Garden Walk, Marker Placement A Success

MAPLE SPRINGS – Chautauqua Lake’s “best-kept secret” opened its doors for guests recently.

Maple Springs played host to two events: the third annual Maple Springs Garden Walk and the dedication of a historical marker for the Whiteside Hotel by the Bemus Point Historical Society.

For the events, residents of the hamlet navigated from garden to garden, either by foot or bicycle, and those who chose not to walk about in the hot sun sat on their porches and waved to those who passed. Following the garden walk, a plurality of Maple Springs’ residents gathered in a central location for the unveiling of the former Whiteside Hotel’s historical marker. Aside from those who were entering or leaving the hamlet, not a single car disrupted the ambient sounds of residents talking and laughing.

It felt very much like the Chautauqua Institution, but without the gate at the perimeter.

Of course, the residents of Maple Springs know how beautiful yet tranquil the hamlet is, and last weekend’s Garden Walk and historical marker placement was the perfect opportunity for those outside the hamlet to experience what the residents of Maple Springs get treated to every day.

THE GARDEN WALK

This year marked the third annual Maple Springs Garden Walk and Chic Boutique. The event offers the public a chance to view the lovely gardening of select residents in Maple Springs, and offers those residents the opportunity to show the public how addicting the hobby of gardening can be.

This year, 14 different households participated in the garden walk. While some of the gardens were very elaborate, others were simple and modest; however, every garden had owners who were very proud to show them to the public, and every garden was aesthetically pleasing in its own way.

“There are some real master gardeners on this garden walk, but we are not those people,” said Kathy Strickland, garden walk participant.

While Strickland had one of the more modest gardens on the walk, she and her husband, Bob, had crafted their garden around a brick patio area, and showed how gardening can be used to create atmosphere. The Stricklands said that several guests commented on how welcoming their patio seemed, and the Stricklands credited that attribute to the surrounding garden.

Just down the street, Nancy Mentzer received guests from her gazebo, which not only offered a great view of her garden and the surrounding neighborhood, but also Chautauqua Lake.

Just like the Strickland’s patio, Mentzer’s gazebo showed how a garden can grow atmosphere as well as flowers and produce.

“I wanted a covered porch, but the front of the house just wasn’t conducive to it,” said Mentzer. “I spend a lot of time in the gazebo. I love reading and having company stop by, and the view of the lake and neighborhood is fantastic. But honestly, the view from anywhere in Maple Springs is fantastic – it’s one of the lake’s best-kept secrets.”

During the garden walk, the chic boutique was set up in “the circle,” and offered guests a chance to purchase garden and lawn decorations for their own homes.

WHITESIDE HOTEL REMEMBERED

Following the garden walk, the Bemus Point Historical Society was proud to unveil the ninth historical marker it has placed as an organization, and the second marker this year.

“Today is about the people who have owned this land and this building,” said Fletcher Ward, Bemus Point Historical Society vice president. “One of the things that I appreciate about living in this area is the tenure that many of us have. We can go back generations – I look around, and there are multiple people I know that have extensive family histories.”

Although there were no representatives from the Whiteside family present, there were representatives of the Walker, Haskins and Kelderhouse families, who owned the hotel after the Whitesides.

Amongst those family members present was the great-grandson of Alvan Walker, Dale Griffith, and Alfred Cornell and Melissa Smith, Walker’s great-great grandson and daughter.

“The interesting thing about the Walker family is that they sold the business and the land to Warren Haskins,” said Ward. “After that, the hotel went through a series of Haskins owners.”

Representatives of the Haskins family were: Linda Richner, Synthia Ball, Marilyn Lord, Louise Ball, Janet Newburry, Daniel Newburry and Nancy McKenna.

Finally, several members of the Kelderhouse family were present, including: Jerill Henson, Jeff, Jed and Jevin Kelderhouse.

“When my parents bought the hotel, the clientele came along with it,” said Jeff Kelderhouse. “The families that were there, that had already been established. They were gracious people – that’s the kind of people my parents had a business association with.”