Ithaca: Beautiful, Thinking. What makes Ithaca unique…?
Is it the towering waterfalls, lush ice-age gorges, endless panoramic views? Is it the hiking, the biking, the boating? Is it the beauty of Cayuga Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes?
Perhaps. But perhaps it’s something more. Maybe it’s the buzz from Cornell University and Ithaca College. You feel it everywhere-in our museums, our galleries, our many restaurants. You hear it in our theaters, our nightclubs, our festivals. You see it downtown on our pedestrian mall, the Ithaca Commons, where PhDs cross paths with street musicians, and families stroll the solar system on an interactive “planet walk.” You can’t put your finger on it, but there’s something special going on here.The bumper stickers say “Ithaca is Gorges,” but it’s more than that. Ithaca is beautiful and smart and always unexpected.It’s intense and laid-back and disdainful of convention. Ithaca is Ithaca. There’s a vibe here unlike anywhere else in America.
And experiencing it is the only way to discover it.
Location – Ithaca and Tompkins County are located in the central Finger Lakes Region of New York State. 5 hours from NYC,3 hours from Niagara Falls, 2 hours from Rochester, 4.5 hours from Philadelphia.
The 14 counties in the Finger Lakes Region cover more than 9,000 square miles roughly the size of New Hampshire or Vermont, and slightly larger than the state of New Jersey.
Simeon DeWitt, at one time the State Surveyor General, founded Ithaca following the Revolutionary War.
Cayuga Lake is named after the Cayuga Indian Nation, one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Ithaca is host to over 150 waterfalls, all of which lie within a 10-mile radius of downtown.
Tompkins County is home to 3 gorge parks. (There are only 6 within the entire state of New York.)
Taughannock Falls is 215 feet high, a greater vertical drop than Niagara Falls.
An avid boater can sail from the open ocean through the locks of the New York State Erie Canal, down Cayuga Lake to Ithaca.
The Sagan Planet Walk, built to honor the memory of Ithaca resident and Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan, is a true-to-scale model of our solar system. It is one of the only walkable “planet walks” in the world. The Sciencenter, Ithaca’s hands-on museum and outdoor science playground, is the sponsor of the Sagan Planet Walk, and is one of eight museums involved in the partnership of educational attractions called the DISCOVERY TRAIL. Some others include the Museum of the Earth and Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology.
Ithaca offers more restaurants per capita than New York City.
The famous Moosewood Restaurant is located in Ithaca, and two of its famous cookbooks that present recipes for scrumptious vegetarian meals have won James Beard Awards in the healthy focus, and vegetarian categories.
The September/October 2003 issue of Organic Style magazine voted Ithaca the “best healthy city in the Northeast.”
The downtown Ithaca Commons was named one of the New York’s top design projects of the century by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
With over 128 different species of fish in the Finger Lakes region, it is not surprising to see that Cayuga Lake was selected one of the top 10 bass-fishing lakes by Sports Afield magazine.
Ithaca was known as “The Film Capital,” because from 1910-1920 silent movies such as The Perils of Pauline, were produced at Wharton Studios in Stewart Park.
Ithaca Hours, our local paper currency, has been featured in over 400 media venues nationally and abroad. The currency exchange has set standards worldwide and brings important visitors to Ithaca, such as Madame Mitterrand (former first lady of France,) and community development specialists from every continent.
Ithaca was designated “America’s Most Enlightened City” by the Utne Reader in 1997.