President’s Letter: Ahhhhh…Summer in Ithaca!

Jennifer Tavares, CEcD, President & CEO

Jennifer Tavares, CEcD, President & CEO


Ahhhhh…Summer in Ithaca!

You don’t have to be here long to figure out what June means in Ithaca. It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. The waterfalls are awesome as ever and all trails are finally open. The parks are “gorges”, as is the lake—once again full of sailboats and kite surfers.

Aurora Street is loaded with outdoor dining opportunities, and the Ithaca Farmers’ Market is getting busier by the week. The ice cream sundaes are plentiful (just check out Purity’s parking lot!) Grills are being fired up, and many local retailers stand ready to sell you your favorite craft brew or margarita fixings.

It might not quite be summer yet, but we’ve had a few days of decent weather now, and hey—the students (I mean our primary economic driver and raison d’etre) are largely gone. The summer music scene is heating up, festivals are around the corner, and camping will be in full swing after this coming Memorial Day Weekend.

Be sure to take note of the gorgeous blooms all around Tompkins County as you head out on your next adventure—many of the plantings you see are coordinated by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Beautification Brigade, and work on the new Commons will be supported by CCE and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s Clean Team and Ambassador Programs. A Rural Beautification Grant Program also helps keep Dryden, Trumansburg, and smaller towns in Tompkins County in fantastic shape for the summer season. This important program—one that benefits our quality of life, while also keeping us visitor ready—is administered by the Chamber, and funded by the Tompkins County Tourism Program.

I encourage you to take some time to enjoy Ithaca and Tompkins County in a more engaged and active way this summer, even at work. Load your team into one of Experience! The Finger Lakes vans and hit the road for a wine tour. Head out for a walking meeting with a colleague on a gorge trail or Cayuga Waterfront Trail. Try Atlas Bowl in Trumansburg for some old-fashioned bowling, great food, and laughter with family and friends—or even a team retreat.

You won’t want to miss the new Visitors Center and comfort station out at Taughannock Overlook with your friends and family this summer, which will be the site of our next Business After Hours on June 8th. Thanks to collaboration between NYS Parks & Historic Preservation (led by former CVB Director Fred Bonn) and the Tompkins County Tourism Program—our CVB team will now serve even more visitors on site, right at Taughannock Falls State Park.

There’s so much to love about Tompkins County in the summer. And even though you live here, I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you’re not sure what to do, where to go, or have just run out of ideas—you can head on over to and have a look. Go on, you know you want to!