Summer has come late to Ithaca this year, after unseasonable chill through June, July, and most of August.
At the same time, the students are back, which translates to Fall on the academic calendar which runs town.
It is disconcerting, so you are not to blame if your personal calendar is agog, and you are caught unawares by the new populace. It is not a good time to shop for shower curtains, nor for quick trips to Wegman's.
But now that the freshman families are gone, and the weather is nice, it is a fine time for outside dining, both in and around town.
In town, Aurora Street has become an al fresco restuarant row, with wider sidewalks for a scheme of outside tables. Just A Taste also has a nice dining area in back, that reminds us a bit of Greenwich Village places, that do a lot with small square footage.
Many eateries on the Commons also commandeer outside space. There is a new campaign for using past public space for private seating, which we think is fine. There's still lots of public space left. That Burrito Place is one spot with tables and chairs in the middle of the mall, set off by rope, which seems a little upscale for burritos, but not These Burritos, we guess.
We had the pleasure of spending some stay-cation time this month at Sheldrake Point, where Simply Red's Bistro has not outdoor dining, strictly speaking, but a widely-windowed dining room with wistful vistas.
There are also a couple of unpretentious joints in Sheldrake, O'Malley's and Kidders, where the food is not regal, but neither are the prices, and the drinks are good, and the dining decks are almost as restorative as the meals, mere yards from the lake. It is a short and pleasant drive to Sheldrake, about 25 minutes from town up Route 89.
We hope the late arrival of summer will also mean a late staying time, but as things in life are generally 6 to 5 against, as Damon Runyon said, we say, get outside now. Maybe we'll see you in the alley outside Felicia's tonight.
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