THIS IS CORNELL, and this is Ithaca. We curse it for its multitude of inclines and frequent snowfall. We praise it for its vibrant, quirky surroundings and natural beauty. Yet we often fall so deeply into the routine of papers, projects and prelims that we tend to forget about it altogether.
The Best of Cornell, a collaboration between the Dining, Arts and Entertainment, and Photo departments of The Sun, aims to spotlight a few of the noteworthy attractions of Cornell and the city of Ithaca. We present to you the results of last year’s Best of Cornell survey, in which over 500 of our readers have cast votes in over 20 categories.
This list is by no means exhaustive; we hope to stimulate discussion and thought. But most of all, we hope this compilation will inspire a newfound appreciation for all that Cornell and the City of Ithaca have to offer.
Best Place to Grab A Cup of Coffee:
Does Collegetown Bagels even need a blurb? As much a part of the Cornell Saturday morning, Tuesday homework crunch and Friday late-night as Central Park is of Friends, or that hometown pizza place was of your American Graffiti adolescence, it’s the place for non-Starbucks coffee (am I right? That stuff is acid water). Also, coincidentally the place for pastries shaped like mice, sandwiches named after mythical creatures, smoothies named after celebrities and a variety of Ithaca-themed apparel that it’s impossible to believe that anyone buys. Cut that hangover with a pizza bagel and a black cup of joe, ace that pre-lim on three shots of the best espresso in C-town, impress the visiting ’rents with the wholesome side of your weekend debauchery —Collegetown Bagels is the most versatile eatery in the 607.
Place to Spend Your BRBs:
Choosing where to spend your precious BRBs is a difficult decision. Beyond buying your unfortunately necessary Monday morning skinny vanilla latte and your regrettable late night mozzarella stick order, the choice of which eatery is worthy of your parents’ hard-earned money takes some serious consideration. Good thing there’s the Statler.
Safely partitioned from the world of official Cornell Dining, the Statler brings a welcome alternative to the student body’s general dining experience. Because honestly, between the salads at Terrace and the Miyake sushi at Mac’s, how can you not spend all your BRBs at the Statler? The sheer variety of options that Statler holds for your dining pleasure is only rivaled by the quality of their meals. You can always trust the phở to be steaming hot, the pesto alfredo sauce to be deliciously creamy and the enchiladas to be extra cheesy. Basically, you cannot go wrong.
Best Grocery Store:
The Finger Lakes’ pride and joy (raise your hand if you’ve claimed to see Danny Wegmans out on Canandaigua Lake on the family yacht), Wegmans has not only been voted the best grocery store in Ithaca, it has also been named the best grocery store in America. What’s not to love? Their generic brand is so good, you can’t even taste the savings; just listen to them jangle around in your wallet. There are live lobsters to look at, free samples to get between pay checks off of and they have stretch breaks for their employees!
Not to mention the bulk candy section, which still looks like a shot of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, no matter how old you get, and the absurdity of their beer selection. Born and bred in the Northeast? Wegmans is as much a part of your identity as hating the New England Patriots. An out-of-towner? Your first Wegmans trip is as consequential as your first … anything. It’s a rite of passage, and seeing someone experience Wegmans for the first time is like watching an international student at the re-screening of Titanic last year.
Best Place to Visit:
Given all the gorges in Ithaca, it’s near impossible to remember the name of every waterfall in the area. However, the name of this state park conjures up mental images of falling pancakes, so it wasn’t that hard to commit to memory.
Buttermilk Falls is one of those magical places that reminds you Ithaca isn’t terrible all the time.
A mere 10-minute drive from Cornell University, it’s a beautiful location for hiking, camping, or a pleasant picnic by the water. Weather dependent, of course.
So before you graduate, befriend someone with a car, head to Buttermilk Falls, and take some obligatory profile pictures with nature. Just don’t caption aforementioned profile picture with “Ithaca is Gorges,” because we all know that already.