Last two days at Chautauqua Institution

DSC_3899Let’s start with the “group photo”.  We couldn’t agree on which version to use, since we kept taking turns closing our eyes during the shoot.  So, here’s my choice for the best (and latest) Roach/Stafford travel photo.

We have traveled many places with these two and have become very comfortable, like family, together.  It is a joy to have friends like this…and it’s sometimes hard to predict who might like this kind of “travel vacation” opportunity.  It’s not for everyone.

Louise encouraged me to make the blog reporting complete and accurate, even though yesterday’s 2PM speaker was a “radical” (that’s his term).  He is very erudite, is this man named Chris Hedges, and is very smooth in his delivery.  But, he’s convinced that the world has been manipulated into permanent warfare and a continual oppression of the worker class and aggrandizement of the owner class by the military/industrial complex people.

Luckily, we had enjoyed a good lunch on the porch of one of the art galleries which grace the grounds here.  Here’s the building with its brown tin roof…it even sounded good in the rain; we had our first downpour of the week during this midday interlude.


Back to the radical….Hedge’s remarks were startling in that, in addition to his expected railing against WBush and his henchman, Cheney, he blamed Clinton for the biggest set of ills of the last two decades – for excessive deregulation and friendly favors for business people.  Obama doesn’t escape anything either, since his tactics of spying on citizens in the name of “national security” are part of the latest catastrophic actions, which will drive the country into oblivion by the time our grandkids are ready to become mainstream contributors to society.

Some of these presentations this week needed to be presented in a more balanced way , like their dialogue between the BearStearns guy and the NYTimes lady reporter on Thursday…one of the best of the week’s thoughtful programs.  I felt as if I could gag as I was listening to Mr. Hedges’ mellifluous tones.

We turned in our bikes after that one and headed home for a last night’s supper of that wonderful fresh vegetable salad that the lady’s had collected at the Farmer’s Market on the premises here.  We went through lots of wine, but still had some Chardonnay & Smithwick’s Ale left for the cleaning people as we vacate on Saturday morning.


The Friday evening extravaganza entertainment was country singer Travis Tritt.  He turned 50 this year, so is getting into the category of fitting into the Chautauqua era himself…although being retired seems to be a requirement of spending a week or more here.

He’s recorded some great ones, like “Here’s a Quarter; call someone who cares.” and a special treat that he sings with his 15 year old daughter…and they joined together for the first ever live concert with us right here.


So, we rocked the night away with Travis.  An unexpected pleasure.

Some other last thoughts may be appropriate.

Here’s a photo of a news boy…they are stationed all around the place to sell the Daily Chautauquan newspaper, without which you cannot live the full life of a Learningville citizen.


And here’s another surprise we haven’t covered…there are works of public art all around the place.  Here’s Butch on the left, holding hands with some of the most lovable of the pieces.










One of the ladies alone.  If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can get back to the blog by using the back button on the upper left of your screen – I hope.











Here’s a more joyful statue over near the Scott’s house.

Another unusual place down by the lake is a scale model replica of the Holy Land – Palestine. It runs from south below the Dead Sea to above the Sea of Galilee on the north and follows the River Jordan. They give tours of it and Lake Chautauqua forms a boundary as if it were the Mediterranean Sean.
See the Dead Sea next…
…and then the River Jordan.

All in all, we found the place magical again and had a great time visiting with old friends and new from Sanibel, Captiva and other places around the country.
I hope this writing and photo has given you some kind of a “feel” for Learningville.

All the best.


Lifelong Philadelphia area Realtor. Now a 13-year citizen of Sanibel, Florida. Married to Nancy for 54 years. Three children (2 in Devon; 1 in Steamboat Springs, CO) and 5 grandkids (2 in college). Helping with charities involving poverty, kids and education.

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