Monday, October 8, 2007

Ithaca, N.Y., October 2007

In 1992, when I was 25 and about to leave for the Peace Corps, I hopped into a car with two friends and drove cross-country from Florida to Ithaca, N.Y. Our destination: Moosewood Restaurant, the vegetarian cooperative that spawned a couple of cookbooks and fed my vegetarian imagination, as well as my vegetarian stomach.

I was still learning how to be a vegetarian then, and the Moosewood cookbooks were my Bibles. They showed me that vegetarian food didn’t have to be nuts and twigs. (Though personally, I kind of like nuts and twigs!) My friends and I ate there three times, filled the in-between hours exploring Ithaca, and then drove home again.

When I moved to New York in 2000, I was eager to get back to Ithaca and spend a little more time. Of course, life intervened and I didn’t get to go back until this weekend.

What a great town! With a bit of fall in the air, the leaves on the maples were beginning to change. Not only did I go back to Moosewood - which is still terrific and which has expanded quite a bit since my last visit - but my friend David and I got to explore some of the nearby state parks and natural areas.

Ithaca is surrounded by rivers and streams feeding into Lake Cayuga, one of the finger lakes, and those waterways have carved all sorts of narrow trenches and valleys into the surrounding hills. There are several state parks around with waterfalls, rushing rapids and serene woodlands. I saw about a zillion chipmunks.

We went to an antique shop in quaint Trumansburg, where David got overcharged by $5 for some old postcards and photos, and we also wandered near the campus of Cornell University and explored downtown Ithaca, which has a lot of cool shops and restaurants and photo opportunities. Of course, I even found some cool street art!


  1. Beautiful fall foliage pictures. Every year I send fall leaves to my mom in Texas.... she misses fall in NY. I took my NYC students out to the woods in NJ. We saw a chipmunk. Two girls were thrilled because they had never seen one before and were surprised how much the chipmunk looks like Alvin. We all need to get out of NYC to recharge. It is the only way to survive NYC.

  2. The pics are beautiful!

    Sometime I need to go visit Ithica. It's supposed to be one of those special healing vortex locations, like Asheville. Thanks for the report. It sounds like a great, relaxing weekend. Bravo!!

  3. Your description makes me want to leave for Ithaca immediately! I'm glad you had a great time.

  4. The Fingerlakes are just beautiful, and, though I was there only once on a visit to Cornell, I loved Ithica, too! Hmmm...makes me want to try and get a teaching job there!

  5. Who knew Ithaca was so beautiful or had so much to offer. You are quite the tour promoter.

    The pictures are really lovely. I took some myself yesterday with my trusty ol' cell phone. They look good, even if it was not the best equipment, but no where as wonderful as yours.