It's wonderful that The Smithsonian Magazine has named Chautauqua - and namely Chautauqua Institution - as the top small town to visit in 2014.
Much like the county's ranking a few years ago as one of the nation's top golf destinations, however, the magazine's ranking confirms something locals have known for years. Chautauqua Institution has been a gem for our area since the institution was founded 140 years ago.
Chautauqua quickly established itself as a place people came to discuss important issues. That tradition, begun around 1880, continues today with more than 100 lecturers - many pre-eminent experts in their field - appearing at the institution to discuss issues of global importance. Music has long been an important part of the Chautauqua experience. The institution boasts a symphony orchestra season with three performances of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra each week, with performances often featuring a leading soloist. The Chautauqua Ballet Company and the Chautauqua Conservatory Theater perform throughout the season while popular entertainment is an anticipated part of each season's schedule.
It's easy for us to forget the remarkable programming available at Chautauqua. The Smithsonian Magazine's ranking should serve as a reminder of the remarkable opportunity the institution presents to all of us.