Unforseen Memorable Moments: A Burger served in a Room With a View
A Journey into Hidden America - A Narrative from the Road
"Far Above Cayuga's Waters" is a refrain familiar to those from Ithaca and those with connections to Cornell University. They are the first words of Cornell's alma mater, but they could just as well be a description for a gem of a roadside eatery we recently frequented during a visit to Ithaca.
A family member (the picky eater) was one a mission for a burger. Our research kept pointing to Glenwood Pines, just north of town along Route 89 as it heads up towards Taughannock Falls State Park and onward to Seneca Falls.
Glenwood Pines is a simple, family-owned spot that is known for serving up superior steaks, fresh haddock fry and its signature burger called the Pinesburger. That is a 6 ounce cheeseburger served on a french bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onion and a choice of 1000 islands or mayo.
The original Pinesburger has been a multiple time designee as "Ithaca's Favorite Burger". It remains a favorite, but so does the Double Pinesburger which was later added along with a 1/4 Tully Burger (Cheeseburger on sesame roll with mayo, lettuce, tomato and onions). Other highlights on the menu include a Crabwich (A crabcake on a soft roll with lettuce, tomato and remoulade) and something called the Glenwood Glutten (Ham, Turkey or both served on French bread with lettuce, tomato and cheese, also served with a choce of 1000 islands or mayo).
Prices are quite reasonable.
But the real winner of the place is not just the food and friendly atmosphere. It is a place with a wonderful view over the lake through a cutting in the trees,k there "far above Cayuga's waters" across the lake from Cornell. Well worth the trip for the view before you eat - though the food is also very much worth the visit.
Ithaca is loaded with great places to eat. But we always try to find time and space in our tummies to stop at the place affectionately called "The Pines".
By the way, getting back to those lyrics, "far Above Cayuga's Waters" were composed by Cornell roommates Archibald Croswell Weeks, 1872, and Wilmot Moses Smith (class of 1874 and a future N.Y. Supreme Court Justice). It was set to the music of an 1857 ballad by H.S. Thompson about a heroine dying of tuberculosis. It is the only alma mater song included in Ronald Herder's 500 Best-Loved Song Lyrics (released in in 1998).
The tune has been appropriated since by dozens of universities, colleges, high schools, and camps worldwide.
So, we do not feel too badly for having applied its words to "The Pines". At least it's in the same neighborhood.