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Jamestown and the surrounding communities make for a lovely weekend getaway or day trip thanks to the lake views and hilarious museums. We visited Jamestown during the late fall, so it was perfect for a cozy weekend getaway! During our visit to Jamestown, we visited the top things to see and do in Jamestown including local wineries, the Lucy-Desi Museum, and Chautauqua Lake. In this guide, we include everything that we did during our weekend visit to Jamestown, New York!
Top Things to Do in Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake New York
Jamestown New York Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Wine country and Outdoor Adventures
Day 2: Remembering Lucille Ball
Getting to Jamestown New York
As people who tend to do a lot of drivable weekend getaways in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York region, Jamestown is located near a few other places that we’ve traveled to in the past. It’s only 80 miles from Buffalo New York, 30 minutes from Erie, 2.5 hours from Pittsburgh, 2 hours from Cleveland, and 3 hours from the Finger Lakes!
Getting to Jamestown is quite easy if you’re driving from nearby cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Erie or Cleveland.
Day 1: Top Things to do in Jamestown New York
Explore Local Wine Country
Jamestown New York is centrally located between two wine countries, the Lake Erie Wine Country and Finger Lakes! If you’re a wine enthusiast, you can always add one of these destinations to extend your itinerary. During our weekend trip to Jamestown, we stopped at Mazza Winery near Lake Erie. The tasting room and vineyards were beautiful! During the drive, it was amazing to see the fields of vineyards on either side of the road.
Get Adventurous at Panama Rocks
If you’re visiting Jamestown between May and November, you’ll have to stop by Panama Rocks! Panama Rocks is a privately owned trail system that features stunning rock formations! Panama Rocks has been voted one of the top destinations in the county and top trail in the state!
When visiting Panama Rocks, don’t miss out on looking at the signs around the site. The signs talk about the geology you’re seeing, the foliage, and namesake of each rock formation.
Panama Rock is an enchanting world of caves, passageways, and towering rocks. The rocks are composed on 300 million-year-old quartz conglomerate sedimentary rock, so you’ll see sandy erosion around the base of the rocks. The surrounding forest is full 800+-year-old hemlock trees, lush green ground cover, mosses, and exposed roots.
Since Panama Rocks is a privately-owned site, there is a small fee for entry.
If you visit Panama Rocks, please be very cautious, especially if you’re with children. These rock formations can be very slippery, unstable, and high elevation. Signing a waiver is required for all visitors!
Check in to Your Hotel and Have Dinner
Where to Stay in Jamestown New York: Chautauqua Harbor Hotel
During our weekend getaway to Jamestown New York, we stayed at the recently opened Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. This gorgeous hotel is right on the lake and features resort amenities, beautiful views, and an amazing restaurant. For our visit, we got the “hilarious package” that included tickets to the National Comedy Center, Luci-Desi Museum, free dessert at the hotel restaurant, and a discount on our meal as well.
At the hotel restaurant, the Lakehouse Tap and Grill, we had an amazing meal with a view of the lake!
During the summer, there is an outdoor pool, putting green, outdoor bar, pier, and fire pits. In the winter, the BYOB fire pits are still running! The hotel also features a gym and indoor pool. Although breakfast isn’t included (you can get breakfast from the restaurant though!), Starbucks coffee and tea are available on every floor.
Our king, lake view room was perfect! The furniture and decor were very coastal and reminded us of the Fixer Upper style! The room was incredibly comfortable and we loved our stay at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.
Day 2: Top Things to do in Jamestown New York
Remember the Legacy of Lucille Ball
One of the most notable people from Jamestown is Lucille Ball, the queen of comedy. Lucy was born in Jamestown but grew up in the nearby town of Celeron. Throughout Lucy’s life, she frequently returned to her hometown and hoped that one day it could be a place where people could come and celebrate the art of comedy.
Lucille Ball’s Childhood Home
If you stay at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, you won’t be far from Lucy’s childhood home in the small town of Celoron. The street is now named after her (Lucy Lane), but during her childhood, it was known as 8th Street. Today, the home is a private residence; but the garage is highly recognizable with it’s blue and white polka dots.
Lucille Ball Memorial Park
Next door to the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is the Lucille Ball, Memorial Park. This little park features public space for children and families to enjoy. Here, you’ll see a beautiful statue of Lucy striking a pose and the Chautauqua Lighthouse.
The Lucy-Desi Museum and Desilu Studios tell the story of Lucy and Desi and how their I Love Lucy show came to be. Both museums are located next door to one another so definitely visit both! At Desilu studios, you’ll get to see reconstructions of the I Love Lucy sets, filming equipment, and Lucy’s many awards!
At the Lucy-Desi Museum, you’ll get to hear of the stories of how Lucy and Desi met, their rise to fame, and how Lucy became a pioneer in comedy and the entertainment industry.
Visit the National Comedy Center
One of Lucille Ball’s dreams was to have Jamestown become a place to celebrate the art of comedy. In 2018, her dream came true with the opening of the National Comedy Center. This interactive, personalized museum experience tells the stories of famed comedians, TV shows, and movies. At the beginning of your visit, you’ll receive a card where you make a “comedy profile.” Here, you’ll be asked questions about your favorite comedians, actors, genres, and movies. Throughout the museum, there are stations with activities that allow you to have a personalized experience based on your profile. Some of these activities include drawing cartoons, watching viral internet videos, and even performing stand-up routines! The museum is incredibly well put together and we could have spent much more time there!
The National Comedy Center is a family-friendly museum! The downstairs and separate “blue-room” exhibit has more of the adult humor featured. And for adults, you can purchase adult drinks from Southern Tier in souvenir cups!
Jamestown and the National Comedy Center also hosts an annual Lucille Ball comedy festival! This event brings some of the biggest names in comedy to Jamestown. Throughout the year, the National Comedy Center hosts a variety of comedy shows.
You can purchase dual tickets to the National Comedy Center and I Love Lucy Museum for a discounted price!
Visiting New York?
Read more about things to do in New York:
- Weekend Getaway to the Finger Lakes
- Visiting Niagara Falls and Buffalo during the Winter
- Summer Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls and Buffalo