On Monday, a sunny, hot summer day, Bob and I took a road trip from our home in the northeastern corner of Ohio to Chautauqua Institution, located on Lake Chautauqua in the southern part of New York State. The weather was quintessentially June, perfect for a “getaway day.” Some people describe Chautauqua as a modern day Brigadoon, and it does have a way of casting a spell on people who walk through the gate (and pay the price of admission). Although we only get there once or twice a summer, we’ve been taking this get-away trip for many years, so I guess you could say we are under its spell.
Built in 1874, the Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit, 750-acre educational center beside Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State, where approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during a nine-week season, and a total of over 100,000 attend scheduled public events. Over 8,000 students enroll annually in the Chautauqua Summer Schools which offer courses in art, music, dance, theater, writing skills and a wide variety of special interests (Chautauqua website).
Visitors come to Chautauqua from all points of the compass for the opportunity to study, relax, and hear renowned speakers on politics, religion, literature, and much more. What drew us there this week was a morning program on the stage of the iconic Amphitheater, hosted by Roger Rosenblatt, a conversation with television journalist Jane Pauley and her husband, writer/satirist Garry Trudeau and an afternoon lecture by John Shelby Spong, a retired Episcopal bishop who was speaking on “Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy. Spong was once voted public enemy number 1 by the Ku Klux Klan in the small, racially segregated North Carolina town where he was serving as pastor. He didn’t earn many friends for his unpopular stands on civil rights, social justice, and a less literal interpretation of the Bible, although eventually the local Chamber of Commerce named him Man of the Year. Throughout a long career, Spong did not waver, holding fast to his beliefs. Retiring in 2000 he has continued to teach, lecture, research and recently wrote an autobiography titled, Here I Stand.
I could happily have stayed at Chautauqua for the rest of the week, one day was just not long enough, but our daughter, who was dog-sitting with Gulliver, wasn’t available for the full week, so we headed home, satisfied that our getaway day at Chautauqua was well worth the price of admission. We had been entertained, enlightened, challenged to consider new ideas, and we drove home happy.
I have hundreds of pictures from our numerous visits to Chautauqua. Here are just a few from our recent trip:
Thanks for stopping by my blog today. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I’m trying to stick to a schedule for posting my entries, e.g. Tuesday, Thursday, and once on the weekend, so I will be back with more pictures in two or three days.