We drove to western New York State for a one-week-vacation at the Chautauqua Institutution. We’d heard good things about this 136-year-old “adult education center and summer resort” and thought it might suit us.
The theme for the week was “Money and Power”. The Institute brought in a team of big names, including Bill Moyers, Steve Forbes and former Congressman Tim Roemer together with some not-so-big-names-but-very- smart-people like Zephyr Teachout and Mehrsa Baradaran who spoke on topics such as “How the Other Half Banks” (Baradaran) and Corruption (Teachout). A recurring theme was to get money out of politics.
What struck us as important was that these people did not just describe the problems. They suggested solutions.
There was also time for fun. The Capitol Steps, perfect satirists for an election year, mocked everyone in politics, and the crowd laughed uproariously. A concert by the Avett Brothers, a famous folk rock band, was a new experience for us, to say the least. The Chautauqua Symphony played. The Chautauqua Ballet danced. We couldn’t do everything. It was exhausting.
The architecture of the Chautauqua “village” is wonderful. The gardens are gorgeous. We stayed in an old, paint-peeling hotel overlooking the lake. Our room had windows we could actually open.
When it was over, I needed a vacation.