Summertime Learning in Chautauqua

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summer time learning in chaptequa, travel, the three tomatoesWhen Ann Met a Future President

“I’d heard about Chautauqua but never attended when, 25 years ago, friends who went there every summer called to ask if I wanted to take over their rental because they were unable to finish the season. I said sure and that was it. The first time I walked into the Philosophy Hall I was totally hooked and keep going back for more. I loved attending a fascinating lecture by Dr. Ruth, but the most incredible event ever was when Bill Clinton was running for the presidency (summer 1992). He stopped by Chautauqua with his whole entourage, Al and Tipper Gore, the whole group. That was really very exciting.”

Chautauqua is a renowned summertime feast in the arts, philosophy, education, and recreation. Started in 1874 as a training center for Sunday school teachers, it grew into a center to explore both the spiritual and secular. There’s something for everyone of every age, including a children’s school, camp and special activities, with over 1,200 lectures, ballet, symphony, golf, and much more.

This 142nd season at Chautauqua begins June 27 and goes through August 30 2015. Every summer offers nine weeks of lectures, entertainment, speakers and events. Each week has a theme with most of the activities centered along those lines. This year’s topics include: 21st-Century Literacies; Boys Will Be Boys, Then Men; Immigration; Irrationality Art and Politics; Vanishing Redefining Europe; The Middle East Now and Next; and Creating Livable Communities.

You can attend for a day or stay for the summer. The speakers are diverse and fascinating, including Mae Jemison, a former NASA astronaut, doctor, and engineer. She is the founder of The Jemison Group, a technology and consulting firm; and The Earth We Share, an international science camp for students 12-16 years old. You might not be familiar with his name, but Vinton G. Cerf is otherwise known as the “father of the Internet.” He co-designed TCP/IP protocols and the basic architecture of the Internet. Anat Hoffman is the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center. Her mission is to promote Jewish tolerance and equality while combatting racism and religious coercion by helping people directly through social action. Take a class, attend a concert, or try something brand new. Chautauqua is a great adventure and you never know who you might meet along the way.

A Classic Hotel

athenaeum hotel, travel, the three tomatoes

$$$$ Athenaeum Hotel (P.O. Box 33, 4 South Lake Dr., Chautauqua, NY 14722; 716-357-4444; 1-800-821-1881; This historic 1881 hotel on the Chautauqua grounds, listed on the National Historic Register, was renovated in 1984. The brick walkways and huge shade trees will make you want to sing “In the Good Old Summertime,” sip lemonade, and read a great book.

Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau (P.O. Box 1441, Chautauqua Main Gate, NY 394, Chautauqua, NY 14722; 1-866-908-4569; Here you’ll find lodging information on rented rooms (B & B’s to resorts), where to eat, and everything Chautauqua).

Chautauqua Institute (1 Ames Ave., P.O. Box 28; Chautauqua, NY 14722; 1-800-836-2787; 716-357-6200; fax 716-357-9014;; ticket prices vary widely from half-day and weekend rates to season


  • Sheryl Kayne is a writer, editor, educator, and motivational speaker. She is the author of travel guidebooks. Immersion Travel USA: The Best & Most Meaningful Volunteering, Living & Learning Excursions was awarded The Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for Best Travel Guidebook 2009 and Volunteer Vacations Across America was named on Amazon’s list of best new travel books 2010. Kayne travels extensively and works and volunteers where she visits. She was the writer-in-residence at the Everglades National Park, Homestead, Fla. and a writing fellow at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, N.M. She has appeared on NPR, CNN, CBN, ABC Weekend Evening News, Lifetime Television Network, and MTV, among others. Visit Sheryl at:

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