This year’s Week Two theme was Games: A Celebration of Our Most Human Pastimes and it
set the stage for a week of FUN! As we have for the last 22 years, my Wife Deb, my Mom Shirley, my Aunt Nancy, and myself thoroughly enjoyed our week (wish it was two weeks) at Chautauqua. Along with Games, the theme of Two really “played” itself out.
We took time to play all week. In addition to our daily web-based/app games of Wordle, Wingspan, and Catan, we learned two new games. 5 Fingers is a simple, but cutthroat, game with no equipment (except one of your hands) that can be played with as few as three people. It’s very quick to learn and to play and it proved to be a good icebreaker.
The really exciting new game we learned was English Lawn Bowling. Each day at 1:00, a free lesson in English Lawn Bowling is offered down at the Bowling Green across from Palestine Park. We had a blast! While similar to Bocci Ball, we found it more challenging and just plain fun. I don’t know if it’s offered every week, but if so, I encourage everyone to give English Lawn Bowling a try.
At the daily lectures we were treated to two speakers who engaged the entire audience of the Amphitheater in games including 5 Fingers, Rock Scissors Paper, and word/language trivia. These were not only fun activities, but also incredible to see hundreds of people participating as the entire Amp crowd was whittled down to just one winner.
The grounds were packed with ministers and chaplains of all faiths this week. While we engaged with several, two of them who were officially serving this week stood out for us. Jen Heckmann was our UCC Chaplain of the Week and she may be the first minister we’ve met who is also a huge gamer. Her Sunday sermon was unique in that it spoke directly to the importance and unexpected spirituality of games. Likewise, we gained great insight and inspiration from the daily services (“Big Church” as we call it) led by Rev. Zina Jacque. Her messages were relevant, engaging, thoughtful, and the perfect way to start each day.
As is our family tradition, we take two meals “on campus” in the Mayflower Dining Room (breakfast and lunch) and then go “off campus” for dinner. This year we visited two of our favorites: Stella in Lakewood and Pine Junction in Findley Lake. And also two more favorites: The Springs on the other side of the lake and Whiskey Hill Saloon in Cassadaga. All of the restaurants in the area are still adjusting to the post Covid world. We had a bit of a challenge figuring out which restaurants were open on which days. Many are closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and even Wednesdays. When planning to go “off campus” for a meal, it’s best to check with them first to make sure of their days and hours of operation.
We were surprised and thrilled to be treated to not just one, but two concerts this week. First up on Sunday night was the ageless Diana Ross. She sang (as did the majority of the very enthusiastic audience) all of her hits from Motown to Disco and even sang a song of gratitude from her new album. And, of course, costume changes! Four or five times she snuck into her onstage dressing room and emerged looking more fabulous than when she went in. Week Two wrapped up with Straight, No Chaser supporting their Yacht Rock Tour. The easy listening/ 70’s rock vibe was a hit with another packed Amp Audience.
Finally, our stay was made even better with the best two sets of hosts on the grounds: John and Sheila (RCH) and Margaret and David (Mayflower). Along with our Chaplain Administrator Peggy and Registrar Grace, they all greeted us with a warm welcome and created a seamless stay. The Chautauqua UCC Society/ Family provides not only a wonderful place to stay, but also to relax, enjoy, and grow. Second to none!
by Julie Turnley