Of course everyone knows about New York City
, Manhattan, and Niagara Falls, but did you know about the magnificent waterfalls around Ithaca
? Although I haven't explored a lot of New York, I do know that due to its size and population it's quite diverse. A great trip for a getaway to nature, city living, relaxing in the countryside, or road trip adventure. There are plenty more things to do in NY than are listed here, these are just what I have explored.
1. Watkins Glen
Suggest Staying: 1 day
Hands down my favorite thing on my waterfalls adventure to Ithaca. Absolutely magnificent. I heard about this place for years and finally had the opportunity to visit. One of my personal favorites of the Northeast.
- Logistics. Only about 30 minutes from Ithaca. Parking lot at main (tunnel) entrance. Plan to be there a couple hours. Take your time and enjoy!
- Trails. There are several trails, but basically end-to-end it’s about 1.5 miles each way. There is some elevation, but it’s hardly noticeable. Path is smooth. I highly recommend going to the end and coming back taking a different trail offshoot, but if you have multiple people in your party and have mobility or time restrictions, have someone in your group pick you up at the other end (Upper Entrance). Jacob’s Ladder is the way out at this end and is a pretty steep set of stairs. Indian Trail is just ok, but there is a short suspension bridge to cross.
Highlights: Waterfalls, Cornell University campus
Suggest Staying: 1-3 days
Ithaca is probably best known for Cornell University and the movie Road Trip. What I didn’t realize is that it is also a mecca for waterfalls. The time of year you go will dictate the waterfall activity. I have a tendency to find things that are either closed or nonexistent, it’s kind of a running joke with friends and family. So of course the first day of waterfall seeking resulted in 3/4 empty waterfalls. Luckily the next couple days after were more fruitful and we were able to see some spectacular ones.
See & Do
- Downtown. Bit of a progressive college town vibe with outdoor shops and restaurants. Not a ton going on, but nice to walk around.
- Cornell’s Campus. Nice architecture, bustling with student activity when school’s in session.
- Ithaca Museum of Art. Nice artwork and sculptures.
- Finger Lakes. Beautiful lakes and a ton of wineries. Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake are the two largest, the former probably having more of the wineries. Check out the small town of Trumansburg. We stopped at Three Brothers winery which was awesome. Three wineries (sweet and dry), one brewery, great ambiance, $14 for passport tasting. Dean’s Cove was a nice brief stop with a view of the lake.
- Taughannock Falls. The largest and most popular. There is a rim trail (above) (north and south) 1.5 miles each way and a gorge trail (below) 0.75 miles each way.
- Buttermilk Falls. The Gorge Trail runs along Buttermilk Creek & Rim Trail form a 1.5-mile loop. The Bear Trail takes you along Buttermilk Creek to Lake Treman and the falls, 1.5 miles one way.
- Tremen State Park. Has Lucifer Falls (0.5 miles to falls from north parking lot) which is outstanding and more than just the one picture I posted and Lower Falls (100 yards from south parking lot) where you can swim.
- Cascadilla Gorge Trail. Start at bottom of Cascadilla Parkway Rd and walk up to end at main waterfall. Trail ends at upper bridge on Cornell’s campus at Snee Hall. It’s a 0.5-mile moderate walk up stairs from there. Very pretty hike.
- Triphammer Falls. View from the footbridge.
- Ithaca Falls. Located around town, massive, great views. Top is near a bunch of fraternity or sorority houses.
- Ludlowville Falls. View from Ludlowville Park.
- Pulpit Falls. Nice view from gorge trail, 0.3-mile strenuous hike.
- Lick Brook Falls. A 1.2-mile roundtrip strenuous 500-foot climb.
Food & Drink
- Collegetown Bagels. Great for breakfast.
- The Crow’s Nest. Pirate-themed cafe at Cornell. Check the hours. There’s also a cool book/vinyl store right there.
- Moosewood. Good vegetarian restaurant.
- Logistics. Stop at a visitor’s center and pick up a map that lists out all the state parks and waterfalls.
3. New York City
Highlights: Shopping, food, culture, attractions, nightlife, comedy, music
Suggest Staying: 1-5 days
Stay Around: 42nd & Broadway (Manhattan) or Brooklyn
NYC isn’t really my cup of tea. It’s just a bit too much stimulus for me, but it’s truly like no other place on Earth. Definitely a destination to visit at least once in your life. Kind of like Las Vegas or Los Angeles in that regard. There is just so much to see and do, not only in downtown Manhattan, but also neighboring areas like Brooklyn and Queens. I don’t have a ton of recommendations, but they are easily found around the web. Below you’ll see just a few of the things you may or may not have heard about. I think the key to enjoying NYC is to find your niche if you feel overwhelmed. Get out of the overpopulated areas and focus on areas or neighborhoods.
See & Do
- Times Square. Most notable attraction in NYC and possibly the world.
- Broadway Shows. Cats is one of the most famous, but there are all kinds.
- Central Park. Incredible and massive park. Great to wander, relax, or people watch.
- MOMA. Wonderful famous art museum.
- Guggenheim. Famous architecture museum.
- Tropicalia In Furs. Cool vinyl shop that sells Brazillian Tropicalia music and other genres.
- Ninja New York. Super cool ninja dining experience. Fun experience, food is good, a bit pricey, but so fun.
4. Corning Museum of Glass
Highlights: Glass sculptures
Suggest Staying: 1/2 day
Wow. The glass sculptures in the museum are incredible. Corning is known for their masterpieces and you can find pieces of theirs or things made of their glass around the country, probably even around the world. You can also sign up to make your own glass piece. My sister and I made multi-colored slugs and my mom made a glass pendent.