Chautauqua County Offers Best of Both Worlds for Westfield Resident

After relocating due to an employment opportunity for her partner, Staunzie Grady said she fell in love with her new found home in Westfield, near the shores of Lake Erie. Staunzie came to Chautauqua County in 2022 when her partner, James Maxson, had an opportunity to become the head brewer for Ghostfish Brewing East. While she has lived in other areas, she found that what Chautauqua County has to offer is special.

Staunzie – an artist, event organizer, and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Coordinator – hails originally from Washington state, but grew up and started her business, Staunztastic Art, in Springfield, Illinois. She also lived in Georgia. After moving to Westfield, she said the natural environment of the area really drew her in.

“My first impressions of Chautauqua County were how beautiful and green everything was,” she said. “The variety of flora and fauna is fascinating.”

Staunzie said the availability of hiking trails, access to Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake for kayaking and other boating activities reminded her of Washington State, while the winter weather, diversity of the agricultural industry, and the bustling urban areas remind her of Illinois.

“Chautauqua County compares because it has all these things,” she said. “There is something for everyone in every season here.”

However, it’s not just the natural beauty that keeps her here in Chautauqua County.

“Everyone we have met in New York has been kind, warm and welcoming,” she said. “Aside from the beautiful trails and gorgeous lakes, the cost of living and the weather are both amazing- as well as not being very far from major cities if we want to do day trips.”

Despite being a small community, Staunzie said Westfield is packed full of events and activities to keep residents busy. She enjoys visiting the Full Strength Coffee Company, Wanderlust Custard and Carryout Cuisine, and Buttercream Babe for delicious eats and treats. She also recommends a visit to the Westfield Famers’ and Artisans’ Market on Saturday for a showcase of exciting goods and produce, or taking advantage of the Lake Erie Wine Trail. For those who enjoy beach combing and great views of Lake Erie, she said a trip to Barcelona Harbor Pier and the community beach is a must.

Staunzie said she often visits other areas in Chautauqua County as well, including the Audubon Community Nature Center, the National Comedy Center, and the City Pier Park in Dunkirk. For a local bite to eat, she said she enjoys stopping by Labyrinth Press Company and Brazil Lounge in Jamestown, or Music for Your Mouth in Mayville.

However, those who are looking for a little more outdoor activity, Staunzie said she recommends the local State Parks in the area and notes there is ample opportunity for camping and fishing for outdoor enthusiasts.

“In the short time we have lived in Chautauqua County, we have tried to see as much of the county as possible,” she said. “I have noticed two things: the natural beauty of Chautauqua and how kind, caring and supportive the residents are of each other. It’s not only a great place to visit, but it’s also a great place to live.”

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