By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Some years ago I spent a weekend at Chautauqua near Jamestown New York. It was a lovely, cultural place. Can you tell me if it is still open for holidays or weekends? If so, how do we get there from Toronto? I love to read your column in the Travel Section every weekend

A: : Founded in 1874 by an Ohio inventor and a Methodist minister, The Chautauqua Institution is a national historic landmark that has grown into a much anticipated summer residential center for the arts, education, religion, and recreation.

Over the years important speeches and historical events were made by presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt who delivered his "I Hate War" speech from the Amphitheater platform in 1936. Eleven years earlier, George Gershwin composed his Concerto in F in a Chautauqua practice shack.

Always ahead of the curve, the Chautauqua’s Athenaeum Hotel was one of the first hotels to have electric lights. Situated by the 18-mile Chautauqua Lake, the 1,200 building complex is like a city within a city, having amphiteatres, halls, the historic Athenaeum Hotel, pool, gym, fitness centre and more.

This year’s playbill includes Clay Aiken on July 20, Emily Lou Harris on August 3rd and Michael Bolton on August 25. Since opening, The Chautauqua Institution’s motto has been based on the belief that everyone “has a right to be all that he can be -- to know all that he can know.”

For more details on the institution and events calendar, log onto

For driving directions, the Chautauqua Institution is located in the southwestern corner of New York State. Once you’re on the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90), take exit 60, then Route 394 west.


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