What makes Ithaca, New York unique?Is it the towering waterfalls, lush ice-age gorges, endless panoramic views? Is it the hiking, biking or boating? Is it the beauty of Cayuga Lake? Perhaps. And with over 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes are well-known as the largest wine producing region of New York. Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, you'll feel the buzz everywhere—from the museums, to galleries and farm-to-fork restaurants.
Cornell Botanic Gardens traces its roots back to 1875 and features 12 specialty gardens across 35-acres which include herbs, flowers, vegetables, rock garden plants, rhododendrons, perennials, ornamental grasses, ground-covers, vines and container gardens, as well as plants with winter interest.
Cayuga Lake, carved by glaciers is the longest and second deepest of New York's Finger Lakes. Dotted with quaint cottages, new and old, the smell of riesling is in the air. From boating, swimming and fishing—there's something for everyone.
3. THE COCKTAILS
After exploring Ithaca Commons, make sure to stop by Heights Restaurant + H Bar for a handcrafted Caramel Apple Mule or Red Wine & Gin Sour. If wine is more your forte, they also offer an extensive wine list with over 400 bottle selections. The refined Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine utilizes locally sourced ingredients and showcases selections such as Rum Roasted Pineapple Sashimi & Shrimp and Cuban Flank Steak.
Cascadilla Gorge is truly a "gorges" display of rock, water and trees. Cascadilla Creek drops 400 feet from Cornell to Downtown Ithaca, carving through bedrock, shales, siltstone and sandstone—exposing sedimentary rocks that were deposited 400 million years ago.Look for ripple marks on the rock surface, which once was the muddy floor of an ancient ocean. You can access trails through the gorge from the "Treman Triangle" off of Linn Street in downtown Ithaca and at the trailhead behind the Schwartz Performing Arts Center. Note: The lower section of the gorge closes during the colder months from mid-November to mid-April.
Six Mile Creek Vineyard is Ithaca’s own winery and affords a fantastic setting to enjoy memorable wines and spirits styled to suit a variety of tastes. Panoramic valley views overlook the vineyards, pond and gardens making it a popular choice among locals and tourists.