New York. My home state, yet so few know how large and inviting it is. Most people think New York City when I mention where I am from. I used to take it personally but after exploring the western part of New York, I realize I am the lucky one. It has always been my plan to visit all parts of New York in the hopes to encourage all of you to do the same. This past weekend I crossed another area off my list. Ithaca, New York. When I asked others about the area, I got pretty much the same response, waterfalls. While the area has TONS of great hiking trails, that are around waterfalls, the area has so much more to offer. Enjoy my Places to visit in Ithaca, New York from suggestions on accommodations, restaurants, attractions, the downtown college life to State parks.
After we checked in to the Hotel Ithaca we ventured downtown. It was late at night, College students where hitting up the local establishments and we happened to stumble upon what’s known as The Commons. A completely vehicle free area blocked off for pedestrians to gather, stroll, conversate while listening to local musicians and vendors selling varies items. It does not feel like a big city but rather a small community full of eccentric restaurants.
You can see the diversity from one shop to the next and together it creates a little something for everyone. I was drawn to these fun artistic sculptures you could find on various buildings. The Sciencenter had an inviting sculpture. If we had more time I would have loved a visit ( the marketing piece was that good).
On our first official day we visited the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. let me tell you this place was a GEM! Tucked away in a meandering tree canopy you will find the Steamboat landing. I am sure if we had not been trying to search this place out we surely would have drove right by. A collection of local farmer’s and entrepreneurs vendor here. Do they EVER. I truly wish my home town had something even half as good as this. The smells coming off the freshly made artisan breads, grass fed meats and freshly picked produce had my mind swimming with recipe ideas. You can find just about anything you might want from lunch, produce, wine, flowers you name it! What’s even more? The vendors are not pushy in the slightest and are genuinely happy to be there. My advice get here early because parking can be tricky once lots fill up.
If you are visiting the Farmer’s market at 11am or noon, might I also make another suggestion?? Remember when I stated I crossed another area of New York off my list? Well, I also crossed off another New York Finger lake. We hopped aboard the Discover Cayuga lake boating tours for an 11 am cruise. Not only do you get to enjoy the foliage, they give you a nice narration of the area. The friendly boat staff chat about everything from history to local wildlife spotted.
It’s funny how this article started off with waterfalls and developed into this. Let’s talk waterfalls! When they say waterfalls they really are down playing how MANY they have around the area. Upwards of 150 plus. We started our hiking fun At Buttermilk Falls State Park. Keep in mind you can pay admission to NY state parks and get into others on the same day for free. With this in mind we also visited the Robert H. Treman State Park on the same day. The Lucifer Falls was worth a visit along with the Ithaca falls. The only waterfalls on my list we did not visit was Taughannock Falls. It was a short drive but with so much already packed into our itinerary we decided to save it for another visit. I would highly recommend it though because it’s the largest standing waterfall east of the Mississippi. Thus, another location was added to my list as I crossed other off.
The food scene in Ithaca, New York is a culinary dream. We had so many different types of cuisine while here it would take a whole other article to cover them all. If you visit be warned food will not be an issue. From Co op locations, Change restaurants to fancy upscale places you will not go hungry. I do want to mention our dinner at Coltivare ( conveniently located across from the Hotel Ithaca). It’s on the fancier side, with luxury fixtures, a high scale menu but extremely inviting. There is nothing “stuffy” about this place. The specials were fresh, innovative and cooked perfectly. We had a friendly waiter ( I wish I remembered his name frankly) who made our dinner an experience not just a meal. He was helpful, attentive and it was the perfect way to end of busy day. I highly recommend the little splurge here!
On our way out of town we stopped one more place. The Gorge in Ithaca, NY did not disappoint. Every waterfall we walked next to I promised myself we are coming back here. This was one of the most whimsical places we stopped. This location was really thrown in but it could easily be the center of your trip. It’s free, has very little parking so I recommend walking to it ( easy jaunt from the commons). Bring a lunch, bring your camera and seriously just enjoy the watery scenes. They have waterfall after waterfall right next to their stone walk and stairways.
My trip to Ithaca, New York was everything my stressed out body needed. I hope you found these places to visit in Ithaca, New York were helpful. It is both adventurous and relaxing. You can easily relax, recharge, bring your whole family and make memories. I wish I could have fit more in but there is always our next visit! If I missed anything in this article, comment below. I love learning about the areas we visit so we have more things to do the next time around.