2014 Keystone Passport
2014 Keystone Passport
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The largest settlement in Chautauqua County, Jamestown is a historic city that was once known as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” It’s named after an early settler, James Prendergast, and was incorporated as a village in 1827 before being officially designated as a city in 1886. Jamestown was famously home to Lucille Ball and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, both of whom are celebrated at local museums.
Jamestown’s setting between the waters of Chautauqua Lake and the Allegany State Park make it a popular place to rent an RV while exploring southwest New York. It’s well served by family-friendly campgrounds while being just a 90-minute drive from Buffalo and slightly farther from Niagara Falls.
Book an RV rental in Jamestown and drive to the North Harmony State Forest, which encompasses more than 2,500 acres to the west of Chautauqua Lake. It’s a popular hiking destination, with the Fred J. Cusimano Westside Overland Trail traversing the forest while also being accessible to mountain bikers. Fishing for bass, sunfish, and bluegill is also permitted on Wiltsie Marsh while the forest transforms into a winter wonderland for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing towards the end of the year.
Directly east of Jamestown is the Allegany State Park, which has been referred to as "the wilderness playground of Western New York.” There are two main sections to explore - the Red House Area in the northeast and the Quaker area in the southwest - both of which feature hiking trails, lakes, and waterfalls. Begin your visit at the Old Quaker Store Museum to learn about the park’s establishment and industrial history, then follow the trail that leads to the picturesque Bridal Falls or the Bear Caves.
If you continue south, you’ll arrive at the adjacent Allegheny National Forest, which encompasses more than 500,000 acres in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Aside from plenty of hiking trails through its rugged surrounds, fishing and boating are also possible on the Allegheny Reservoir and its tributary rivers. Combine your visit with a stop at the spectacular Skywalk of the Kinzua Bridge State Park where you can peer down at the Kinzua Gorge while being suspended high above.
Pick up your camper rental in Jamestown and pull into one of the RV sites at the Hidden Valley Camping Area. This family-friendly RV camp has a large in-ground pool, a children’s playground, and a volleyball court, as well as laundry facilities and a camping store.
A short drive north of Jamestown takes you to the Chautauqua Lake KOA Holiday, a lakeside campground that nestles in 180 wooded acres in Dewittville. Aside from 240 sites to select from, there’s also a swimming pool, a mini-golf course, and a range of sporting courts to keep all ages entertained.
On the other side of the lake is Mayville and Camp Prendergast, which is positioned along the edge of one of New York’s best public trout streams. There are water, electric, and sewer hookups, a dump station, and firewood, as well as a children’s playground, a swimming pool, and Wi-Fi access available.
You can also make the 10-minute drive into Lakewood and its Walmart where you may be able to set up camp for a night or two with the manager’s permission.
Park your RV rental near Jamestown and head to the Fenton Historical Center, which occupies an Italianate villa that dates to 1863. Wander through the period rooms where themed exhibits about the people and events that have shaped the region are displayed, including a permanent exhibit “Made in Jamestown: The Furniture That Built A City.” Learn about the local furniture industries that were once the backbone of Jamestown and the workers who immigrated here to work in the factories.
If you’re interested in the legal system, make a point of visiting the Robert H. Jackson Center that’s committed to advancing public awareness and appreciation of the rule of law. It’s dedicated to the life and legacy of Robert H. Jackson, a renowned American attorney and judge who worked in Jamestown. Browse the exhibits about his life and the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg where he was the Chief U.S. Prosecutor or coincide your visit with one of the lectures that take place during the summer months.
Another museum not to miss is the National Comedy Center, which is the first institution dedicated to comedy in the United States. It features more than 50 interactive exhibits that are themed around different styles of humor, telling the story of comedy from the days of Charlie Chaplin to modern names such as Dave Chappelle. It was inspired by local comedy legend Lucille Ball whose name adorns many of Jamestown’s placards and parks, as well as the city’s comedy festival.
Jamestown is home to a number of supermarkets where you can pick up groceries, as well as a good selection of restaurants if you want to dine out. There are also gas stations if you need to fill up your motorhome rental in Jamestown.
Whether you’re visiting Chautauqua County for its comedy history or mountainous hiking trails, book an RV in Jamestown and start planning your next adventure.