Head south for a hippie haven that will delight: Ithaca an outdoor mecca for the foodie at heart

Ithaca Commons is the heart of Ithaca's downtown and makes a great place for shopping and browsing through both funky and upscale shops. Photo courtesy Visit Ithaca.

Less than four hours from most points in the north country, Ithaca is a medium-sized city of about 30,000 year-round residents known for its opportunities for outdoor adventure, hippie culture, robust local food scene and premier colleges and universities. For a weekend getaway, Ithaca offers plenty of great hiking, shopping, cultural events and eating, particularly vegan and vegetarian fare.

Friday, 2 P.M., take a walk in the company of great minds

A quick walking tour of the Cornell University campus is a good way to get a taste of Ithaca before you settle into your accommodations.

Cornell, an Ivy League university with about 22,000 students across undergraduate and graduate programs, boasts a spectacular, hilly 2,300-acre campus full of old, ivy-covered brick buildings and breathtaking views of the city. It offers a great place for a stroll, though you will get a workout from its huge quantity of stairs. Stop inside Cornell’s oldest library, Uris Library, which has a collection of two million volumes combined with Olin Library. Cornell’s other specialty libraries include the Baily Hortorium Library, composed of the combined botanical resources from the personal libraries of Liberty Hyde Bailey and Wiegand Herbarium. It has about 30,000 volumes, more than 200 journal titles and hundreds of shelf-feet of reprints. The Paleontological Research Institution Library contains over 50,000 volumes on paleontology, geology and natural history. The Snee Hall Reading Room is a glass-enclosed room with a beautiful view of the Cascadilla gorge and is a popular place to study. Visit www.cornell.edu/libraries for a list of libraries and their locations.

Grab a coffee or snack in Collegetown, which has numerous award-winning restaurants and shops. Stella’s Restaurant, Bar and Café at 403 College Ave. is a great place to refuel and get a taste of the local culture, offering something for everyone and known for its coffee and espresso drinks. Collegetown Bagels at 415 College Ave. is a great quintessential college town bagel shop and is also good place to grab a quick sandwich. [Read more…]