We spent most of last week in NY state, and I have to say, we can’t wait to get back! Of course the weather was helpful (70s and mostly sunny), but from magnificent Niagara Falls to “Gorges” Ithaca to the entire Adirondack region in its fall splendor, we’ve been thoroughly charmed. Each spot merits its own post but the place that’s been on my mind almost nonstop these past few days is Ithaca, a city of about 30,000 in the Finger Lakes region of NY.
Ithaca has a “Portland” vibe (am I allowed to say that if I’ve never actually been to Portland?), with Subarus and Volvos dominating the parking lots and steep hills. Therv* navigated said hills pretty well, although I'm sure he, for one, was happy to move on to more level pastures eventually, ha. Before Derek's performance at Ithaca College, we sampled the fare at Collegetown Bagels, ate ice cream made with milk from the Cornell cows (at the on-campus creamery!), and wound our way out to a secluded bench overlooking Cayuga Lake, where we read for a while and enjoyed the perfect weather while eating fruit snacks. But the food we enjoyed most was the home-cooked meal provided by our hosts after the concert that evening. In fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that part of the good vibe of the city likely stemmed from our time with those hosts inside their home, swapping travel stories and playing with their giant Old English Sheepdog.**
The area surrounding Ithaca is enticing, too. On the way into town, we hiked the Gorge Trail out to the falls at Taughannock State Park, which was breathtaking and surprisingly impressive considering we'd just been to Niagara Falls the day before. There were three weddings at the park while we were there, and fishermen wading (and fishing, obviously) at the base of the falls. We were also hoping to stop in at a winery for a tasting, too (there are SO MANY in the region!), but the stars sadly did not align for that opportunity this time.
In fact, for fear of sounding like a brochure for the city ("it has the charm of a small town with the amenities of a big city!"), I should also acknowledge that there were a couple of disappointing moments. First, the famous Cascadilla Falls trail was closed for repairs (but I guess that’s actually just another reason to return someday), and 2) the few Ithaca postcards we could find left something to be desired. We wandered around the (admittedly cute) "Ithaca Commons" in search of something to send to our relatives in Ithaca, MI, and although we came up empty handed on the postcard front, there were plenty of beautiful things to covet within the shop windows. Welp, there I go again with the compliments...
As you may have guessed from this post, I'm realizing one of the fundamental flaws of the FiftyFifty Tour: I anticipated checking places *off* my list, and instead I just keep adding more to it, wishing we could explore our destinations more deeply or spend more time in each one, as was the case with NY state. But don't worry, I've already written down a few things from the region on my "next time" list.
*Our reluctant nickname for our RV - we kept saying things like, "I'll meet you in the RV," and "Where should we park the RV?" so finally just decided to save ourselves a couple of syllables and shorten "The RV" to "Therv." (Therver Mingus if he's in trouble, but that's another story.)
**Derek always laughs at (or ridicules) my penchant for greeting all dogs, "Hi, Puppy!" and I must say, in this instance I can understand that...size-wise, at least.