Summer Homes at Chautauqua Institution

A passing summer storm backdrops the Chautauqua Institution Bell Tower at dusk.

A passing summer storm backdrops the Chautauqua Institution Bell Tower at dusk.

Want to spend a quiet week by a beautiful lake while enjoying the arts and intellectual pursuits? You can't find a lovelier, music-dance-opera-books-arts-lectures spot than Chautauqua Institution in far western New York, just past Jamestown and a hour south of Buffalo.  A gate ticket not only allows you to surround yourself with lovely old homes and luscious gardens in the car restricted grounds, but entertains you with their symphony orchestra and school of dance in the evenings at their open air amphitheater.  Almost everyday there are lectures by leading thinkers and national figures.  You can bike, run, swim, kayak, sail, fish, and take all kinds of classes through their Special Studies program. I've taken ceramics classes, learned to solder silver rings, and exercised beside the lake.

I discovered Chautauqua because my husband grew up in the area and took me there to meet his family and friends.  I had read about the history of the Chautauqua Shows in high school and was delighted to see it was still carrying on it's worthy mission of bringing culture, religion and learning to the masses.  It started as a summer campground, and eventually the tents were replaced with victorian cottages, and now the cottages are either restored or replaced, and many have been turned into expensive summer homes.  We've been visiting Chautauqua now for two decades and I'd like to share with you some of my favorite homes.

This beautiful white victorian confection faces the lake and was the first house we stayed in together.  My husband's brother had rented it for the summer and we were lucky to be his guests!

This beautiful white victorian confection faces the lake and was the first house we stayed in together.  My husband's brother had rented it for the summer and we were lucky to be his guests!

This asian inspired craftsman bungalow was built with reused materials, including blocks from a former public school.  Fittingly, it faces the Institution's children's school, where elementary age vacationers can go to morning camp.

This asian inspired craftsman bungalow was built with reused materials, including blocks from a former public school.  Fittingly, it faces the Institution's children's school, where elementary age vacationers can go to morning camp.

This brightly remodeled Victorian has long been one of my favorites.  Aqua, lavender and hydrangeas - what's not to love?

This brightly remodeled Victorian has long been one of my favorites.  Aqua, lavender and hydrangeas - what's not to love?

This splendid green and white new Victorian has porches that never end and is near the amphitheater.  The architect did an amazing job with an awkwardly narrow and hilly spot.

This splendid green and white new Victorian has porches that never end and is near the amphitheater.  The architect did an amazing job with an awkwardly narrow and hilly spot.

Tiny, pink, and adorable.  Just wait till you see the fairy garden attached!  

Tiny, pink, and adorable.  Just wait till you see the fairy garden attached!

 

For more information on Chautauqua Institution, follow this link: http://chq.org

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