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Review Highlights
One of the best experiences EVER!!

This is a life changing experience. I am thrilled that I have now been to Chautauqua and will... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
LovestheTheatre
Unique educational experience

For close to `150 years, this institution has served as an 'adult camp' with all sorts of... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Bob M
,
Houston, Texas
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Reviewed March 31, 2019

After waiting 50+ years, when I first read about it in a N.Y. Times piece,
my husband and I spent a week at Chautauqua in August, 2017. We quickly
reserved after that for 2018, and are looking forward to the June 22 opening week
this year.
The setting, pristine and beautiful is home to a bevy of sensory and intellectual
delights for those who still value quiet exchange of ideas.
Planning a first visit, finding housing, mastering schedules, etc, is not simple.
Recommend using all phone, messaging and web resources offered. Staff is
wonderful and waiting to help.

Date of experience: July 2018
2  Thank Schwartz-Brown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2019

We were staying in the area with family and thought it would be nice to spend the day. We planned to spend the day at their beach, and honestly, it was not worth the trip or the money it cost to visit.

Date of experience: July 2018
2  Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2019

The Chautauqua Institution, a gated community founded in 1874, was/is the mothership of the Chautauqua movement which promotes adult education through (per Wikipedia) entertainment and culture via speakers, teachers, scientists, politicians, musicians, showmen, preachers and specialists of the day. It was originally started to train Sunday School teachers. The four principles of Chautauqua are the Arts, Education, Religion and Recreation. At one point in time, the movement had a couple hundred satellite/sister locations across the United States and Canada, but now there are only around 18 locations left. (search web for the Chautauqua Trail). Four Presidents and other notables have visited the Institution. The Institution is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. A number of the structures date back to the late 1800's and early 1900's. Besides walking the grounds, there are Bus and Tram services as well as bike and scooter rentals. One can stay overnight by owning a residence or by making reservations at the Athenaeum Hotel or a private accommodation (see Accommodations on the CI website).

The Institution is located on the western shore of Chautauqua Lake and around 73 miles south of Buffalo (City Hall), 4 miles south of Mayville, NY, 17 miles NWN of Jamestown, NY, 12 miles SE of the Barcelona Lighthouse on Lake Erie and 38 miles east of Erie, Pennsylvania. Chautauqua Lake is around 17 miles long with a maximum depth of 78 feet. The lake is stocked with tiger muskie by the NYS DEC and has several fishing tournaments each summer. Boats can be rented particularly around Mayville and Jamestown. The Institution does have docking facilities. Check their website for more details.

The Chautauqua Golf Club, located just down the road from the Institution gates, has two 4 star rated courses per Golf Digest.

For some time now, my family has visited the Chautauqua Institution at least 1-2 times a year. We usually go on Sunday's when there are no admission fees (just the parking lot fee). After we enter the front gates, it feels like we've stepped back in time. Forget the phone, the TV, the radio and the internet. As we walk down the sloping tree shaded streets towards the town park square (i.e. Bestor Plaza), we pass by a gingerbread house, pastel houses, European inspired homes, flags flying here and there and various flower gardens. The Plaza is the hub of the Institution with quaint boutique shops, restaurants, lodging, book store, post office, snack foods, restrooms and green space. We especially like going to the several (juried) craft shows held in the summer that circle Bestor Plaza. From the Plaza, we usually like to stroll a two+ mile loop past the Amphitheater, the Hall of Philosophy, the Recreational/Activity Center, go down along the shoreline, past the Athenaeum Hotel, view the boat docks, go by Palestine Park (has model of the Holy Land), the beaches, the Miller Bell Tower, go upslope on North Lake Drive and follow it until we hit Elm Street where we proceed towards Bellinger Hall, past the Tennis center, the Music Hall, the School of Art, past Norton Hall (Opera) and then Bratton Theater until we come back to Bestor Plaza. We'll also hit various side streets to mix things up. On one side street, we found a house where a tree was allowed to grow up through the front porch roof. After dinner, we have sat in the chairs on the immense back porch of the Athenaeum Hotel (with drinks from their bar) to watch the sun set on Chautauqua Lake.

I can not emphasize enough the top notch offerings at the Institution particularly in the Arts. I have been to their Operas a number of times where they were sung in English but currently the libretto is projected in English above the stage. (Chautauqua's performance of Madama Butterfly is a personal favorite). 2019 operas are the Barber of Seville and Figaro. Their Theater Company puts on plays (and workshops) from Shakespeare to modern playwrights. I'm looking forward to their 2019 rendering of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I've seen the Chautauqua Dance company as well as their School of Dance perform breathtaking performances in the Amphitheater. The massive Amphitheater also hosts band, choral and/or orchestra concerts as well as famous singers, rock bands and other musical groups. Judy Collins, Madeleine Peyroux, a Harry Potter concert, the Pittsburgh Ballet, Under The Streetlamp, Star Wars and other events are slated in 2019.

There are a number of side trips from the Institution:
Putt-Putt Golf Courses, Midway State (Amusement) Park for kids with paddleboats on Chautauqua Lake, Amish shops in Cherry Creek, NY which is on the "Amish Trail", Chautauqua Belle Steamboat cruise, Gerry PRCA Rodeo in early August, Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, the National Comedy Center, Welch's grape juice HQ, gift shop and tours, Lake Erie shoreline, Lilydale Spiritual Center and Cassadaga Lake, Wineries, Kinzua Dam in PA, the Seneca Nation and Allegany State Park in NY. See the free I Love Chautauqua County magazine for additional information.

Date of experience: August 2018
7  Thank Wayfairing_Man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2019

CHQ is a very special place, there is something for everyone, from toddler to elder. Classes, seminars, music, dance, opera, theatre- Boating, Golf and so much more. It is more or less a walking or biking community with so many different daily activities and more! It is a quaint, modern day Victorian Community situated on a beautiful lake. CHQ offers a 9 week season with some pre and post season events. I spends the season there with many family members visiting as well for a week or two. There are wonderful restaurants within a few miles from CHQ in the nearest village of Mayville. Boating, Kayaking, Fishing, Skiing and tubing are all available to visitors.

Date of experience: June 2018
1  Thank Voyage50561
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2018 via mobile

We thought it would be fun to go to the Christmas village that is open on the weekends in December at the institution. Get there & the informationdesk advises we can drive right unto the property! Cool! Go to the center square where all the activities are supposed to be taking place. Minimal Christmas decorations and only a pen with some reindeer in it!!! For a second attempt at this, Chautauqua is missing the mark!!! The only thing going on was visits with Santa at 1:00 and caroling at 3:00!!! Offer more activities and tours of the property showing holiday decorations, history of Christmas at the institution... something!!! Went on to Jamestown to the comedy museum!

Date of experience: December 2018
1  Thank pjdarm0419
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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