My husband and I had the pleasure of being hosted at The Hotel Ithaca for a weekend getaway. Fall seems to be the best time of year to visit Ithaca per the natives, as it offers beautiful weather, wineries, a farmer’s market, and an annual apple festival. I definitely recommend this time of year, as it was perfect for exploring all the outdoor destinations that are not to be missed. If you are a nature or wine lover, Ithaca is a great place for you to check out!
On our first day, we drove about 20 minutes from The Hotel Ithaca to Taughannock Falls State Park. Here you can walk 30 minutes (each way) on the Gorge Trail to find spectacular views of the falls; you can also bring along your furry friend as long as they are leashed! The trail is very wide and well-marked out, making it very feasible for even first-time hikers; you won’t regret checking out this beautiful photo op!
After our hike to the falls, we drove about 5 minutes down the road for a little wine sampling! Frontenac Point Vineyard is a quaint little spot where we enjoyed a glass of wine out on the deck while taking in the beautiful water views in the distance. We finished off the evening ordering a late dinner from out, and enjoying the weather out on our private balcony! ** It’s important to note that the hotel’s in-house restaurant “Ithaca Social Pub” is currently only open for breakfast, NOT lunch or dinner; according to the front desk, this lack of staffing is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. **
Upon check-in, we were taken on a full property tour of The Hotel Ithaca where we visited all the different room options it has to offer. Tyler & I stayed in a “King Patio” room, which boasted a king-size bed, a large bathroom, and a spacious balcony with city views. There is also a “King Fireplace” room option that trades off the balcony for a cozy fireplace; perfect if you’re visiting in the Winter months! After touring the hotel, I would highly recommend prospective visitors request a room in what is referred to as the “North Tower.” This area has been more recently renovated, is much lighter, brighter, and offers bathrooms almost twice the size of the “South Tower.” Keep that in mind when booking for sure! Guests can also enjoy 24-hour use of the fitness center, which is currently cleaned every 2 hours to ensure your safety! The indoor pool was unfortunately closed for renovations during our visit, but worth mentioning as it was very large and will be reopening in a few months!
On Saturday, we ventured out into Ithaca Commons, just steps away from the hotel! We hit Starbucks for a little pick-me-up (only about a 7-minute walk), and then ventured out to check out another winery! Americana Vineyards has a huge selection of wine, offers tastings, and has live music outdoors on the weekends. I tried a dessert wine flight (Americana Blush was my favorite!) and my husband enjoyed the drier flight. The atmosphere here was so fun on a Saturday, with a great band playing all afternoon! If you are interested in the Cayuga Wine Trail, you can check out all the wineries featured right here. Most of them are within 30 minutes or less of The Hotel Ithaca.
Our most favorite activity of the trip was definitely our Fall Foliage Eco Cruise with Discover Cayuga Lake Boat Tours. We set sail from a dock only 5 minutes away from The Hotel Ithaca, on a cruise up and down Cayuga Lake. We enjoyed a narrated hour and a half cruise, where we saw everything from beautiful waterfront homes and salt mines, to waterfalls and hot air balloons! Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable of the lake and its history; we learned so much! Discover Cayuga Lake Boat Tours offers a number of cruise options, including Sunsets, Night Sky, and Farmer’s Market cruises! Every fare you pay for a public cruise goes toward the company’s mission to educate children in the surrounding schools on the wonders of Lake Cayuga! Our cruise was educational and quite relaxing; it provided great photo ops, too!
Our weekend concluded with a delicious dinner at Coltivare, Ithaca’s popular farm-to-table restaurant. Tyler and I each chose a glass of wine from their large, local selection and enjoyed it over the delicious charcuterie board appetizer! With sweet jams, bread, meats, and cheese, I absolutely cannot recommend it enough! For dinner, Tyler ordered (& devoured!) the short ribs entree, while I went with the classic spaghetti and meatballs. We both really enjoyed our pick; in fact, it was the best meal we had all weekend. The Hotel Ithaca is directly across the street from Coltivare making it the perfect spot to order dessert to go! We had 2 orders of cheesecake wrapped up so we could eat them in bed later as a midnight snack!
Overall, we had quite an enjoyable weekend in Ithaca! If you enjoy nature and a great bottle of wine, this is the location for you! I definitely think a 3 day weekend will give you just the right amount of time to explore and savor all the area has to offer! The Hotel Ithaca is the perfect central location to stay in town! They even offer a parking lot, free of charge, that is accessible 24/7 right next to the hotel. ( a great perk for a hotel in the city!) The hotel staff was friendly and quite helpful; they even provided me with a first aid kit after I had been hiking in the wrong shoes! If you’re headed upstate, I would definitely look into The Hotel Ithaca for your stay; the location can’t be topped!