Ithaca isn’t your typical city. And, this isn’t going to be your typical convention. It’ll be a little off-beat, it’ll be very tight-knit. It’ll be very… Zete. Ithaca sits in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region of New York. The area is sprawling greenery with hiking trails and canals, waterfalls and gorges, vineyards and breweries, farm-to-table eateries and farmers markets, and outdoor concerts and flash parades. You’re reading that last part right – you never know what you’ll see or experience in Ithaca. That’s why those of us who lived or live here love it. It’s weird. It’s fun.
On Wednesday when you arrive and check into your room, explore Downtown Ithaca and its Commons, just a few blocks walk from the Hotel Ithaca. The recently renovated area has restaurants like Waffle Frolic, Ithaca Ale House, Viva Taqueria, and Simeon’s American Bistro for lunch and stores like Benjamin Peters and Handwork. Meet back at the hotel to take the bus to Lake Seneca for a dinner cruise with live music. When you return to downtown, head to Reggae Night at The Dock or Salsa & Latin Music Night with Dancing and DJ at Agava on East Hill. You can’t go wrong with either place.
On Thursday afternoon, go on a wine tour! Pick either Lake Seneca or Lake Cayuga and taste wines and local foods along the way. Between the views, the tastes and the serenity, you’ll truly feel like you’re on vacation. The Seneca Wine Trail starts roughly 35 minutes away from the Hotel and the Cayuga Wine Trail starts roughly 20 minutes away. On Cayuga, we recommend Americana for wine slushies, homemade fudge and great meals, Thirsty Owl for its lake views and flatbreads, and Lucas Vineyards for its Riesling and vineyards. When you get back to town, stop by the Commons before or after dinner, as it hosts local bands and performers free of charge. Since Thursday is an open night, grab dinner along the lake at the Boatyard Grille and explore the canal, experience the world-renowned vegetarian eatery Moosewood and walk through the Dewey Mall, or walk down to Maxie’s Supper Club for Ithaca’s take on Cajun and seafood delicacies. If you want a quiet evening, perhaps a movie at Cinemapolis down the street from the hotel is your speed. If you’re looking for something more lively, perhaps Moonies or The Watershed for an after dinner meet up is more up your alley. All should meet up at Kilpatrick’s Puplick House and sing their hearts out at Karaoke. Maurice Ducoing and Joe Alessi singing “Bye Bye Bye”? Who would miss that?
On Friday, go on a hike or pull together a group to golf before or after the Phi Alpha’s Lunch. Head to Buttermilk and Taughannock State Parks and Falls have trails, falls, and areas for swimming, picnics and kayaks. On Cornell’s campus, you can play 18 holes at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, which is equally challenging and accessible for all levels of golfer. For dinner, you’ll head to the Psi Chapter’s House for a catered dinner, lawn games, and entertainment. After dinner, you can head back to the hotel or tour campus at night. Along the way, you can check out Collegetown and its numerous stores and watering holes.
On Saturday morning after Grand Chapter, go to the Ithaca Farmers Market on the lake. From organic candles and soaps to out of this world breakfast burritos and pizzas, this is where to go to get the essence of “Ithaca” – food, fun and a little oddity. Get your breakfast (and lunch – we won’t judge) there. Take a boat ride up and down Lake Cayuga from the docks, as they run throughout the day. Across the road is the Sciencenter, which is great for families with small children. Save your energy because we’ll see you for dinner at the Statler Hotel for the Grand Chapter Banquet!
On Sunday morning, grab brunch at the Sunset Grille near Ithaca College, Agava farm-to-table near East Hill, or Carriage House near Cornell. If you want something lighter, grab a bagel or a wrap at Ithaca Bakery or Collegetown Bagels (if you haven’t seen or been in one in the five days you’ve been here, we’ll be shocked…). By the afternoon, #zetecon2018 in Ithaca, NY will officially come to a close. We hope you leave well-fed, well-rested and well-acquainted with Ithaca. Can’t wait to see you there!
~Thank you to Psi Zete, Alex Pruce~