Lake house-type area in Western NY/PA?
June 21, 2020 6:10 AM   Subscribe

We are looking for a spot in, generally, western NY/PA for a lake house-type family vacation. Vaguely near Erie, PA or the Allegheny National Forest or even Youngstown, OH. Ideas?

I have a family member in Chicago that wants to plan a family get-together with a family member in New York City. (Small group of people using Covid precautions.) Neither one wants to fly and neither one wants to drive the entire Chi/NY distance. I am wondering if there is a nice spot on a lake somewhere around the mid-point between Chi/NY, which is roughly the area described above. (Youngstown is the exact mid-point, but it doesn't need to be exact.) The ideal place would be a "lake house"-type area with vacation homes for rent, with some nature/trails/hiking nearby. Does not need to be fancy, but we would need a basic decent grocery store etc. and maybe some carryout food places like pizza. Chautauqua Lake area in western NY looks promising. Are there other areas we should look?
posted by Mid to Travel & Transportation around Chautauqua, NY (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you go a little further East, you’ll get to the Finger Lakes. A little further west and there’s Lakeside, Ohio, which is wonderful if that’s your thing (and since you cited Chautauqua, it probably would be). And of course, all in between in Lake Erie, whose bad reputation is undeserved. Maybe look for something around Geneva-on-the-Lake, which is right off the 90 and famous for wineries.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:43 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

We've been looking for the same thing in the same area. My one requirement has been a private pool and hiking nearby. I've been using VRBO. I'd put in your requirements (region, bedrooms, $$) and work backwards. There are dozens of lakefront homes available last time I checked a few days ago.

If you need an exact location I'd recommend Sommerset County, PA
posted by Alison at 7:44 AM on June 21, 2020

A bit south of your range, you might try checking out Deep Creek Lake in McHenry, MD.
posted by pilibeen at 8:51 PM on June 21, 2020

There’s not much for bodies of water in Youngstown, but Ashtabula is directly north of it and on Lake Erie. Maryland is 200 miles away, you don’t have to detour that much to go somewhere nice.

I’d suggest looking around the Lake Chatauqua and Jamestown areas. There are a lot of lakeside activities, tourist amenities are decent (at least if you’re interested in folksy regional restaurants), and the area is easy to reach off I-90 and I-86. I can’t make any specific recommendations though.
posted by ardgedee at 11:26 AM on June 22, 2020

For a small town feel, look to Conneaut Lake, PA. There's also a lake in the college town of Edinboro, PA, with some cottages, but Edinboro isn't as much of a tourist town as Conneaut Lake.

You can also find activities for the area from the regional tourism bureau.
posted by hydra77 at 11:57 AM on June 22, 2020

Yes, Chautauqua Lake is very nice. The Chautauqua Institution is a cool place to hang out for a day. Under non-virus circumstances they have summer programs with lectures, music performances, and art classes.

Also look into Findley Lake, another nice little lake nearby.

My hometown, North East PA, is a nice little town right on Lake Erie. Might be some houses for rent on the shore.
posted by booth at 8:35 AM on June 23, 2020

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