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Trip Report Chautauqua Week

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Chautauqua Institution is hard to describe. There is a special magic to the place. Long ago it began as a training center for Sunday school teachers. Now though retaining a quaint charm it is renowned for lectures by well known speakers plus emphasis on the arts plus recreation. During the summer are many concerts and performances. Lots for children plus boating, golfing, etc. Truly it is a special place for anyone to relax. We had visited various times in the past (at the insistence of friends). Now we are just back from a week at CI which was also a Road Scholar program (www.roadscholar.org). This put us in the famous Athenaeum Hotel overlooking the lake enjoying excellent meals.

The headline religious speaker was retired Bishop John Shelby Spong. His afternoon lectures in the Hall of Philosophy gave us a new look at Christianity and interpreting the Bible, throwing out literalism in favor of finding the major message. Look at the schedule for the first week and you will see the full line up: www.ciweb.org/calendar. In the mornings critic Roger Rosenblatt engaged various writers in conversation: Norman Lear, Derek & Sissela Bok, Meg Wolitzer, Billy Collins, Julie Andrews and daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Not so familiar with most (except for Dame Andrews) I confess but I found it really entertaining. These talks were in the huge Ampitheater (1881), also site of evening entertainment...and a must is taking seat cushions! This is where many famous speakers have been including FDR's speech in 1936 on I Hate War.

For some history and overview look at Fodors on Chautauqua Institution Review
For a report six years ago: www.fodors.com/community/united-states/jeds-chautauqua-institution-my-trip-report.cfm.

If you get out a map you will locate CI at the far western tip of New York. Beautiful area on Lake Chautauqua and not far from Niagra Falls. More later about program and travel.

Bill in Boston

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