When people often think about traveling, they picture packing up the car for an epic road trip or jetting off to the airport. I’m here to tell you that traveling for hours on end is not a requirement to explore and have new adventures. Enter — the day trip. Not only are they budget friendly, but there are a myriad of gems to be found within a short drive of your front door. All you have to do is look!
One town that my husband and I love to visit is Corning, New York. Although Corning is a great year-round destination, I prefer to visit in the fall or winter. On our last trip, we went in mid-February when things were much quieter around town.
Grab a bite to eat
We enjoyed having a late breakfast-early lunch at Hand + Foot. Not only do they use local, seasonal ingredients, but their drink menu is a whopping 25 pages long! These guys take their beverages seriously. While the food menu is much more simplistic at only 1 page, you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose.
Stroll the Gaffer District
With free 2-hour parking downtown, you’ll be happy to ditch the car and set out on foot. Walk around town while window shopping or use this free guide to learn more about the historic buildings and their architecture. And if you’re a chocolate lover, you’re in luck! Everything from traditional cake and truffles to chocolate balsamic vinegar can be found on the chocolate trail.
Peruse beautiful art
On this particular winter day, we escaped the biting wind by going inside the Corning Museum of Glass. One of my favorite pieces is Dale Chihuly’s Fern Green Tower, which can be seen from the street and greets guests at the museum entrance. If you’re limited on time or money, feel free to peruse the Contemporary Art & Design wing, the Amphitheater Hot Shop — with live glass blowing demos — along with the cafe and gift shop without having to buy an entrance ticket. (Since we did this during winter break, this may have been a one-time promotional event. Check the events page for more info.)
Grab a drink
Having already secured parking, we popped into Market Street Brewing Co. & Restaurant for a beer flight. Despite decent Google ratings, this place has definitely seen better days. A major red flag was the bartender pre-pouring beer into plastic pitchers and setting them below the bar. Why anyone in their right mind would do this…I don’t know? I suspect it’s because the kegs weren’t properly cooled and therefore too much head was coming from the tap. Or maybe the taps hadn’t been cleaned in a while. (I think it was a little of both.) By pre-pouring the beer, the bartender was trying to “reclaim” some of the beer that would otherwise be lost if poured directly from the tap. If we weren’t sitting at the bar, we wouldn’t have witnessed this or seen the grimy conditions behind the bar. Though you might be tempted to stop in here for a drink, I’d advise you against it. Next time I’m in Corning I’d like to check out Iron Flamingo Brewing, Liquid Shoes Brewing, or even Carey’s Brew House.
If beer isn’t your thing, no worries! Grab a cup of joe at Soul Full Cup or Market Street Coffee & Tea.
Indulge your sweet tooth
What day is complete without enjoying something sweet? Craving something soft and chewy? Then head over to the mother-daughter-owned Poppleton Bakery. If ice cream is your thing then you need to check out the Victorian era ice cream and soda stand at Old World Cafe and Ice Cream. Regardless of which one you choose, be sure to check the website for hours of operation as they change seasonally.
So there you have it — a simple, but fun day taking in the local flavor of Corning, NY. Before you go, consider checking out a list of current events for other fun and potentially free things to do.
We passed through Corning several years ago. We didn’t stop to see anything but the glass museum but I’d love to go back again sometime.
Yes, there is a lot to do, especially if you like outdoorsy stuff. We also enjoy hiking at Watkins Glen and visiting the breweries & wineries. Thanks for commenting Sheila.