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  #51  
Old 06-13-2019, 06:39 AM
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I'll save Ithaca for last, but first I'll mention some of the smaller villages scattered between the lakes. Few of them are worth seeking out, but they might be of interest if you're passing through. Many of them have at least a memorable festival, so check your calendar.

Moravia: South of Lake Owasco, Moravia is home to Fillmore Glen State Park, a long, narrow gorge with multiple waterfalls. It also contains the cabin birthplace of Millard Fillmore.

Dundee: On the road between Watkins Glen and Pen Yann. Dundee has the Scottish Highland Games and is home to Outlaw Speedway, with dirt-track stock car racing.

Trumansburg: Northwest of Ithaca. A nice selection stores and restaurants, and the massive Roots Festival.
  #52  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:19 PM
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Aurora is a very picturesque small village on the east shore of Cayuga Lake, about halfway up the lake from Ithaca. The main street runs right along the lake and the cross streets are on steep slopes coming down to the lake. It's a small college town (Wells College), with an art gallery, antique stores, good restaurants, and some nicely-restored inns and B&Bs.

Just outside the village is the production studio of MacKenzie-Childs, makers of ceramic ware, home furnishings, and interior design goods. It's in a lovely setting and you can visit the display room/store and take a tour.

South of town is Long Point State Park. Despite all the lakes in the Finger Lakes, there is not necessarily a lot of lake access. Long Point is one of the better public beaches. Two isolated wineries nearby.
  #53  
Old 06-14-2019, 10:28 PM
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Finally, we get to Ithaca, the largest (but not that large with about 30,000 people) city in the Finger Lakes region and has the most options for sightseeing/tourism. Ithaca is the one town in the Finger Lakes that takes more than a day to explore.

A two-college town, with Cornell overlooking the city from atop East Hill and Ithaca College overlooking the city from South Hill, Ithaca is probably the one place in the Finger Lakes that is LESS crowded in the summer. Downtown parking is certainly easier in the summer.

Downtown Ithaca is below the colleges and runs down to the lake. Ithaca has everything you would expect a major college town to have as far as restaurants, shops (especially used bookstores), music venues, theater, and so on. It also has the only arthouse cinema for a long way around.

Ithaca is Gorges is the official tourism motto, and very apt. Ther area is full of scenic waterfalls and gorges. The three big falls are the the State Parks: Buttermilk Falls State Park, Robert Treman State Park, and Taughhannock Falls State Park. Lots of hiking and stair climibing, but amazing scenery. Also, bring your swim trunks because all three parks have swimming areas near the base of the falls. There a several other falls and gorges around town, such as Ithaca Falls, Cascadilla Gorge, Triphammer Falls, and Wells Falls/Six-Mile Creek. There are a couple of nice lakefront parks as well, but I donít think thereís swimming there.

Ithaca has a breadth of restaurants that can put larger cities to shame, and is certainly better than anyone towns I mentioned above. Everything from Ethiopian to Tibetan is available. As mentioned above, Purity Ice Cream is worth the stop, as is Ithaca Bakery. My go-to restaurants when passing through are the Moosewood Restaurant, a vegetable-forward farm-to-table influential (14 cookbooks since opening in í74) restaurant, and Maxieís Supper Club and Oyster Bar, a seafood/New Orleans place. Of course, I havenít eaten in a fraction of the restaurants there.

Getting out of town will take you to a lot a wineries, but Six Mile Creek is the only winery (and distillery) in Ithaca. Like everywhere else, the Finger Lakes have a ton of craft breweries, but Ithaca Beer Co. has been around longer than most of them and has a large operation with a taproom/kitchen and beer garden.
  #54  
Old 06-14-2019, 10:54 PM
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There are several kid-centric attractions in town, primarily the Sciencenter and the Cayuga Nature Center with itís six-floor treehouse.

The Ithaca Farmerís Market is Thursday (evening) and Saturdays and is expansive with covered walkways, but the parking is an issue. You can actually come in on one of the lake tour boats, though, as itís on the lake and there is a dock. Itís more than a produce market, as there are a lot of food stalls and crafters.

On the way out of town are the Museum of the Earth (towards Trumansburg) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (towards Dresden). The former is run by the Paleontological Research Intistution and focuses on fossils and geography. The latter has an exhibit/education/visitor center and ,miles of trails for hiking and birdwatching.

The Cornell Botanic Gardens and the attached Cornell Plantations are large and partially set along Cascadilla Gorge. The guided tour of the Gardens is worth timing your visit for. The Johnson Museum of art is also at Cornell, but Iíve never been. There is supposedly a collection of brains in jars on display in one of the halls.

Well, I think Iíve said everything I can think of to say about the Finger Lakes. hope this helped.
  #55  
Old 06-14-2019, 11:03 PM
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I forgot the Robert Ingersoll Birthplace and Museum in Dresden.

Last edited by bmoak; 06-14-2019 at 11:03 PM.
  #56  
Old 06-15-2019, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bmoak View Post
shops (especially used bookstores)
The decline of the bookselling business has hit Ithaca like everywhere else. I used to live in the area back in the nineties and I remember when Ithaca had over a dozen bookstores. But that has dropped down to just three: a Barnes and Noble, Buffalo Street Books (the former Bookery) and Autumn Leaves (the only used book store left in the city).
  #57  
Old 06-16-2019, 10:39 AM
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There are several kid-centric attractions in town, primarily the Sciencenter and the Cayuga Nature Center with itís six-floor treehouse.

The Ithaca Farmerís Market is Thursday (evening) and Saturdays and is expansive with covered walkways, but the parking is an issue. You can actually come in on one of the lake tour boats, though, as itís on the lake and there is a dock. Itís more than a produce market, as there are a lot of food stalls and crafters.

On the way out of town are the Museum of the Earth (towards Trumansburg) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (towards Dresden). The former is run by the Paleontological Research Intistution and focuses on fossils and geography. The latter has an exhibit/education/visitor center and ,miles of trails for hiking and birdwatching.

The Cornell Botanic Gardens and the attached Cornell Plantations are large and partially set along Cascadilla Gorge. The guided tour of the Gardens is worth timing your visit for. The Johnson Museum of art is also at Cornell, but Iíve never been. There is supposedly a collection of brains in jars on display in one of the halls.

Well, I think Iíve said everything I can think of to say about the Finger Lakes. hope this helped.
(Nitpick) The Lab of Ornithology is towards Dryden.

There's a new museum in town, The History Center and Tompkins Center for History and Culture just opened on the Commons downtown. They have one of the last remaining Tommy planes on display, as well as a lot of neat history of the area.
  #58  
Old 06-16-2019, 09:31 PM
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The decline of the bookselling business has hit Ithaca like everywhere else. I used to live in the area back in the nineties and I remember when Ithaca had over a dozen bookstores. But that has dropped down to just three: a Barnes and Noble, Buffalo Street Books (the former Bookery) and Autumn Leaves (the only used book store left in the city).
??? The Bookery is a used bookstore and is still there and is district from Buffalo Street books> They are both in the DeWitt Mall, though.

Someone told me there is another bookstore in Ithaca, but it is not downtown, specializes in art books and exhibition catalogs, and is more of a mail-order place than a storefront.

Dryden has the awesome Book Barn of the Finger Lakes and Trumansburg has a used bookstore, too.
  #59  
Old 06-16-2019, 09:37 PM
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(Nitpick) The Lab of Ornithology is towards Dryden.

There's a new museum in town, The History Center and Tompkins Center for History and Culture just opened on the Commons downtown. They have one of the last remaining Tommy planes on display, as well as a lot of neat history of the area.
Don't know why I confused them. The Ornithology Lab is on the way to the Book Barn in Dryden.

Is the new museum any different or better from the local history museum that practically every town and county in Central New York has?
  #60  
Old 06-17-2019, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for all the inputs. Our trip is coming up and I look forward to visiting the area!
  #61  
Old 06-17-2019, 10:28 PM
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One thing Ithaca doesn't have is a game (board/card/rpg) store, which is unusual for a college town of that size. There used to be a really good one called the Enchanted Badger, but I found out they closed a year or two ago.
  #62  
Old 06-17-2019, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bmoak View Post
One thing Ithaca doesn't have is a game (board/card/rpg) store, which is unusual for a college town of that size. There used to be a really good one called the Enchanted Badger, but I found out they closed a year or two ago.
There was another really good one, Vanguard Games, back in the eighties and nineties. They were located downtown on Aurora Street.

If you're looking for a good game store that's still in business, I recommend Great Escape at the Arnot Mall in Elmira.
  #63  
Old 06-17-2019, 10:54 PM
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??? The Bookery is a used bookstore and is still there and is district from Buffalo Street books> They are both in the DeWitt Mall, though.
Okay, there used to be two Bookery bookstores in the Dewitt Mall, the Bookery (which sells used books) and the Bookery II (which sold new books). The Bookery II closed but was later re-opened as Buffalo Street Books. (And my personal opinion is that the new version of the store isn't as good as the original.)

I thought the Bookery had also closed about a year ago. But I googled it and you're right; it's still in business.
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