Fall foliage and harvest season set a colorful and vibrant scene for vacation and lifelong learning in Western New York. Now in its second year, the Colors of Chautauqua fall learning festival honors the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region with educational tours, culinary and craft workshops, and entertaining experiences.
Inspired by special places featured in the Natural History Atlas of the Chautauqua-Allegheny Region, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute will offer a Natural Adventure Tour on Oct. 26 and celebrate the natural rhythm of life in the Chautauqua region. Exploring the area around Chautauqua Lake, participants will observe birds stopping to feed and rest during their annual epic journey from High Arctic breeding grounds to wintering grounds on the East Coast. Chautauqua Lake is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by New York Audubon; the IBA Program recognizes places that are vital to birds and other biodiversity. The Natural Adventure Tour is timed to observe migrating waterfowl at their peak. Trip leaders will locate ducks, swans, geese, loons, and other birds and help participants see and identify them too. According to Mark Baldwin, RTPI Director of Education, "to witness hundreds or even thousands of beautiful avian visitors on the lake is an unforgettable experience, and it doesn't matter whether this is your first or your hundredth time out to see them."
Tour leaders, Dr. Terry Mosher, widely recognized as a top authority on birdlife in the region, and Mark Baldwin, will share their extensive knowledge and provide tips to enable students to keep discovering on their own. Transportation will be provided along with the use of binoculars and spotting scopes and instruction in how to use them.
A pair of Hooded Mergansers, one of the many species of waterfowl that may be seen on Chautauqua Lake during fall migration. Photo by Twan Leenders.
SUNY Fredonia's Lifelong Learning and Special Programs teams up with Carol Lorenc to offer two Amish tour experiences an Amish Tour and Lunch and Holiday Shopping in Amish Country. The daylong experiences provide participants with a chance to meet members of the Old Order Amish community in the Leon/Cherry Creek area along New York's Amish Trail. Stops include an Amish blacksmith, quilt shop, toy factory and bake stand followed by an Amish-style lunch at the Cherry Creek Inn Bed and Breakfast. Tour Guide Carol Lorenc has 25 years of management experience focusing on community development and has been a principal in Amish Flair Tours for the past eight years. She lives in Cherry Creek and has a continuing commitment to the rural economy through tourism.
Additional experiences during the Colors of Chautauqua learning festival include Whiskies of the World, a beer pairing dinner, Brewer for a Day at Southern Tier Brewing Company, historic cemetery tours in Jamestown and Fredonia, a vineyard walk, and several culinary and craft workshops.
Chautauqua County's learning festivals have grown out of 139 year history of vacation learning at Chautauqua Institution and other lakeside summer assemblies formed during the late nineteenth century. Workshops and classes are offered through local businesses and tourist attractions as well as through SUNY Fredonia's Lifelong Learning and Special Programs and Jamestown Community College's Center for Continuing Education. Instructors are experienced educators, artists, professionals, or, in some cases, people who want to share a lifelong interest. Individual classes range in time and cost.
Descriptions of all the workshops offered during the Colors of Chautauqua can be found on the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau website at www.tourchautauqua.com/colors-of-chautauqua.aspx. Chautauqua County is located in western New York state with New York's largest grape growing region, five lakes, Victorian-era villages and Amish communities, and Lucille Ball's hometown of Jamestown. For more information and a schedule of vacation learning events during the Colors of Chautauqua as well as throughout the year, call 1-866-908-4569 or visit www.tourchautauqua.com.