The landscapes of Ithaca were formed by glaciers over 500 years ago, naturally, the drive across it is absolutely breathtaking. The roads curve through parks, past multiple waterfalls and waterfront parks worthy of a stroll and a picnic. If you spend any time in Ithaca you will notice its friendly and vibrant community.
Much like in most cities across Finger Lakes, Ithaca supports the arts. Driving through the region you will observe a wealth of murals many of which were painted by children and youth with assistance from the city and local cultural organizations so between the old architecture and nature the streets are filled with vibrant art pieces. During my very short visit, Ithaca’s Cayuga Waterfront trail was being spray-painted with glow-in-the-dark paint for Art in Glow festival and the public was invited to help the artists paint dandelions across the trail throughout the day. Children and adults alike were involved in creating art on one of the most publicly used walkways and that’s just one example of community collaboration.
On the other side of that trail is the Ithaca Public Market – a weekend destination for most locals. Here you can buy your groceries, acquire new art, taste local wine, beer and ciders, and listen to live music while enjoying lunch over a picnic table. Bring a tote, I left with a couple of bottles of beer, including Liberty Bell Hard Cider from Bellwether Cidery, a new painting, and a black walnut bowl – random, I know!
Just on the outskirts of the city is Six Mile Creek Vineyards. This winery makes limited quantities of wine and spirits from the hard liquor basics, such as gin and vodka, to Limoncello, Grappa, and Amore. The tasting room is a Dutch Colonial Barn with a balcony patio that overlooks a ravine vineyard, seeing the sunset from this barn is one of my favorite experiences from the weekend.
Much like Corning and Hammondsport, Ithaca serves up a great selection of food spread across a number of small cafes and restaurants. For the evening we opted in for The Rook, a West End restaurant that cooks up a modern take on old favourites such as bacon-wrapped grilled dates, porchetta, fried chicken, and flank steak to name a few. For the morning there is a local favourite, Northstar House, a lovely hip joint with a fan patio and a good soundtrack. In true hearty nature, this breakfast/lunch gets served with grits, biscuits, and gravy.
This story is a part of a weekend-long 4-part story: A weekend in the Finger Lakes.