Circle the Lake


Below is a motorcycle tour in Chautauqua County, NY. Sharing much of the midwest in culture, Chautauqua is the westernmost county in New York. But Chautauqua County is rich in roads with many changes in elevation and many twists, turns, and curves. Not a technical sport bike challenge but rhythmic and mellow cruising through some of the best farm country in the East. Besides the roads, great places to eat and socialize are included. Enjoy breakfast then enjoy the ride!

Starting Point: Anywhere on the Route

This tour is a “Figure Eight” cruise. Our ride today is actually starting in Barcelona where Rt. 394 starts by the shores of Lake Erie just North of Rt. 20.  Besides, I want to have breakfast at Jack’s Barcelona Drive-In restaurant, a very biker friendly place with really good pie. That’s right, pies for breakfast. An old New Hampshire breakfast staple is apple pie with cheddar cheese.

Rt. 394 takes us through the village of Westfield and up the escarpment onto Chautauqua Ridge via Portage road and past the Portage Hill Art Gallery (The owner, author of this blog, is a 55 year veteran motorcyclist. It is a great stop for art lovers. They offer free delivery for any biker purchase too large to carry on your ride.).

As you continue south on Rt. 394, when the road stops climbing, you are riding over a continental divide. On the north slope where you have just been riding all waters flow northeast into the St. Lawrence river and eventually into the North Atlantic. But when you crest the height of land, the waters flow south into the Ohio River and the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

As you cruise through Mayville the road drops to the level of Lake Chautauqua and past the old trolley station and the Lakeside Inn by the Docks (one of the best biker bars in the county). Follow Rt. 394 southeast. If you like cheese stop at the Reverie Creamery (6.2 mi.) on the right …true gourmet cheeses. Then back on the road to the Jct. with I-86. Take the east-bound ramp (left) to cross the bridge over Lake Chautauqua  toward Jamestown. After the bridge take an immediate right exit then another right at the end of the off-ramp onto Rt. 430 East. Continue East on 430 toward Jamestown. Some great lake views ahead.

Reaching Jamestown Rt. 430 bears right at a traffic light and becomes Washington Ave. Take it for one mile and go right on W. 8th St. Then in .4 mi. turn right on Fairmount Ave. On the right is the outlet from Chautauqua Lake and McCrae park.

Continue West 2 miles to Celoron Park (on your right at the “T” intersection) where you can snap a selfie of you, your ride and “Scary Lucy”. Leaving the park head away from the Lake past the Moose Club for .2 mi. then right on Duquesne St. and in .3 mi. go right on Terrace Ave (just past the “Rod & Gun Club”.) Then in 2.4 mi. with the Lakewood town beach on your right turn left on Chautauqua Ave. In .2 mi. just past the gourmet Scallions Bistro, turn right at the “Stop” sign onto W. Summit Ave for 1 3/10 mi. to jct. Fairmont Ave (Rt 394 W.). Then West again on Rt. 394 until you get back to the I-86 bridge over the lake. But this time when you exit immediately on the East side of the bridge turn left on Rt. 430 into Bemus Point village. This is the “Party Town” of the Lake.

The Bemus Inn soon on the right is one of the best breakfast places anywhere. Their cinnamon buns are huge and delicious. At the stoplight in town on the left is the Ellicottville Brew Pub. Across the street find The Italian Fisherman restaurant on the lake. All three  worthwhile places to visit and dine. Also check out the Casino located next to the ferry dock. The Casino has dining on the lake, music, and much more. Bemus Point is a good place to just hang out and spend some time sight-seeing..

When ready to roll, follow Rt. 430 West. Shortly ahead is the Long Point State Park, a good place to stretch your legs exploring the point between the northern and southern basins of Chautauqua Lake. Returning to Rt. 430 West. Midway State Park is a wonderful stop if you have kids aboard on your ride. Then continue West to he village of Mayville bringing to a close your figure eight circumnavigation of Chautauqua Lake.

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