-30-Contact: Bruce Stoff Marketing Communications Manager Ithaca/Tompkins Convention & Visitors Bureau (607) 272-1313 Bruce@visitithaca.com
May 14, 2009, Ithaca, N.Y. -- Officials at the Ithaca Visitors Bureau have issued a "Don't Visit" advisory, urging last-minute travelers to avoid the city Memorial Day weekend. The local tourism organization is asking leisure travelers to go elsewhere the weekend of May 23 to avoid congestion associated with graduation ceremonies at Cornell University. The commencement fills the small community to capacity, resulting in traffic delays, long lines at local restaurants and high room rates. "Quite frankly, it's a lousy weekend for an impromptu visit," said Fred Bonn, visitors bureau director. "With the crowds and congestion, it's not the mellow getaway or great value people are looking for these days." Graduation weekends in Ithaca typically require guest bookings months or years in advance with many properties requiring minimum three-night stays. Room rates are the highest of the year with walk-up availability unlikely. Popular local restaurants also require advance reservations weeks in advance. "There are 50 other weekends that are really delightful here and folks will have a much better time if they visit then," Bonn said. "If you come at the end of May for Ithaca Festival or anytime in June, you'll have much more fun." Ithaca Festival, May 28-31, is a quirky annual event that celebrates the town's creative vibe. Notable participants include the He-Man Chainsaw Band and the Volvo Ballet. Additional Ithaca events, package deals and lodging availability are online at VisitIthaca.com. Less than a half-day's drive from most of the metro Northeast, Ithaca is a progressive community known for breathtaking gorge waterfalls, outstanding recreation and liberal thinking. Home to Cornell University and the famous Moosewood Restaurant, the city's rich culture, fine lodging and great dining make it an ideal base for any Finger Lakes wine country getaway. Travel and lodging information is available at VisitIthaca.com or (800) 284-8422.