Summer On Chautauqua Lake Happenings, Adventures and Family Fun


The Boat Landing.


Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

Sunset on Chautauqua Lake.

Chautauqua Lake is home to a thousand adventures every year… and it is a home-away-from-home for tens of thousands of welcome visitors from across the country, offering them something for every season. Summer on Chautauqua Lake is a special one. This week The Jamestown Gazette is setting out to highlight some of the Lake’s best-known favorites, a few hidden gems, in the hope that long-time locals as well as long-distance guests will find even more than they expect this year. From amusement parks to summer kids-camps and from world famous performers to world-class fishing and boating, exciting things are happening on Chautauqua lake, beside the lake, in the lake and all around the lake, its scenic tributaries and the Chadakoin Outlet this summer.

Start with Moonlight on the Lake

Sunsets on Chautauqua Lake become even more beautiful when the full moon rises into the night above it. For a chance to see Chautauqua Lake in its most romantic light, join the monthly Full Moon Paddle on Chautauqua Lake on Saturday evenings, June 23 and July 28, at 8:00 p.m. and August 25 at 7:30 p.m., launching from Evergreen Outfitters at 61 Water St, Mayville, NY, not from the previously planned Long Point State Park launch. And every Wednesday evening through August 29, between 6:30 and 9:00 p.m head for the McCrea Point Park Boat Landing at Jones & Gifford Ave. in Jamestown NY for the Chautauqua Lake Outlet Paddle. See the pilings where the lake’s classic paddleboats, ships like the majestic “City of Jamestown,” docked in the 1800s carrying hundreds of passengers. Today the Outlet is quieter. Blue herons and waterfowl of many kinds now call it home. Frogs jump between lily pads and turtles bask on logs. Serenity has replaced the bustle of earlier times. For reservations and details of both events, call 716-763-2266.

A New York State of Mind

Few attractions repay citizens for their investment in New York State as generously as the State Park System. For fishing, boating and hiking, for example, at Long Point State Park, Rt. 430 in Bemus Point, and for picnicking and swimming at a brand new beach, stop by and enjoy its unique attractions. On one of the highest navigable lakes in all of North America, Long Point boasts the most modern boat launch on the lake along with great bass, perch and pike fishing, and great sport angling for the lake’s huge muskies, famous for their size and “fight.” “I have been coming to Midway for more than 50 years,” said one veteran mini-golfer playing at Midway Park’s brand new, beautifully redecorated course one sunny afternoon last week. “The State and the Friends of Midway have really brought it all back to life.” The 44 acres of scenic parkland at Midway State Park, also on Rt. 430 in Bemus Point, is home to this famous, old-school fun park, providing trips back in time via lakeside train rides, a vintage carousel and arcade, and to more of the country’s best fresh water fishing. Since its founding in 1898 as a trolley park, it has been known as a treasure trove of family fun.

Discover Nature

Also at Long Point, on Saturday, June 2 at 10 a.m. learn about the bird hotels near the Marina from Randy Oste of the Bemus Point Purple Martin Society, as he

Jim Wilcox from “Children of the Stream” talks to 5th graders about fly fishing.

leads guests into the world of the Purple Martin Community at Long Point. Purple Martin Discovery will meet at the Marina parking lot for
the free, 1-hour program. Explore Jamestown’s wild side on Chadakoin River Walks on Wednesdays, June 6 and June 20, between 9 and 10 a.m., led by RTPI President, Twan Leenders, and other area naturalists through an easy mile-long walk through the Chadakoin River outlet forest. Discover the birds, turtles, wildflowers, and other surprising flora and fauna of Jamestown and learn about the region’s ongoing environmental conservation. Walks begin at the Riverwalk parking area on W 8th Street, adjacent to the Resource Center and opposite McCrae Point Park. To learn more, call 665-2473


Fishing and Boating

Readers are reminded that National Fishing and Boating Week is June 2 to 10, a perfect time to get the season’s New York State fishing license for use on Chautauqua Lake, its tributaries and outlets. The place to go to learn about the various types of fishing licenses and more is The Chautauqua Showdown Muskie Tournament launces from Mayville Lakeside Park, 78 Water St., Route 394 in Mayville, on Saturday, June 23, from 7:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., with registration at the Mayville launch 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. The event features awards, kids raffle table, cash payouts and a cookout to follow at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. To learn more call 763-2947 and log on to Chautauqua Lake will also be the perfect place to enjoy New York State’s Free Fishing Weekend on Saturday, June 23, 12 a.m. through Sunday, June 24, 12 a.m. No license required.

National Learn to Row Day

Saturday, June 2, kicks off the boating week. Between 9:00 and noon, the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association (CLRA) at 18 Jones and Gifford Avenue in Jamestown, wants Jamestown Gazette readers to “Learn to row like an Olympian on the beautiful Chadakoin River! On-land and on-the-water seasoned experts will be the instructors. Call 499-2440 to sign up and learn the follow-up dates and fees. “Rowing is a beautiful way to enjoy our lake,” said the Lawson Boating Heritage Center’s Craig Butler. The CLRA will host its annual Rock ‘n’ Row event and fundraiser at the Lawson Center in Bemus Point on Sunday, June 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. Butler rows on Chautauqua Lake nearly every day, 350 miles a year, just for the pleasure of it. He added that “Chautauqua Rowing goes back to 1898, and the historic Lawson Center is proud of its partnership with CLRA in this event.” Enjoy live music throughout the afternoon, a silent auction, door prizes, 50/50 drawing, gourmet and locally/sustainably sourced foods by calling 499-2440 for ticket prices.

Party Time

Sunday, June 24, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., enjoy an afternoon at Bemus Point Lakeside Park on Lakeside Drive at the “Block Party and

Heather Nolan of Chautauqua Lake Assn. (left) with 5th grade students from Robert H. Jackson Elementary School in Frewsburg learn about lake stewardship at LCLC.

Concert” with live music, food, games, face painting and photo booth. To learn more, call 386-3401. Enjoy a Summer Wind Dinner Cruise to Chautauqua Institution from 5:00 until 11:00 p.m., launching every Friday evening from June 30 until August 24 at the port of the Summer Wind beside Lucille Ball Memorial Park, 21 Boulevard Ave in Celoron, NY. Every cruise includes a meal on the way to Chautauqua Institution and time ashore to enjoy their popular Amphitheater entertainment and performances throughout the season. To reserve a seat and learn more, call 763-7447 or visit

Chautauqua Institution

The Institution’s 145th season opens on Saturday, June 23 at 8:00 a.m. and continues until the closing bell tolls on August 26. Chautauqua Institution’s unique and world famous mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship, programs and recreational activities, classes and community events for all ages, will span the course of nine weeks within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. To learn more, call 357-6250, visit or email


“Chautauqua Lake is the source of life for our natural environment,” Lee Lindeman, executive director at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point told the Gazette. “The lake’s waters are also a wonderful metaphor for our message and for life itself.” Though what Lindeman calls “the main event,” – the 6-week camping season for youth from completion of 3rd grade through high school – spans only June 24 to August 3, a visit on May 24 found nearly 1,000 fifth grade students on site, visiting from more than 30 regional schools.

LCLC had opened the grounds for the 51st annual Conservation Field Day sponsored by the local 4-H and Cornell Cooperative Extension organizations. Activities like these are typical of camps like LCLC in an effort to create multi-use opportunities for local residents.

A Multi-Use Lake

Some of the nicest families you will meet along the Riverwalk will look like this.

The many events and sites described here are only a small sample of the myriad benefits Chautauqua Lake creates for local residents and for worldwide visitors. The health and beauty of the lake are among the most important natural resources over which local citizens have kept their stewardship for more than two centuries. Wisdom and gratitude in that work seem the best way to keep its presence and its value at their peak for all to enjoy. Especially for Summer 2018.

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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.