A Trip to Lake Erie Wine Country

A Trip to Lake Erie Wine Country

I recently had the chance to visit wine country in the Lake Erie area with my friends.  We had a wonderful host, Doug, who let us stay in an old boat house that he had renovated into a charming cottage situated directly on Chautauqua Lake.  Chautauqua Lake is an 18-mile long, 2-mile wide lake in western New York near Lake Erie.  It is beautiful, and you could not beat the view from our cottage as we could literally see the lake out of almost every room. 

We did get off to a bit of a rough start, though, before we even parked our vehicles at our destination.  Doug had instructed us to park in front of a garage on his property.  The problem was that it had rained for six days straight and the garage did not have a paved or graveled driveway.  Basically, we pulled into a yard in front of the garage and sank—it was our “memorable moment” for this trip.  A call to AAA and about an hour later we were pulled out and on our way to explore the area.  

There are 22 wineries along a 50 mile stretch of road that is known as the Lake Erie Winery Trail.  We managed to visit about 15 of them during our two days in the area and we did a lot of wine tasting.  There are also 30,000 acres of vineyards in the area---it’s all about the grapes!  It’s also a wine lover’s idea of heaven, but there is more to see and do in the area besides visiting the wineries.  There are a lot of quaint, historic little towns along the winery trail whose citizens obviously take pride in preserving the old historic homes in the area.

We also paid a visit to Chautauqua Institute, which was founded in 1874 as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers.  “Camp” is hardly the word to describe the Institute as it is a whole gated community consisting of beautiful old historic homes along scenic Chautauqua Lake.  The Institute still to this day holds conferences, lectures, and provides entertainment to groups and individuals during the summer months.  One of the centerpieces of the Institute is the beautiful, historic Athenaeum Hotel, which still provides lodging, meals, and entertainment to its guests.  Driving down into the Chautauqua Institute community is like taking a step back in time to another era.  

Despite our little mishap with the truck getting stuck, we had a wonderful time visiting this area of New York and plan on making another trip to restock our wine supply sometime in the future.


I recently had the chance to visit wine country in the Lake Erie area with my friends. We had a wonderful host, Doug, who let us stay in an old boat house that he had renovated into a charming cottage situated directly on Chautauqua Lake. Chautauqua Lake is an 18-mile long, 2-mile wide lake in western New York near Lake Erie. It is beautiful, and you could not beat the view from our cottage as we could literally see the lake out of almost every room.