Summer has charged out of the gate and is heading into the first turn: the Fourth of July.
We are at the stretch on the calendar that flat out belies complaints from those who say there is nothing to do here.
It is not that we all feel that way. Just take a look at all of the events and fundraisers filling the calendar now through Labor Day. An army of optimistic, community-minded volunteers make these summertime activities possible - from the Little League coaches to the organizers of Mayville's annual Fourth of July parade and fireworks.
But, still, there is a cadre of negative ninnies wearing us down with their carping.
Imagine what visitors must think.
That's the point. A few hundred thousand people travel to the Chautauqua region for their summer vacations. There is not one individual factor that draws them all but surely a common thread is found outdoors. Ours is a beautiful, soul-restoring area as equally conducive to cerebral activities as it is welcoming to hikers, fishermen, cyclists, campers, nature enthusiasts.
This is a great place just to sit in the cooling shade of a majestic northern hardwood tree and read a really good book - whether you find that tree in one of our many local parks or at the end of a 10-mile hike.
Yes, there also are plenty of manmade things that draw visitors - Chautauqua Institution, art studios and festivals, wineries, Lily Dale Assembly, golf courses, shops, Amish communities, swimming beaches, inland waterways, and on and on.
No wonder entire local communities have been talking of late about pegging their futures on the financial benefits they see in trying to increase their share of the money tourists spend here.
On the other hand, it most certainly is a wonder that some folks in the general populace and on our elected boards tend be hostile to any suggestion of spending money in order to make money from our summer visitors. And there are some simply bizarre circumstances. For example, there are no public restrooms in downtown Jamestown - a place where volunteers and professionals alike are trying mightily to entice more tourists to visit and spend money.
We have no great lesson or conclusion here, except to suggest that when next a naysayer carps in your ear about our area, just laugh, slap him on the back and tell him to go take a hike around Big Pond at the Audubon Sanctuary.