Wednesday, February 03, 2010

5 Must-See Places in Ithaca

By: Nancy Simmons

It has made history in more ways than one; besides being home to the famed Cornell University which was one of the first coeducational institutions in the country, Ithaca has also been in the news for its local currency, the Ithaca Hour which is the oldest and largest local currency in the USA that is still in operation. This beautiful part of the state of New York is a traveler’s paradise and a local’s dream. So if you just find yourself in Ithaca in the course of your travels, here are five must-see places in this lovely corner of America:

Moosewood Restaurant: Ithaca bodes well for the traveler who values health. Probably the only place where a McDonald’s was forced to close down, this town has redefined vegetarianism and made it a way of life. And if you’re looking for a good place to taste the flavor of Ithaca, the Moosewood Restaurant is just where you should go – not only has it been around for more than a century, it was also named one of the thirteen most influential restaurants of the 20th century by the Bon Appetit magazine.

Namgyal Monastery: The primary role of this monastery when it was founded in 1575 in Tibet was to assist with rituals involving the Dalai Lama. It was relocated to Dharamsala in India after 1959 when the Dalai Lama took up asylum there. In 1992 however, an American branch was established at Ithaca on the advice of the present Dalai Lama. The Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies offers course in the Tibetan language, Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice. The activities here are similar to those at other dharma centers – retreats, pujas and dharma talks await those who seek inner peace.

The Farmer’s Market: If you’re an organic foodie, you’re going to go nuts over this place – you have fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, jam, nuts and other wholly organic foods that are just waiting to be sampled and bought. Besides this, you can also come ready to eat fresh, home-cooked food, and also pick up a few souvenirs that make great memorabilia at home and gifts for friends.

The Wine Trail: There are many of them, so arm yourself with enough information before you make your choice. They’re all around the Finger Lakes region, so you either can take your time and explore most of them or do enough for just one day. If you want to get done with your tour of wineries in one day and move on to the other sights, the Cayuga Wine trail is your best bet. But if you have more time on your hands, the Senaca Lake train and the Keuka Lake trail are both worth your while too.

The State Parks: There are many of them, including Taughannock, Tremen, Buttermilk Falls, Filmore Glen and Watkins Glen. All of them have hiking or biking trails, waterfalls, and areas that are suitable for swimming and picnicking. A word of warning however - please follow local rules when you’re interacting with nature to avoid accidents. Ithaca is beautiful country, but if you’re foolhardy and careless, you could get yourself seriously injured or even killed.

This guest post is contributed by Nancy Simmons, who writes on the topic of online science degrees . She welcomes your comments at her email address: .

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