Chautauqua institution, located in Chautauqua County, New York, is best described as a permanent artist colony. It is on NYS Route 394, on the northwestern side of Chautauqua lake.
During the summer, many cultural events are held there, including dance, opera, and classical music performances. There are also lectures. Each week is themed, and 2003 covered such topics as The Art of Governance, Science and Ethics, Security and Justice, and Energy: Environment and Economy.
There's also a golf course there. Behind the gates of the institution is the community itself: homes, churches, and ancient narrow streets that become a ghost town once the season is over. There are about 150,000 visitors in the summer, but only 400 winter residents.
The Chautauqua Institution was founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller, an Akron, OH, inventor and manufacturer; and John Heyl Vincent, a Methodist minister (later bishop). It is also a National Historic District, being designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
Locals tend to ignore the Institution, because it's always there. To a native of Chautauqua County, the best thing the Institution offers is Andriaccio's Restaurant, which is makes some of the best pizza in the county.
Some information from the official Chautauqua Institution website, www.ciweb.com