Last weekend our family was in Ithaca for Paige’s graduation from Ithaca College. We had a delicious meal at Madeline’s on The Commons and needed to walk off our dessert. Ithaca has a plethora of hiking options, but we were staying near Cornell’s campus so we chose The Plantations.
The Mundy Wildflower Garden and Herb Garden were beginning to bloom and looked downright magical in the golden hour light.
We spent a long time watching the dozens of turtles and goldfish in the Houston Pond from the bridge. There were some massive creatures living in there!
We were far from the only visitors, with students having picnics and local high schoolers taking prom pictures in various picturesque locations throughout the grounds. For anyone looking for an Ithaca hike that doesn’t involve hundreds of stairs or slippery slate, I highly recommend The Plantations!
I know this is a little late, but I want to take a minute to reflect on how life has changed in the last few months. I knew that leaving Ithaca College, degree in hand, meant a lot of changes were coming. It’s beginning to sink in just what this really means.
Graduation, and the weeks leading up to it, were filled with friends, hikes and more food than anyone should ever eat. There are so many moments from these weeks I can picture; snapshots I will treasure forever.
We were singing Blink-182 at the top of our lungs, eating more Altoids than real food, spilling all of the popcorn and laughing for half the movie we were trying to watch. The night of graduation, popping champagne into the fountains, we tried to forget the fact that we were all leaving in the morning. To Texas, to Virginia, to all corners of New York.
As much as graduation is an ending, it is also a beginning. I’m so glad to be home. I love seeing old and new friends, exploring revived neighborhoods and having the time to horseback ride again. I am ready to have a normal schedule after a few absolutely crazy semesters.
I’m learning so much on the job – more than I ever absorbed in the classroom. It’s also becoming evident just how lucky I am to have the education I do, one grounded in real-world examples and experience.
But this week, despite a wonderful date night, bible study and catching up with an old friend, I have been homesick for Ithaca. The people I grew to love there, who are now strewn across the country, have been on my mind. It’s time for a reunion!
When I left Ithaca after graduation, I moved almost nothing home. I had until July to clear my apartment, and moving out was a great excuse to spend a weekend in Central New York. My roommate gave us tickets to see Kenny Chesney and Old Dominion at CMAC for Christmas, so we spent a beautiful Friday in June night singing along to their radio hits. I’ve been to a few Kenny Chesney concerts, and it’s like listening to a greatest hits album, but better, because there are new additions every summer.
On Saturday, we stopped at Watkins Glen State Park on our way to Ithaca for a nice hike. The gorge was busy, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the scenery.
We spent the afternoon packing and cleaning before heading to Ithaca Beer Co. for dinner. I love the breweries in Buffalo revitalizing downtown, but there is something special about waiting for your table in an Adirondack chair, surrounded by chickens, fields, gardens and a fire pit. Our drinks and wood fired pizzas were delicious, as always. I tried and loved Java Power, a variation on the brewery’s Flower Power, brewed with local roaster Gimme! Coffee‘s beans.
Sunday morning meant packing up the car and heading home, but we made sure to stop for ice cream on our way. I have been dying to try Cayuga Lake Creamery‘s ice cream for the last four years, but it’s pretty far from Ithaca just for ice cream. It is on the way back to Buffalo, but I’m not usually driving by at an ideal ice cream-eating time. Now that I’ve had the peanut butter ice cream, I believe the hype!
The trip may have been short, but we packed in tons of adventures. I’m already itching to go back to the Finger Lakes.
This summer I am staying in beautiful Ithaca for an internship with GreenTree Garden Supply. GreenTree is not only a hydroponic supplies retailer, but also manufactures specialized soil. I spend my days surrounded by brilliant soil scientists who are probably going to change our agricultural world sooner rather than later. My responsibilities include writing and scheduling social content, some market research, building the company’s stock of photography, and creating a few guides for branding and products. While in Ithaca, I plan to take full advantage of the city and all it has to offer in the summer. Just because a location is on the list, it doesn’t mean I’ve never been, I just want to go again in the next few months! Once I’ve gone to a location on my list, I plan updating this post with a picture from that place. Hopefully by the end of August, I’ll have a post full of Instagram-worthy photos!
*Edit: Classes start in 2 days and I have completed a little over half of my list… I still want to get to all the places I have here, so I’ll continue to update this post. Any post with an asterisk were completed during the school year.
This summer in Ithaca was lots of fun. I spent tons of time exploring new parts of the city, and meeting new and different people. Just because I didn’t complete this list doesn’t mean the summer wasn’t a success!!
Taughannock Falls State Park
Robert H. Treman State Park
Buttermilk Falls State Park
Lick Brook Gorge
Press Bay Alley
Felicia’s Atomic Lounge & Cupcakery
Buffalo Street Books
Ithaca Farmers’ Market
Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell Dairy Bar
Carriage House Cafe*
Ithaca College Natural Lands*
New Delhi Diamonds Restaurant*
Corning Museum of Glass*
Cayuga Lake Creamery*
Lincoln Street Diner*
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail*
CFCU Summer Concert Series*
That’s what the City of Ithaca’s mayor, Svante Myrick, had to say about the Ithaca Tourism Bureau’s recent decision to “surrender” to sunny Key West. The Ithaca agency’s website broadcasted our area’s lack of sun and warmth, while highlighting our frozen lake and heavy snowfall.
This move turned out to be a brilliant one, with additional coverage by NPR, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, among others. Our little city was also trending on Facebook due to this humorous stunt.
Going viral is what every advertiser hopes for, and Ithaca definitely accomplished that. The clever stunt has sparked conversation on a national basis from locals, ex-locals and previous visitors. These people have all added to the positive conversation with their own experiences of “gorges” Ithaca. Although only time will tell, one would have to guess that tourism will be a fairly big business this summer.