Falconer and Chautauqua County a “Welcoming Place” for Wisconsin Native

While Falconer is a small village, it lays claim to a community of movers and shakers in Chautauqua County, including Stephanie Nick, who currently works as Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development Special Projects Coordinator. Stephanie moved from Milwaukee, WI to Central New York in 2012, and was introduced to Chautauqua County after a visit in 2020.

“I first came here to visit friends in 2020,” she said. “I really fell in love with the area and the people who live here and kept coming back. Having always lived in urban areas, I was hesitant to move into a more rural area. However, I soon realized that I could still walk to the grocery store or pharmacy, ride my bike to work, there is still a public transportation system and the pace of life is more mellow.”

Stephanie said her first impressions of the area were positive – including the realization that there may be more to do in the area than one would think of a rural area.

“I moved here in the Summer of 2023 and there were always things going on whether it be live music, cycling or hiking groups to join, a pancake breakfast, or tractor pulls,” she said. “Each community has its own identity and is really working to keep its residents and visitors alike engaged.”

Having lived in various places such as Milwaukee and Racine, WI; Syracuse and Buffalo, NY; and Toronto, Canada prior to moving to Falconer, Stephanie said she values those experiences, but is thrilled to now call Chautauqua County home. While she said other areas are certainly special, Chautauqua County is a “welcoming place.”

“I have met so many people and have been able to make connections and learn about all of the different things that are happening here,” she said. “You can really get to know and potentially be one of the movers and shakers in Chautauqua County. It feels as though there is no end to opportunities out here no matter what your interests are.’

Stephanie said one of her favorite things about Chautauqua County is the tight-knit feel of the community. She said she enjoys meeting people and finding out they have a connection with someone she knows or they are connected to a project she is working on. It is difficult to find those connections in an urban landscape.

“It really is a place where people take pride in and care about each other, and the future of what Chautauqua County has to offer,” Stephanie said.

While Stephanie enjoys working in Chautauqua County, she also enjoys all the activities and opportunities the area offers. One of the biggest draws of the community is the outdoor activities, she said.

I love the numerous trail systems for hiking and cycling,” she said. “The lakes are also always amazing destinations, and as you explore, there are hidden beaches that all have unique characteristics. Loud Performance has weekly mountain bike rides for people of any skill level … there are so many hidden gems throughout the county that it is hard to pick favorites.”

For those who enjoy spending more time indoors, Stephanie suggests visiting Reg Lenna Center for the Arts for a movie or event, as well as Jamestown’s numerous boutique stores, restaurants, and cafes.

“The Fredonia Opera House is a beautiful venue as well,” she added. “Lily Dale and Chautauqua Institution are amazing places to visit and be engulfed in alternative cultures. Come out to Chautauqua County and see for yourself what we are all about!”

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