Ithaca, New York
I live in Ithaca, NY. Winter in Ithaca can be downright vicious (for the East coast) with lake effect snow and negative temperatures. However, those storms generally pass right on by, and a lot of the Winter remains runnable (even if it’s cold.) The Summers here are beautiful; being right on Cayuga Lake and having over 150 waterfalls in 10 square miles the trails here are Gorgeous!
Where to Run:
The Finger Lakes Trail system, over 950 miles in length, runs from the Pennsylvania-New York border in Allegany State Park to the Long Path in the Catskill Forest Preserve. It is a fantastic trail to explore the area, with 50.4 miles of this trail running through Tompkins County. It passes countless waterfalls and offers views of the Ithaca area only accessible by traveling this trail. FLT is where I get in many of my long runs; it is very well marked and has fun rolling hills making for great “race pace” training runs.
Finger Lakes National Forest has many trails that connect and make it easy to get in just about any distance. One of my favorite trails here is the Interloken Trail. It is 12 miles one way and traverses the forest from North to South. You get to pass through heavily forested areas all the way to open pastures (cows included, so shut the gates behind you, and watch your step!) There is an amazing ultra in Finger Lakes National Forest every July called Finger Lakes Fifties.
Robert H. Treman State Park may be my favorite area to run. There is a fee to drive your car into the park, but many other trail systems connect (one of them being the Finger Lakes Trail) so parking elsewhere and catching another trail in is common. There are 12 waterfalls within the park, including 115 foot-high Lucifer Falls. There are swimming holes at the base of many of the falls, just calling for a mid/post run dip on those hot summer days. The trails run the gamut from flat and easy to fairly steep and technical.
Where to Eat:
Despite having very different names, Collegetown Bagels and Ithaca Bakery are almost the same, (they even have joint gift cards.) The menus vary slightly from location to location, but you will find many of the same staples. CTB has a Varna’s Vegan sandwich and IB has Susie’s Garden Sandwich. I have yet to find anything that tastes better after a long run. Both of these places have large menus that can tackle just about any craving you’re having.
In downtown Ithaca, Viva is the place to go if you’re looking for tacos (who isn’t looking for tacos 24/7?!) or any other traditional Mexican fare. They also have a margarita and tequila bar that can take down the best of us!
No Runners food list is complete without pizza. Pizza and Bones is actually about 5-10 min outside of Ithaca in Dryden, NY. But girl, it is worth the trip. It’s a thin crust pizza, so if you’re into thicker crust you may want to shop around. But after running all those miles you’ve earned eating the entire thing by yourself right?
Ithaca, NY is home to many of the wineries on the Cayuga Wine Trail for that day of relaxation after a big adventure.
Where to Shop:
Finger Lakes is the local go-to spot for all your running needs. These folks are super friendly and helpful and are very involved in the running community, so they know all the happenings. They have group runs, pub runs, ladies nights, yoga nights, and training programs that run throughout the year. I highly recommend checking them out if you’re in the Ithaca area!
Come Have an Adventure With Us!
Ithaca, NY is a peaceful outdoor oasis with so much to offer! We are a very welcoming community, and would love to have you join us for an adventure or two (three, four, or five!) If you’re in the area or planning a trip, please feel free to hit me up with any questions you may have! My email is [email protected], just throw Trail Sisters up in the subject.
Happy trails, Ithaca hopes to see you soon!