With finals rapidly approaching, the reality of heading home for the summer is starting to set in. I’m from a wicked small town in Vermont, and while I absolutely love it, the options are scarce when it comes to eating out. Of course, the farm-to-table scene is great and we have delicious local food choices, but it won’t be quite the same as what’s available in Ithaca, NY. Though it may not be a major city, Ithaca does have a wide variety of amazing choices when it comes to food. I’m sure we’re all counting down the days until we get to return home and start our summer vacations, but here are some things IC students, like me, will be missing this summer.
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This may not apply to most people who have the luxury of food delivery, but that’s actually not an option in my hometown. I’m really going to miss those late nights when I ordered in with my friends. While the wait was often painful, having food brought right to your dorm is so nice and super convenient. And Ithaca has some pretty great options when it comes to ordering delivery, like Sammy’s Pizzeria, Taste of Thai Express, and of course, Insomnia Cookies.
Speaking of Insomnia, I had to include this on the list. While it may not be unique to Ithaca, only a true college town gives you the option of ordering freshly baked cookies until 3 am. I don’t know if I can go three months without devouring a warm, melty Cookiewich.
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This honestly might be the hardest thing on the list for me to part with for the summer. Wegmans is not just a grocery store, it’s a whole experience. The Wegmans in Ithaca is home to a cafe, bakery, and sushi bar among the vast array of food and produce as well. The options are endless, and especially because Wegmans has their own personal brand for almost everything, it can even be budget friendly for us college students. Buying groceries at home just won’t be the same.
An Ithaca classic, CTB has been around ever since my mom was an undergraduate at Cornell University. CTB offers the perfect pick-me-up at any time of day. Their menu includes delicious breakfast bagels, carefully crafted sandwiches, and even creative lattes. When I’m craving a bagel over vacation, my heart will ache for this place.
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This is not your average farmers market. The Ithaca Farmers Market is a serious highlight of this city, and it can only be enjoyed April through December. While it pops up in various locations on different days, the best time to go is on Sundays when it takes places right on the picturesque Lake Cayuga. In addition to offering beautiful plants and produce, the farmers market also has incredible dining options. You can experience homemade ice cream, delicious crepes (they offer a gluten free option too), fresh-squeezed juices, homemade pizza, and even Asian cuisine. There’s something for everyone at the farmers market.
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Waffle Frolic was founded by two Ithaca College alumni, and they’ve been serving unique, delicious waffles ever since. This place is a go-to when IC students need to cure their hangover or their sweet tooth, with both sweet and savory waffle options. I, sadly, will not be able to find a fried chicken waffle when I return to my hometown.
7. Food Festivals
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The city of Ithaca is known for having a slew of festivals throughout the year, and these always involve wonderful food choices. Apple Fest is the most popular and all the local food vendors have booths there. There’s also Oktoberfest, which offers samples of German food and beer, Chili Fest, and the upcoming Taste of Greece Greek Festival. I definitely won’t be attending anything like this when I’m home for the summer.
8. The Variety of Ways to Eat
Photo Courtesy of Cayley Crutchfield
When it comes to accommodating different ways of eating (i.e. gluten free, vegan, dairy free, etc.), Ithaca is very accommodating. Many restaurants, including CTB and Waffle Frolic which I listed earlier, both offer gluten-free options on their menus. Many restaurants also include vegan choices as well. Moosewood Restaurant, located in downtown Ithaca, is a super popular dining choice that offers only vegetarian items on their menu, and everything is incredible. Even my meat-loving brother was impressed with the food there. I’m really going to miss the freedom of eating in all of these different ways when I eat out.
There may be some rough days this summer, as I feel nostalgic for my Ithaca food, but I know it will all be waiting for me when I return in the fall.