Smithsonian magazine has named Chautauqua, N.Y., as the No. 1 "Best Small Town to Visit in 2014" in the cover story of its April 2014 issue. The feature, by former New York Times "Frugal Traveler" columnist Susan Spano, cites Chautauqua Institution's mix of lectures, classes, recreational activities and fine, performing and literary arts programs as the basis for the distinction.

The third in an annual series, the "Best Small Towns to Visit" feature this year "singled out communities for particular strengths in history, music, visual arts, learning, food, theater and science." Working with Esri, a geographical information systems company, Smithsonian identified municipalities with fewer than 15,000 residents "where cultural opportunities abound, at least on a per-capita basis."
"What this cover story and the Smithsonian audience seek is exactly what CHQ delivers," said Chautauqua Institution President Tom Becker. "During our nine-week summer season, more than 100,000 visitors pass through these gates and become parts of a community of engagement with ideas and art and each other, attending some 2,200 programs that challenge them to continue to learn and grow as citizens of our world."
Joining CHQ on the list at No. 3 is Williamsburg, Va., home to the Institution's frequent program partner, Colonial Williamsburg. Also representing the eastern United States are Woods Hole, Mass. (No. 5); Marietta, Ohio (No. 6); Beaufort, S.C. (No. 7); Havre de Grace, Md. (No. 12); Columbia, Pa. (No. 13); Mount Dora, Fla. (No. 14); Montpelier, Vt. (No. 16); and Harrodsburg, Ky. (No. 17).
Those who take Smithsonian's advice and attend CHQ's 2014 season can hear from distinguished authors Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth Strout, Edward Snowden interviewer Barton Gellman, former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, NPR "On Being" host Krista Tippett and foreign-affairs expert Fareed Zakaria. The Institution's arts programs will produce Go West!, a completely original collaborative production on American expansionism, on July 26, and the Chautauqua Golf Club — featuring an 18-hole course designed by Donald Ross — celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Day, week and season passes are available now, with tickets for popular entertainment, theater and opera set to go on sale April 1. Contact the Institution's Ticket Office at 716-357-6250 or toll-free at 1-800-836-ARTS, or order online at

Link to full Smithsonian feature: