5 Reasons to Visit Ithaca

Okay, so I have a confession to make: I love making lists. So even though it’s a bit cliche, here are the five things I appreciate the most after my visit to Ithaca, New York this fall.

5. The wineries

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Did you know there is actually a Wine Trail in the Cayuga region? I know, I know, you’re as amazed as I am. I didn’t have the time to visit the wineries, but I spoke with quite a few people about how to go about it, and apparently it’s not too uncommon to just take a day, rent a car and driver, and take your friends out on the town (or, well, countryside, as it were).

4. The people

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Why is there a picture of a garter snake when the category is ‘people’, you ask? Well, the only reason I got to see this snake is because a mother walking with her son offered to let me take a picture of it. And that’s pretty much how Ithaca is: friendly. When I walked across town in the morning, people smiled and greeted me like an old friend, and when I walked home, people asked me how my day was whom I had never met and wouldn’t see again. I was offered a ride into work from my neighbor after she noticed me walking to the bus for a few days while she was checking her mail, and I met the wonderful denizens of the Ithaca Farmers Market, who were all-too-willing to share their bounty. I met so many people in the area who reminded me of home that it was very hard for me to leave.

3. The wildlife

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Let’s be honest, living near Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology has to be pretty dang awesome. The tagline here could be ‘birding in comfort’ from the building which houses scopes and binoculars for rent and front-row heated seats to a feeding frenzy of goldfinches outside.

Added bonus: Where else are you going to find a 12-point buck just hanging out on the side of the trail while you’re on your morning jog?

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2. The college

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When I was first casting about for a university to attend, Cornell was at the top of my list. With some pretty sound arguments from my parents (mostly consisting of budgets and some closer education alternatives), I decided not to even apply, as I was already accepted into my local state university. Quite unlike those dramatic movies you see, however, I don’t feel as though I’ve lost any opportunities, especially since I am decidedly intolerant to cold. Ha! After finally being able to visit, walking through campus was like a walk through history, and when you add some good friend and good company, I can’t say enough good things about Cornell.

1. The waterfalls

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Okay, I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for waterfalls. And, let’s be honest, anything with water that makes a modest roaring noise. The tag-line ‘Ithaca is Gorges’ is pretty well the best descriptor I think I’ve ever heard for this area; you can’t go more than a half-mile without discovering a secret brook teeming with life and gorgeous views.

Well, after all that, maybe I should stick to list-making around the house instead of online. What about you? What place makes you feel inspired enough to brave the elements and visit?

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