Fredonia, NY – Come for the Education, Stay for the Quality of Life

Lauren Boyle first came to Chautauqua County from Williamsville, NY, just outside of Buffalo, to attend school at the State University of New York at Fredonia. When first arriving, she didn’t have any intentions of staying once completing school, but during the next four years, she fell in love with the community and decided to remain in the area even after receiving her diploma.

“Williamsville has that same Village atmosphere as Fredonia – the parks, shops, bakeries and restaurants – but on a bigger scale. While that provides more variety and has some amazing advantages, it really lacks that small town charm and that’s not something you can’t recreate,” Lauren explains. “I very quickly felt a connection to the Fredonia community and started spending more time in it, getting to know the businesses and people here. As soon as I found an apartment I never left! ”

Lauren adds that since graduating, she’s had opportunities to work elsewhere but decided to remain in the area.

“I thought Fredonia was the sweetest little village. I always say that it’s the epitome of a Hallmark movie – the gazebo in the park, Village Hall, the storefronts, it’s all just the perfect backdrop and you feel good being surrounded by it. That’s something that has always stayed with me. I’ve been here for 16 years this year and I still feel just as good, if not better, when I’m walking through Fredonia, as I did 16 years ago,” she says.

After leaving her career in social work, Lauren eventually landed a remote position as marketing coordinator with xkzero, a software publishing company based in Chicago. Being able to work remotely has given Lauren the opportunity to remain in Fredonia, make a wide variety of connections, and continue to put down roots.

“My son, Brady, and I spend a lot of time at The Next Chapter Bookstore and at Barker Commons when the Fredonia Farmers’ Market is there in the summer. We love seeing Jessamine at Om Nohm for granola and peanut butter bars!,” she says, adding they also have many favorite restaurants. “You’ll often find us at Angry Squirrel, Dupers, Upper Crust, or 64 on the Rocks on the weekends. We love the staff at all of them!  My friends and I love having amazing dinners at Campano’s Cucina and enjoy hanging out at The Beaver Club and Coughlan’s Pub too.”

 Lauren adds that Coughlan’s was actually one of her first jobs in Fredonia.

“I whole-heartedly credit Joe and Pat [Coughlin] and my ‘corner crew’ of regulars for adopting me into the community and really making me feel like I belonged,” she explains. Lauren also points to several businesses that provide self-care services. “Self-care was a big priority for me last year and I spent a lot of time, and continue to, at Lotus Valley Wellness, The Hair Bar, Deeply Rooted Wellness, and Circle of Light/JP Energies,” she explains.

Like so many other residents we’ve talked to, Lauren also points to a lot of other attractions in Chautauqua County outside of her home community.

“In the summer we spend a lot of time in Bemus Point and along the waterfront in Dunkirk. I also love going to 21 Brix in Portland! The National Comedy Center in Jamestown and Southern Tier Brewing is always a fun day trip with family and friends too,” she says.

Besides living in the community and visiting and supporting local establishments, Lauren also volunteers her time with the annual Toys for Tots program and Embrace Fredonia, an organization she helped to start in May 2023. Embrace’s mission is to enrich the quality of life of residents through collaboration with local businesses and organizations by hosting fundraisers and completing small projects throughout the Village. She’s also involved with several other organizations, including serving as a board member of Chautauqua Housing Rehabilitation Improvement Corporation (CHRIC), which promotes neighborhood stabilization, community revitalization, and economic development throughout all of Chautauqua County. Previously, she has also served on the board of directors for Festivals Fredonia.

“I try to align myself with, and create, organizations that help bring a sense of community to Fredonia that really unites so many different people, organizations, and businesses together. It’s been such a wonderful experience seeing that come to life, especially with Embrace Fredonia,” she says. “All the charity and volunteer work has become something that I’m so proud of, not just because of the impact it has on the community, but it’s something that my son and I often do together. You will typically find Brady attending board and planning meetings, setting up and working events; collecting toys from our sites; and planting flowers and decorating the village for the holidays. Seeing him find his own sense of community and being proud of where he comes from has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in Fredonia.”

Educational opportunities for her are another reason why she enjoys living in the area.

“The experiences and the opportunities afforded to the students in the Fredonia Central School District have always exceeded my expectations,” she says. “Being in a smaller, more rural community, there is always a concern that funding might be limited or certain programs might not be available as they would if we were in a larger city, but that hasn’t been our experience. Brady has excellent technology in the classrooms and the clubs and extracurriculars are diverse for any student. Brady has had a lot of exposure to a variety of things and the school has always been open and welcoming to him trying out as many as he wants in order for him to find out where his interests are. The teachers are also amazing, we’ve been very fortunate in that aspect.”

Lauren also points to the proximity of Fredonia in relation to other larger metropolitan areas, giving her the opportunity to visit the “big city” just about any time she wants, while still enjoying the benefits of a smaller, close-knit community.

“Being able to walk down Main St. Fredonia and see a few friends, say ‘hello’ to business owners that you personally know, run into the Mayor out and about, is all very special and I think a lot of people take that for granted. The sense of belonging and community you feel in Fredonia isn’t something that comes from having 50 different stores and restaurants to choose from, it comes from the people, and they’re one-of-a-kind here.”

Obviously, Lauren has made the most of her time in Fredonia and Chautauqua County, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. “I have a lot of projects coming up that I’m incredibly excited to bring to the community.”

Would you or someone you know like to be featured in our Live CHQ People Profile section? If so, let us know by using the Contact Page on our website!

Photo courtesy of Shawn Caldwell Photography