As you may or may not know, I was born and raised in Jamestown, NY.

Lucille Ball and the 10,000 Maniacs also carry that badge, and believe it or not, there's actually a lot of OTHER cool history that comes right out of Chautauqua County.

If you find yourself looking for something fun to do with the family in WNY and don't mind a little over an hour's drive, check out some of the fun in the Southern Tier.  (For what it's worth, it really is a scenic drive, try a sunny day!)


  • 1

    Lucy Desi Center For Comedy (Jamestown, NY)

    The name says it all. And with a new expansion, an incredible annual comedy festival, 5k, and tons more, it's a real walk through time. Click the link above, and even more here.

  • 2

    McClurg Museum (Westfield, NY)

    Three floors of art collection, antique furniture and historical documents are in this 1818 museum home.  Did you know Lincoln made a stop there in 1861?  A bronze statue commemorates it in the Lincoln-Bedell Statue Park.

  • 3

    Midway State Park (Maple Springs, NY)

    Many'a'summer I spent at the amusement park with my grandparents here.  There's also picnic shelters, fishing, and free docking for day-guests.

  • 4

    Fenton Museum (Jamestown, NY)

    This is for the true WNY history buff. I can remember taking field trips there as a kid, and it never got old! Located in New York State's 22nd Governor, L.E. Fenton's home, you time travel to 1863 the minute you walk through the door.

  • 5

    Athenaeum Hotel (Chautauqua Institution)

    I spent a (grueling) summer working in this incredibly beautiful and historic hotel. It was grueling because I was a waitress for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, 6 days a week in the dead of a HOT summer.  If you eat there, be extra nice to the waitstaff, for me. ;)  But there's a LOT more to it. Ask to see the Edison Table, then sit back and listen.

  • 6

    Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY)

    With a 9 week season (where I spent the summer of 92 in the aforementioned hotel), it's not just a getaway -- it's a recharger.  Daily lectures, workshops, and other activities are nice...but the real peace is in the beautiful cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and gorgeous access to Chautauqua Lake.  Some pretty big names come to the amphitheater too....where the JHS graduation is held every year.

  • 7

    Lily Dale Assembly (Lily Dale, NY)

    If you're into psychics, mediums, astrology, and all things spiritual, you MUST go to the worlds largest spiritual community.  Even a drive through is worth it.  It's beautiful, and the energy is palpable!

  • 8

    Chautauqua Belle (Mayville, NY)

    Stepping on to a narrated cruise along the Chautauqua Lake is a step back in time.  They also cater to weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other events to remember on an authentic steam-powered stern-wheeler.

  • 9

    Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum (Dunkirk, NY)

    Guided tours are available, with an incredible Lake Erie view. Built in 1875 by the Department of the Interior, the museum houses tons of military and maritime artifacts.

  • 10

    Robert H. Jackson Center (Jamestown, NY)

    This restored 1859 mansion is named after the former Supreme State Court Judge (1941-1954).  They organize many youth-centered educational events throughout the year, as well as events for continuing law education for adults...the next one features Sabres alumn Martin Gastin Biron!