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Monday, December 29, 2008

It Takes A Village

Education Program To Help Local Youth

POSTED: December 29, 2008

ASHVILLE - Real Estate Advantage and Hollyloft Ski and Bikes recently donated goods and services to the Chautauqua County Safety Education Village.
Real Estate Advantage donated 200 helmets to keep children safe during their trips around the village. They have also agreed to a lifetime replacement for any helmet that becomes damaged or cracked. Partnering with Hollyloft, safety village officials purchased bicycles from a $2,000 grant made possible from Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards' office. Hollyloft ordered the bikes at a discounted rate and assembled all the bikes to ensure safety. In addition, they have agreed to provide free maintenance in the future.
''It's through the generosity of individuals and businesses like Real Estate Advantage and Hollyloft, that this project is becoming a reality,'' said Terri Kindberg, safety village coordinator. ''Their support will help us to teach area youth about safety, so that it's not only learned, but practiced each and everyday.''
The project will teach children about street and railway crossing safety, street sign recognition, bicycle safety, emergency preparedness and other safety-related scenarios. There will be a fire education center that will allow trained firefighters to teach electrical safety and fill rooms with simulated smoke, allowing children to practice escape plans and then gather at a designated meeting location.
For more information, call Ms. Kindberg at 664-5859 or visit

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Snowmobile trails in Chautauqua County are officially open

With 600 miles of groomed trails and lake effect snow, snowmobile trails in Chautauqua County are officially open
Riders are cautioned to watch for fallen trees and excess water and to drive at an appropriate speed.
All snowmobiles must be registered in New York state to ride the trails, and the process for registering is different this year than in the past several years. Registration forms must be obtained through an official DMV offices or a satellite office. Forms will no longer be processed by local hotels and snowmobile stores and they will not be able to provide a temporary certificate.
To improve convenience for local residents and out of town visitors, the Mayville office of the Department of Motor Vehicles has extended hours to include Saturday, from 9 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m., at the Dock's Restaurant on Route 394 in Mayville. Motor Vehicle Bureau hours during the week are 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Wednesdays.
''We want snowmobilers from out of the area to have a positive experience and to plan to return again and again for future visits,'' said Andrew Nixon, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau executive director. ''It is important that the process of obtaining a valid registration be as convenient as possible.''
To register a snowmobile in New York, snowmobilers must complete the official Snowmobile Registration Application, provide proof of ownership, with a preference for the snowmobile's out-of-state registration, and present a valid driver's license for the person who owns the sled. The registration form is available at A link to the form is found through the snowmobile section of,/ in the Outdoor category.
County Legislator Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, and county officials are working to communicate several issues concerning the snowmobile industry to New York state representatives. Included will be the topic of alternate registration venues. Croscut, Barb Lucarella, a local DMV representative, and members of local law enforcement have worked over the past several years to institute the availability of Saturday registration and a temporary documentation program.
Riders should always check trail conditions with a local snowmobile club or or by calling 1-800-242-4569, pressing 2 for Chautauqua County, then 5 for a current snowmobile trail report. A list of six local snowmobile clubs can be found on

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowmobilers Asked To Stay Off Trails For Now

By Robert Rizzuto
POSTED: December 20, 2008

Despite several inches of snow, snowmobilers are asked to stay off of the trails at least another week.
P-J file photo

Although some people are probably cursing the winter weather, a large group of people in Chautauqua County are gearing up to ride the county's snowmobile trails, but should wait a while longer.
Despite the official beginning of the season Friday, County Legislator Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, said people need to understand that the county's trails have not been groomed and are not safe for riding.
''The last thing we want is people to come to Chautauqua County this weekend expecting the quality trails we're known for and be disappointed. They're just not ready yet,'' Croscut said. ''Out of respect to deer hunters and land owners, the crews just haven't had a chance to get out there and work so the trails aren't groomed. Some bridges need to be put back in place due to high waters and a lot of work needs to be done. We're hoping they will be ready be next weekend but time will tell.''
Steve Latone of the Ellery Sno-Cruisers said the same thing as Croscut, adding that the several potential hazards lying on the trails can be very dangerous to riders.
''Right now there is probably snow which is covering barbed-wire fences and gates, and it will be bad news if someone hits them,'' LaTone said. ''There are also a number of farmers who still have their corn fields up and we need to be respectful of landowners.''
Steve Smith, Chautauqua County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs president, said before anyone considers going out on the trails, they need to be mindful of reality.
''We had the snow arrive early, then there was rain, then it froze and was covered by more snow,'' Smith said. ''People need to check with their local clubs before riding and understand that if they are out there before the trails are open they are trespassing.''
The average annual snowfall in Chautauqua County is around 208 inches, and almost 100 inches have already fallen and it's not even Christmas yet. According to the local snowmobile enthusiasts, this season should prove to be a good one to enjoy on the county's trails, once they are ready for riding.
''The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, Cherry Creek Sno-Goers, Lake Effect Trailblazers and the Ellery Sno-Cruisers are all located within Chautauqua County, and offer members the chance to ride over 400 miles of groomed trails,'' Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards said. ''With four snowmobile clubs available to join, there are plenty of opportunities to become a member and take part of the countless hours of fun and excitement.''
Several of the area's snowmobile clubs are planning and organizing work parties to prepare the trails today and Sunday, as well as the next few weekends. Smith said the more people who contribute time to prepare the trails, the sooner they will be open to enjoy. Anyone interested in helping should visit for local club contact information.
All season long, people can get up-to-date information about the trails' condition by calling 753-2924 or 800-242-4569, option 2, then press 5.
For current snowmobile trail information, call 800-242-4569, option 2, then press 5.
The Ellery Sno-Cruisers, based out of Bemus Point, groom 60 miles of trails and boast more than 300 members in several states throughout the country. Their Web site can be found at
Falconer is the home of the Lake Effect Trailbreakers who operate with the generosity of over 150 landowners and the dedication of countless volunteers who groom more than 70 miles of trails. Their Web site can be found at
The home base for the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers is in Cassadaga, but the group has trails that run through several towns and villages including Cherry Creek. With seven groomers at their disposal, the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers maintain more than 130 miles of trails. Their Web site can be found at
The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club in Mayville has over 150 miles of groomed trails and is located on Hannum Road in the village. Their Web site can be found at

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Peek 'n Peak is great fun off the slopes, too

Snow flurries add to the charm of the welcoming Tudor-style Inn at the Peak, part of the Peek 'n Peak Resort and Spa.
Joan Barone McDonald

Updated: 12/14/08 09:33 AM

One-Tank Trip / Findley Lake


We drove through Findley Lake on the day of its first November storm. A light breeze swirled the falling snow, spinning us into a gossamer cocoon, and we inched along, taking a right onto Olde Road.

After a moment, the sprawling Tudor-style Inn at Peek 'n Peak came into view like the image in an old Polaroid picture. There it stood in a mix of flurries, fronted in creamy stucco, accented in hewn wooden beams, and covered with expanses of fieldstone: a castle — inviting us to explore its hidden treasures. And treasures there are. The Peek 'n Peak Resort and Spa isn't just for skiing anymore.
Enter the lobby and look to the left. An 8-foot-wide wooden cherry fireplace, topped with a handcarved mantel, rises 12 feet and acts as a centerpiece for the Old English Manor House motif. You can sit here in an overstuffed leather chair in front of a roaring fire to read a book or plan the day's activities and, like a royal guest, feel completely at home.
Of course, skiing and boarding are the kings here, with 27 slopes and trails to accommodate not only expert skiers and boarders, but first-timers as well. If you are into speed but not precision, you can enjoy tubing and can even catch a lift back up the hill for the next run. If cross-country skiing or snowshoeing are more your speed, you can rent equipment and spend some quiet time communing with nature.
Whatever your outdoor pleasure, you can finish the day in the hot tub, designed to allow free access between the indoor and outdoor portions of its unique configuration. Also available are an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool and a sauna, and if the longing for summer overwhelms you, you can even slip into a tanning bed.
Looking for even more relaxation? The Spa at Peek 'n Peak offers a full range of services. After a Deep Cleansing Facial, a Multivitamin Body Treatment, a Jasmine Body Wrap or a Hot Stone Massage, thoughts of snow shovels, slippery roads and wintertime hassles will vanish in an aroma-therapeutic haze.
Hungry? Plenty of dining options exist here. Chow down on Mexican fare or subs and sandwiches at the Retreat Lodge; enjoy a genuine wood oven pizza or spaghetti at Pizzaiolos; grab a burger at the Main Ski Lodge; or save your appetite for an elegant meal at the Royal Court Dining Room.
One of the most popular offerings is the Champagne Brunch. It prices in at just under $25 and garners an average of 400 reservations every Sunday. Traditional brunch items — eggs, waffles, salmon and carved meats — are served alongside varying themed cuisine like "American Heartland," "Caribbean Islands," "Earth, Surf and Turf" and "Texas Chuckwagon BBQ" fare.
As a special treat, through Dec. 23, Peek 'n Peak will host the only ski slope "Trail of Lights" in the United States. Take a 20-minute chairlift ride over snow-blanketed terrain, highlighted by animated reindeer, Santas and a host of other cleverly designed light displays. "Trail" rides are available 6-9 p. m. Wednesday through Sunday and cost only $5 per person.
Findley Lake
Once you're in the area, make sure you spend some time kicking around the town of Findley Lake, a place that could have modeled for a Currier and Ives greeting card.
If you're in the mood for shopping, stop in at Wonderments, 10365 Main St., a little boutique specializing in Victorian designs. Woodcarved red and gold statues of St. Nicholas beckon from the front window, lacy shawls hang casually on a back wall and Troika dolls share shelf space with a rose-print picture frame. French milled soaps in delicate scents like olive citron and honey rosemary line an opposite wall, creating an enticing pale pastel rainbow of aroma and color.
For a gift shop with an eclectic mix, Our Own Candle Company, 2762 North Road, does the trick. Don't let the name fool you: Most of the company's candles are across the street at the outlet store, leaving this shop with room for everything from stuffed snowmen on skis — lined up like a little army ready to conquer the slopes — to jars of homemade relishes and pickled beets. Other culinary treats are mixes for Amish corn soup, cous cous with chives and saffron, and cranberry corn bread. You can also snag a velour warm-up suit here, an art deco-era dressing table, and a set of antique splatterware kettles and fry pans.
If it's candles you're after, Our Own Candle Company Outlet Store, 2779 North Road, is chock full of choices. Name a flower and you'll find a corresponding scent. Think of a dessert: Fried Ice Cream? Lemon Pound Cake? Oatmeal Cookie? Drop them in the bag and you won't gain an ounce. Even your most primal memories line the shelves here, ready to be burned: Baby Powder, the Beach, Country Clothesline and even First Snow.
For an authentic rural experience that is hard to come by in a city or suburban area, have lunch at the French Creek Tavern, 1614 French Creek Road, Clymer. Step back in time. Look at the shuffleboard table that runs the length of the dining area and notice the sign over it: "Please Don't Allow Your Children to Play in the Wax." Eavesdrop on the tales of hunters, dressed in bright orange camo pants with matching hats. Eat the special of the day which, if you're lucky, will be Country Fried Steak that melts in your mouth. Or chomp into an All American cheeseburger with onion rings on the side. No matter what you eat here, you'll feel like you're in the heartland.
Another choice for a good meal is the Blue Heron, 10412 Main St. in Findley Lake. It's a big, old grandma's house with a small bar and two separate dining rooms. Light floods in through the floor to ceiling windows, filtering through the lace curtains and mellowing the dark green walls to a relaxing hue. Try the Greek salad with chunks of chicken or order the pan-fried trout and you won't go home disappointed. The food is tasty here and the service excellent.
No matter what you choose to do at Peek 'n Peak or in Findley Lake, you will find yourself immersed in a winter wonderland of quaint boutiques, majestic pines, dense stands of trees, and gently falling snow. Bring your camera along and make it a photo shoot. Even if you don't give Ansel Adams a run for his money, you'll capture great memories and be one step closer to taking the advice on a sign in Our Own Candle Company: "Live as though Heaven is on Earth."
If you go
Findley Lake: The area chamber of commerce has maps, directions, and suggestions for nearby activities.
Peak 'n Peak: 1405 Olde Road, Clymer; (716) 355-4141, Official Web site has information about accommodations, brunch reservations, weather conditions and events.
(from Buffalo)
Travel I-190 south; take the I-90 west. Take exit 41 (toward North East, Pa.) Turn left onto PA-89 south. Turn left onto I-86 east (toward Jamestown). Exit at Findley Lake (Exit 4). Travel south on Route 426 and follow the signs to Peek'n Peak.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Area Ski Resorts Experience Early-Season Success

By Dennis Phillips,
POSTED: December 8, 2008

With an increase in early winter snow, an economy keeping people closer to home and gas prices surprisingly decreasing, area ski resorts are already seeing record business this season.
''It's been great for us. It's been incredible,'' said Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley director of marketing. ''We had a record November. We are exceeding our wildest dreams.''
Ms. Eshbaugh said the resort opened nine days earlier - Nov. 20 - than its ideal target date and a month and a half earlier than the average winter season.
''The snow played a huge part, we got 28 inches on Nov. 16-17 with the forecast good for more snow, so that made us open up early,'' she said. ''We have natural snow and we're making snow. We've recorded, since Nov. 17, 75 inches of snow so far this year.''
Holiday Valley isn't the only resort enjoying the early snow fall. Cockaigne Ski Area in Cherry Creek is also enjoying a rise in early winter business.
''Compared to last year, we're doing pretty good. Last year was a real disaster,'' said Linda Johnson, promotions director. ''We're feeling lucky - fantastic skiing and lots of snow.''
Ms. Johnson said even though last year's ski season ended well for the ski resort, snow early in the season is a real key for the business.
''You have to have it at the beginning of the season. You don't make up later what you lose in the beginning of the season,'' she said. ''The snow gets people out. Saying you got 10 feet of snow - if people don't look out their windows and see it at home they don't believe it.''
Ms. Johnson said even the national economy has not had a negative impact on the business. In fact, she said the decrease in gas prices has helped.
''Probably the best thing that has happened is gas prices going down,'' she said. ''We get a lot of people from Ohio where (gas) is a dollar cheaper. That makes a big difference.''
Ms. Johnson said Cockaigne's pre-paid business is doing well, which came as a surprise given the economy.
''I thought it would be a disaster, but that hasn't been the case,'' she said. ''We're trying to figure out what will happen, but everyone seems upbeat and wants to get out and ski.''
Ms. Eshbaugh said Holiday Valley also has not been impacted negatively by the economy.
''Yes we have seen an impact, but it's a positive impact,'' she said. ''People have decided to stay closer to home to avoid the expense and hassle of traveling.''
Even local ski shops where people buy their skis and winter attire haven't been affected. Les Johnson, owner of Hollyloft Ski & Bike on Fairmount Avenue in Jamestown, said the early snow fall has helped business so far this winter.
''We're about the same as last year. So, with today's economy and all the bad news flying around, the weather helps make up for the lack of dollars,'' he said. ''Our fall business was up, mostly because of the early snow.''
Peek'n Peak in Findley Lake has received 51 inches of natural snow in the last week and is also open for business. Snowmaking operations continue around the clock when temperatures permit. More trails and lifts will open soon.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chautauqua Christmas Holiday Events

Upcoming events:

November 28 - January 17,

I'll Be Home for Christmas Holiday Exhibit, Fenton History Center, Jamestown

December 5,

Jamestown Toyland Christmas Parade, Jamestown

December 6,

Miracle on Main Street, Fredonia

December 15 - 16,

The Nutcracker, Reg Lenna Civic Center, Jamestown

January 25,

Currier & Ives Sleigh Rally, Chautauqua Institution

For more holiday event listings visit

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008



If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Snowmobile trails not ready until Dec. 17

POSTED: November 30, 2008

There's so much snow in and around Cassadaga this year, the community has attracted weather reporters to give "live" accounts from the village streets.
The residents here and in other areas across the county are expecting a "long winter" with the snow sticking around for quite a while.
Those welcoming the snowfall include skiers who are already on the slopes and snowmobilers who are waiting patiently for the trails to open.
Stephen Smith, president of the Chautauqua County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs says come Dec. 19, when deer season is over, there will be 400 miles of trails open in Chautauqua County.
"After several years of below normal snowfall, many snowmobilers are chomping at the bit to get out and ride," he said.
He said they will have to be patient, just a little bit longer.
"The trails aren't quite ready. Snowmobile trails on private land in Chautauqua County cannot open until after the big game muzzle loading hunting season is over and the pre-season preparation of the trails are completed by the local clubs," Smith said.
This means the trails won't be open until the morning of Dec. 19 and snowmobilers are advised to check with local clubs to make sure the trails are open before heading out to ride.
Chris James, president of the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club says the trails are not open until fallen trees, brush is cleared and signs are put up to give snowmobilers direction safely along routes and away from hazzards.
Janes also emphasizes that since more than 90 percent of the 400 miles of snowmobile trails in Chautauqua County are on private property, riding before the official opening of the trail is trespassing.
"Many of these private landowners have planted winter crops and are concerned that early riding, before the ground has a chance to freeze, will damage the crop and reduce yield come springtime," he said.
Snowmobilers must respect the wishes of the landowners, he said. "They are the backbone of the New York snowmobile trail system and without them, there would be no trails."
Those who do not follow the trail requirements could be subject to charges and fines, including having their sled impounded, Smith said. "Violators face trespassing charges and could jeopardize the trail if the landowner shuts down access."
The five snowmobile clubs in Chautauqua County are responsible for maintaining the 400 miles of trails with volunteer labor providing thousands of hours that are necessary, Smith says.
"Trails are routinely rerouted as changes in the landscape happen during the off-season," he said, noting that "anyone heading out before the season opens is exposing themselves to an accident ready to happen."
"Common sense should overcome snow fever," Smith said, offering these pointers:
Even after the official opening of the trails on Dec. 19, snowmobilers should always be aware of trail conditions before heading out to ride.
Contact the local club where you plan to ride to be sure the trail is open.
Take it easy while getting back into the swing of snowmobiling. Many snowmobilers are anxious to try out newly purchased sleds and should take the time needed to adjust to handling the new machine.
Riding before the trails are cleared and signed is risky business.
Always respect the landowners and stay on the trail or stay home if the trail is closed.
Make sure youthful operators have completed the required safety classes.
It's a good idea for adult riders to brush up on snowmobile safety as well.
The local clubs that can be contacted for more information include:
The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club; the Cherry Creek Snow Goers; The Ellery Snow Cruisers; The Lake Effect Traileblazers and the Sunset Drifters Snowmobile Club.
Contact information is listed on the web site at
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