the Point Trail for those gorgeous portrait shots. One of the best #sunset spots on the lake, the tip of Long Point is sure to garner gorgeous views.
> Location: 4459 NY-430, Bemus Point, NY 14712 (42.168330, -79.420462)
The Scenic Outdoors
Some of the best spots in Chautauqua County take a little bit of work to reach but the journey is part of the destination, especially when you’re on a photo mission.
10. Luensman Overlook
This stunning 70-acre overlook near Brocton provides a vista of Lake Erie and the surrounding Lake Erie Wine Country. Put your panoramic skills to the test to see if you can capture the full view for your #picoftheday.
> Location: 7844-7998 Thayer Rd, Portland, NY 14769 (42.344303, -79.458759)
11. Westside Overland Trail
Hike into the Westside Overland Trail for a picturesque view that includes lush forest and a pond surrounded by rustic lean-tos. Make the most of your trip and bring your camping gear for an overnight stay with an early rise to capture the elusive fog on top of the pond surrounded by dewy grass. If you’re closer to Fredonia, the Eastside Overland Trail also offers ponds and lean-tos.
> Location: 7943-8199 Hannum Rd, Mayville, NY 14757 (*Multiple entry points. Click here for a map.)
12. Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Go for the action shot at Panama Rocks Scenic Park. Filming video and then taking stills throughout the video to catch your subject in motion best captures action. Or, set your subject up 10-15 feet from the scenery for a perfectly posed portrait shot with a blurred background.
>Location: 11 Rock Hill Rd, Panama, NY 14767 (42.073155, -79.487792)
13. Bridge at Audubon Community Nature Center
Another great place for an action photo, feature your subject walking (from behind adds interest) across the Spatterdock Bridge. You can also take a moment to savor the beauty of the nature center and patiently wait for wildlife to cooperate, garnering the perfect #birdsofinstagram shot.
> Location: 1600 Riverside Rd, Jamestown, NY 14701
14. The Anchor at Findley Lake
The Schooner Mautenee Anchor hails from a shipwreck on Lake Erie in 1905 and was moved to Findley Lake in 1906 by horses and a log cart. It can be found on the shores of the lake in the middle of town. Use the lines of the shadows to create an interesting take on this classic landmark.
> Location: (42.1197458,-79.7351508)
A hamlet near Cassadaga, Lily Dale Assembly is a historic site for those interested in the practice of Spiritualism. People travel from all over the country to visit with the resident mediums, attend lectures, and share thoughts on the paranormal.
15. Lily Dale Assembly Sign
The ornate assembly sign is located at the entrance of Lily Dale. Play with contrast by capturing the sign in black and white or sepia tones. You can choose to square the sign in your frame or left-align it to capture the road leading into Lily Dale.
>Location: South St., Cassadaga, NY 14718 (42.350398, -79.326414)
16. The 3 Sisters’ Houses
The Fox sisters were three sisters well known for their early contributions to spiritualism and their ability to connect with spirits. Their home was moved from Hydesville, NY to Lily Dale and is now a frequently photographed spot. Neither of these homes were inhabited by the Fox sisters, but the parallel is uncanny.
Along Lake Erie
Lake Erie offers some of the prettiest sunsets in the country and the shores of Western New York are the best place to share Lake Erie with your Instagram followers, trust us, they’ll be jealous. The following sights take you from Barcelona up the shoreline to Sunset Bay.
17. Barcelona Lighthouse
Perhaps one of the most distinguishable sights in the region, Barcelona Harbor Beach features a rocky beach and the country’s first natural gas lighthouse, complete with a pier reaching out to Lake Erie. Choose a day with sheer cloud coverage and a stunning sunset to capture how the sun’s rays play off of Lake Erie in a smattering of bright colors, it will be the epitome of #summer in Chautauqua County.
> Location: E Lake Rd, Westfield, NY 14787 (42.340998, -79.594783)
18. The Lincoln-Bedell Statue
Grace Bedell, a resident of Westfield, wrote to Abraham Lincoln and told him to grow a beard so that her brothers would vote for the candidate. As Lincoln toured the country, he stopped in Westfield and called out Grace, who appeared from the crowd to examine his newly grown beard. Focus on the details of the statue to play with the dynamic between the two and their special moment together.
> Location: Intersection Route 394 & Route 20, Westfield, NY 14787
19. Ella the Elephant and her Buffalo Friend
Located at 21 Brix Winery, Ella the Elephant and her Buffalo friend are famous sights along route 20. Stop by for a #selfie with Ella or feature her against the backdrop of the winery. Depending on the time of year you go, you could add some summer bliss to your feed by picking cherries at Olde Chautauqua Farms located behind the winery. Lake Erie Wine Country boasts more than 20 wineries so even if you don’t get a change to meet Ella, you’re sure to find a #pictureperfect moment elsewhere.
> Location: 6654 West Main Rd, Portland, NY 14769
20. The Marmaduke Statue
Marmaduke’s creator, Brad Anderson, was from Brocton, NY and the town has erected a statue in his honor on route 20. The dog and comic are playfully featured in this statue. Use levels to get a unique angle on this statue – try shooting from above or below the statue to achieve an interesting perspective.
> Location: 87 Route 20, Brocton, NY 14716
21. Point Gratiot
Located in Dunkirk, Point Gratiot Park offers beautiful views of the Lake Erie Shoreline and is a perfect stopping point for a picnic and photos. Use your lens to capture the angle of the shoreline and play with the exposure to master the texture of the waves as they break on the beach.
> Location: NY-5 & Point Dr W, Dunkirk, NY 14048 (42.484526, -79.352727)
22. Dunkirk Lighthouse
Just down the way from Point Gratiot is the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Museum, a beautiful sight that is different from other lighthouses in the area. You might feel like you’re in Maine as you photograph the precious cottage attached to the lighthouse. Pick a sunny day to capture the blues of the lake and sky with the stark contrast of the white and redbrick lighthouse against the lush green grass.
> Location: 1 Point Dr N, Dunkirk, NY 14048 (42.493980, -79.354032)
23. Whispering Giant #7
Peter Wolf Toth created a Whispering Giant for every state in the US and New York’s is located in Dunkirk. This statue is carved from elm and celebrates the features and histories of the Native American tribes present in Western New York. Prominently feature the statue in your photo by de-cluttering the background; a simple upward angle makes the statue stand out against the backdrop of the sky.
> Location: 129 Lake Shore Dr W, Dunkirk, NY 14048
24. Dunkirk City Pier, Harbor and Break Wall
The Dunkirk City Pier offers another great lookout spot on Lake Erie. Have your subject walk along the break wall of the pier to capture an action shot, or use the #followme hashtag as your subject leads you to the end of the pier. Whichever shot you choose, the pier offers a beautiful backdrop for your Instagram feed.
> Location: 814 Central Ave, Dunkirk, NY 14048 (42.488626, -79.335962)
25. Sunset Bay Beach Sign
Need a little tiki inspiration in Chautauqua County? Head to Sunset Bay located between Silver Creek and Irving. The brightly colored beach sign welcomes you to the sandy beach of Sunset Bay. Stop into Cabana Sam’s Sunset Bay Grill for a pretty beach cocktail to add to your photo. You’ll be getting your #happy on in no time.
> Location: 1028 S. Shore Dr., Irving, NY 14081
Get creative in your subject and image style. Let the beautiful backdrop of #TourChautauqua inspire your photo journey and be sure to tag @tourchautauqua in your photos to share your #travelgram with other visitors to the area.