November 27, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 47°F


Commentary: Students must explore beyond their residence hall

The Finger Lakes region of New York is home to some of the most beautiful towns on the East Coast. Ithaca happens to be one of those towns. The Ithaca area has so much more to offer than just Ithaca College and Cornell University. Going out into the community really helped me calm down and feel better about myself. If I ever feel stressed, I try to get out and enjoy myself instead of  slouching around in my room. The community around Ithaca was one of the main reasons I chose to come here, not just for the great education on campus, but the many things to do off campus that made me commit. Compared to other big state universities which are entire towns themselves, we’re so fortunate to call a town with so many opportunities our home.

Currently, I hear a lot of people talking about how there’s nothing to do on campus, and instead of going out, they just stay in and watch television. This can cause an increase in depression and a lack of engagement with the community, which can lead to many students transferring and people being unhappy. I propose that local students need to get out and explore the wonderful Ithaca area in our backyard.

One of my favorite things to do is go into town and get a slice of pizza on The Commons. The Commons has many great restaurants that are unique to Ithaca. The town has the regular Panera and Chipotle, but if you want to venture farther, more than 50 vibrant restaurants light up the atmosphere of The Commons. If you head down on a weekend, you’re likely to stumble across a festival or a concert; I’ve never been in a town that has so many. One of the bigger festivals that really excites me and many others is the highly anticipated Apple Harvest Festival taking place from Sept. 30 until Oct. 2. As an avid apple fan, I cannot wait to partake in the many apple festivities. If apples aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other events, like countless music festivals (like the recent Porchfest held Sept. 25), The Finger Lakes Comedy festivals and the Winter Lights Festival.  Go give it a shot.

For those of you who are of age, check out the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. It includes 16 of the 25 wineries local to Ithaca, and they’re said to be some of the better wineries in New York. Each winery has its own distinguished taste.

That’s not all Ithaca has to offer. The landscape, terrain and climate in Ithaca are like no other. Ithaca was made by glaciers that would scrape away land, making gorges and waterfalls millions of years ago. With 150 waterfalls within a 10-mile radius, the hiking trails will astonish anyone that chooses to hike them. Buttermilk Falls State Park is beautiful. Going for a hike around the area has some of the most jawdropping views and some of the most breathtaking waterfalls. Not too far from campus is Taughannock Falls. A 215 foot drop makes it the highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains, and we have it here in our backyard. You should plan on hiking in these parks before you graduate. Lake Cayuga, the giant lake you see at the bottom of campus, offers boating, swimming and fishing.

As you can see, there’s so much more than lounging around your dorm halls. There’s food, endless festivals and hundreds of waterfalls. Take advantage of these opportunities while you can. Your mental health will thank you.