Plan a Winter Escape to Ithaca

The Heart of the Finger Lakes

New York’s sprawling, rolling Finger Lakes region is as naturally beautiful as it is historically absorbing. And no city wholly encapsulates the area quite like Ithaca, the crown jewel of Cayuga Lake. Ithaca is home to prestigious Cornell University, jaw-dropping Taughannock Falls, and the award-winning La Tourelle, one of the region’s only French château-style hotels. This trifecta is just the tip of the iceberg, as Ithaca is home to countless other mid-winter pursuits and attractions, including year-round wineries, state parks, and engaging museums. And there’s never been a more alluring time to plan a winter escape into the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Countless Outdoor Pursuits near La Tourelle

Not only does La Tourelle boast 70 private acres of snowy paradise a few ticks south of Downtown Ithaca and Ithaca College, but it also shares acreage with Buttermilk Falls State Park, a winter wonderland trailer-made for avid snowshoers. The wilderness that surrounds Cayuga Lake’s southern rim is known for its waterfalls. In winter, these natural marvels remain frozen in time. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when these rivers and creeks halt mid-spill, but it’s a sight to behold. We highly recommend reading through our frozen waterfall guide, complete with stops at the aforementioned Taughannock Falls, Watkins Glen, Ithaca Falls, and more!


Oakley Corners State Forest is a peaceful place for cross-country skiing. Rice Hill, meanwhile, features a popular snow hill (for sledding) and two ponds, tailor-made for ice skating. Lastly, feel free to browse through this list of multi-purpose snowshoe trails within the city limits.

Indoor Attractions in Ithaca

A typical winter in Ithaca would include rousing Big Red hockey games (both the Men and Women are ECAC powerhouses), the annual Ice Festival in early December, and the Chili Cook-Off in early February. But, this year, a visit to Ithaca is all about the outdoors and finding a new favorite hidden gem, such as the kid-friendly Sciencenter, Ithaca Beer Co., the A.D. White Library, and the neighboring Namgyal Monastery. Many couples love to embark on a short journey to nearby Trumansburg, home to Wide Awake Bakery, where weekly baking classes take place. Please check their calendar for COVID-19 updates.


It’s important to note the Finger Lakes’ countless wineries and tasting rooms, most of which remain open in the wintertime, despite popular belief. While the vines do freeze, travelers can take full advantage of these crowd-less wineries, where you can meet the owners and winemakers (or even learn how “ice wine” is made).


For even more wintertime adventures and attractions, please consult La Tourelle’s complete visitor’s guide to Ithaca.

Finger Lakes Winter Getaways at La Tourelle

Start and finish each day of snowy adventure, deep relaxation, and culinary delights at La Tourelle, a four-season haven featuring distinctive accommodations, a memorable culinary experience, and an on-site spa. Pair a trip to Cornell University, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and a local winery with a delicious brunch, hot stone treatments, and stories beside a cozy gas fireplace. A mid-winter escape to the Finger Lakes is just what the doctor ordered. Start the planning process by browsing through our various room types. You can also call us directly at 800-765-1492.