Introduction to Ithaca, New York
The New York city of Ithaca, which sits in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is the county seat of Tompkins County. Named for the Greek island of Ithaca, the city is situated 33 miles northeast of Elmira, 50 miles northwest of Binghamton, and about 60 miles south of Syracuse. Ithaca is noted for being home to Cornell University and also Ithaca College.
By the time of Ithaca's incorporation as a city in 1888, Cornell University had already marked the 20th anniversary of its founding by Ezra Cornell. A few years later, in 1892, W. Grant Egbert founded the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, later to become Ithaca College. During the early 20th century, Ithaca was an important center in the silent film industry, spearheaded by the Wharton brothers, film makers who set up a motion picture studio and shot several silent films at a site which is now Stewart Park. Today Ithaca relies chiefly on education and manufacturing to drive its expanding economy, with a significant amount of support from tourism, viniculture, and high technology.
Things to do in the Ithaca Area
Tourists converge on the Ithaca area to take in its natural scenery and its numerous hiking, skiing, and bicycling trails. In addition, the region surrounding Ithaca is populated with several wineries, many of which specialize in varietals of the native Labrusca grape. Ithaca is also home to a number of historical societies and museums, including the following:
- The Sciencenter
- Paleontological Research Institution's Museum of the Earth
- F.R. Newman Arboretum
- Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Fine Art
- Historic Ithaca's State Theatre
- Museum of the Earth at PRI
Recreational sites in and around Ithaca include the following:
- Buttermilk Falls State Park
- Robert H. Treman State Park
- Cayuga Lake
- Taughannock Falls State Park
- Beebe Lake
- Ithaca Falls
- Cass Park Rink & Pool
- Ringwood Raceway
Sports fans can catch some pro action less than an hour's drive away. The nearby city of Elmira is home to the Elmira Jackals, a pro hockey team in the United Hockey League (UHL). The city of Auburn (40 miles to the north) is the home town of the Auburn Doubledays, a Minor League Class-A baseball farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. Nearby Binghamton hosts two professional teams: the Binghamton Mets (a Minor League Baseball Class-AA affiliate of the New York Mets) and the Binghamton Senators (a pro hockey Ottawa Senators affiliate playing in the American Hockey League). A 60-mile drive north to the city of Syracuse will find the Syracuse Sky Chiefs, a Minor League baseball team which is the AAA Blue Jays affiliate, and the Syracuse Crunch, an American Hockey League team affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets.