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You can’t spell Ithaca without t, h, and c*

You can’t spell Ithaca without t, h, and c*

Christopher Carroll, Ithaca School Class of 1992, is a periodic contributor to 14850 Journal.

My father is dropping Owen and me off at Sandy’s new engineering job in Blue Bell after work at present, August 31st. From there, we’re getting on I-476 North (also referred to as the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension) and then onto I-81 in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania to the New York State border and our vacation spot, Ithaca, about 50 extra minutes away. No want for maps or a GPS; this can be a route I’ve pushed dozens of occasions beginning in 1988.

Sandy and I met in Ithaca 25 years in the past, virtually to the day. I had graduated Ithaca School in 1992 (I subsequently left city shortly to simply accept a suggestion to be a employees photographer on the Studying Eagle) and moved again to city a yr later, in Might of 1993. Sandy and I met in early September that yr, simply as she was beginning her Senior yr at Cornell. The remaining is historical past.

Since leaving Central New York in August of 1995, we’ve tried to return a minimum of as soon as per summer time, yr after yr. Aside from just a few years, we have now made it again each summer time to go to, in addition to a couple of winters.

Ithaca is greatest in the summertime, although winter does supply respectable snow quantities, leading to good snowboarding circumstances. In case you occur to go to throughout ski season, I like to recommend making some strains at Greek Peak, in close by Virgil — about 30 minutes northeast by automotive.

I lived in Ithaca for 4 full summers. It’s really lovely within the months of June via August. Most college students go residence for the season, leaving Tompkins County emptier, quieter, and far more laid again.

Through the years, we now have stayed at associates’ houses, crashing on couches, in addition to numerous inns, and native state park campgrounds. Under you’ll discover an inventory of excellent lodging choices in addition to locations I feel must be prevented.

Good and dependable inns:

The Vacation Inn Categorical and Suites on Route 13 — not removed from Buttermilk Falls State Park and strolling distance to many eating choices in Ithaca’s southwest (e.g. Previous Mexico Restaurant and Cantina, two blocks away), this lodge was inbuilt early 2017 and options an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and a free breakfast buffet. It’s a little bit of a distance from the Ithaca Commons and downtown, so until you could have a motorcycle or don’t thoughts strolling a couple of miles, you’ll need to have a automotive when staying right here. If you wish to bike however don’t have one or can’t convey it with you, attempt LimeBike — a really reasonably priced solution to get round. (An alternative choice is ride-sharing, corresponding to with Lyft.)

Nation Inn and Suites by Radisson is on Route 96 — inside strolling distance of Ithaca School on South Hill. This lodge additionally has an indoor pool and free breakfast. You’ll want a automotive to go downtown or to Cornell College (or take a TCAT bus). Aside from Ithaca School and a few native eateries, nothing is inside strolling distance, though Higher Buttermilk Falls State Park is a brief bike journey and lower than 5 minutes by automotive. I final stayed right here in 2011, when it was often known as Nation Inn and Suites by Carlson. I’m guessing it’s nonetheless a great choice for lodging.

The Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons. 14850 file photograph.

Though I’ve by no means personally stayed at both of them, I’ve it on good authority that each the Hilton Backyard Inn on Seneca Road and the Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons are dependable resorts. Breakfast isn’t included, nevertheless, and they command greater charges than the primary two lodges on my listing. Public transportation is obtainable at each places, so Ithaca School and Cornell are each simply accessed. These are downtown lodges in the midst of all of the Ithaca motion. Loads of outlets, bars, golf equipment, and eating choices are a brief stroll away. Cascadilla Gorge can also be lower than 10 minutes away on foot. It provides downtown waterfalls subsequent to a path main up East Hill and ending in Collegetown — the gateway to Cornell.

The Statler Lodge on the Cornell campus is a five-star, luxurious lodge run by college students in Cornell’s Faculty of Lodge Administration inside the S.C. Johnson School of Enterprise (which produced graduate Jeff Effkin, proprietor of The Kimberton Inn — high-quality eating in my neck of the woods. In the event you’re a foodie, make sure you cease within the subsequent time you’re in Northern Chester County, Pennsylvania). That is the place the cream of the crop in eating and lodging are made. Costly, however situated within the coronary heart of Cornell’s campus. Strolling distance to Beebe Lake, Collegetown, bars, eating, and nightlife.

Greatest Western College Inn — situated within the East Hill Plaza, this multi-building lodging choice is inexpensive than all the different respectable inns. Nevertheless, it isn’t inside strolling distance of a lot aside from a couple of eating places. In and across the plaza are Agava (Southwest impressed farm to desk delicacies), a department of the long-lasting Collegetown Bagels, Ling Ling Backyard with Chinese language meals, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, and Subway. Out of those, I’ve solely dined at Agava – it was excellent. There are additionally a Mirabito fuel station/ comfort retailer and a Ceremony Help pharmacy. Cornell and Downtown are close by, however you’ll want a car or there’s a TCAT bus cease with 20-minute routes to the Commons). The lodge does supply a seasonal outside pool, free Wi-Fi, and a free breakfast buffet. We have now stayed right here on quite a few events without any main points.

Robert H. Treman State Park — situated off New York Route 13, simply south of the Ithaca metropolis limits, this park presents campsites in addition to rustic cabins. There are public loos with showers obtainable, in addition to seasonal swimming within the gorge. Lifeguards are current in your security. Sandy and I’ve camped and stayed within the cabins on a number of events. The cabins are pet pleasant, so be happy to deliver your pooch. The gorge path is lengthy and steep. Give your self loads of time to hike down and again up, and make sure you carry loads of water with you for hydration.

The Cayuga Lake shore at Taughannock Falls State Park. 14850 file photograph.

Taughannock Falls State Park is house to the tallest single drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated about 10 minutes northwest of Ithaca, alongside Route 89 within the City of Ulysses. The village of Trumansburg, house of the annual Finger Lakes Grassroots Pageant of Music and Dance and a nexus for a lot native musical expertise, is a brief 5 minute drive away. The park has a small seashore on Cayuga Lake, full with lifeguards, loos, a playground, and seasonal concession stand. Many weekends function free reside music. Circumstances allowing, swimming within the lake is allowed seasonally. In fact, the park gives quite a lot of tenting choices.

Locations to keep away from:

Lodge Ithaca on South Cayuga Road, in between Inexperienced and Clinton Streets — this lodging choice was previously the Ramada Divi and then a Vacation Inn earlier than going unbiased as Lodge Ithaca. Whereas the rooms within the Ramada and Vacation Inn variations have been good within the tower part (a ten-story tower full with clear glass elevator with good views of downtown and Cornell within the distance), the rooms within the separate two story annex left lots to be desired. Overpriced for the facilities offered, this lodge is inside two blocks to the Commons and a brief bus journey to Cornell and Ithaca School. The newest on-line critiques are pink flags, in addition to the private experiences of my buddies with one caveat: the previous two story annex has been demolished, with a model new five-story constructing changing it. Maybe the circumstances have improved since my final go to. There’s an indoor pool, and onsite overpriced restaurant and bar, however breakfast isn’t free.

Clarion Lodge — situated on North Triphammer Street, north of Cornell College and very near the Outlets on the Ithaca Mall (referred to as Pyramid Mall once I lived right here) and a few buying plazas, this Selection Motels model is nearly the equal of an EconoLodge or Rodeway Inn — under common lodges. As soon as once more, for those who’re a fan of Selection Resorts, patronize their Consolation Inn and Suites places. Sure, the Clarion, which was a Ramada till earlier this yr, has an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi (not the strongest sign once I was there), and free breakfast; however, it has nothing respectable inside strolling distance and usually wants main renovations to convey it as much as trendy requirements.

Sufficient of the adverse. I would like companies to succeed, so take observe, Lodge Ithaca and Clarion: when you haven’t upgraded and renovated considerably since my final visits, you want to take action now to remain aggressive.

Issues to do:

This text assumes you’re visiting in the summertime season (June by way of August). IMHO, the one issues to do through the winter are ski, bowl, and keep indoors, until your timing places you on the town the weekend of the Ithaca Ice Pageant or the Chili Prepare dinner-Off.

The Stewart Avenue Bridge over Cascadilla Creek gorge in Collegetown. 14850 file photograph.

The parks and gorges. Virtually any of them will do. Aforementioned Cascadilla Gorge is a pleasant hike up from downtown to Collegetown. Six Mile Creek. The paths at Higher and Decrease Buttermilk and Robert H. Treman State Parks. And naturally, the waterfalls. Ithaca Falls within the Fall Creek neighborhood on the north aspect of the town. First, second, and third dams, main up and out of downtown to the sides of Ithaca a number of miles east. Second and third dams have been my private favourite spots once I lived within the space. I heard the town has actually cracked down on swimming there, however to the perfect of my information, I feel mountaineering the path continues to be authorized.

Decrease Buttermilk has a swimming space adjoining to the falls with lifeguards. I occur to favor Robert H. Treman State Park and the falls on the prime of the gorge. Treman has lifeguards and a concession stand.

Go to the Cornell Campus. And Ithaca School, in case you are up for it. Brief on time? Then solely go to Cornell. Despite the fact that I’m an IC grad, I choose the Cornell Campus. IC has expanded, but it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing to me. Apologies to my Alma Mater, however Sandy’s is superior.

Be sure you stroll down the primary educational Arts Quad at Cornell whereas on campus. Take a look at The Cornell Retailer, too. Cornell Eating operates an ice cream store, the Cornell Dairy Bar, that includes ice cream made on the adjoining Cornell Dairy. Very yummy.

The Cornell Botanic Gardens are a should see.

Crusing on Cayuga Lake

Cruises on Cayuga Lake

Reside music on the Ithaca Farmers Market at Steamboat Touchdown. 14850 file photograph.

The Farmers Market at Steamboat Touchdown, adjoining to Stewart Park, is open Saturdays and Sundays all summer time, and Saturdays from early spring into December.

I used to drink, and I’m embarrassed to say that in my days of imbibing, I by no means went on a Finger Lakes Wine and Cheese tour. For those who drink, this hyperlink is for you:  Cayuga Lakes Wine Path

Cornell Cinema and Cinemapolis for artwork home and unbiased films.

Stay music, copious quantities of it. Ithaca’s music scene has all the time attracted expertise from outdoors, in addition to producing from inside. I used to be lucky sufficient to have seen acts akin to Blues Traveler, Sugar Minot, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, and many extra throughout my days and nights dwelling in Ithaca. I’ve to confess that I don’t know a lot concerning the present music venues. Again in my day, I frequented The (unique) Hang-out, the Nines, Bailey Corridor at Cornell, the State Theatre, and the (now closed) Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg. Lots of my Ithaca School period associates launched their profitable music careers in Tompkins County. Out of all of the music to return out of Ithaca and Tompkins, my private favorites are as follows, in no specific order:

The Horseflies| Donna The Buffalo| Jenny Lowe Stearns| Operating with Scissors | Blindman’s Vacation | The Grahams (and Alyssa Graham’s solo acts) | Jon Ridnell(A.Okay.A. Black Canine) | Marc Stone| Larry Corbin| Greg Schatz| The Sim Redmond Band

Lastly, locations to eat:

Moosewood Restaurant. Situated downtown within the Dewitt Mall, Moosewood is world well-known for his or her (virtually solely) vegetarian delicacies. Reservations are extremely beneficial, as they’re all the time busy. Alternatively, you would purchase one in every of Moosewood’s 14 cookbooks and prepare dinner at residence.

Greenstar Cooperative market — three places, one downtown in Dewitt Mall, one in Collegetown, and the opposite on Route 13 within the west finish — is the native powerhouse unbiased well being/natural grocery retailer. I used to be a member of the coop when it was situated on the northside of city, on North Cayuga Road, means again in the summertime of 1990.

Style of Thai (on the Commons) and Style of Thai Categorical (on the south finish) are my “go-to” Thai eating places.

Simeon’s American Bistro is situated on the east finish of The Commons (the nook of East State Road and Aurora). Since 1986, Simeon’s has had three totally different house owners but stays a well-liked downtown bar and restaurant, with each indoor and exterior seating.

Collegetown Bagels (for my part, they bake the most effective bagels on the earth): with six places between CTB and Ithaca Bakery to select from, they make quite a lot of sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The State Diner: situated on west State Road, about 5 blocks west of the Commons, is a standard American Diner, although not 24/7.

Only a Style Wine and Tapas Bar: situated just some steps from the Commons on South Aurora Road.

Viva Taqueria: throughout the road from the Commons, on the nook of east State Road and Aurora. Dine-in and take-out “Mexithacan,” in California serving sizes (big).

Waffle Frolic: on the Commons. Wonderful waffle bar with breakfast and lunch decisions.

There are lots of extra wonderful eating decisions. Extra choices may be discovered right here.

Vote together with your greenback. Keep away from Jimmy John’s Gourmand Sandwiches; the proprietor of the corporate (not the native franchisee), Jimmy John Liautaud, is a deplorable massive recreation hunter. Killing wild animals for enjoyable shouldn’t be a sport. Nothing sportsmanlike about it.

* iTHaCa: once I attended Ithaca School within the late 80s and early 1990s, hashish was nonetheless on the fringes of society. The legal guidelines have been totally different then. The penalties grossly extreme. Now, a big majority of United States has legalized medicinal hashish and a handful even have absolutely legalized grownup leisure use. Together with Nevada, the place not too way back, the sentence for possessing only one seed was 20 years obligatory. Colorado, Washington, and Washington D.C. have legalized leisure use as properly. Once I was a university scholar, all of this was within the closet. There was no authorized use in any respect. But, a number of the east coast’s highest quality hashish was produced in Tompkins County. Please word that solely medicinal hashish is authorized in New York. For those who eat without a medical card, even in case you really need it, you’re breaking the regulation.

There’s a deeper cause I hold coming again to my school stomping grounds. Like Sedona, Arizona, there’s a distinctive everlasting power within the area. Legend has it, God positioned his/her arms on the earth right here. Ithaca appears to be the palm print.

An ode to our annual summer time pilgrimage again to Ithaca. The 2018 go to:

August 31, 2018


We pulled into our Ithaca lodge for Labor Day Weekend about an hour in the past. We’re staying on the aforementioned Greatest Western College Inn for 3 nights.

My father dropped Owen and Me off at Sandy’s workplace at four:30. Visitors on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was jammed between Valley Forge and Norristown, so it took an additional 20 minutes to satisfy Sandy.

Then, on prime of the native visitors mess, I-476 North was a shitshow. It took us over an hour to journey 20 miles. We virtually rotated on the Quakertown exit to go residence, however we determined to persevere and push on in the direction of New York. After four hours of driving, we lastly arrived. It solely ought to have taken three ½ hours on the velocity restrict, however as a consequence of visitors it took an additional 30 minutes whereas rushing when journey opened up.

Tomorrow we’ll loosen up within the morning with no agenda. Perhaps Owen and I’ll swim within the outside lodge pool. We’ll meet up with Ari and firm round 1:30 for some crusing, adopted by dinner at his home.

September 1


After waking from a restful night time’s sleep, we grabbed some breakfast on the lodge’s buffet, then Owen and I swam within the chilly outside pool for a fast 5 minutes.

At 11am, we drove to Cornell Orchards to select up some recent native fruit and snacks for a picnic lunch. We drove downtown, discovered a spot to park on North Cayuga Road, and ate in Dewitt Park. Whereas parking in central downtown is free on weekends, the town fees to park most different occasions. Obtain the ParkMobile app or use the kiosks.

After lunch, we walked to the Commons for individuals watching adopted by a brief stroll downtown. Since our final go to in August 2017, the Commons has as soon as once more advanced and grown to accommodate new buildings for retail and residential area.

At 1pm, we drove to the Youngsters’s Backyard for some play time earlier than assembly Ari on the marina at 1:45 for a number of hours of crusing on Cayuga Lake.

At four:45, we completed crusing and drove to Ari’s home in Trumansburg for a night of socializing and dinner.

By 9:30, we have been again on the lodge for the night.

September 2

As we speak, we’re assembly Ari and his household at Taughannock Falls State Park round 11:15am for a hike and some swimming within the lake.


We met Ari and household at 11:15am this morning and solely simply returned to our lodge. I’m drained. I’ll write extra tomorrow, after we drive residence.

Labor Day


We’re again at house.


I both have stream of consciousness writers block or simply lack motivation. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

Sandy is downstairs, encouraging Owen to follow cello. He’s delaying by altering the topic.

Whereas we anticipated rain this weekend, we have been pleasantly stunned that we stored dry in Ithaca. Its considerably ironic, since gray skies and rain are commonplace there.

So, we took benefit of the climate for the second consecutive day, and spent 4 hours within the park. We meandered upstream in the direction of Taughannock Falls throughout our brief hike. Owen, Ari, Sheila, Sandy, and Noah walked within the creek, whereas Aaron and I stored dry (Aaron was sporting sneakers and I had a sore foot) by strolling within the dry elements of the creek mattress and on the path.

We met on the finish of the brief path close to the underside of the falls. In case you go to Taughannock Falls, heed the warning indicators. Keep on the path. A number of years in the past, a vacationer was killed and her relations have been injured when an enormous piece of rock fell from above. Everybody on the path was positive, however the vacationer (who had wandered previous the warning indicators and off the path) was crushed to dying. It took hours and the work of large earth shifting gear to recuperate her physique.

After coming back from our hike, we grabbed some lunch on the concession stand and headed again to our desk and chairs by the lifeguarded lake. Owen, Sandy, and Ari have been courageous sufficient to swim the 66 diploma waters. No thanks, not for me.

At 3pm, we packed up and headed again to Ari’s home. Owen rode with the Kissiloff crew, stopping for groceries, at Shur-Save, on the best way. Sandy and I waited on Ari and Sheila’s deck till they returned.

Owen had been wanting to make use of the twins’ hoverboard, so I took him throughout their again yard to the parking tons at Trumansburg Elementary Faculty and reduce him unfastened for 30 minutes. To the perfect of my information, this was his third time ever driving one. He’s undoubtedly a pure. I discover it unimaginable, as most novice adults do. Youngsters have a decrease middle of gravity that makes it simpler.

Again on the home, Owen joined Aaron and Noah in a marathon XBOX gaming session, whereas Sandy, Ari, Sheila, and I hung out chatting by their pond. Subjects starting from the worth of a faculty diploma that teaches crucial considering to what Kompromat Putin has on Trump. All of us agreed if there’s a “pee tape,” none of Trump’s base can be offended. I surmised Putin has a tape of Trump killing or torturing somebody or diddling a child. Ari thinks Trump doesn’t have the balls to torture or kill. The ultimate consensus amongst us: Putin has video of Trump raping a toddler. What else might it’s? So many offensive and repugnant actions and phrases from the Orange One and his base doesn’t flinch. Would they flinch if Donald was a child fucker? In all probability not, however Congress would. I hope.

Ari and Sheila have been gracious sufficient to have us over to eat dinner two nights in row. As Ari grilled hamburgers and scorching canine, we sat on the deck watching Phish exhibits on his assortment of televisions hanging on the surface of his home and shed. I had forgotten how amazingly tight and good their musicianship is.

I’ve solely seen Phish reside in live performance as soon as, method again in the summertime of 1993, just some months earlier than assembly Sandy. I used to be working at what was then referred to as Pyramid Mall, in PhotoUSA — a photograph processing lab. (Keep in mind 35mm cameras? Creating the negatives and printing photographs? Anybody? Bueller?) On my method house from work, the native radio station introduced they have been freely giving tickets to Phish to the ninth caller. I sped residence to my place on South Cayuga Road and began calling and redialing till I lastly acquired via. I gained the pair of tickets and ended up taking certainly one of my housemates to the present.

I’ve digressed sufficient for now. After dinner, we returned to our lodge for the night.

September 5


We now have been house for a bit of extra then 48 hours. Owen is again into the varsity routine and Sandy has settled again into the third week at her new job.

We woke on Monday morning round 7:45am, ate a fast breakfast, showered, packed, and acquired on the street by 9:15. We have been residence by 1:15 that afternoon, together with two stops for gasoline: one to fill the tank in Ithaca and one to prime the tank off once we received residence.

That’s how we ended our epic summer time of 2018. Learn extra of my stream-of-consciousness travelogues.

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