This was our first overnight trip after moving to Gloversville, NY in June 2019. As usual, I planned stuff to do around restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, hikes, and anything else I can find that the area has to offer that may be interesting to see. We planned to stay 2 nights but did pretty much everything we wanted to do but the early evening on Saturday, so we headed back to Gloversville for Saturday night (we would have just been sleeping in the van at the Walmart parking lot!).
NIGHT 1 07.05.2019
We were able to get on the road by about 415pm and arrived to Ithaca Beer Company for dinner (and beer) at about 7:30). Here was our plan for Friday night...
Walk around Ithaca
"Lodging": Walmart Parking Lot
Ithaca Beer Company: This was an easy choice to have on my list of things to do. It is just SW of town. Even arriving around 7:30pm, we were told we'd have a 45 minute wait for a table, however, we were seated after 15 minutes. While waiting, I grabbed an Apricot Wheat, which was quite good. I ordered the Frenchie Burger, which comes with french fries, and leslie got the Vegan Chorizo Burger with fries as well. The food was really good quality and tasted super fresh. Definitely check out the back yard where the beer garden is. It looked like they did table service out there as well. In the back, there is the farm and it's a wonderful place to sit and hang out. Two thumbs up, Ithaca Beer Co!
Ithaca Commons: This is a pedestrian-only area to walk around. We weren't really looking to do anything at this point other than walk around and take in the sites. There were a lot of restaurants. Most of the shops were closed.
We didn't walk around for too long before heading to our place of rest for the evening, Walmart! We confirmed with them that overnight parking is allowed and when we got there around 10pm, there was already another Sprinter camper there. We woke up to 2 other campers nearby the next morning.
I didn't plan out the day like I normally do. Instead, we just had a list of things we wanted to do and decided we would wing it. I had saved 2 coffee shops that we wanted to try (Ithaca Coffee Company & Press Cafe). We got to Ithaca Coffee Company at about 7am, only to learn they don't open til 8am on Saturday! Not to worry - we would head to Press Cafe. Nope. They don't open til 9. Here's what we did end up doing for the day...
Coffee @ Gimme! Coffee
Breakfast @ Purity Ice Cream
Hiking @ Taughannock Falls State Park
Hiking @ Buttermilk Falls State Park
Lunch @ Gorgers Subs
Exploring Ithaca (Ithaca Falls area)
Saranac Brewing (on the way back home)
Gimme! Coffee ended up being an excellent place to get a latte, especially since it was one of the only coffee shops open at 730am! Les didn't get her usual Chai. There was indoor and outdoor seating (it was too hot in July to sit outside!) but the inside area was nice as well.
Purity Ice Cream: Yes, we came to an ice cream place for breakfast. This was another situation of us originally planning on going somewhere else for breakfast but that place (see bottom of page) didn't open til 9 (we were ready for breakfast before 8). This breakfast wasn't anything special but it was very good. We don't eat out for breakfast often, so when we do, we have pretty high expectations and this just didn't stand out. I didn't order anything super exciting either haha - I got the 'Farmers Breakfast' which included eggs, potatoes, bacon (or sausage), and a biscuit. Leslie ordered the 'Sassy Kartoffelpuffer' which was potato pancakes with bacon.
Taughannock Falls State Park: This was the #1 thing I was most excited for during this trip. I first discovered this place by seeing photos of the waterfall on Instagram. Upon arrival, we were prepared to pay the $8 state park entrance fee (which is good for any state park on the day). We first went up to the Taughannock Falls Overlook View Point [42.538679, -76.607781], which I believe is free. At this point, we didn't see any pay stations or signs about paying to park up here. It is a very short and easy walk to the view point from the lot.
After enjoying the view, we did go down to the where the only 2 trails in the park are at [42.545472, -76.599182] to hike the Gorge Trail, an easy 1.5mi RT trail that takes you to the bottom of the falls. At this spot, there is an booth to pay for entry into the park.
Buttermilk Falls State Park: We decide to come here next to hike the popular Gorge Trail. We continued past the Gorge Trail along the Bear Trail and followed it to Treman Lake. We didn't walk around Treman Lake but there is a 1.5mi loop that continues around it. CLICK HERE for the map of more details about the lengths of the hikes. If you're looking for a lot of hiking, the trail all the way to Treman Lake was a nice hike to take. If you're looking for the best bang for your buck experience, I would say go with the Gorge Trail out and back.
After the hike, we went back to the start of the Gorge Trail [42.416467, -76.521170] to swim! I only went in for a few minutes cause some big storms were just starting to roll in! And boy did they...
By the time we pulled out of the lot, the rain had started dumping on the van. It was time for lunch.
Gorgers Subs: Thanks to the high reviews on yelp, we came across this place. I went with the Cabernet Steak Sub and Les got the Soy Ginger Salad and both were fantastic. The food was of very good quality and the meal was about $20 total. I would definitely recommend this place for a casual lunch in Ithaca.
Purity Ice Cream: Yeah, we had to come back for ice cream. The ice cream was pretty good. I've gotten picky over the last few years, especially after Cape Cod Creamery (my favorite). They had a ton of fun flavors and were very busy. I would recommend it, but there were a couple other ice cream shops in town we thought about trying instead. If we were to come back, we would give one of them a shot (see below!).
Ithaca Waterfalls: There are a bunch of waterfalls right in Ithaca and we started with Ithaca Falls. This one ended up being the easiest to get to of the bunch (at least that I know of). We parked at [42.452378, -76.494209] and from there the waterfall is about 2 minutes away. It was surprisingly large (I hadn't known what to expect). *NOTE: There are signs to NOT swim there and while I was taking my photographs of the waterfall, there was a large group of college kids in the water. One slipped and hit his head on the rocks. Those signs are there for a reason.
Other Ithaca Waterfalls: The other waterfalls we tried to see were Forest Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rocky Falls, & Triphammer Falls. I think the only one of those that we were able to see was Triphammer.