January 9, 2015

The People’s Republic of Ithaca

By Stephon Boatwright In On the Road, On the Trail

I’ve waited a few months to write this post because I wanted to become fully immersed in my latest home before I wrote about it.  Unlike when I wrote about Vermont, I have the pleasure of actually residing in this Republic.  If you didn’t catch my VT post, there are several cities, and sometimes entire states, that are derisively and lovingly called “The People’s Republic.”  That title is normally only given to communist nations, but these cities have managed to become such havens for everything Left-wing and Hippie that both their critics and admirers assign the title to them; I very much fall into the later category.  It’s my mission to visit all of the Republics in time, but really I would love to live in a few.
My current home is the People’s Republic of Ithaca in Central New York.  Ithaca has the noteworthy distinction of having had a socialist mayor for 12 years, being ranked as the 7th best city for Hippies (We’re coming for you Burlington!) and holds the record for the world’s largest human peace sign.  To further buck against the system, Ithaca has its own currency, Ithaca Hours, which can only be spent in the city to further encourage local economic growth.  I could go on and rave about our renowned farmer’s market and the fact we have more bookstores than banks it seems like.  In fact, you could forgo the bank all together and just use the Alternatives community credit union, or slap capitalist consumerism and shop the the Greenstar Coop (of course I’m a card carrying member!)Coffee.jpg Car.jpg

Sorry, I got a little Ithaca high for a second.  Very Importantly though, Ithaca is gorges!  Ya get it?!  ….we have a lot of waterfalls.  Try to keep up!  In fact, because of the abundance of cascading rivers, kayaking on Cayuga Lake, and a plethora of other cycling and running opportunities, Outdoor Magazine listed Ithaca as the 5th best city to live in!  In my months living here, I couldn’t agree more!  I have the pleasure of living 800 feet from Ludlowville Falls, but it looks like a cascade compared to Ithaca Falls, which sits at the base of beautiful Cornell University.  Not too far down the road you’ll have the pleasure of scaling about a billion stairs up the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, enjoying the sight of about a dozen cascading waterfalls.  However, my favorite is the 200 foot tall Taughannock Falls just North of the city.  Taller than Niagara, Taga-knock-aknock-aknock-aknock (What Brian and I have been calling it since we were 12), like all the other falls, only requires a mile worth of hiking to enjoy its splendor.  Despite having a number of challenging bike paths, foot races and a wealth of “hot” yoga courses, most of Ithaca’s pleasures are within minimum to medium physical effort.

Ithaca%2BFalls.jpg Cascadilla.jpg

I had to pause writing this post to grab some vanilla-cherry, hemp granola (Not even joking) for my hormone-free yogurt.  Anyway, if you’d like to visit the world’s greatest attempt at blending a National Park with Woodstock, CNY has a place for you!  I’ll be here with open arms beneath the “Resistance” sign in the Commons, just be sure to bring your walking shoes (Or not actually: see below) or bike, there’s no cars allowed.

2 Comments
  1. Jake Dean January 13, 2015

    I've never been to Ithaca despite living above it for most of my life. I *have* been to Portland numerous times though, and can vouch for its hippy-friendly status. You can tell most places by the ratio of cars with bumper-stickers to those without.

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