Welcome to the neighborhood!
I, and my team at ERA Team VP real estate believe that looking for a new home is as much about looking for a place to feel at home. If you are new to the area, please read on to learn more about Lakewood, Bemus Point, Chautauqua Institution, and Mayville – neighborhoods that I specialize in as a realtor but also the neighborhoods where I live, work and enjoy my life. Even if you are already living in the area and looking to move to a new home or are a real estate investor, we hope that this article will give you an overview of some of the points of interest and places that I personally recommend.
General Information about Chautauqua Lake
Chautauqua Lake is located in Western New York in Chautauqua County. The lake is roughly 17 miles in length and, at its widest, it is 2 miles wide. I certainly think Chautauqua Lake is the most beautiful, but I should mention that Chautauqua County has several lakes that include Chautauqua Lake, Cassadaga Lake, Bear Lake, Findley Lake and Lake Erie that boasts 50 miles of Lake Erie shoreline. According to the New York State website, there is no place in the county that is more than 25 miles from open water!
As I tell you more about some of the towns and villages around Lake Chautauqua, you’ll notice that the water plays a central theme. After spending the majority of my life in the area, this water runs in my veins!
Lakewood is the third-largest village in Chautauqua County and is situated at the southern end of Chautauqua Lake just west of the City of Jamestown. This charming and tranquil lakeside town is known for its incredible sunsets, beautiful shoreline, and turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture. However, Lakewood is not just a laid-back town on the lake, there is also a growing business and retail area on the eastern side of Lakewood extending towards Jamestown.
I personally like how Lakewood is aiming to be progressive. From adopting pedestrian-friendly ordinances to installing LED street lights and electric car charging stations, the town is aiming to be sustainable for the future.
Two highlights in or near Lakewood NY for me are the Southern Tier Brewing Company and the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. The Southern Tier Brewing Company has been in operation since 2002. They started out as a small micro-brewery but they have gone from strength to strength and the business has expanded several times. Their products are now available worldwide. They have a great pub on-site called The Empty Pint where you can not only try out the many beer and cider varieties that they produce but also the food is amazing! They have also started a distillery sourcing at least 90% of their ingredients from local producers and farmers. You can stop by the distillery for a taste test.
Situated on the shores of Chautauqua Lake, the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, technically in Celoron, is an independently owned and operated resort with 9-acres. It is a great place to hang out. On one hand, you can enjoy cocktails, local beer, and brick-oven pizza at the lakeside Carousel Bar. On the other hand, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Lakehouse Tap and Grille. Again, locally sourced ingredients are the order of the day.
Small-town charm coupled with business and retail opportunities in the vicinity makes Lakewood a great real estate market. From luxury and waterfront homes to family homes and condos, there is a great variety in available residential real estate. Also, get in touch if you are looking for commercial retail space.
Before I go any further, I have to make a disclaimer that I grew up on Lakeside Drive in Bemus Point and it’s where I developed my love for Chautauqua Lake. So this section of the article might get a little long! The Village of Bemus Point is situated about halfway up the lake on the eastern shore. Bemus Point is at its most charming on warm summer days. It is a popular tourist destination that offers great restaurants, shopping, golfing, fishing and boating. Whether you’re on the shore enjoying yourself, or on the water boating and fishing, you can just feel the stress and strain of life disappear.
My first recommendation for Bemus Point is the Bemus Point Golf Club & Tap House. If you first need to work up an appetite, you can enjoy the 9-hole public golf course before heading into the restaurant for some great food. The golf course and restaurant are run by the husband and wife team, Bryce and Rachel Steffen. The Steffen family has been in Bemus Point for several generations and Rachel comes from nearby Ellicottville, a quaint village about 45 minutes away and well known for its skiing and the Ellicottville Brewing Company, which is my next recommendation. EBC is a bar & restaurant on the corner of Lakeside Drive and Main Street. They offer great beer and delicious food and you should definitely stop by when you’re in the area. I have so many favorite restaurants in Bemus Point, and the See-Zurh House also deserves a mention. For laidback lunches and dinners, this is a great option. Finally, The Hotel Lenhart will charm you with its grand architecture and wrap-around verandah. This local landmark is family-owned in the fourth generation! If you come by early and grab one of the rocking chairs on the verandah, you’ll be able to enjoy a spectacular Bemus Point sunset while sipping your favorite cocktail (mine is bourbon, or maybe a martini, but a Manhattan is hard to beat)! You can enjoy live music at the Lamplighter Room just off the lobby. For the history buffs, the hotel also hosts afternoon teas which include a brief presentation on the history of The Hotel Lenhart and a tour of this grand, old building.
Bonus mentions: A more recent addition to Bemus Point is The Lake Life Café that opened in May 2021. I stopped by recently and can only say that the food was awesome and I hope they stay in Bemus Point for a long time to come. Serving artisan roasted coffee and good food, keep an eye out for this new locale on Main Street.
Also, the new Bemus Point boutique, GI Treads is more than just a clothing boutique. Stop in and check it out for yourself! See Gabby and she will help you find that perfect gift.
If you’re looking for real estate in Bemus Point, do give me a call. I’d be happy to point out these, and other local highlights, on our way to look at your future home.
Next, we head to Chautauqua Institution. Situated on the western shore of Lake Chautauqua, you can get there by driving over the Chautauqua Lake bridge or by taking the scenic/nostalgic route on the Bemus Point-Stow ferry. In operation since 1811, taking the ferry is truly an experience. The introduction of the ferry more than 200 years ago was an important innovation for our ancestors who otherwise would have had to make a much more arduous journey around the perimeter of the lake.
Chautauqua Institution is a learning institution, a national historical landmark, and a holiday experience. The Institution hosts a range of residential courses each year and participants can stay at one of the on-site accommodation options or stay in the surrounding area. The Chautauqua Institution first opened in 1874 offering religious education programs but in modern times offer a wide variety of educational topics. There is also a cinema, theater, and venues for live performances and music – everything from orchestral music, ballet, opera to more contemporary entertainment. They have a full program that caters to a variety of age groups and interests. Chautauqua Institution is definitely a landmark on the Chautauqua Lake shoreline.
My first recommendation for eating in the area is the restaurant 2 Ames, located on Ames Avenue. Styled as a “modern American” restaurant, they offer interesting, modern dishes sure to surprise and please your palate! Also, important to mention, they have a great wine list. For Italian and Mediterranean food, give La Familia a try. The Athenaeum Hotel is located on the Chautauqua Institution grounds. It is a great accommodation option if you are visiting the area but, more than this, the beautiful building and its surrounding grounds are worth a visit in their own right.
There is a variety of real estate available for sale in and around Chautauqua Institution. I’d love to show you properties in this unique area! Give me a call.
The Village of Mayville is the county seat of Chautauqua County and is situated at the northern end of Chautauqua Lake. As with the other neighborhoods that have been profiled, life revolves around the lake. A highlight when you’re in Mayville is exploring Chautauqua Lake on the historical steamship, the Chautauqua Belle. You can join one of their scheduled tours or even book the boat for a private party or wedding! Not to be missed are viewing the 4th of July Fireworks from the water and the Fall Foliage Tours in autumn.
For when you’re thirsty, my personal recommendation is a visit to Big Inlet Brewing. Exactly what you’d expect from a craft brewery, it was started by a bunch of guys who got good enough at brewing beer that they moved it out of the basement and into their own restaurant. They also offer a full menu of food options and a busy schedule of live music. This place is not to be missed.
Finally, if you’re looking for some sweetness in your life, be sure to stop by at Portage Pie. Actually, as a “pro tip,” you should call first and reserve a pie because they definitely sell out fast! They use locally grown fruit in their pies, and they’re famous for their pie crust that just melts in your mouth!
Debra, my wife and a saint, and I love to continuously explore and discover new places and the Chautauqua region has so much more to offer than the few things that I mentioned here! Take some time this summer to get out and discover Chautauqua for yourself and don’t forget to support our local entrepreneurs!
Please feel free to mention places you enjoy!