One can only dream of bullet trains to Upstate NY on some distant day. For the time being, driving is the only feasible option. We drove about 3.5 hours to our hotel. After looking at the different options, we decided to book one night at the

Ithaca Marriott Downtown on The Commons. We had the option of paying $12 for valet parking or $6 for self-parking at the E. Green Street parking lot which has a designated area for hotel guests. Once you park, there is an elevator with access to the hotel lobby.

View from our 7th floor room

We would definitely return to this Marriott, however keep in mind that the hotel lacks a lounge (M or concierge) and there is no pool. The staff especially our waiter during breakfast was fantastic. The person who welcomed us said she was covering for someone else however she did do good job. When the regular staff returned to the desk things were really smooth.

What we did

As fans of Carl Sagan, the first thing we did was to find the Sagan Planet Walk after having a great lunch at Viva Taqueria & Cantina.

We managed to find the inner planets, but realized that chasing Jupiter would deviate us from our plans to visit Cornell University (CU). So we headed far above…We had not visited CU in about 7 years. A lot has changed and the university is currently undergoing massive construction. We took the Marriott shuttle to CU’s visitor’s center near the Engineering Quad and the Johnson Business School.

We then walked to the Arts Quad and took a look down to West campus and the lake.

We returned to the hotel around dinner time and decided to take a walk around the Commons.

The next day we had a delicious breakfast at Monks on the Commons before returning to CU.

This time around, we wanted to see the Triphammer Falls, and some North campus landmarks including a visit to the Space Sciences Building.

After several hours walking around North Campus, we headed to Stewart Park.

We checked out at 4pm, but we did not want to leave the area without eating at Ithaca Gateway BBQ Kitchen and we are glad we did. What the place lacks in ambiance and seating arrangements it more than makes up in the quality of the food and great customer service. This first and foremost a great place for takeout or delivery.

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