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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chautauqua County Foliage

In Cattaraugus County, expect near peak to peak foliage this weekend, with around 65 percent color change. Dull yellows and oranges predominate over the rapidly changing greens. Foliage spotters at Allegany State Park in Cattaraugus County expect 60 percent foliage change with yellow and orange leaves predominating and red starting to show. At the park, the trees have quickly changed over the past week and some hills are almost completely changed while others are still mostly green. In Chautauqua County, foliage change will be at midpoint with 50 percent transition and a bright mix of orange and yellow shades coming on strong. Allegany County is also calling for foliage change at around 50 percent and bright red, orange and yellow fall colors.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Chautauqua Lake $ummer $uccess

By Dennis Phillips

No only did local residents enjoy the sunny weather Chautauqua County experienced this summer, but tourists did too.

Good weather is one reason why several businesses in the county did well this summer. Dan Dalpra, Italian Fisherman Restaurant owner, said the ''phenomenal'' weather was critical in the success of his Bemus Point business.

''The weather played a real important role when compared to last year,'' he said. ''Weather brought a lot of people out. With the solid weather and a little more confidence in the economy, I think we did better this summer.''

Weather also helped Chautauqua Heights Campground in Dewittville. Anita Perry, owner along with her husband Bill, said they had an ''excellent'' summer season with help from the weather.

''The economy did not affect the business at all. The weather affected my business,'' she said. ''The sun helped me to have a very good summer. I expected to be busy. I expected good weather.''

Mrs. Perry said she also believes business was up because the campground is an affordable option for families who didn't want to travel far distances for more money.

''I think people always want to take a vacation no matter what the economy is like,'' she said. ''They may not be able to go to Disney World, but they're going to do something.''

Fred Johnson, Johnson Estate Winery owner, said he believes there were more tourists in the area from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

''My out-of-state sales were up significantly,'' he said. ''It seems to me people in Western New York are struggling a little bit more with taxes then our neighbors in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Our sales from people coming in from out of state is where we saw a lot of growth.''

Johnson said the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail is one reason he believes more people came to the area from out of state. He said it has been a great marketing device for many wineries in the area.

''The wine trail over the last three years has really got going,'' he said. ''I think it is becoming the primary tourist draw for northern Chautauqua County.''

Dalpra said before the summer began, he had to make the decision on whether to be more aggressive or to be more cautious when it came to marketing his business.

''We chose to take and risk and be more aggressive by planning more shows on the floating stage and we did more business than we usually do. The risk paid off.''

Dalpra said businesses in the area were being more aggressive and not being intimidated by the economy, which motivated other businesses to be more bold.

''I think being aggressive helped to motivate others who were squeamish. I think it led others to do more too,'' he said. ''I think others started to look and say 'They're being aggressive, I should be too.' I think it then caught on.''

Dalpra said he is already planning for next summer and, again, will be doing more.

''It is kind of hard to project, but based on what I see now I think I will be even more aggressive next year as momentum starts to build,'' he said. ''I'm thinking about next year already and I'm thinking positive.''

Mrs. Perry said she is already preparing for next summer and she expects even more business too.

''We're putting in 70 new sites next year because, at times, we had to turn people away because we were full,'' she said. ''If I thought the economy was going to be horrible I certainly wouldn't be putting in more sites.''

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