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Chautauqua County (New York) tour

This multi-day, fully supported bicycle tour of Chautauqua County New York will surprise many riders not familiar with all there is to see and do.  Located in the far western corner of New York State, this County is bordered by Lake Erie to the north and Pennsylvania to the west and south.  This seven-day tour begins on the shores of Lake Erie where mainly flat roads take riders past seemingly endless rows of grapevines in this region known for producing grape juice and award winning wines.  Highlights of the week include a ride on a paddle wheeled steamboat, luxurious spa time, a visit to the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum, the world’s largest Spiritualist community, lighthouses, and a renowned cultural resort with quaint streets ideal for walking or biking while you admire the Victorian architecture.

 
Photo/Image: Keith Rogers

Photo/Image: Keith Rogers

OVERVIEW - chautauqua county (New York) BIKE tour

Located in the far western corner of New York State, this County is bordered by Lake Erie to the north and Pennsylvania to the west and south.  Its diverse topography has much to offer riders of all abilities.  From the flat roads that follow the Lake Erie shoreline to the rolling hills, you’ll find lush grape vineyards, Amish farms, plentiful lake views, and many quiet backroads ideal for bicycling at a pace that suits your mood.

This seven-day tour begins on the shores of Lake Erie where mainly flat roads take us past seemingly endless rows of grapevines in this region known for producing award winning wines.  You will have the opportunity to taste wines cultivated from these vineyards as we visit several wineries during the week.  Charming, small towns and villages await each day as we navigate throughout the area, at the center of which is a narrow, 17-mile lake bearing the same name as the County.

Highlights of the week include a ride on a paddle wheeled steamboat, luxurious spa time, a visit to the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum, the world’s largest Spiritualist community, lighthouses, and scrumptious meals enjoyed at the water’s edge.  The week concludes at a renowned cultural resort with quaint streets ideal for walking or biking while you admire the Victorian architecture and soak up the relaxing atmosphere that will have you forgetting life’s worries.  Friday nights in this unique community consist of special entertainment offerings that are included with each tour based on the following schedule:
                 2019 schedule has not been finalized by our partner at this time. Please check back for updates.
 

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1, Sunday (Meals - Dinner)

To begin the tour, we will provide one shuttle trip Sunday afternoon from the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) to the start location, which is also our hotel for the first night.  Guests should plan to eat prior as there will be no meal until dinner.  If you are unable to make this shuttle trip or you are delayed, you will need to find your own transportation at your expense to the start location.  Keep in mind travel time is one hour from the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) to Dunkirk, NY.  If you are driving to the start location, we will provide directions and parking information for the week.

Guests arrive Sunday afternoon so there is adequate time to fit riders to rental bikes and ensure your shipped bike is ready to roll.  After a rider safety briefing, the group will take a short, causal ride so all can become comfortable riding in a group and meet new acquaintances.  The brief trip on flat roads will get you excited to start our adventure for the week.
 

Day 2, MONDAY (Meals - all)

Grapes hanging on vines in Westfield, NY vineyard

Our journey begins in Dunkirk heading north on flat roads that follow the Lake Erie shore to the Village of Silver Creek, where we may take a quick break as a group if needed or decide to continue on without a break.  Here we turn south and make our way to Forestville which will introduce riders to some hills.  The vineyards we pass this morning are used either by local wineries to produce many of the award-winning wines of the region or to make jellies, juices, and raisins.  Next, it’s off to the Lily Dale Spiritualist Assembly where you have time to explore before enjoying a picnic lunch near the water.  From this point, there is the option to bike directly back to the hotel, bike some extra miles if you are inclined, or take the shuttle van back to the hotel.  After returning to our hotel and freshening up, we will visit local wineries before dining at Rocco’s Italian Restaurant.

Barcelona Lighthouse with purple flowers in foreground near Westfield, NY

Day 3, Tuesday (Meals - all)

We are challenged today with riding from the flat terrain along Lake Erie over the escarpment which is part of the Eastern Continental Divide.  The climb ahead is visible off in the distance on our way toward the Barcelona Lighthouse.  We break briefly at this lighthouse that was constructed in 1829 and several years later was modified to be the first lighthouse operating with natural gas.  After passing through the Village of Westfield, the former home of Welch’s Grape Juice, we climb 800 feet in elevation into the hills and look back toward Lake Erie for an unbeatable view.  Now we are on the Allegheny Plateau where in just a few short miles we see our destination - Chautauqua Lake - where tonight a relaxing lakeside dinner awaits at Webb’s Captains Table overlooking the water.

Day 4, Wednesday (Meals - all)

Yesterday, we started at a low elevation and climbed higher.  Today’s route has us starting higher and gliding back down to Westfield, capturing more phenomenal views as we descend the Allegheny Plateau.  Following the Lake Erie shores, we head to Ripley, near the Pennsylvania State line.  Again today, you will be astounded at all the rows of those delectable little purple globes of sweetness.  As we turn away from Lake Erie, we climb away from flat roads, rising several hundred feet in elevation before settling into rolling hills.  Passing by Finley Lake, there may be some in the group craving a stop at Krasa’s Kove to taste homemade ice cream in a dazzling number of unique flavors.  We arrive at Peak-N-Peak Resort a couple of miles later, where after lunch, guests can treat sore muscles with a spa visit, enjoy the swimming pool, or simply relax until dinner.

Day 5, Thursday (Meals - all)

A shorter riding day awaits today as we travel through more Amish farm country before a stop at Panama Rocks, a naturally formed rock outcropping estimated to be at least 350 million years old.  Walking the mile-long trail, visitors can explore the naturally formed passageways and nearly 60-foot-high rocks.  Allowing time to walk and explore, we then head toward Chautauqua Lake to visit the Lucille Ball Lakeside Park and have a catered picnic lunch.  Guests have the option to ride the short distance (uphill) to the hotel or utilize the convenience of the shuttle van.  This afternoon we visit the Lucy and Desi Museum before dinner at the Landmark Restaurant.

Bikers riding along highway at entrance to Chautauqua Institution

Day 6, Friday (Meals - breakfast, Dinner)

After fueling up this morning at a well-known local breakfast stop, we depart Jamestown for Bemus Point where you have time to shop and explore this small waterside Village.  Lunch is on your own today, as there are several great choices.  We continue along the northeastern shore of Chautauqua Lake, passing Midway Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country.  The road curves around the northern tip of the Lake back into Mayville, where we spent our second night.  After a stop at the hotel, we shuttle to Chautauqua Institution where guests will have options to walk this fantastic community, take a guided tour, shop at the Bookstore plus other eclectic stores, or relax by the Lake before we dine on the porch of the Athenaeum Hotel at the Heirloom Restaurant overlooking the water.  Don’t miss a photo opportunity at the Miller Bell Tower or Bestor Plaza before the concert begins at 8pm in the Amphitheater.  After the concert, you might want to grab an ice cream or special treat before we shuttle back to the hotel for the night.

Day 7, Saturday (Meals - breakfast)

On Saturday morning, we will ride around Chautauqua Lake which locals commonly refer to as “Loop the Lake.”  This will take us along the western shore from our hotel past Stow and Ashville.  As we make our way through Lakewood, riders will notice the familiar streets and sights from earlier in the week.  The route takes us by the southern area of the Lake and through Jamestown before working our way to the eastern shore communities of Elmhurst and Greenhurst.  Breakfast this morning is at a popular local restaurant in Bemus Point that serves jumbo sized cinnamon rolls!  After breakfast, we’ll travel back around the northern tip of the Lake or you may elect to shuttle back to the hotel in the van.  Then we’ll depart for the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) and say good-bye.

It is recommended that your return flight out of BUF should not be scheduled prior to 3 pm.  If you need to depart BUF earlier than 3 pm, we can recommend alternative transportation options but these will be at your expense.  Additional flight options may be available through the Chautauqua County - Jamestown Regional Airport (JHW), where you may find rental cars or ground transportation to / from the start and finish locations.  However, these options will be at your expense.


Additional information

To reduce knee, shoulder, back, and neck issues associated with longer riding times, it is highly recommended guests bring their own bicycle.  If you need to ship your bicycle, we are able to provide the name of a preferred partner bike shop that will professionally unpack, assemble, prepare your bicycle for the tour, and store the box for use when shipping back home.  Bike shops charge a nominal fee to assemble and prepare a bike and a separate fee to break-down and repack a bike for shipment.  You might also consider self-assembly and break-down of your bike by shipping to your pre-tour hotel.  Most hotels will store the bicycle box during the tour but check beforehand to confirm.

If you prefer to rent a bicycle, please indicate your desire on the reservation form.  There will be a charge associated with renting a bicycle that will be determined at the time of your request and dependant upon the equipment selected.

 

Chautauqua County (NY) BIKE TOUR SUMMARY

Price: $ 2,295 (double occupancy)

Single occupancy option: $ 650 additional

Length:  7 days /  6 nights

Daily mileage range:  25-45+

Total tour mileage: 215+

Daily biking time (est):  2-3 hours

Terrain: A mix of flat roads, rolling hills, and a couple short but challenging climbs

Ability level: All ability levels.  Great for beginners.

Start location: Dunkirk, NY

Ending location: Chautauqua, NY

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What's included:

  • Accommodations - 6 nights

  • Meals - Breakfast (6), Lunch (4), Dinner (6)

  • Activities - winery visits, Lucy and Desi museum, steam boat cruise, spa visit, historic sites and communities including Lily Dale Assembly and Chautauqua Institution, Friday night entertainment, shopping, and sightseeing

  • All ground transportation and luggage transfers during the tour

  • Ride support and daily, detailed route directions

  • Mechanical support, snacks, and drinks while riding

  • Van shuttle from / to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport

  • Gratuities and taxes for accommodations, meals, and included activities

 

 

 

What's not included:

 

  • Accommodations prior to tour Day 1 or after tour Day 6

  • Gratuities for tour leaders

  • Alcoholic beverages at meals

  • Any activities not mentioned above as included

This tour is a excellent Fall foliage opportunity.

This tour is a excellent Fall foliage opportunity.

 
 

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