Jamestown is located on the southern end of the Chautauqua Lake in far western New York state. Jamestown is also the birthplace of Lucille Ball. At the age of 15, Lucy convinced her mother to allow her to go to New York City to attend an acting school where she was told that she had no talent and should find something else more suitable. Clearly, she persisted and some 6 years later began to get work as a model.
Jamestown celebrates Lucy through two museums. One is dedicated to Lucy’s life and her acting career and the other covers Desilu Studios and the “I Love Lucy” show. It’s quite impressive to see that Desi Arnaz, through Desilu Studios significantly advanced the technology and techniques used in film making. At one point, Desilu Studios was home to many of the most popular television shows. It’s hard for many of us to recall the tremendous celebrity of Lucy and of “I Love Lucy”. Lucy appeared on the cover of the “TV Guide” some 36 times, more than anyone else. It’s estimated that somewhere in the world, at any moment of the day, people are watching Lucy on TV even today. The museums are well worth a visit for any fan of Lucy or Desi.
We also visited two nearby lakeside communities that are mostly seasonal with many of the businesses open only during Memorial Day to Labor Day. Bemis Point is a small village on the north side of the lake with a nice marina. We had lunch at the recently opened Ellicottville Brewing Company restaurant. On the other side of the lake is the town of Lakewood which was home to many turn of the century luxury vacation homes and hotels, including the Packard mansion built by the designer of the Packard automobile.
Next stop: North Tonawanda, NY (Niagara Falls)