In Love With Ithaca

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I adore Ithaca, a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York which is about 90 minutes away. I've been there many times, but it grows on me more and more each time I go.





Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, Ithaca is known for its stunning gorges, waterfalls, and hills. This meant nothing to me as a child, as I did not appreciate those things.  As an adult, though, the beauty of the region is just stunning and something I truly marvel at.

What I like most about the city is the personality of the city itself.  Picture this--a city that parallels the popular website Etsy.com in so many ways.  It's a city with a great appreciation for the handmade movement, being green, accepting of others, and an appreciation for the local movement.  Artisan shops abound and it really is just a lovely place to visit. We found used books stores all over, shops with vinyl records, and two fabulous toy stores with so much charm and personality, even adults were lingering...  Restaurants there are also known for using locally grown foods and CSAs are commonplace. You see recycling stations for glass, plastics, and compost at almost every self-serve type of restaurant unlike the basic garbage cans here.




Tom and I went to Ithaca on Wednesday for our anniversary and enjoyed two lovely nights away at the beautiful William Henry Miller Inn. What a fabulous stay we had!  We were immediately greeted by Lynnette, the lovely innkeeper, and her 9 pound dog Millie. Our room, the Retreat, was on the third floor and  truly lived up to the room name.

What a relaxing trip! I also have to tell you what a fantastic surprise we had--after checking in, Lynnette and a lovely member of her staff knocked at our door with a silver tray of chocolate covered strawberries and bucket of champagne along with a lovely note wishing us a Happy Anniversary from our friends Dave and Cheddy. Such a thoughtful surprise!



The inn was just spectacular and it was within walking distance from all of the restaurants and shopping we wanted to do at the Commons.  The first night we had dinner at a tapas restaurant called  Just a Taste. On a cold and windy Wednesday night, there was a line out the door before their 5:30 opening.  It was easy to see why once we tasted our food. We shared some great small plates and enjoyed their wine flight (5 small glasses of different local wines to try). We had a wonderful cheese plate with quince spread and almonds, the spicy shrimp with tomatoes, jalapeno, lime & cilantro; Brussels sprouts in brown butter with garlic, pecans, and fresh romano; the deep fried potato wedges with chipotle aioli, and some fantastic chicken skewers.  Everything was just heavenly! Honestly, I would drive back down to Ithaca just to eat dinner there again soon.

What I loved about the inn (one of many things) was the 8pm dessert offered on the sideboard. Dessert is served all night with tea, water, and coffee available too.  We sat in the front parlor and enjoyed pear cake and snickerdoodles while chatting with one another, free from interruption. What a great night!

Breakfast was also stellar both days.  In addition the chocolate sour cream coffee cake and apple date bread, we were offered a fresh fruit dish each morning, a choice of sweet or savory dish, and fresh squeezed juices. Tom, for example, had Challah bread French toast, while I enjoyed a crustless quiche on Friday morning. The food was so good.  It is no wonder Lynnette is a food blogger for a great blog called Bed & Breakfast Foodies--Eight Broads in a Kitchen. Please do check it out!

We also spent a bit of time exploring downtown Trumansburg, about 15 minutes north of Ithaca. There are several adorable shops--all mom and pops. I liked GEMM, a thrift shop.  I found a Dana Buchman for Kohl's cardigan, a faux fur trimmed hoodie (also from Kohl's), and a Gap kids shirt for Ben for less than $10 total.


My favorite shop, though, was  Life's So Sweet, a little homemade chocolate shop.  What a treat to find this place.  I was chatting with the friendly woman behind the counter and she turned out to be the mother of the owner and someone who lived here in the Rochester area for years before she moved down to the Finger Lakes. We purchased some goodies for my mom and her boyfriend (or it is her "significant other" or her "man"?), as they were gracious enough to watch the boys for us. I also bought some for myself and can tell you they were really delicious!


More pictures from the Commons in Ithaca:

What's great about the Commons is that everything is a locally owned or socially conscious type of business. Ten Thousand Villages is there, too! I told you about that place over the summer while telling you about our vacation.






We had an amazing time away for our anniversary.  Getting away is a must! It doesn't have to be far away, but reconnecting kids-free for a couple days is something I think all couples need, whether they've been together 5 years or 50 years. I was very good and left my tablet behind--didn't check my Facebook or answer emails. Tom didn't watch college football either.  It really was just a trip for us. We stayed up talking, held hands walking through the town (although we still do that anyway), and enjoyed lots of laughter and loving...I was also surprised with a stunning new ring.  The best part of the trip, though, was remembering all the reasons we fell in love to begin with.  All in all, we had an amazing time away and I cannot wait to have another little getaway again!
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