Activities Abound In The Chautauqua — Lake Erie Region

Proximity to Lake Erie and lake effect storms mean snow for Chautauqua County, exceeding 200 average inches annually. For downhill and cross country snow sports, head to Peek’n Peak Resort and enjoy 27 slopes and trails, state-of-the-art snowmaking, eight chairlifts, four progressive terrain parks and a renowned ski and snowboard school. There’s even a tubing area with seven lanes and a “Magic Carpet” lift. Cross country skiers and snowshoers will also find opportunities at Long Point State Park, Lake Erie State Park, Chautauqua Institution, the Jamestown Audubon Community Nature Center, both the East and West Overland Trail systems and Boutwell Hill State Forest.

Over 400 miles of snowmobile trails groomed by five local clubs provide and ideal setting for snowmobiling over old railroad beds, former trolley lines, open farm fields, heavily wooded areas, and seasonal roads. Snowmobiles trail conditions are ever changing, please call the Snowmobile Hotline before heading out: 1-800-242-4569, dial 2, dial 5.

Embrace the Lake Effect. Plan your winter adventure at or call 866-908-ILNY (4569) to request a FREE Chautauqua County Visitors Guide.



Every Saturday and Sunday, now through Feb. 25, take a nostalgic ride on a horse-drawn bobsled through the historic Chautauqua Institution. Truly a “step back in time” as you listen to the soft plod of the beautiful draft horses stepping in the snow and their bells ringing. Dress warmly for this approx. 45 minute ride along Chautauqua Lake and the Victorian village. Rides depart every half hour from 1-3pm in front of the Chautauqua Bookstore in Bestor Plaza.

Tickets: Purchase at the Chautauqua Institution Bookstore. No reservations necessary. $4 adults, $3 children under 12.



The Fenton History Center’s 2017 holiday exhibit features a 1960s aluminum tree forest complete with presents drawn from the permanent collection of the museum, ornaments, lights and plenty of nostalgia. Transport yourself to a time when the holidays were as silvery and shiny as an astronaut. The exhibit runs every Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., now through Jan. 20.

Tickets: $10 adults, $4 children ages 6-12, children under 5 are free. Family Admission is $30



Join Evergreen Outfitters for guided snowshoe excursions on trails across the Chautauqua — Lake Erie Region each Saturday in January, February and March. The location and time changes each week so be sure to call the shop before heading out. $15 if you need to rent snowshoes, $5 if you bring your own.


Sample local wine and craft beer on Saturday at Northwest Arena during this sell-out event. Food and items from other area vendors will be available for purchase. Must be 21 or older to attend. Valid state ID required. Beverage vendors include Big Ditch Brewing (Buffalo, NY), Empire Farm Brewing (Cazenovia, NY), Hamburg Brewing Co. (Hamburg, NY), Four Mile Brewing (Olean, NY), Mazza Chautauqua Cellars/Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing (Westfield, NY), Merritt Estate Winery (Forestville, NY), 21 Brix Winery (Portland, NY), Southern Tier Brewing Co. and Southern Tier Distilling Co. (Lakewood, NY), Victorianbourg Wine Estate (Wilson, NY), and more!

Tickets: $25 pre-sale, $35 at the door (subject to availability), $10 designated driver.


Sunday, Jan. 14 from noon-4 p.m.: Join Peek’n Peak for a fun-filled day with events for both the young and the young at heart. 2018 events include: Games and Giveaways, Chili Bar, Outside Grill, a Hot Chocolate Bar, Beer Tasting with New Belgium Brewing Co,


Saturday, Jan. 20: Jamestown’s Museums invite you to treat yourself, family and friends to the Annual Doors Open Jamestown, a FREE day at local museums and attractions. History, art, nature and comedy — all are open for you! Local restaurants and retail shops will also be offering discounts so you can spend the day discovering #JamestownUpClose.

Participating Venues Include: Jamestown Audubon and Community Nature Center, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, Robert H. Jackson Center, Northwest Arena, Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy, Fenton History Center, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, James Prendergast Public Library, Infinity Performing Arts, Lucille Ball Little Theater and the Busti Grist Mill.



Saturday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Participate in activities that are good for you and the environment, from trying snowshoes to building a nest box. A variety of local business will be onsite at Audubon to show their locally made wares and let you try your hand at making some of them yourself. Other demonstrators will show you how to make simple things you use every day, from making butter to grinding your own flour. Still others will teach you about some local wildlife residents with live hawks and owls. The local region is fascinating and amazing and ACNC aims to show you as much of that as possible.

Many activities are included with the admissions fee including hands-on skill-building in the Nature Center, trying snowshoes (if there is snow), hiking with a naturalist, sled dog demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, a meet-n-greet with live animals, and take-home projects from some of the vendors. Other activities have a small fee such as horse-drawn wagon rides, building a nest box or bird feeder, or trying some of the local food.

Some of the booths will have locally made or eco-friendly items for sale. Come with a smile and ready to meet some of the amazing people and wildlife that live in the region.

Special Information:?Some activities are outdoors, so please dress for the weather. Food and some activities require an extra fee, please come prepared; there is no ATM on site. Credit cards can be accepted for purchases in the building.

Tickets: $6 adults, $2 children ages 3-15, FREE 2 and under


Saturday, Feb. 10: FREE family-friendly event. Come enjoy a beautiful wintery days at the Bemus Point Golf Club & Tap House complete with food, drinks, Chinese Auction, music winter games and more. 100% off all proceeds raised benefit the five snowmobile clubs of Chautauqua County.



Feb. 16-18: Enjoy Wine tasting (one additional flight at each winery) paired with specialty chocolates from Pulakos Chocolates. Ticket price also includes: A food & wine sample pairing at each winery, wine tasting, a booklet containing all of the recipes of the foods you’ll be tasting, a Lake Erie Wine Country wine glass, $5 voucher to use at any winery or at certain restaurants designated on the back of the voucher. You must be 21 or older to purchase tickets. I.D. required at each winery

Tickets Must Be Purchased in Advance: $38 regular ticket, $28 Friday or Sunday only ticket, $20 designated driver ticket.


Friday, Feb. 16-18. Winter events/activities for all ages, contests, vendors, fireworks, flare parade, bonfire, horse-drawn wagon rides, lighted ice castle (weather-permitting), and much more. Schedule forthcoming.


March 24-25: ECS wraps up its snocross schedule in the beautiful western NY ski area, Peek’n Peak Resort. The facility and great snow conditions at Peek’n Peak make it an ideal place for the season finale. After a long, grueling season, it will be nice to return to such friendly confines to crown our new champions.

Admission: $15 for the day, $25 for the weekend, ages 7 and under are free.