Cornell University, USMany, many years ago, I spent a very happy four years at this beautiful university campus in Ithaca, (upstate) New York, studying political science and history.

Even if I adored my time at Cornell, its location in western New York’s Finger Lakes region makes it a little off the beaten track for my infrequent trips back to the US.

So now that (gasp!) my older son is beginning to look at colleges, it was a great opportunity for me to get back to view ‘my noble alma mater’.  I can’t seem to help myself from lifting lines from the school hymn…

This past summer, a college tour of western New York also allowed me a visit to my old stomping grounds in picturesque Ithaca, New York. Although I hadn’t been back in – ahem – decades, it was still as beautiful as I’d remembered it.

Cornell University, USI’d forgotten just how stunning New York’s Finger Lakes region is. There are wonderful state parks, dramatic gorges, waterfalls, and rolling hills.

This past summer was a bit rainy, and the weather somewhat grey when we were on the Cornell campus. Although, as I recall, that’s par for the course in Ithaca.

We had a great walk around the Arts Quad and down steep Libe slope, where I had my freshman dorm – the imposing Baker Tower.

Cornell UniversityI lived on the fifth floor – a killer to climb all those stairs, but the views over Cayuga Lake from our dorm rooms were breathtaking. Between climbing up and down five flights of stairs to reach my dorm room and battling Libe Slope – in rain, wind and (plenty of) snow- to get to campus, at least the Freshman 15 was never an issue.

My kids loved going across the Suspension Bridge to North Campus, where there were lots of new buildings. North Campus now houses all the freshmen. Back in my day, first year students were mixed between north and west campus.

Personally, I always liked this mixing of freshmen and upperclassmen, but I suppose the idea of grouping them is also nice, and an easier way for the first year students to bond.

Over the years, there has certainly been a lot of building on campus – maybe a bit too much for my taste – but it’s still as picturesque as ever.

Cornell University
Cornell’s Suspension Bridge

We walked the whole length of campus. Oddly, it was the first time I explored the whole Agriculture quad and Vet school. Guess I had enough exercise bounding up and town the tower and battling the slope each day.

My younger son is a track and field fanatic, and he fell in love with Cornell as soon as he saw Barton Hall’s newly renovated indoor track. Then again, what’s not to love? The outdoor track was also new. I remember it being around the football field.

I’m glad that college visits gave me the needed excuse to get back to Cornell. Even if it was a brief visit, it was great to be back at my alma mater. I admit to my bias, but it has to be the most beautiful campus ever.

Cornell University
Who needs the gym when you’re living on the top floor of Baker Tower?
Cornell University
What’s not to love? Barton Hall’s cool new indoor track. Go Big Red!

Cornell University