Why do people all over the globe smile when they talk about this place? Maybe it’s the gorges or the farmers market or the 40 mile long Cayuga Lake at the north end of town. Or the Cornell University and Ithaca College students who provide great people-watching on the Downtown Commons. Or maybe it’s the fact that you can travel from the Sun to Pluto without ever leaving town. Ithaca is unconventional and quirky and smart and surprising.
This city of 30,000 residents (and another 20,000 students from September to May) is in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, an area of rolling hillsides, small villages, wineries, lakes, forests, meadows, and streams. Ithaca's Science Center, the Museum of the Earth and Cornell's Ornithology Lab provide incredible local opportunities to learn about the natural world.
One word that is often used to describe Ithaca is alternative. This is the city of Ithaca Hours, a world-famous local alternative currency system, Alternatives Federal Credit Union whose mission is social justice and community, a public Alternative Community School, our own home, EcoVillage at Ithaca, and the brand new Ithaca CarShare.
Ithaca has been described as impressive for "the sheer volume and
quality of social innovation, pragmatic activism, spiritual seeking,
open debate, and homemade and imported cultural fun that goes on
here-in an atmosphere of robust local pride. (Utne Reader, 1998) " That sounds about right to us!
Ithaca is well known locally for its always engaging often hilarious Ithaca Festival and Parade.
But this city is also home to several professional theater companies, a
chamber music orchestra, two non-profit movie houses, art galleries and
museums, the annual nearby GrassRoots Music Festival, a lively Community School of Music and Arts that offers year round creative engagement for all ages, Light in Winter, a festival of science and the arts, and Bound For Glory, America's longest-running live folk music radio program.
Many residents of the area get their local produce from West Haven Farm, a 10 acre organic CSA farm right in EcoVillage. The Ithaca Farmers Market
has been cooperatively cultivating earth and community since 1973.
That same year, a small group of hungry vegetarians began the
collectively owned Moosewood Restaurant which has been a mainstay of downtown Ithaca ever since. Other local sources of sustenance include GreenStar Co-op Market, a community owned natural foods store, Gimme Coffee for caffeine and conversation, and the vegetarian and vegan ABC Cafe with good food and great music.
Learn More About Ithaca
Ithaca in the Media