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“A place for the arts since Victorian times”

Chautauqua Institution
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, concerts, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 visitors will stay at Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages-all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village.
Reviewed 28 February 2014

In Victorian times, one could only learn new things by reading and from periodicals (no radio, TV, internet, etc.). For those living outside urban areas, many hungered for art and music. The Chautauqua Institution offered not only these things to the tourist at Jamestown, NY, but also conducted traveling lectures, magic lantern shows (early movies) which visited communities all over the Northeast US.
My great uncle studied opera there in the 1890's and eventually also studied in Milan, and then traved to Australia.
My mother studied piano there also during a summer in 1926. She was a concert pianist, but also played for silent movies in her rural upstate NY community.
This place is a treasure for those who love the fine arts and Victorian architecture. One can easily spend a day or more visiting, taking in a concert, etc. There is a great deal of walking involved, but all is wheelchair accessible (no vehicle traffic permitted on the grounds). As you tour the grounds, you may hear musioians practicing in various "cabins" - a unique opportunity. Good hotels and motels are also available.

2  Thank Catherine R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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241 - 245 of 372 reviews

Reviewed 20 December 2013 via mobile

There are people in Chautauqua County who have never been to the Chautauqua Institute. This is crazy. Chautauqua Institute is a fabulous venue for summer activities and a nice place to walk during the winter with snow. We routinely attend concerts in the incredibly interesting amphitheater. I would recommend this to anyone. It is a must.

3  Thank Jonmun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

The only negative is the price you have to pay to park and to enter the institution grounds "in season". There is no entry or parking fee out of season. If you are going to a concert at the Amphitheatre or a play, opera, etc, the cost includes the gate fee. You want to go anyway! This is the most unique spot. Beautiful old houses, people streets, the nicest atmosphere, so many learning opportunities..... Google it for more information... there's so much there. You can see the part on the Lake when you take the Chautauqua Belle (paddleboat) from Mayville. You can have a wonderful time just walking through, and taking plenty of one of a kind photos... In season, make sure to get an ice cream cone on Bestor Plaza. Lunch or tea at the Athenium (old gracious hotel) is also recommended. I haven't yet mentioned the flowers, landscaping, and parks throughout... Just go and be glad you did... it's like living in another time.

4  Thank cruiselover7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2013

We stayed in the middle of the Institution, and walked around exploring the grounds. Our cottage was built in 1884 and is quaint, cozy and spacious. Our anniversary falls in the off seaso, so we could not take advantage of anything the C.I. has to offer in the summer months. Only the bookstore was open.

2  Thank Lynne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2013

Love the architecture, the lake, the quiet, the sense of peace and security, the "atmosphere". Not only are the "in season" weeks enjoyable with all the activities to attend, but the history and ambiance of the Institution is a feeling to behold!

1  Thank Debbie16433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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