Finger Lakes Weekend Pt 2 / Carpenter Falls / Ithaca Gets Wonderfully Weird on a Sunday Night

Day 2 in the Finger Lakes we conquered a bit more of a challenge.


Carpenter Falls is 12 miles south on Route 41A along Skaneateles Lake from Skaneateles NY. We had heard such mixed reviews on just how easy of a hike it was to get the base of Carpenter Falls.  Some said this made for a very easy, short hike. Other accounts detail it being very difficult and steep. Once we got there, we understood the variety of answers. So here’s the scoop:

The path heading left at the trail head will take you to the Carpenter Falls bowl in less than 600 feet and is a very easy walk through the woods. Once we got to what was seemingly the end of the marked trail we were a little disappointed at first because we were still so far way from the waterfall!  This can’t be it, right? RIGHT. Then we saw it. On the edge of a rather steep and (that day at least) VERY muddy slope littered with tree roots, is a line rope to guide you along and down the slope. Welp, here goes nothin’. This was admittedly very difficult. Especially in the muddy conditions we were dealing with. There were a few times where we were “stuck”, as in didn’t know where or how to to position our feet next. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. We kept pushing though and slipping in the mud and WE MADE IT. Not only were we super proud of ourselves but the reward of the view at the end was perfect. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the roped portion but we had to put everything we had in backpacks and there was no way a phone or camera would have survived that climb down to the base.

A well-deserved view from the bottom! feat. Adventure Hat.

Then of course, there was the way back. Which meant tackling that rope trail back up. Again, there were times we were just hanging onto the rope laughing our heads off because we thought “Well, there’s no where to put my feet, so I guess I live here now”, but we did EVENTUALLY make our way back up and onto the easier part of the trail back to the car.


After a quick rest at our hotel, we decided to see what downtown Ithaca had going on that night. We weren’t expecting much since it was a Sunday. We headed down to the area known as the Ithaca Commons. The Commons is a four-block pedestrian street with more than 100 shops, restaurants, vendors and sometimes even some street entertainers that is adjacent to Cornell University and Ithaca College. People were out and about on a Sunday night! We were feeling like some margs (what else is new) so we were delighted to stumble upon Viva Cantina. This place served delicious California style Mexican and most importantly, MARGS made with fresh lime juice. It was pretty crowded so we sat the bar and I’m not sure what everyone was celebrating, but it was clearly something. Felt more like a Friday or Saturday night than a Sunday. Which was fine with us, we were on mini-vacation after all. People were very nice too. After some guy almost knocked Krystal and I over at the bar accidentally, his girlfriend made him buy us drinks as an apology. All was forgiven.

If you’re an ice cream lover then another place you NEED to (HAVE to) check out in the Commons is 15 Below. It’s essentially hibachi and ice cream together in a perfect marriage. Sounds strange but it’s wonderful. It creates Thai-style “fried ice cream”. You get to watch as the employees prepare your order on a frozen pan. It’s very interesting to watch and they are super skilled; almost making it look easy as they quickly blend frozen milk with assorted ice cream flavors on the slab. They flatten the ice cream with a spatula and mold it into “fried” rolls. You have your choice of toppings –  cookies, fruit, candy and/or sauce which they add after the rolls are prepared. Trust me, it’s delicious and you want to try it. Not to mention it’s one of the cutest looking desserts I’ve ever had. They look like works of art when they’re done, but your guilt of eating it quickly dissipates after you try it. Check out some photos in the link provided above.

And there you have it: day/night 2 in the Finger Lakes well done.


  1. November 15, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    Ithaca is wonderfully weird. And that Waterfall looks amazing!

    I will have to try Viva Cantina. I saw it, but we were so busy eating our way through the rest of the restaurants I never got there!

    • Lauren Ventura
      November 15, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      It was so good! And our bartender was super nice. The crowd that was in there last night was endlessly entertaining too.

  2. November 15, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    Really enjoyable writing, Lauren. I love the way that you give us all the details in a way that makes your adventure sound fun and inviting.

    • Lauren Ventura
      November 16, 2017 / 9:32 am

      Thank you so much!!

  3. Michael Ventura
    November 15, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    Ithaca looks great. Maybe the reason people there celebrate even on a Sunday night is because they are IN ITHACA. Hooray for liberal Ithaca………

    • Lauren Ventura
      November 16, 2017 / 9:32 am

      Maybe that’s why they were so nice too?

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