Ithaca, N.Y. — The national magazine Travel & Leisure named Ithaca the third “quirkiest town” in America in a new ranking for its September 2014 issue.

QED. (Courtesy of Mayor Svante Myrick’s Facebook page.)
QED. (Courtesy of Mayor Svante Myrick’s Facebook page.)

The publication, one of many to issue these fun and frivolous “contests,” wrote of Ithaca:

This upstate New York college town has deep hippie roots—it’s the home of legendary vegetarian restaurant Moosewood—but these are not your typical flower children. Come February, instead of celebrating Valentine’s, the town makes a big to-do over Charles Darwin’s birthday, in its Darwin Days.

Thanks to the area’s Cayuga Wine Trail, Ithaca also scored in the top five for vino. Start your taste testing with Six Mile Creek, which uses grapes even for distilled spirits like its Chardonnay-based gin.

Besting Ithaca was Asheville, NC, and Provincetown, Mass. But we finished eight places ahead of Burlington, Vermont — who we also beat in the recent Outside Magazine competition.

Surprisingly, however, Ithaca was not ranked among the biggest cities for hipsters. It did rank as one of Travel & Leisure’s best college towns.

The publication wrote then:

As the slogan says, “Ithaca is gorges,” and there are more than 100 gorges and waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown. But T+L readers love the quirky college town and surrounding area for the wine (No. 4 in our survey). Follow the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, where you can visit 15 wineries, four distilleries, and a meadery. Back in town, head to Ithaca Commons, the local version of Main Street (No. 11), and join Cornell and Ithaca College students for healthy vegetarian fare at the legendary Moosewood Restaurant.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.