This is the ninth in the series Travel Destinations in the USA for Retirement. This destination starts with the letter I. The drive from New York City to Ithaca was one of the best we have done so far. The scenery, the places we went and the activities were refreshing!
Driving through upstate New York is always pleasurable. We chose Ithaca, New York as a travel destination in retired life because of the sheer beauty and number of activities available in this part of the country. The expanse of forests, numerous lakes – this is the Finger Lakes region after all – creeks, and rivers are calming and a wonderful change from the urban landscape of NYC. Ithaca is about four hours away, but as they say, sometimes it’s not the destination but the journey that makes it all worthwhile. From Spring to the end of October there are a lot of outdoor activities you can enjoy in this little-known part of New York state. The four-hour drive to Ithaca can take you three to four days because there’s so much to do on the way!
Places to See on the Drive to Ithaca
Visit the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning on the way. There are only 3500 years of the history of glass to browse through! Book in advance to avoid disappointment; keeping in mind pandemic restrictions that may be enforced depending on the situation at the time of your visit.
Stay overnight at any of the nearby towns and cities like Hammondsport. There are wineries to explore too in this area.
Watkins Glen State Park has a 400-foot Gorge that you can see by walking on the Gorge Trail which follows Glen Creek.
Wineries and breweries dot the area so visit one of these. You can stay at a cabin, cottage or camp at the state park. Walking on trails and other hiking activities are popular along with fishing.
Ithaca is on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake. The Finger lakes consist of eleven lakes and the area is dotted with vineyards. The town itself has about a hundred waterfalls surrounding it. The tallest waterfall this side of the Rockies – Taughannock Waterfalls is more than 200 feet tall, falling over rough cliffs. You can access it from the trails in the state park of the same name as the waterfalls.
The Cornell University campus is here and if you are academically inclined take a peek at this famous institution. There are many tours both guided and self-guided to take in Ithaca. An interesting tour is a cruise that visits the wineries on Cayuga Lake. Take a lunch tour that takes you wine tasting or you could take a sunset tour that includes dinner. Sunset tours are available without dinner too.
Spring and summer have their own activities but if you drive to Ithaca in the Fall, time it so you can see the beautiful foliage change colors. Year-round you can find something to do in Upstate New York. Just choose the weather you love and hit the road!