Vogue has a lovely feature where fashionable people such as Zac Posen help you to find the best places in the world’s “shopping cities.” The chosen cities include London, LA, Istanbul, Dubai, Shanghai, and Antwerp. Not surprisingly, Ithaca is not included in the list. (Although neither is NYC, I guess it is overdone.) And while knowing the Lime Tree Café in Dubai is a wonderful place to have green tea can be helpful, it is not exactly useful to those of us stuck in the nether regions of the Empire State. So are there any interesting places in this small town? Yes, but you have to know where to look.
Morgan’s is a fun boutique by the Commons. (It was formerly called Pooky & Sebastian. It reminds me of that adorable basement store in Hanover.) It is one of the few places that stocks designer brands. If you are looking for designer jeans (Joe’s, Sevens, Citizens, Rock & Republic, et al) this is the only store you should check out. They also have some pretty awesome sales. I am always surprised more people do not shop here. I guess the Commons must be too far from Collegetown! (A whole half-mile or something.) But a warning, skip the Juicy terry clothing, please.
Another place in the Commons I like is called American Crafts. The have the most beautiful hand blown glassware. It is not one of those places you shop at every day. However, it is a great resource for gifts… especially for Moms/Grandmothers/Aunts or housewarmings.
A girl like me just has to eat. I strongly dislike chain restaurants like Applebees or Ruby Tuesdays, so being in Ithaca actually makes me happy in that respect. For my money, Simeon’s (in the Commons) has the best sandwiches in the area. Plus, the names are locally themed which I find cute. The Moosewood is one the areas most interesting restaurants. I believe this was the first place I went out to eat here. They have an ever-changing menu so there is always something new to try. It is also completely vegetarian which gives me lots of choices! For brunch, go with the Carriage House. Their breakfast dishes are so rich. Purity Ice Cream is necessary to have once it warms up. You can tell how fresh it is compared to the store bought kind. It makes a difference.
And of course, you cannot be in a college town without talking about bars. My favorite bar is just a quick walk from my apartment: Stella’s in Collegetown. (See picture to the left.) If you want any sort of specialty drink this is the place. Try the Clever Suburbanite, Lychee-tini, or my favorite, the Billionaire “Philanthropist.” Plus it is right by the other bars if you want to join the crazier crowd at the Palms or what not.
So have fun in Ithaca until your next trip to Istanbul!