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Ithaca is more than gorges

Things to do in Ithaca, New York

The leaves have changed colors and temperatures have dipped. It’s the perfect time to spend a fall weekend in New York state’s picturesque Finger Lakes region.

Check out my new travel + lifestyle blog, The Epicurean Traveler, for more travel tips, hotel and restaurant reviews, recipes and more!

I spent a weekend in Ithaca, N.Y., with my friend, Amanda, Oct. 11-13. We visited our friends, Mike and Ashlyn, who you might remember from my previous post about visiting Ithaca for Cornell’s spring football game. Or, maybe you have read their tips for visiting Nashville.

Ashlyn, me, Mike and Amanda on the field after the Cornell V. Harvard football game on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Ashlyn, me, Mike and Amanda on the field after the Cornell V. Harvard football game on Saturday, Oct. 12. Go Big Red!

Ithaca is an artsy college town full of quirky and fun small businesses, like Rulloff’s — a bar named for a serial killer. It’s also a foodie heaven with locally owned restaurants. Simeon’s on the Commons, Mahogany Grill and Maxie’s Supper Club are a few I recommend. There’s also a lake, gorges, nearby wineries and two college campuses — Ithaca College and Cornell University.

Stay within walking distance of Downtown Ithaca

Ithaca, N.Y., motel Meadow Court Inn is a 15-minute walk to downtown.

Ithaca, N.Y., motel Meadow Court Inn is less than a 10-minute walk to downtown.

If you are staying in Ithaca, the Holiday Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn are both in the downtown area. From either hotel you can walk to shops and restaurants in Ithaca Commons.

Amanda and I had trouble finding a place to stay. It was Ithaca College’s Homecoming and Cornell had a home football game, too. We ended up at the Meadow Court Inn, a motel about a seven minute walk from downtown. It was conveniently located across the street from a grocery store, Wegman’s. It was clean, and it had Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast of bagels, yogurt, coffee and orange juice. If you are looking for a clean place to sleep and shower, Meadow Court Inn fits the bill.

Finger Lakes’ wine country known for award-winning Rieslings

More than 120 wineries makes the Finger Lakes region one of the country’s top destinations for oenophiles. The deep, skinny lakes surrounded by hillsides creates an environment that breeds sweet and dry Rieslings and Cabernet Francs. Near Ithaca, the closest winery is Six Mile Creek Vineyard on Route 79. While I didn’t make it to any wineries this trip like I had hoped, I had a glass of a local white wine.

Taste Cajun flavors at Maxie’s Supper Club

A boisterous restaurant dishing out New Orleans flavors was our dinner destination one night. Our party of nine, including two little boys, enjoyed the lively eatery and savory Cajun delights. We started our meal with a round of drinks — including a Bloody Mary served with a skewered shrimp — and appetizers of  “Cajun Popcorn” fried crawfish with a remoulade sauce and calamari in olive oil and Parmesan cheese, which was an utterly scrumptious special that day. Po’boys filled the table come entree time, but I tried and loved the shrimp and grits. I followed our waitress’s suggestion: Order the half plate of the plump shrimp and yellow grits in a spicy tasso sauce and add grilled andouille sausage for an extra kick of heat and flavor.

Maxie's Supper Club features Cajun flavors with dishes such as the Cajun Popcorn, a fried crawfish appetizer, and the Shrimp & Grits with andouille sausage.

Maxie’s Supper Club features Cajun flavors with dishes such as the Cajun Popcorn, a fried crawfish appetizer, and the Shrimp & Grits with andouille sausage.

Maxie’s Supper Club is located at 635 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850. Call 30 minutes ahead of arrival to reserve your table at (607) 272-4136.

Shop for fresh produce at the Ithaca Farmers Market

Shoppers enter the Ithaca Farmers Market on Sunday, Oct. 13.

Shoppers enter the Ithaca Farmers Market on Sunday, Oct. 13.

If I lived in Ithaca, you’d find me at this farmers’ market every weekend. Amanda, Ashlyn, Mike’s mom and nephew and I strolled through the wooden-pavilion-covered market on Sunday morning, stopping for fresh apple cider and fluffy apple-cider doughnuts. There were hard cider tastings and apple and pumpkin butters to sample. Vendors sold organic produce, beautiful bouquets, gluten-free and vegan cupcakes, freshly baked breads and plenty of pumpkins and fall gourds. With waterfront picnic tables outside the pavilion, shoppers could purchase food and have an alfresco brunch in view of Cayuga Lake.

The Ithaca Farmers Market is located at Steamboat Landing at Cayuga Lake, 545 3rd St, Ithaca, NY 14851. It is open every Saturday through Dec. 21, 2013. It reopens for full weekends in April.

My Ithaca weekend in photos

Wish you were here,

Erin

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. Thanks for sharing…love the pics…great photography shots at the farmers’ market.

    January 4, 2014

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