Guest Blog by Margot Russell
They say autumn is the season of the soul— a time to slow down and appreciate what you already have; a time to prepare for the last days of the year, and to find a good place to curl up and enjoy the warmth of autumn color.
Chautauqua County is the very best place to appreciate the fall season. The trails are filled with the reds of maples and the yellows of oaks; pumpkins and apples fill old barrels at seasonal markets. And thankfully, there are an abundance of corners in independent book and coffee shops where you can cozy up with a dog-eared book or a warm cup of joe and find some time for yourself in the heart of the changing season. Our favorite cozy corners span the county and all promise a little reprieve any time of the year:
This is a store where you can spend hours wrapped in a warm cocoon of books and other offerings, a place that’s hard to pass by without stopping in. The Chautauqua Bookstore at Chautauqua Institution has all kinds of things to keep your mind busy on a fall day: books of all kinds, audio-formats of past lectures at the amphitheater, unique and thoughtful gifts, and a truly inspired selection of greeting cards. It’s open all year, including during the Winter Village at CHQ celebrations.
(67 Bestor Plaza, Chautauqua. chautauquabookstore.com)
Coffee lovers know the best corners to stow away and enjoy a cup of joe and a newspaper. Stedman Cafe in Mayville makes for an inviting coffee stop, enhanced by its history as an old general store. Their coffee is roasted locally, and breakfast and lunch are served daily. Coming soon to Stedman’s: the Weeping Wall Wine Cellar, serving wine, drinks and offering cooking classes.
(6335 Magnolia-Stedman Rd., Mayville. stedmancafe.com)
Webb’s Cottage Collection is a gift shop in the Webb’s World Resort complex on Chautauqua Lake that also houses Webb’s Candies, Webb’s Captains Table Restaurant, a hotel and mini-golf. Sip a coffee or tea beverage from their fully stocked espresso bar including a delicious array of mochas, flavored lattes, hot chocolate and delightful frappes. It’s a retail shop that encourages you to sip a beverage while browsing their curated gifts and home decor.
(115 West Lake Rd., Mayville. websscottagecollection.com)
It doesn’t get more quaint than the village of Bemus Point on Chautauqua Lake, and Wired on Main is a good place to catch the coffee vibe. Eclectic and welcoming, it’s a great spot in the center of the business district to sit and observe for awhile. While waiting for your drink creation to be made browse their unique home decor and apparel collection. Open in the summer season only.
(22 Main St., Bemus Point. wiredonmain.com)
Jamestown and Lakewood
Novel Destination – Used Book Emporium isn’t just a bookstore, it’s a gathering spot of sorts, where the owner likes to chat up her visitors and help them find the perfect book. Say hello to store mascot, Scout, who’s happy to greet you with a “meow” at the door. Browse through 30,000 titles in four rooms with prices ranging from $3-$5. Look for large print books, books for young readers and audiobooks, too.
(177 Fluvanna Ave., Jamestown. Novel Destination on Facebook)
Turn your pursuit for a cup of coffee into a happy adventure at the Labyrinth Press Company in downtown Jamestown. You’ll always find some friendly conversation, or a great spot to slip into with your laptop or your best friend. An interesting menu, along with comfortable seating and an eclectic atmosphere all help to make this place simply good to be in. You can also grab coffee and fresh made salads and sandwiches from the Museum Store at the National Comedy Center, located just a few short blocks away.
(12 E. 4th St., Jamestown. labpressco.com)
A great place to fuel up, Crown Street Roasting Company in Jamestown takes pride in their handcrafted coffee drinks. The fresh and trendy decor invites loyal coffee drinkers in who love what the in-house roasted beans do to their coffee. A line up of lattes, espressos, and pour-over coffees join the creative list of offerings. They get lots of kudos for their playlist, too. Bonus, they are located between the entrances to two great Jamestown attractions, Escape Rooms Jamestown and the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum. During the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, which takes place the first weekend of August, it has become a tradition for Crown Street to add a “Lucy Latte” to their menu.
(16 W. 3rd St., Jamestown. crownstreetroasting.com)
Stop by for a cuppa joe and a spot of dough at this casual coffee shop that also serves up fresh baked goodies. The early bird gets the worm, Joe’Z Coffee House is only open Tuesday though Friday from 8am-1pm. Plan a stop before you start exploring all of the wonderful attractions in Jamestown like the Fenton History Center, which is practically across the street!
(98 Forest Ave., Jamestown. Joe’z Coffee House on Facebook)
Off The Beaten Path Bookstore and RydersCup Coffee happily share the same space on Chautauqua Avenue in Lakewood. You can smell the coffee from the front door while the bookstore invites you in with its old wood floors and its selection of books—both old and new tomes housed in bookshelves in three rooms. The perfect setup, you can take your book and walk five steps to the coffee shop, where a comfortable array of couches and chairs beg you to spend a little time… just hanging around.
Stedman Corner Coffee Roasters has spent nearly two decades perfecting the art of roasting coffee beans, and a visit to their Lakewood Cafe is all the proof you need. They offer espresso and brewed coffee, along with baked goods, coffee gifts, and coffee beans. It’s a good place to watch the world go by tucked inside or on their outdoor patio when Indian Summer is on display.
(169 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood. stedmancoffee.com)
The Buzz may located inside of a regional chain grocery store, but the #Wegmania phenomenon is real and this place deserves a mention. Their fully stocked espresso bar will please even the most discerning of coffee drinkers. On a typical day, no less than half a dozen freshly brewed coffees are available including organic, seasonal and decaf varieties, in addition to nitro cold press coffee which is a smooth, delicious and creamy indulgent beverage. No cream or sugar required, but by all means if that’s your preference, go for it! Any kids in tow will love the cookies and cream frappe, which is not short on calories or sugar. Wegman’s decor is updated for the season and often times features Chautauqua Lake motifs.
(945 Fairmount Ave. Lakewood, NY. wegmans.com)
Findley Lake and Cassadaga Lakes
Courtyard Cafe at Peek’n Peak
A great way to start the day whether hitting the Peek’n Peak Resort Mountain Adventures course, golfing or skiing. The Courtyard Cafe at Peek’n Peak offers a fantastic selection of beverages and proudly serves Starbucks brand coffee. Order breakfast and a latte while using their complimentary Wifi or grab a freshly baked pastry and an energy drink for a quick stop before spending the day outdoors.
(1405 Olde Rd. Clymer, NY. pknpk.com)
Open from June until early September, the Lily Dale Book Store and Souvenir Shop has a great selection of books for the curious mind relating to spiritualism, as well as children’s books, audio books on varying topics, and a great gift shop. Lily Dale Assembly is a community and meeting place for spiritualists and freethinkers and it’s a fascinating place to stroll around and bask in the glow of its turn-of-the-century charm. Find a great book, visit one of the handful on-grounds cafes for something to-go, and claim a bench overlooking Cassadaga Lake for a peaceful afternoon.
(2 Melrose Dr., Lily Dale. lilydaleassembly.org)
Lake Erie Shoreline
Lana’s The Little House is a magical cottage in the woods in Forestville that hosts special teas by appointment only. People from around the world have journeyed there to spend an afternoon sipping a cup a of perfectly brewed tea and to walk the magical grounds. Take home your favorite blend after a stroll around the tea shop.
(Appointment only. lanasthelittlehouse.com)
The Upper Crust Bakehouse on Main Street in Fredonia is a great place to take a break on a crisp autumn day with an added bonus: serious treats. Their homemade baked goods are made from scratch with natural ingredients, and its common sense that you can’t go wrong pairing a great cup of coffee with a chocolate chip muffin or a cinnamon bun.
(27 E. main St., Fredonia. uppercrustfredonia.com)
Aloe Vera’s Eatery is an eclectic eatery in the heart of Fredonia that offers lots of comfy spots for loafing, along with a cool coffee vibe. You’re welcome to bring a book or your laptop and relax amongst the brick and chalkboard decor. Check out their menu, too, with a focus on healthy wraps and salads.
(33 Church St., Fredonia. aloeveraseatery.com)
The magical Spot And A Spell is both a tearoom and a coffee shop, so there’s no denying hot drink lovers are welcome here. Seasonal coffees like pumpkin hazelnut or apple caramel are offered in the fall, but there’s no shortage of choices year round: 59 flavors of loose leaf teas, Peruvian coffees, herbal teas, espresso and cappuccino. Their themed decor will inspire you to reread your Harry Potter books.
(29 W. Main St., Fredonia. A Spot and a Spell on Facebook)
With 11 locations in Chautauqua County, you’re never too far away from a cup of coffee and a quiet corner booth at Tim Hortons. Devoted fans love their coffee, sourced from some of the world’s best coffee regions, and with a secret recipe blend known only to three people, according to highly placed company sources. The shops prove to be a popular place for coffee breaks with friends. There are also two Starbucks, on on the State University of New York Fredonia campus, and the second in Lakewood.
Margot Russell is an experienced, versatile writer whose career spans more than 30 years in print and broadcast journalism. Her weekly column in the Jamestown Post-Journal chronicles the triumphs and foibles of everyday life. Margot is a published author, a freelance feature writer and a script writer for The History Channel. She also coaches other writers to realize their potential.