Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Blissful Microcosm

By Misty L. Harris

If a new visitor (without GPS or driving instructions) wasn’t attentive to the signs, he or she would miss the Chautauqua Institution altogether. With its brick walls and towering trees, the average eye would be clueless to the wonders that lie inside.


The first time I entered those gates (gate pass in hand) I thought I had entered another world - a utopian society even. After walking around and down the streets (I noticed one appropriately named “Bliss Street”) I imagined that this was what the Hamptons on Long Island or Martha’s Vineyard in New England looked like, quaint and serene. The clouds above appeared to be in 3D. Every cottage’s garden was as beautiful as the next. Ducks swam ashore to greet the beach inhabitants if only for a second for fear and instinct would overcome them when a curious toddler ran their way to get a closer look. Boats floating in the harbor or sailing by as those looking to cool off swam in the safe zone. This was bliss!

Stratton_RawsonObviously, there’s a lot to partake in! On this particular day, Classical 94.5 WNED’s Stratton Rawson held a lecture in the Hall of Philosophy (available soon on the Classical 94.5 WNED website) to a crowd of eager listeners. I couldn’t help but wonder if these people happen to be strolling by (the Hall is open, totally devoid of walls and only sectioned off by Grecian pillars) or if they were one of the few lucky Classical 94.5 WNED member – listeners who called in to win a pair of passes to Public Radio Day at the Chautauqua Institution. Every year in July, the Institution opens its gates to Classical 94.5 WNED for a live broadcast from what we call the “back porch” of the Athenaeum Hotel. Residents of the Chautauqua Institution, summer vacationers and day pass winners alike stop by to meet and greet our hosts and learn more about our station. Chautauqua_lectures

Winners of the day passes have the opportunity to attend lectures (like the one mentioned above), see a play at the Bratton Theatre, relax at the beach, or watch a performance at the Amphitheatre, the home of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. There’s even a mini-movie theatre! If all else fails, taking a walk around the Institution should be enough to peak your interests and feed your senses.

Although Classical 94.5 WNED has only one day (Public Radio Day) designated for our members and listeners, there’s plenty of time throughout the summer season (June 25-August 28) to enjoy all the blissful offerings of the Chautauqua Institution!

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