October 20, 2006

How to Entertain Your Parents in Ithaca Without Really Trying

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Get ready, freshmen, because the parents are coming. Beginning today, about 3,000 family members will invade campus as part of First-Year Family Weekend.

Christine Potter, program assistant for new student programs, calls the weekend “unique” because it is devoted exclusively to first-year students. With families traveling from far and wide to visit the Class of 2010, many students wonder how to entertain parents, siblings and relatives for an entire weekend.

All day today, classes will be open to parents curious about where their tuition money is actually going. In addition, open houses will be held on campus for those with questions about student resources and opportunities.
Finally, after a long day of lectures, parents can unwind to Dave Binder: “Fire & Rain: A Tribute to James Taylor.”

Start Saturday off by taking families to college and school sessions, where they can learn about the policies and special programs offered to students.

Later, beginning at 10:30 a.m., parents can check out the various workshops and information sessions which address issues ranging from housing to Greek life to study abroad programs.

That night, families can attend the 5:00 p.m. Twilight Concert with the Cornell Chorus, the Music Collage Concert with President Skorton at 8:00 p.m, or Rocktoberfest!, the Key Elements Coed A Cappella Concert from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Desperate to get off campus for a few hours? The city of Ithaca provides scenery for outdoor activities, such as biking and hiking around Cayuga Lake.

The Ithaca Farmers Market, located at Steamboat Landing, opens Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. With 150 agricultural vendors selling fresh produce, meats, eggs and poultry and food vendors hawking baked goods, jellies, honey and more, families can spend an afternoon or simply grab lunch at the outdoor market.

Some experienced Cornellians, such as Evan Fried ’08, prefer taking parents to one of the local wineries: “I personally like Wagner. It is a winery, but also has a brewery on the premises — perfect for the dads.”

As for eating around Ithaca, a wide array of fine restaurants welcomes Cornell students and families. While many hope to try something new this weekend, other students have found personal favorites.
“The Boatyard Grill has a great ambiance and great food,” said Nicole Mangiere ’08. “The appetizers are delicious, as are the main courses, but remember, save room for dessert. The sizzling cookie is to die for!”
Other Ithaca classics include John Thomas Steakhouse, The Heights Café and Grill, Joe’s, Zaza’s Cucina, Madeline’s, Thai Cuisine and Dempsey’s.

For those who wish to stay on campus for dinner, check out Banfi’s at The Statler Hotel or stop in at freshman dining central: the Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery.
Great Sunday brunch spots include Mahogany Grill and Café DeWitt at the DeWitt mall.

Or stay on campus for a classic university Brunch. Also taking place Sunday Morning: “A Nosh on Hillel” Family Bagel Brunch at 9:30 a.m. and Mass at 10:00 a.m.