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Old 05-12-2009, 12:08 PM
 
51 posts, read 86,773 times
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Default Finger Lakes vacation tips?

Hi, all. The wife and I will be spending a couple of days in the Watkins Glen/Ithaca area on the way home from Buffalo, the week following the Fourth of July weekend. We'll probably stay at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, on Seneca Lake.

Our plan is to hike around Watkins Glen State Park and Taughannock Falls State Park. We'd also like to check out Ithaca proper. Are there any good brew pubs overlooking one of the waterfalls in the town? And what about the Commons? Worth visiting? Parking nearby?

Basically we enjoy outdoor scenery (although we're not "outdoors" types - we draw the line at easy hiking), a good brew pub, used bookstores, nice parks, etc. Any suggestions welcome!
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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you'll have a blast for sure

definitely check out the wineries that dot the lakes

i think there are some brewpubs in the area, but honestly couldn't comment on them

i know there is a microbrewery/restaurant in the commons (although you won't get a view of much) and the commons are worth checking out - never had a problem finding parking as there are a few garages (although the last time I was there road work was a pain)

if you want to try something different you could go to a tasting and pick up a growler or two at the keuka lake brewing company - they are located on the west lake, just up the hill from Dr. Franks winery - could provide some good refreshment while enjoying you hotel

watkins glen park is one of my favorites - the backroad drive between watkins and hammondsport is nice as well and you'll split the smaller waneta and lamoka lakes

if you want to swing down to corning it can be a nice place to visit - the glass museum is really nice

a lot of options for light hiking, drinking, waterfalls, gorges, etc

there are a lot of nice parks all over the place as well
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
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Robert Treman State Park (just south of Ithaca) has trails winding through Enfield Glen. It's fabulously scenic with many waterfalls, but if you're not into much hiking, start at the top of the gorge and take the easier hike leading down to Lucifer Falls. The trail eventually loops back to the parking lot.

New York State Parks :: Robert H. Treman State Park

Don't know about brew pubs (I'm more of a wino myself), but the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca is excellent and world famous.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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You could possibly check out the Collegetown area by Cornell University. I'm sure the Commons in Downtown Ithaca has some, but you wouldn't gt the scenery you are looking for.
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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Breweries in and around Ithaca:

Ithaca brewery - Google Maps
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:37 AM
 
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I was a student at Cornell many years ago, so my knowledge of the area is limited to Ithaca. If you want scenary, check out the Johnson Museum at Cornell. The campus sit atop a hill looking down at the Cayuga lake. And from the museum's top floor, you can get a 360 degree view of the area.

Also, check out Information on Taughannock Falls State Park

It should fit your light outdoor activity criteria. You can walk upto both the top and the bottom of the fall, both of which are breath taking.

Lastly, check out the wineries, as someone else mentioned. It's the thing to do, if you are in the area.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:47 AM
 
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I don't know of any pubs that overlook the gorges and waterfalls, which tend to be undeveloped.
Ithaca Common is worth checking out. Would not be the end of the world if you missed it, but it's got a nice mix of shops. There is plenty of parking in the general vicinity.

I can't think of any particularly good pubs, pretty typical college fare. You can check out The Chapter House, if memory serves right. For a Ithaca/Cornell cheap-eats experience, get yourself a Hot Truck sandwich at the Short Stop Deli. (Until a few years ago, you could only get it late at night, from a truck by Cornell's dorms).

For scenery, the top of the Johnson Museum was a good recommendation. Also, by the library and clock tower. And for natural beauty, you can check out the Cornell Plantations. Seems like your type of outdoor scenery.

You will find some of the best wineries on the east coast of Seneca Lake.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Ithaca NY
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As mentioned upthread, the falls are almost entirely within the local park system, and I can't think of any restaurants even within short walking distance. For natural beauty, the wineries are the places to be--often with views of the lakes, the valleys, and the surrounding hills. Lovely. My friends like the beer from the Ithaca Beer Co., but I don't think they serve food at the brewery, and the other local places listed on the Google maps link aren't worth the trip.

For dinner, I'd recommend either Moosewood or Madeleine's, both on or near to the Commons. Moosewood has a constantly rotating menu, serving 4-5 entrees per night, and they do have off nights. I'd recommend going over and looking at the menu (written on a chalkboard next to the entrance) before going. On a night where the entrees sound good, however, their food is amazing. Madeleine's has sort of a nouveau-French-hip thing going on, a very different vibe than Moosewood's, but is also wonderful. There is plenty of parking around the Commons, just follow the signs. Parking in a structure is free on the weekends.

Have fun!
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:04 AM
 
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You can also find some very nice dining experiences around the lakes. Suzanne Fine's Regional Cuisine has a nice semi-modern American menu, for finer dining.
On our last trip, we had a very nice scenic lunch on the veranda at the Red Newt Bistro.
I've heard some excellent things about The Stonecat Cafe, but haven't gotten a chance to eat there.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:24 AM
 
51 posts, read 86,773 times
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Thanks for the tips, folks. I repped you all.
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