Bemus Point Cornerstone — 2018


Contributing Writer
Walt Pickut

Sunsets on the Lake and live music on the summer air set Bemus Point apart from all the other vacation havens in Western New York. “It’s a unique community,” says Mayor Brian Dahlberg, “a walking community where everything is just a short stroll from everything else.”

Scenic Streetscapes

The Bemus Point Streetscape Project is returning the historic village to a pedestrian paradise of shop lined streets, fine dining, craft shops, gift shops and antique emporiums that attract thousands of visitors all summer long. “We won’t be surprised if we had 10,000 guests here on the 4th of July weekend alone this year,” Mayor Dahlberg said. “It’s a great tribute to our strong community, the 360 residents that make up the permanent population of Bemus Point.”

The multi-year Streetscape project is based on a comprehensive planning board survey of local residents. “We’re looking 5, 10 and 20 years ahead,” Dahlberg said. The project has been recognized as an outstanding community development model by the New York State Association of Planners and the Planners of Western New York, and was awarded a New York State grant in support of the project. “For all of our work,” Dahlberg promises, “we use as many local vendors, contractors and services as possible. We intend to to support our local economy.”

Centuries of Development

The history of Bemus point stretches back more than 200 years. Bemus family descendants still live on the original family lakeshore property first settled by William Bemus in 1806. Bemus had purchased land on both sides of Chautauqua Lake for a mere $1.50 per acre. Today the famous Bemus Point Village Casino and Stow Ferry landing stand no more than 300 yards south of the original Bemus family log cabin site.

The hospitality industry and tradition has also grown throughout Bemus Point’s history. The iconic Hotel Lenhart is now more than 130 years old and has been joined by other lodgings well suited to the summer tourist season.

Music in the Air

The Bemus Bay Pops 2014 Concert Series, in collaboration with the free Concert of Fireworks on special evenings from July 4 through August 31, and the summer-long Chautauqua Lake Voices competition will fill the night sky with music and with spectacular lights across the water. These events and The Village Casino’s live musicians and bands, make Bemus Point the musical capital of Western New York all summer, every summer.

For family entertainment, Dahlberg reminds visitors, Bemus Point also offers a swim beach for kids, a scenic community park for picnics, for play and even for a quiet summer read under the cool shade of the lush park greenery.  Bemus Point also offers guests a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts, basketball courts and a free boat launch.

Fine and Casual Dining

Bemus Point offers visitors great dining experiences at wonderful restaurants, some with spectacular lake views and elegant settings, others with the traditional coffee house charm, ice cream parlors with flavors to tempt every taste and restaurants with tasty, hot and home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner specials catering to hometowners and travelers alike. All-American fare and selected ethnic cuisines are on the menu within strolling distance everywhere in Bemus Point

Boating Enthusiasts Welcome

Bemus Point is also home to the Lawson Boating Heritage Center on Chautauqua Lake, a Museum honoring the Lawson Family and its nearly 100-year-old, illustrious place in the history of Chautauqua Lake boating, boatbuilding and servicing. The Lawson Center, housed in the newly renovated, historic lakeside site of the L.S Aero Marine Boat Chandlery offers three stories of exciting exhibits, from lake level to street level.

Bemus point is also home to many docks and boat launching points for sport fishing, recreational boating and sailing and personal and commercial boating activities.

It’s Not All Summer

The village of Bemus Point is also a vibrant hub of activity and community life in the winter. Hot food, the warmth of neighbors and friendships and world class ice fishing all continue to highlight Bemus Point’s life throughout the bright winter days and long winter nights.

Bemus Point, New York is a small community with a big heart and a great talent for hospitality.

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.