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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Hidden Treasures – Part III

I Love Lucy

With the COVID season ramping up again in certain areas of the country making air travel so challenging, my wife and I have begun taking day trips to locations within a couple of hours drive from our home.

As a result, we’ve found a few “silver linings” in the midst of the pandemic that would have in all likelihood eluded us had our proverbial wings not been clipped. I’ve been profiling a few of the hidden treasures we’ve encountered during our travels so that you can enjoy them as well, either in person or vicariously through these posts.

At first blush, one would think that Jamestown, NY is the most unlikely location for our country’s National Comedy Center. Nestled on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in western New York about 45 minutes from Erie, PA, this resort area is best known for the nearly 150-year-old Chautauqua Institution, a community of artists, educators, thinkers, faith leaders and friends dedicated to exploring the best in humanity.

While the National Comedy Center opened in August of 2018 it’s legacy can be traced to one of the greatest comediennes of all time. Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, NY in 1911 and spent her formative years in that community.

As a tribute to Lucy, the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy was established in the heart of Jamestown in 1996. The museum explores the lives, careers, and legacies of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz while immersing the visitor in the ultimate fan experience of original costumes, props, awards, and exact re-creations of the I Love Lucy sets.

Inspired by Lucy’s vision for her hometown to become a celebration of comedy, the award-winning National Comedy Center just a few blocks away takes the visitor on a laugh-filled, interactive journey through the world of comedy .

If you visit Jamestown in person, plan to spend an entire to take advantage of all these two hidden treasures have to offer.

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