For more than 140 years, inquisitive adults have been coming to the Chautauqua Institution seeking intellectual growth and taking part in events led by some of the leading thinkers of our time. A Road Scholar experience at Chautauqua also features cultural performances, music and lively discussions with other fascinating lifelong learners. Located in the southwestern region of New York State, Chautauqua is a pedestrian community offering superb educational programs in a serene and breathtaking environment. Arriving at Chautauqua, you’ll find you’ve disconnected from the day-to-day world and entered a 750-acre setting that is both enlightening and restorative.
During your Road Scholar learning adventure you’ll stay at the beautiful and historic Athenaeum Hotel in the heart of the campus. This Victorian-style hotel, which dates back to 1881, is one of the largest and oldest wooden hotels left in America and is known as Chautauqua’s “Grand Dame.” Full of old-world charm, it does contain modern amenities. Nestled within a dramatic lakeside setting that lends itself to glorious views, it’s on the list of National Historic Landmarks for its architecture — high ceilings, grand staircases, verandas, columns and quaint, charming rooms. Sit in a rocking chair on the porch of the Athenaeum with a book or a cocktail and take a step back in time to catch a glimpse of its grand and graceful past.
Summer is peak season at Chautauqua featuring superb educational programs and speakers. Each week is devoted to a different topic and you’ll be sharing the campus with other learners from around the world. Or, join us during the off-season for spring or fall sessions which are more intimate and exclusive to Road Scholar. You’ll enjoy lectures from notable experts in their field while having the opportunity to learn about several topics within the week.
During the spring and fall sessions at Chautauqua, the Road Scholar events and lectures are kept very close to the Athenaeum and take place inside the hotel, at the Presbyterian Chapel and within the Hultquist Center classrooms. These venues are easily accessible and within a five-minute walk.
During the summer season, the learning is spread out among the many facilities across campus, with larger lectures taking place at the 4,500-seat amphitheater. With more learners coming to Chautauqua in-season, you’ll often find yourself surrounded by stimulating intellectual conversations inside the Hall of Philosophy as well as civil discourse in and around other popular gathering spots. You’ll feel the strong sense of community as you encounter people who have been coming to Chautauqua for many generations.
Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes if you’d like to explore the grounds, including the charming cottages and lake.
During the summer months, there are plenty of recreational activities — from English lawn bowling to kayaking and tai chi in Miller Park. There are also many options to choose from for entertainment since Chautauqua has its own cinema, along with opera and theater companies that provide evening entertainment in the amphitheater.
Since the entire campus is utilized during the peak summer season and walking across the grounds could take over 30 minutes, you have the option of hopping on Chautauqua’s very own free shuttle busses and trams to help you get from event to event.