Colors of Chautauqua: A Rainbow of Learning

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Brilliant fall foliage along Chautauqua Lake. Photos by Cindy Abersold Ferrro
Brilliant fall foliage along Chautauqua Lake. Photos by Cindy Abersold Ferrro

Article by
Katrina Fuller

Bountiful colors and crisp air greet the senses on a ride through the picturesque country side.  From Westfield to Jamestown, the splendor of Fall is spreading, bringing an end to summer, but not to fun. The Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau is excited to announce its third annual ‘Colors of Chautauqua’, a county wide event capturing the unique and inviting events taking place this season.   “It’s a celebration of the season, and a celebration of life long learning – it extends Chautauqua’s summer season of learning into the Fall,” says Stephanie Burdo, Communications Coordinator at the Visitors Bureau. “It’s fun!”
The event offers an entire calendar devoted to fall festivities in the surrounding area, from the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield to the Audubon in Jamestown. “It lets people know we are not just a 9 week destination,” Burdo explains. “We are open all year long.” On the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau’s website, TourChautauqua.com, a lengthy list of fun Autumn centered activities is available, chocked full of local workshops, wine trails, and walking tours.
From the ghostly ‘Saints and Sinners’ cemetery walk put on by the Fenton Historical Society to the ‘Berries, Birds, and Wildflowers’ guided tour at the Sugar Shack in Westfield, bipedal transportation is the way to go this season! “21 Brix Vineyard is having a winery walk, there are historic walking tours, Harvest Moon Cemetery Tours in Fredonia – there are a lot of walks this year!” Burdo says with a laugh.
Opportunities to gain knowledge are also prevalent this year, with many area organizations and businesses providing educational workshops to the public throughout September, October, and November. With exciting topics like leaf mono printing, wine and spirits, and Tibetan chair massage, area residents and visitors alike will be able to find a fun learning experience suitable for them.
Jamestown Community College is featuring a class series titled “All About U”, with classes exploring topics such as Women’s Health, Understanding Auras, and Modern Art. The Audubon Nature Center will play host to a multitude of Fall themed classes, such as ‘Edible Audubon’ and the ‘Natural Fiber Cordage Workshop’.”We’re really trying to highlight the learning opportunities still available,” Burdo says. “Sign up for a workshop – it’s not sitting in a classroom; it’s something you don’t learn about on a day to day basis.”
“It’s harvest time,” Burdo reminds. “We are the oldest Concord grape growing region in the world!” Taking advantage of such wonderful bounty, several grape oriented happenings are on the calendar, bringing the Grape Belt into the picture. The ‘Blessing of the Grapes’, slated for Saturday, September 20th,  is an exciting occurrence at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield, NY. The fun begins at 1 pm with a blessing performed by Virginia Carr, with Concord grape centered foods, beverages, vendors, a car show, and more featured afterwards. “There is so much to do – it’s hard to get it all in.” Burdo says with a smile.
‘Colors of Chautauqua’ began as part of a branding campaign in 2011, she explains, “We looked at what makes us different – what makes us uniquely Chautauqua.” Continuing on, the Visitors Bureau is inviting folks, both visitors and residents, to explore Chautauqua during the Harvest Season, discover something new, and fall in love with the Fall.
For more information on the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, ‘Colors of Chautauqua’, or events, visit TourChautauqua.com, or follow them on Facebook under ‘Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau’. Take a look at the calendar, choose your adventure, and take a ride – who knows where you’ll end up. “It’s experiential,” Stephanie Burdo says. “My favorite thing to do is to drive around the Grape Belt. All you have to do is open your window – and smell grapes.”