August visit to Chautauqua

What is Chautauqua?

What and where is Chautauqua Institution?

If you have never been to Chautauqua Institution, you might be asking that question and wondering what all the fuss is about. Chautauqua is one of my favorite places. As someone who can only occasionally spend a day or two inside its gates, I am not qualified to provide a definitive answer. If I could, I would choose to reside in Chautauqua for the entire nine-week season, but that’s not likely to happen, so all I can say is that I love Chautauqua and find it a relaxing and stimulating place to recharge my batteries,  physically, intellectually, and spiritually.

Chautauqua has a long history and a rich one. In the words of Tom Becker, the 17th president of Chautauqua Institution…

“In 1874, this institution was created on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York to serve as a resource for lifelong learning. Responding to the great need for information in the lives of Americans—who at that time were largely finished with schooling at a young age—Chautauqua hosted a gathering of people of all ages from throughout the United States and Canada.

Today this Institution—while reflective of its history in much of the architecture and many of its rituals—responds to a modern need for access to meaning: to affix the flood of information in our lives into a context and to consider the ongoing necessity of sparking an imaginative understanding of our proper place in the world around us.”

Chautauqua Institution is truly a beautiful place where people can gather during the nine week season each summer for education, recreation, and opportunities to explore current issues in politics, religion, education, and much more. And this barely touches on what Chautauqua provides. To discover the scope of what is available, visit their website and prepare to be amazed.


Bring an open mind, a hungry soul, and a willingness to learn.-Tom Becker.

Last month I posted a blog of our July visit to Chautauqua with our daughter Gretchen and grandson Alec. This week we returned for a short visit, primarily because we wanted to hear a presentation by Kathleen Sebelius , former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. We went with our neighbors and met Joe and Ann there (Bob’s brother and his wife). Because Chautauqua is a lovely community, I took lots of pictures, and, as this is a photoblog, I feel compelled to share them and invite you to join me for a photowalk around Chautauqua.

Note: I have divided this post into several sections, starting with images of a few of the beautiful homes, gardens, and amazing porches and doors you will encounter along every street (Click on any picture to open the gallery so you can scroll through it).

Homes and Gardens

Yard Art

From serious to humorous to whimsical, yard art can be seen throughout Chautauqua.



Recreation for young people is plentiful. The sandy swimming beach is popular, and there are Boys’ and Girls’ clubs with supervised activities, as well as a place for young people to hang out and an outdoor classroom. Except for the building to the left, I didn’t take pictures of the clubhouses, but I did get a photo of the ball field, complete with a grandstand. Although there was no game in progress, it made me think of “If you build it, they will come.” It’s a beautiful little ball park, right on the edge of Lake Chautauqua.


Gathering places

Every town has a square or a park at its center, as well as other important places for people to gather, and Chautauqua is no exception. Here are a few important gathering places you will see in Chautauqua, including several images of the historic Amphitheater, known locally as “the Amp,” and arguably the center of Chautauqua.

Lake Chautauqua

Chautauqua is located where it is because of the lake for which it is named. I would be negligent  if I didn’t include a few lake vistas in this post, so I have combined some lake images from our July and August visits.

That’s it for summer 2015. I hope you have enjoyed the photowalk around Chautauqua.

Thanks for joining me!

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