Whether by land or lake, area residents and visitors are presented with the wonders of Western New York along Chautauqua County's shoreline.
According to Andrew Nixon, executive director for Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, Chautauqua County's Lake Erie shoreline is a great place to play because of the access to the water.
"Lake Erie is different than the inland lakes of New York in that its an immense body of water - it's like going to the ocean," said Nixon. "There's some white-sand beaches, coarse shale-sand beaches with beach glass, swimming areas and also the fresh-water equivalent of deep sea fishing in the charters, most of which run out of Dunkirk. The other type of fishing that is really good is the stream fishing on the tributaries off Lake Erie, which includes Cattaraugus Creek, Chautauqua Creek and Canadaway Creek. Fishermen head inland up to a few miles in order to fish for Steelhead - it's meant to be one of the best spots in the country."
Lake Erie is pictured from Luensman Overlook, located on Thayer Road in Portland.
In an almost perfect dichotomy between land and water, Lake Erie's Concord Grape Belt thrives parallel to the Lake Erie waterline.
"Because of the environment and the climate grapes are grown abundantly there, and there are 13 wineries just in Chautauqua County," said Nixon. "It seems that if people are interested in a recreational trip then they take in the wineries as well."
Lake Erie also offers the unique opportunity of fresh-water diving. Osprey Charters is a diving company founded by Jim Herbert, a native of New Jersey who currently lives in Chautauqua County. His boating and diving company focuses on providing locals and visitors the opportunity to discover the shipwrecks off the coast of Lake Erie. Herbert has about 50 wrecks charted and ready for exploration via his vessel "The Southwind." Herbert operates out of Monroe's Marina at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield. For more information visit www.osprey-dive.com.
A number of golf courses are located along the shore's edge as well, such as: Shorewood Country Club of Dunkirk, Sugar Hill Golf Course of Westfield, Rose Brook Golf Course of Silver Creek and Lakeside Golf Course of Ripley.
In addition, a number of state and city parks are available free-of-charge, such as: Lake Erie State Park, Wright Park, Point Gratiot, the Dunkirk Pier and the Town of Hanover Beach.
For camping purposes, residents and visitors enjoy the waters of Lake Erie from spots such as: Brookside Beach Campground in Westfield for shoreline private beach access; Camp Prendergast in Mayville for tributary trout fishing; Westfield and Lake Erie KOA between Brocton and Westfield offers a nearby boat launch; and Blue Water Beach offers nearby access to Barcelona Harbor.
Stephanie Burdo, communications coordinator for Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, recently authored an article entitled, "Things to Do and See Along Lake Erie in Southwestern New York," which details a number of the gems along the shore.
"Chautauqua County is fortunate to share about 50 miles of Lake Erie shoreline and boasts some of Western New York's most beautiful landscapes," Burdo states in the article. "Vineyards cover the coastal plain meeting lake access points at beaches, tributary outlets and harbors. Quaint Victorian villages, farmers markets and produce stands, antique shops, wineries and restaurants stand ready to greet visitors all summer long. And, in the fall, the harvest festivals and sweet aroma of ripening Concord grapes draw food lovers from near and far. If you are visiting the region, or even just driving through, take some time to stop and explore these Lake Erie gems."
Burdo's article then features several locations on the lake, including: Sunset Beach near Silver Creek, Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, the historic Dunkirk Lighthouse, the views at Luensman Overview Park, America's Grape Country and the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, The full article is available at www.blog.tourchautauqua.com. For more information call 866-908-4569 or visit www.tourchautauqua.com.