Weekending in Chautauqua Lake: A Lucille Ball Museum, Breweries and a Year-Round Resort Hotel

Enjoy a slower pace in a secret spot along the seventeen-mile-long Chautauqua Lake.

Chautauqua Lake

Dockside at Chautauqua Lake. Photograph by Dean Hammel/Shutterstock

Seventeen-mile-long Chautauqua Lake anchors this under-the-radar (to Philadelphians, anyway) region of western New York, where it’s easy to find fun any time of year.

Jamestown salutes hometown legend Lucille Ball and honors her legacy with the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum (tickets from $16), where you’ll find costumes, scripts, and replicas of the I Love Lucy studio sets. You can buy dual admission to check out the award-winning National Comedy Center (dual tickets from $30), too, which highlights comedic history with interactive and (duh) funny exhibits, like the Stand-Up Lounge, where you can watch performers Amy Schumer and ­Larry David do their best bits.

A couple miles west of Jamestown, seek out Lakewood, a charming village on the water. Tour Southern Tier Brewing Co., founded nearly two decades ago, and sample the IPAs, imperial stouts, and seasonal Pumking spiced pumpkin ale. Stay for dinner at the tasting room and restaurant, the Empty Pint, feasting on burgers and house-smoked wings with IPA barbecue sauce, which you can take to picnic tables on the back lawn. Throughout the summer, the Chautauqua Lake Pops hosts a series of concerts, movie nights and comedy shows, all outdoors on the Floating Stage. Any month of the year, though, you can visit Long Point, the 320-acre state park on Chautauqua Lake. The densely wooded beachfront park is a prime summertime destination for its swimming beach, picnic pavilions and public boat launch; in colder months, come to cross-country ski or ice-fish.

The new Chautauqua Harbor Hotel (from $199 per night) is also a year-round destination, with indoor and outdoor pools and plenty of places to take in the sweeping lakefront views from the lawn.

Published as “Chautauqua Lake” in the “Escape to New York” guide in the September 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.