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Friday, November 30, 2007

Reader Posts Wanted !!!!

Julia & I started the Chautauqua Lake Living blog back in 2005 as a way to provide you with current information on recreational and real estate activities on and around the lakes of Chautauqua County and the county itself. Looking at our traffic count over the past two years our readership is growing steadily. What we need now is your input. If any of you would like to post an article, comment, one line sentence about your experiences in Chautauqua County we welcome it and I'm sure our readers would too.

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Peek'n Peak Ski Resort Chautauqua County

Findley Lake, NY - Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa will open for its 44th ski and snowboard season at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, with eight trails and two lifts in operation.

Last year the western New York State ski and snowboard resort purchased a new $2 million snowmaking system expansion employing HKD Snowmaking Tower Gun Technology. This upgrade has enabled the resort to produce four times the amount of snow as before, so the terrain parks and tubing areas will also be open very soon, staffers promise. Snowmaking began on Thanksgiving night.

"Visitors will find that this tower gun technology can pump out 2,300 gallons of water per minute. In a 24-hour time period, we have covered 10 acres with 12 to 18 inches of snow. In the last three days, we have utilized 6.2 million gallons of water and 3 million in the last 24 hours," Chip Day, Vice President of Brand Management at Peek'n Peak, said on Wednesday.

The ski resort is offering a $5 discount on all lift tickets until more slopes are open
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chautauqua County Weather

Snow today, tomorrow, "major snow system" for the weekend

Updated: 11/29/07 

A lake-effect snow and blowing snow advisory remains in effect for southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties until 6 a.m. Friday, National Weather Service forecasters said today.

The total accumulation is expected to reach 3 to 7 inches along the Chautauqua Ridge, in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, by Friday morning, meteorologists said.
Closer to Buffalo, Orchard Park and East Aurora may get 1 to 3 inches, while ski country may received 3 to 5.
Worse weather is on the way.
"There's going to be a major storm system coming our way over the weekend," meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said today, although forecasters aren't sure what form the precipitation will take. "It could be a real messy period from Saturday night to Monday."
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Peek'n Peak Chautauqua County

Article published Nov 29, 2007

Peek'n Peak prepares for new season

By Jim Martin

FINDLEY Lake, N.Y. -- From golf and fine dining to a spa and this year's new Trail of Lights, the offerings at Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa have never been more varied.

But it still comes down to the snow.

It's been flying there since Thanksgiving, thanks to a $2 million snowmaking system. And on Saturday, when Peek'n Peak opens for its 44th season, skiers will take to the slopes, kicking off the ski season a week earlier than usual. For now, they'll have access to two lifts and eight slopes.

After one of the worst ski seasons in memory, Chip Day, vice president of brand management for the resort, is hoping for the best.

"Winter is key," he said. "Winter is still it. Skiing will always be way high up on our repertoire of things to do."
Even so, the resort's owners were grateful for a busy summer of golf after a warm winter that kept many skiers off the slopes.

"Last winter was probably one of the worst for anyone that was in the snow business -- a ski resort, a snowmobiler, a person out plowing -- you felt the effect of it," Day said. "It was very hard on us, but we were able to come through it."

Prospects for the ski season seem promising.

"We are a week ahead of last year," Day said, explaining that skiers who hit the slopes this weekend should find between two and 12 inches of snow on the ground. "We have had a good stretch with some cool nights and no rain."

Day said the resort is also hoping some nonskiers will be riding the lifts, taking in the sights of the Peek's new Trail of Lights, billed as a first for a North American ski slope.
Day is hopeful that the weather and some expensive snow equipment will work together to make this winter a successful one. But he also sees the value of offering lots of things for lots of different people.

"The more you can mix it up, the better off we are going to be in the long run," he said.

JIM MARTIN can be reached at (814) 724-6397, 870-1668 or by e-mail.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snow Advisory For Chautauqua County

Lake Effect Snow Advisory For Parts Of WNY
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 03:27 PM - WBEN Newsroom
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A lake effect and blowing snow ADVISORY is in effect for Southern
Erie, Wyoming, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua Counties beginning at 7am Thursday through 6am Friday.
Lake effect snow is expected to develop and continue across ski country and the southern tier. That lake effect snow could reach more distant southern suburbs as well, according to the National Weather Service.
Snowfall could be three to six inches, with up to a foot in the southern tier and ski country. Winds will increase to 30 miles an hour, causing blowing snow and reducing visibilities significantly.
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Chautauqua Lake Weed Control

Weed Weapons — Specially Designed Harvester Added To CLA Fleet
 "I was so pleased to have this opportunity to help the communities that support us.''

Paul Swanson

CLA General Manager
11/23/2007 - The Post-Journal Staff

A new harvester, specially designed for Chautauqua Lake, will be out on the lake in 2008.

Paul W. Swanson, Chautauqua Lake Association general manager, worked closely with Stephen Walczyk, Alpha Boats president, to design the new piece of equipment to fit the lake association's needs. Board members decided it is important to order the harvester now for next year as a sign of the association's commitment to being a good steward of Chautauqua Lake.

According to Terry L. Havens-Turner, the Hultquist Foundation donated $70,000 to help pay for the new harvester.

"It is very much appreciated by the CLA Board to have the Hultquist Foundation be a part of this purchase,'' said Tad Wright, association president. ''We rely on the foundations to support us with capital improvements.''

During the summer, Paul Swanson coordinated the operations overseeing the cleaning of 42 miles of shoreline manually by the barge crews, which cleaned between 100 and 200 tons of weeds each day. Removing the weeds makes the lake cleaner and removes the nutrients they provide when they fall to the bottom of the lake bed.

The Chautauqua Lake Association hauled 100 to 200 tons of seaweed daily from the shores of Chautauqua Lake between June and the end of the association's summer season. With the help of the county funding and the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission, the association also started a special second shift between 2 and 9 p.m. five days a week and Saturday mornings until noon. Association harvesters were working in all three bases; Mayville, Shore Acres and the association's Lakewood home, as the transport barges unloaded them to bring the weeds to shore to load the trucks from the conveyors.

"I was so pleased to have this opportunity to help the communities that support us,'' Swanson said. ''The evening crews picked up where the day crews finished at 3:30 p.m., so there was continued attention to the areas we were working in. We provided one of our two new small trucks with a driver and crew for the areas too shallow for the barges to go into. So many people came up to me saying how much they appreciated our service and how wonderful the crews were in helping them especially the Hadley Bay, Mayville, Dewittville and Burtis Bay residents. For the first time ever we had completed the shoreline cleanup by July 28, only to start over again and address the problem areas.''

Wright said the new harvester will give the association eight such machines to use this summer, though more investment will be necessary because the fleet is aging.

''As we move forward the purchase of new equipment to replace our aging 20 to 30-year-old six harvesters and four barges is a paramount concern,'' Wright said. ''Our new harvester that was delivered cost about $140,000. Hopefully, we will have the funds next year to man the new equipment, including this new harvester, with a second shift again. We depend on donations for 60 percent of our operations and appreciate that the foundations have always supported us in the past with assistance in buying equipment.''
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Peak n' Peek Chautauqua County NY Holiday Light Display

Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa opens up a new monthlong holiday light display with 20-minute chairlift rides along the Finsbury Field ski slope from 6 to 9 p.m. until Dec. 23.

Dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.

Cost: $5.

Info: Call (716) 355-4141.
If anyone has been to this before please post your comments.
Thank you,
Rick & Julia
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

One-Tank Trip / Ellicottville, NY

No skis required for a great day in Ellicottville

By Emeri Krawczyk - SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Updated: 11/11/07 8:52 AM

Just because you're not a winter sports enthusiast doesn't mean you can't spend time in Ellicottville. There are plenty of shops, spas and restaurants to enjoy while your pals on are on the slopes.

ELLICOTTVILLE — When winter winds whip and your snow-loving friends are hitting the slopes of Holiday Valley, you (a member of the "never in a million years will I get on a snowboard club") have two choices — sit home and pout or take the ride and explore the really hip town of Ellicottville.
Wear good, warm walking boots because once you park, your feet are the only mode of transportation you'll need, as Washington Street is where you'll find most of the shops, along with Monroe, a crossstreet.
No doubt your ski friends will want to head out early. While they lug their gear to the hills, you can keep warm in Dina's restaurant, which serves up a great breakfast and a chic atmosphere. As you sip rich coffee and peruse the menu, pretend you are in a ski haven, like Beaver Creek, Colo.
Decisions, decisions — Dina's Favorite Omelet (sun-dried tomato, basil pesto, pine nuts and cheddar-jack) or Cranberry Pecan French Toast with a side of apple-smoked bacon? Fill up for the long day ahead. Prices from a $4.95 breakfast sandwich to around $8/$9 area.
While shopping is the town's main attraction, there are a couple of other options to consider, including a walk to admire some nice homes and historic buildings. Or if the weather isn't too cold, take a hike to the nearby Nannen Arboretum (, open 365 days a year, from dawn until dusk). We all know trees are can be just as beautiful in the winter months. Admittance is free. Another plan is a spa treatment at one of the two spas in town. If you are into heavy-duty massage therapy, the cozy Earth Worn Body provides a full menu of treatments, including the "Remote Village," a traditional Swedish massage that's a bargain at $80 for 90 minutes. Or how about an Organic Brown Sugar Pumpkin Scrub to slough off winter's dry-heat skin damage? You can think fondly of your pals freezing on the lifts while you indulge at $55, plus tip.
For the holidays, a Pomegranate & Fig scrub is planned. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Earth Worn will host Intuitive Card Readings by Catherine. If visiting on the weekend you could call Catherine (716-244-1742) about arranging a private party.
For more aesthetic services (manicures and pedicures), head to the Ellicottville Oasis Day Spa. For $315, you could spend six hours indulging in a one-hour aromatherapy massage, a facial, a body wrap, manicure and pedicure, and lunch. Reservations are recommended at both spas.
Time to shop
There appears to be two types of shoppers in Ellicottville: women and the men they drag along.
Fortunately on a recent Saturday, a couple of fellas making a quick exit from their significant others found the Gin Mill was cranking by noon, as was the Ellicottville Brewing Company, where happy guys emerged with full growlers all day.
Here's a breakdown of the great shops you'll find.
• Ski shops Yes, you may not ski, but who doesn't love the excellent winter clothing that goes along with it? Fun hats, gloves and funky jackets — think Snow Bunny! Four spots to check out are The City Garage on Monroe Street (; on Washington Street you'll find Dekdebrun's Ski & Snowboard; Mud, Sweat & Gears and the Red Door Ski Shop, which also had great sweaters and dressy jackets.
• Clothing and jewelry Gado Gado (corner of Monroe and Washington) is the place to hit for trendy, sophisticated clothing. Lots of "in" metallic colors — silver, bronze and gold with black and solid browns pieces to mix and match. Beaded sweaters and stylish scarves turn cold weather- wear into a hot commodity here.
Daff on Washington Street appeared to have a wide selection for men, too. For the gals, the predominant style is "Uptown Cowgirl" (very polished with a Western flair). Accessories are big here, as in
bags, including the Brighton brand name. Get in on Daff's "On The Hook" promotion, which runs through Thursday. Why sling your expensive, hand-crafted Brighton Bag on the door handle when you can get a nifty handbag display holder with any purchase?
Another hot item at Daff is a beaded leather cell phone holder in such hot colors as pink and bright blue. And while outdoor shoes are functional, they can also be fun, like the great looking El Natura Lista brand, fleece-line Crocs and Uggs boots, all available here.
Apres on Washington is trendy ski apparel — more like after skiing, in the lodge, having drinks with a hunk who just came off the slopes. For the selfconscious crowd, Apres carries a brand of jeans called Tummy Tuck. Expensive, but worth it — maybe.
Bargain hunters suffering from sticker-shock will find comfort at Betsy's Consignments, which is a very short drive out of town on Washington (Route 242). The only problem with consignments? One size only. But find that pair of olive cowboy boots in your size and in mint condition for only $12, why not? Spotted at Betsy's: A bright yellow Dolce & Gabbana bag, for $60 with the tags still on it!
A Few of a Kind Fine Italian Jewelry has a good mix of expensive and inexpensive items, like three bright, beaded bracelets tied together for around $14. There are also nice handbags and Paris Hilton-esque big, pink sunglasses here!
• Gift shops and home accessories
There is no shortage of stores to find unique gifts for the holidays, starting with Alexandra on Washington Street (a sister store is on Main in Williamsville). The underlying theme of the store is perfectly summed up on one of the mugs: "Behind every successful woman is herself." There's a huge selection of soaps and lotions, including the Dirty Girl line. Unique purses — whimsical wool and even one made from a rolled license plate — would look smart with jeans. Loved the wonderful martini glass selection!
Kazoo II is filled with everything from handmade jewelry in amber, copper and turquoise to wall hangings, toys and holiday decorations. For the serious chef, unique pewter measuring cups shaped more like scoops would make a wonderful gift. Really intriguing were the "milagros" (miracles), symbolic Latin American religious charms said to provide healing and strength.
If you are looking for a holiday centerpiece, the darling Tangled Twigs has wonderful arrangements, as well as seasonal wreaths and some nice candleholders, a set of big pinecones and classic glass pillars.
Earth Arts is a premier pottery and gift gallery. From delicate (vases) to functional (olive oil and vinegar vessels), there's a wide selection, including the blue and green popular Polish pottery. Check out the brightly colored ceramic fish on the wall.
Gone Wild Creations is where to find rustic furniture in case you inherit a ski lodge. It's Adirondack-rustic meets the Wild West, with many designs incorporating antlers, like the mammoth chandelier you'll see above. A wonderful leather chair with the cow design will really have you thinking!
Aardvark Eclectic Home Decor opened a new shop in town, in addition to the one on the Route 219/242 corner. It, too, trends on the western/rustic style.
Other notable shopping stops: A Touch of Ellicottville, where you can pick up your "EVL" T-shirt. Keep walking through and you'll also hit a toy store filled with puppets of all things, and Nature's Remedy Natural Health Center.
Pathway Books, a usedbooks store, is a nice change of pace from the crowded places, as is Watson's Chocolates. For a quick bite or cup of coffee, Coolings Cafe offers soups, sandwiches, ice cream, coffee drinks and teas, as well as wireless Internet access.
For information
For more information about the shops, events and times, visit or call the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, (800) 349-9099. To book spa appointments or for information: Earth Worn Body Shop (, or 716-699-2508) and Ellicottville Oasis Day Spa (, or 716-699-8996. If you go
Follow Route 219 to Ellicottville. Drive is approximately 60 miles.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chautauqua County’s 2008 Snowmobile Season

NYS Snowmobile Season Trail Opening Day 
Chautauqua County's official trail opening is Wednesday morning, December 19, 2007. That's if we have snow of course.
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Holiday Valley

Snowfall Brings Ski Time

Snowfall Brings Ski Time

By Jennifer Stanonis

Several spots across the southern tier have close to a foot of snow after two days of lake effect snow this week. At least six inches of snow has fallen at some ski areas including Holiday Valley Ski Resort in Ellicottville. It's not enough to open slopes yet since the ground is still too warm and temperatures next week should increase into the 50s which will prevent any snow making. But conditions look favorable for making snow soon and the ski season could start two weeks early. "The week of November 19th... we may be able to start making snow then and hopefully make our target date November 23rd," Holiday Valley spokesperson Jane Eshbaugh said. The resort usually opens slopes around December 7th.

There have been additions to at least one local ski resort. Holiday Valley has made some changes including a new chair lift which takes skiers to three new slopes opening this year. "They're kind of beginner-intermediate," Eshbaugh said. "Takes people right to our Spruce Lake that we built last year."

In town, shops are seeing a rush of people getting gear ready for the season. "Lots of people bringing in their skis... buying skis and renting," Mud Sweat N' Gears employee Joann Duke said. "So it's been bopping!"
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Holiday Valley, Ellicottville, NY

No Joke: Western New York's Best Skiing

11/07/2007 at 12:00 PM
Tags: , , , (all tags)
Our Upstate NY Travel Map will get you there.
Sure, the rolling hills don't qualify as mountains. And yes, an "upscale" trailer park exists where one would normally find cabins and chalets. But Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, NY. Skiers come from Ohio, Canada, Pennsylvania and other parts of New York to take advantage of the one decent place to ski near the Great Lakes.
The resort, located about 45 minutes south of Buffalo, offers 56 slopes and 13 lifts, a snowmaking and grooming system that comes in handy in these warming winters and a network of base lodges and hotels. Adjacent is the clumsy man's version of a ski resort, The Holiday Valley Tubing Park. In preparation for the 2007-2008 season, the complex underwent $2.9 million worth of improvements. Highlights include a new lift, three new slopes and hotel renovations. Take that, Vail.
Related Stories:
· Holiday Valley [Official Site]
· Upstate NY Travel Map [Jaunted]
· Ski Hotels [HotelChatter]
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Peek'n Peak Chautauqua County

'Trail of Lights' to illuminate changes at Peek'n Peak
BY JIM CARROLL [more details]

Published: November 07. 2007 6:00AM

Skiers brave the slopes at Peek'N Peak Resort on Saturday, January 20. (Janet B. Campbell / Erie Times-News)


FINDLEY LAKE, N.Y. -- Skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers will all find something new at Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa this season.

But visitors only need to take a chair lift ride to take in the Peak's brightest attraction.

The golf and ski resort located about 45 minutes from Erie is getting ready to show off the "Trail of Lights," a month-long holiday display from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23.

"It is going to be spectacular," said Chip Day, vice president of brand management for the resort. "We think this is going to start our season off with a bang."

Lights For All Seasons, an Oregon company that bills itself as North America's premier decorative lighting company, has been commissioned to create 14 large colorful and animated theme displays along one of the Peak's ski slopes.

Visitors take a 20-minute-long chair lift ride up and down the slope to view the display below. Tickets will cost $5.

"This company does lighting displays for big venues, major resorts, but this is the first time they will do a display on an actual ski trail," he said. "This will be the only one like it."

But other new facilities at the Peak this season are not built for leisurely rides.

The peak started cutting 15 new slopes in 2006.

"We are going to open about five new slopes every year for the next three years," Day said.

The first five should be available for skiers this season.

When those 15 are finished, the Peak will have a total of 41 slopes and 12 chair lifts, Day said.

That is all part of the Peak's multi-million-dollar, 10-year expansion plan.

The resort opened two terrain parks for freestyle skiers and snowboarders last winter.

Snowmobilers will also have easier access to the Peak. This year a snowmobile trail from Chautauqua County will extend to the resort.

"At the end of March, we want to have a huge snowmobile ... event," he said, explaining the plan is to set up motocross-type races for snowmobilers.

And improvements at the resort are attracting plenty of interest, said Mike Maring, owner of Findley Lake Sporting Goods.

"Everyone is excited about the new ownership of the Peak. That seems to have generated renewed enthusiasm," Maring said.

Ohio-based developer Paul Kiebler purchased the resort in January 2006.

"It seems as though the Peak is taking a very intelligent planned course of improvement. Everyone is looking forward to see what the new improvements will be. It gets everybody excited and interested," Maring said.

And that interest extends across the Pennsylvania border to Erie tourism officials.

John Oliver, president of the VisitErie tourism agency, said improvements to the nearby ski resort adds to Erie's wintertime attraction. "It definitely has an impact here when you are talking about winter activities," he said.

Peek'n Peak is big enough and close enough to benefit Erie hotels and retail stores, Oliver said.

"It is drawing people to the region," he said.

Oliver said Erie tourism officials are working to build up the local tourism seasons beyond the Memorial Day-to-Labor Day peak summer season.

Attractions like Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park, Presque Isle Downs & Casino and Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa are helping extend the local tourism season, Oliver said.

Day said the Peak has had a solid summer and fall this year, and is looking forward to a strong winter season, as well.

But before you have a winter season, you need winter, and no where was Tuesdays' snowfall more welcomed than at Peek'n Peak, especially after 2006's abbreviated winter.

"Six inches of snow, and the day has just begun," Day said in an e-mail Tuesday morning.

The Peak has web cams available on its Internet site -- -- to show real-time conditions. And the resort also has the $2 million state-of-the-art snowmaking system it installed in 2006 for when Mother Nature doesn't come through.

JIM CARROLL can be reached at (814) 724-1716, 870-1727.
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Chautauqua County Things to Do

Stafford To Play At St. Luke's On Friday
By The Post-Journal Staff,

 Joshua Stafford
11/5/2007 - Concert organist Joshua Stafford will return to his native Jamestown to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Aeolian Skinner organ at St. Luke's Episcopal Church by performing in concert at 8 p.m., Friday. St. Luke's Church is located at the corner of Fourth and Main streets.

Stafford is a second-year student of Alan Morrison at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where he studies on a full-tuition scholarship. He began piano studies at the age of 6. His interest in the organ was sparked at a Pipe Organ Excursion held by the Chautauqua AGO that he attended at the age of 10.

For several years thereafter, Stafford was mentored by R. Richard Corbin, serving as his assistant at St. Luke's Church in Jamestown. In December 2005 he assumed full responsibilities of organist and choirmaster at St. Luke's following the illness and passing of his friend and mentor.

Stafford has won numerous awards and prizes including first prize in the 2006 Westminster Choir College Organ Competition, first prize in the 2007 Philadelphia AGO Competition for Young Organists, and second prize in the 2006 AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists.

He has performed recitals across the country, including postlude concerts for the Philadelphia Orchestra on the country's largest new concert-hall organ at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. He is also a regular performer on the world's largest outdoor organ, the Massey Memorial Organ at Chautauqua Institution, and the world's largest organ, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ at Macy's in Philadelphia.

Stafford has also been named this year's organ scholar at Washington Memorial Chapel.

In May 2007, Stafford traveled with the Curtis organ department to Paris, where he had the rare opportunity to play many of the city's beautiful and historic organs including an evening at the famous organ of Notre Dame Cathedral. Stafford is currently Organist and Choirmaster of the Episcopal Church of St. John in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Tickets for the concert are $20 adult, $15 senior, $7.50 college student. Children 18 and under are admitted free with an adult ticket holder. Group rates are available. Tickets may be purchased at the Reg Lenna Civic Center box office, Germaine and Pappalardo Music Shoppe or at the door. Call the JCA at 487-1522 or the RLCC box office at 484-7070 for more information.

Special sponsors for this concert are Jamestown Community College and PowerNet Global Communications. JCA is supported in part by NYSCA, United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Go East , Then Feast on Fall, Findley Lake, NY

If you see not a soul on a Sunday on the winding, two-lane road from Wattsburg into New York state, don't be fooled.

They're all at the DV, I swear.

The DV is the Dutch Village restaurant in Clymer, N.Y.

That's a cozy warren of rooms where you can't help but get caught up in the swell of neighborly chatter as you pile a breakfast plate with pancakes from the buffet and bathe steaming slabs of French toast with syrup.

Where voices and laughter shoot over your head in the booth as you linger over coffee and listen in on chitchat between sisters and cousins who live just up the road.

Where you contemplate helping yourself to another hunk of apple crisp -- something to savor as you ogle the crafts, toys and holiday tchotchkes that spill out along the walls from the jam-packed gift shop.

Where the warm-ups keep coming.

The day seems full of possibility.

And your only concern is to decide which chubby loaves of fresh bread from the bakery case you'll take home when you leave.

And when all of these native New Yorkers -- and Pennsylvanians like me, who occasionally cross state lines just to eat breakfast -- file out of the DV, out into the crisp fall air on Main Street around 11 a.m. (that's when the doors here close on Sundays). Maybe they, too, decide on a whim to point the car in any direction.

Maybe they, too, take the long way home, just to soak up the quiet, the stillness and the autumn colors of this southwestern-most corner of the Empire State.

Head west on Route 474, and as you climb the hill back toward New Buffalo Road, look off to the right: You'll likely see the final streaks of color clinging to leaves in the valley landscape this time of year.

You'll see sprawling farms, sun-filled meadows, lazy cows, horses swishing their tails and neat, tidy homes tucked back into hillsides.

You might spot the older couple I saw out for a walk, ambling up the road with their dog.

Just outside Clymer, if you turn onto Route 426 and head toward Findley Lake, you can still catch sight of sumacs painted that brilliant shade of flame red.

You might also spot that tiny apple tree perched randomly at the edge of a field: the one that windstorms have lately left leafless, but still studded with fruit.

Here and there, you'll spot those sprawling blankets of golden-yellow leaves spreading out beneath maples. The leaves that sometimes kick up and swirl in the breeze, casting a buttery glow back up into the branches.

Suddenly, there's a sign for cocker spaniel pups.

Then a bridge someone's perched pumpkins on, just for fun, over the trickling creek below.

Closer to Findley Lake, on the left, the late-morning sun glints for a moment off slab-style stones in a roadside cemetery.

If you take this ride before snow dusts those old stones white, it'll be good for your soul.

And you'll have a small but cozy memory to last all winter.

JOAN BENSON-CACCHIONE can be reached at 870-1737 or at
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Holiday Valley & Peek'n Peak

Western New York State, Holiday Valley near Ellicottville, N.Y., invested almost $3 million on a new quad lift that will open three new trails to skiers who made the haul north. The lift will serve three new trails.
Nearby Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa near Findley Lake, N.Y., is gearing up for its "Trail of Lights" festival, which features a light display at the slopes from Nov. 23 through Dec. 23.
Peak'n'Peek spokesman Chip Day says the resort, which recently launched a new $2 million spa, has extensive snowmaking capabilities. But local residents say this year's warm weather could trigger major lake-effect snows.
"(Lake Erie) has been really warm this year, so once the weather cools off the lake effect should kick in with snow," Day says.
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