Whether you are in town for the weekend or just in town for the day of the wedding, here are some places to explore. And don't forget a swim suit - summer months in Ithaca are perfect for swimming in the gorges.
As the wedding and the reception will both be held at Cornell University, here are some places you might want to explore on campus:
The Johnson Art Museum (location of evening soiree)
Only a five minute walk from Sage Chapel, the Johnson Art Museum is located on the north edge of the Cornell Arts Quad. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday 10am – 5pm. In addition to a wide variety of artwork you can enjoy stunning views of Ithaca from the top exhibition floor. If you visit the Johnson Museum, afterward you may want to take a walk across the suspension footbridge above Ithaca Falls (see more about Ithaca Falls below). The suspension bridge is just across the street from the Art Museum.
The Cornell McGraw Clocktower
But for the best views of Ithaca, Cornell and the surrounding countryside, climb the many flights of stairs to the top of the Cornell McGraw Clocktower. It is only open when the chimes are being played. Consult the chimes schedule for when the chimes will be playing. After the wedding ceremony in Sage Chapel the chimes will be playing to celebrate our wedding!
Walking Tours of the Cornell Campus
Check the Cornell Campus schedule for times of walking tours of the campus. Appointments for tours are not required, they are free and they start at Day Hall (directly behind Sage Chapel).
Set among rolling hills and beside Fall Creek, the Cornell Plantations offers a beautiful landscape for an afternoon stroll. These gardens are maintained by Cornell and are on campus, but are open to all. The Plantations is a 20 minute walk from Sage Chapel or A.D. White House on the far north campus behind the Agriculture & Life Science buildings. Also close by is Beebe Lake, on the north campus of Cornell near the dormitories, which has a woodland path circling the Lake.
Stroll over to collegetown for a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. Collegetown is just across Cascadilla Gorge at the southern end of the campus, just past the Law School. For the tastiest bagels try College Town Bagels, which is also the very spot we first met!
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WINE TOURS of the FINGER LAKES
Known for its fine wine country, the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York has numerous wine trails and vineyards open to visitors for wine tasting tours. VisitIthaca.com has a list of various wineries in the area (plus info on Ithaca 's own beer microbrewery). Check "Wineries/Breweries" to search.
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WATERFALLS, GORGES & NATURAL AREAS
Though overused to point of cliche, it is certainly true that “ Ithaca is Gorges”, with a stunning gorge every mile or so in and around Ithaca. And summer months here lend themselves to some of our favorite activities – exploring the gorges and swimming in the pools beneath the falls. So here are some of our favorite natural places to play:
Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls State Park offers a lovely afternoon hike along the riverbed and over stone pathways and footbridges and up to the breathtaking view of Taughannock Falls. Taller (though far narrower) than Niagra Falls, Taughannock's cascade over dramatic gorge cliffs and can be viewed from various rim trails.
One of Lindsay's parents favorite places for an evening hike is Buttermilk Falls, just on the southern outskirts of the city of Ithaca. Though a steep hike up along the gorge rim trail, it is rewarding, as you will pass many small waterfalls and deep pools of swirling water. You can stop for a swim at the bottom of the waterfall after the hike.
Cascadilla Creek Gorge
This lovely stone gorge trail hike, connecting the Cornell campus with downtown Ithaca, winds along Cascadilla Creek and delivers some breathtaking gorge views. It is a great hike to do in less than an hour and it is in the center of town. The top of the gorge (on campus) is only a 15 minute walk from Sage Chapel or A.D. White House. The gorge trail on campus starts from behind the Cornell Performing Arts Center, just across the bridge from the Cornell Law School and Engineering School.
Also cutting through the Cornell campus, the Ithaca Falls stretches from Cornell's North Campus at Beebe Lake to downtown Ithaca. Walk or drive over one of the several bridges above this gorge for an amazing view of the falls or of Ithaca's cityscapes. Between the neighborhoods of Cornell Heights and the Cornell Johnson Art Museum on Cornell's main campus you can walk the suspension footbridge.
Robert Treman Park
Just outside of Ithaca (to the south) is Robert Treman Park – with hiking trails that wind past its twelve waterfalls and a natural swimming area at the base of the main falls. It is a fun adventure if you have 3 hours and a car.
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BOATING on CAYUGA LAKE
As Ithaca is built around Cayuga Lake, you can enjoy boating in the summer months – whether that is renting a sailboat, exploring the inlets and coastline in a canoe or enjoying a dinner cruise on the lake. Check out VisitIthaca's suggestions for boating and marinas (check "Boating & Marinas").
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ITHACA FARMERS MARKET
Open Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer, the Ithaca Farmers Market offers locally grown fruits and vegetables, farm raised meats and cheeses, Finger Lakes wines, arts & crafts, fresh flowers, gifts and specialty foods from the Ithaca area. Listen to live music and enjoy a waterfront picnic (on Cayuga Lake). The Farmers Market is located on 3rd Street off Route 13, behind the Aldi's grocery store.
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The center of downtown Ithaca is the pedestrian shopping and restaurant strip known as The Commons. With historic buildings and small town charm the Commons offers various craft and artisan shops, eclectic clothing stores, antique shops and a wide array of restaurants, including the world famous vegetarian restaurant, Moosewood. Parking is fairly easy to find along the streets (coin metered parking) or there are several convenient parking garages. Alternatively you could walk from the Cornell campus down Cascadilla Creek (see above) and to the Commons in downtown Ithaca. This is about a 45 minute walk (one way).
The Ithaca Festival
This year the Ithaca Festival is held the weekend of June 21. The Festival takes place downtown on The Commeons and offers dancers, comedians, musicians, clowns, acrobats, painters, community groups and ensembles, art and crafts and cuisines ranging from Indian to carnival fare.