WHO: Sue Tellier, 56, of Webster
WHERE: Chautauqua, N.Y.
WHEN: One week in August
WHY: To attend the Chautauqua Institution, a family-friendly gated community near Jamestown that offers lectures and courses in a summer-camp setting. ''I'd always wanted to go," Tellier said. ''I grew up in Rochester and know people who had gone, and they were just so excited about it."
AN ETHICAL THEME: This was Tellier's second visit to Chautauqua, and she chose the week themed ''Living the Ethical Life." The year before, the lectures she picked were related to the theater. ''Ethical life drew me in," she said. ''It's something you don't think about on an everyday basis. Nowadays it seems you're seeing so much more unethical behavior, so I think ethics is overdue."
A GRAND HOTEL: ''Through great persistence, I was lucky enough to get a room at the community's major hotel, the Athenaeum, one of the few old great wooden hotels still left standing," she said. There are other places to stay, including hotels, guests rooms, and apartments, but the inn is in the thick of things. ''It has a lakefront view, and the main amphitheater, where the lectures are, is right out the back door. There are little hidden porches everywhere and a great long porch at the front, complete with rockers."
ACTIVITY OF THE WEEK: ''The big lectures are set at certain times, but then there's this gigantic book of classes you can take, like ballet, art, computers, a whole catalog of things going on," said Tellier, who the year before took memoir writing. This year she signed up for sailing in a women-only class. ''I had this vision of floating along on the water, all peaceful," she said. ''But no, you have to pay attention every 10 seconds. So I discovered that sailing really wasn't for me. But I discovered that in a great, safe, low-stress environment."
GOOD START TO THE DAY: The Rev. Cecil Williams, pastor from Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco, spoke daily. ''He's so inspirational," Tellier said. ''His church feeds over a million people every year. I went and heard him every morning. It was the perfect way to start the day. You're outside. You have this spiritual element to the start of the day, this uplifting, positive element. And you think, 'I can be a good person.' "
TALKS AND MORE: The speaker Tellier found most interesting was Michael Gazzaniga, a Dartmouth College professor and author of ''The Ethical Brain," who examines issues such as stem cell research, euthanasia, and the criminal justice system in relation to neuroscience.
DOWN TIME: ''There's almost everything you could think of doing. Swimming, sailing, kayaking. There are tennis courts, golf, yoga, and you walk or bicycle everywhere. Of course, you do want to get a little time lying around and not doing anything," she said. ''The beauty of the place is it hits you on all levels -- physical, spiritual, intellectual. It appeals to the whole person. I felt recharged."