As one of the most fished lakes in New York — and a recreational hub for Chautauquans — Chautauqua Lake has seen its fair share of use. But when blue and green sludge-like goop coated the lake’s surface at the tail-end of each season for the past few years, officials prohibited Chautauquans from swimming and setting sail.
As seasonal activity on the grounds accelerated past the midpoint of the season, a few of the Institution’s part-time employees shared their stories.
Taking in a day of fun and relaxation at Chautauqua is easy. People can get some sun at one of the beaches, play a set or two of tennis at the Chautauqua Tennis Center, or work up a sweat at one of the two fitness centers on the grounds.
However, ensuring all of those facilities are safe and up to Chautauquans’ standards means long days and meticulous attention to detail.
Karl Hanson, 21, is the first-year maintenance worker for the Department of Recreation. He oversees the tennis center, the beaches, both fitness centers, Sharpe Field and the lawn bowling green next to the Sports Club.
While walking to the Sports Club only days before the season started, Richard Ulasewicz saw Rita VanDerveer sitting on her porch reading with a friend. They exchanged greetings, and VanDerveer asked Ulasewicz how his day was going.
He told VanDerveer his day had been pretty rough, and that he was desperate for a certified bridge instructor. He asked VanDerveer if she, by any chance, knew someone who could help.
VanDerveer pointed to her friend who was reading on her porch and said, “There’s your new bridge instructor right there.” It was Marsha Reall.
After a long, hard-fought season, it all came down to this: one game, one winner, one champion.
The Chautauqua women’s slow-pitch softball league championship hung in the balance Tuesday when the Moms took on the Lakers.
The winners would have their team name immortalized on the champions’ plaque in the Sports Club. The loser? Well, they would probably go out for ice cream or get some dinner after the game and try again next year.
Hundreds of athletes will descend on the Sports Club on Chautauqua’s waterfront to compete in the Old First Night Run/Walk/Swim at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 4.
The OFN race gives athletes of all ages the opportunity to compete in a congenial atmosphere while raising money for the Chautauqua Fund.
While many Chautauquans have participated in the race for years, it has also attracted accomplished athletes to visit the Institution in hopes of returning home with a victory.
Down at the edge of the Institution’s grounds, in the shadow of the grand Athenaeum Hotel, canopied by a few tall trees, sits a quaint little house — Chautauqua Sports Club.
Green shuffleboard courts lie to the left. A few picnic tables with chess and checkerboards on top decorate the front lawn. The lake rests behind the house, with paddleboats, canoes and kayaks bobbing in the water near the dock.