No, there’s no spelling mistake in the title, Ithaca truly is gorges! And I’ll tell you soon why 😉 As you may (or may not) know, New York isn’t only a world famous metropolis but also names one of the 50 states of the US of A (where New York City is actually part of). Simply called “upstate” by locals, there’s no way you would mistake the hectic city with the idyllic countryside. After over a month not leaving the city, I started feeling tired of all the concrete and people and I was quite excited to get away from it all for a few days. July 4th gave us a long weekend and we were SO ready to hit the road with our rental car. Our first stop was Ithaca, a small town in the Finger Lakes Region, located on the southern shore of Lake Cayuga. However, thanks to some major colleges (like Cornell University and Ithaca College), the town is home to notable big student population.
Cornell University has an amazing campus with lots of parks and beautiful buildings which look like a Harry Potter movie set. It’s a nice space to walk around and take in the quiet but college-friendly atmosphere. I really wish I went to a school like that!
Apart from the colleges, the numerous waterfalls in and around town are the main draw: There are about 10 waterfalls in the region and due to our short time in Ithaca we had to pick wisely. The Ithaca Falls are actually the closest to the city and also one of the biggest – so that one was a must!
When we saw photos of the abandoned power plant of Wells Falls (also called Businessman’s Lunch Falls) our second choice was clear: We had to check it out! It’s an eerie-beautiful place!
The last and most spectacular one was Taughannock Falls, which was a little further away but absolutely worth the stop: We first saw the waterfall from a lookout point and later walked along the gorge to the bottom. It was such a nice and warm day and a few people enjoyed a little refreshment in the river. The whole area is a State Park and a popular weekend destination for itself!
Back in town, we found a nice selection of restaurants and bars. But the Moosewood Restaurant isn’t only an institution in Ithaca, it’s known for its excellent vegetarian cuisine in the whole region! It’s very popular, yet the atmosphere remained cozy and casual.
I could not write this article without mentioning our lovely Bed & Breakfast we stayed at. I have a weakness for personal and homey stays and I’m always trying to find a cute-looking B&B for at least one night. Luckily Besemer Station Inn had a room available during that popular long weekend and we loved it! (Btw our last B&B experience was here) The house is full of history as it once served as a railway station but today the family shares its home with guests who appreciate a more personal touch.
And the best thing about a B&B is the breakfast of course! Freshly made and ready at the table – that’s how I like it!
Last but not least, if you happen to be there on a weekend, the Ithaca Farmers Market apparently shouldn’t be missed. I love farmers markets anyway, so for me that was a must-visit. Although I was still full from breakfast I enjoyed browsing through the local products. And if you haven’t had breakfast (or lunch) yet, this is a great place to grab a snack, listen to some (country) live music and take in a glimpse of the lake.
With normal traffic the journey from NYC to Ithaca should take around 4.5 hours by car. There are buses that run between those cities, but the distances between the waterfalls are pretty far, so you definitely need a car to get around.
Ithaca is gorges in many ways. Don’t you agree?