College towns all have their own unique feeling, don’t they? I managed to attend 3 colleges in the 4 years it took me to accomplish my bachelors degree. The first was a community college in my hometown (so the vibe felt… nonexistent? ;) ), the second was a mid-size state university in the last dry town on the west coast (coincidentally the ban on selling alcohol was repealed the fall after I left) and the third was located in the largest urban area in Oregon.
Ithaca is home to several colleges and has a great laid back, small town feel, with plenty of local shops and restaurants, and some fun street art. The morning before we visited Watkins Glen, we stopped downtown at The Commons, which is a fantastic pedestrian only area lined by business and includes trees and a wonderful playground for kids. Breakfast was waffles at Waffle Frolic, which we highly recommend.