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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chautauqua favorites of the Mitrovich family.

Jean and Paul Mitrovich show off a book he wrote. They both share a fondness for the Jamestown, New York area. 

The Jamestown area in western New York has long been a favorite weekend getaway for Jean and Paul Mitrovich. He’s the retired Lake County Common Pleas Court judge.
The Chautauqua Institution, which opens for its nine-week summer schedule next month,  will be the subject of a story in the June 9 Travel section.
Today Jean Mitrovich shares family favorites in the area.

"My family and I have been enjoying Chautauqua and the Jamestown, New York area for 12 years and have discovered countless opportunities to create lasting memories.
We begin  our “Chautauqua Experience” by touring the Chautauqua Institution on Sunday where free admittance and parking is granted until 1 p.m.  Once we depart the Institution, we drive ten minutes to Bemus Point. where free afternoon concerts are presented on a floating dock next to the Italian Fisherman Restaurant.  Chairs can be purchased at lakeside, but you can also bring your own. Find a concert schedule at  Tributes to Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, the Beach Boys, Bee Gees and Rod Stewart are included this year. The floating dock also showcases the Chautauqua Lake Idol competition on Mondays and movies on Tuesday evenings. A new boat museum  next to the Italian Fisherman is filled with many interesting boats and nautical information for the area.
New at Bemus this summer is a water ski team from Medina to which our grandsons are looking forward to seeing.
Because we can sit outside and watch the boats on beautiful Chautauqua Lake, the Casino Restaurant in Bemus is always a stop for lunch or dinner. Other restaurant favorites include Ye Hare & Hounds, Italian Fisherman (if you eat there during the concert, get a  table on their patio overlooking the floating dock)  and See-Zurh House. The best ice cream is at the walk- up ice cream store on Main Street minutes away from the concerts.
Our family enjoys walking to the historic Lenhart Hotel to sit on their Adirondack chairs while enjoying our ice cream cones. The Bemus Bay Inn on Main Street is a good breakfast place which is known for the largest cinnamon buns in New York state. Bemus also has a Brew Fest with Sean Patrick McGraw and a fireworks show this summer. Flares are placed all around the lake before the fireworks display.
Our grandsons enjoy Midway Park in summer. Geared for younger children, it’s the oldest amusement park in New York State.
Several restaurants close to Bemus Point include Webbs Captains Table and the Watermark  both in Mayville. Request outdoor seating at the Watermark to enjoy a Chautauqua Lake view.  The House on the Lake offers breakfast and lunch.
Catch Mayville’s  Celtic Festival Aug. 24. In winter, Mayville hosts an Ice Festival President’s Day weekend with an  ice castle built from ice blocks from Chautauqua Lake.,   A highlight from a past Ice Festival was walking halfway across the frozen lake to observe ice hockey and ice fishermen.
 I love Jamestown  for its  Lucille Ball Festival, set for  Aug. 1-4 this year.  Last year brought more than  900 Lucille Ball lookalikes to the festival  along with Lucy’s daughter.  The Fenton History Center in Jamestown presents their interesting lives.
The Roger Tory ornithology Museum is near Jamestown and is a special treat.  Last summer the museum presented a free program of paintings by Arthur Singer, who is well known for his bird drawings on stamps.  The presenter was Singer’s son, who drew many of the backgrounds in his father’s paintings.  As a former teacher, I was impressed with the wealth of information in this museum.
The Robert H. Jackson Museum is another interesting place to visit.  Judge Jackson, born near Jamestown,was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice  and  the U.S. Chief Prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials.  The museum hosts a free seminar on the front porch of Chautauqua Institution’s historic Athenaeum Hotel at the end of the season.  Last summer’s seminar discussed “Blood Diamonds” and Sierra Leone with international prosecutors.  All of us were given the opportunity to meet an elderly man who was a prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials.  Judge Jackson was involved in the Brown vs. Board of Education decision.  My husband, Judge Paul H.  Mitrovich, wrote a book about civil rights and the Brown vs. Board of Education and Judge Jackson’s information is included in the chapters.  Paul donated a photo to the Jackson Museum which he secured from the Library of Congress.  It is a photo of Judge Jackson with all of the members of the Supreme Court.  The museum hadn’t had  a copy of this photo in the past.
 The visitors center  on Rt.  86 has the best view of Lake Chautauqua with all the information you need  for your “Chautauqua Experience.” It also has a monthly edition, “What’s Happening in Northwestern New York” —a must for area visitors. Information can also be found for the Gerry Rodeo, July 31 to Aug. 3, and an antique equipment show set for in Stockton Aug. 16- 18.  My family has enjoyed both of these events and look forward to them each year.
Salamanca Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel is 40 miles from Jamestown.
Chautauqua has given my family many wonderful and fun memories to share together. Fond memories include the grandkids taking sailing lessons with Grandpa at the marina in Chautauqua Institution and fishing for the biggest fish.   Stopping at Presque Isle Park for a picnic on Lake Erie on our way home is always relaxing and fun.
 The grand finale for grandchildren is a stop at Splash Lagoon in Erie, Pa. The indoor water park offers a late afternoon discount on Sundays.
 A trip to Chautauqua would have to include  a boat ride on either the historic Chautauqua Belle, docked in Mayville, or the Summerwind, docked in Celeron.

Jean Mitrovich

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