Solo Travel Destination: Corning, New York

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Tracey, Associate Editor of Solo Traveler and a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Tracey is from Canada, and submitted the following report about Corning. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: English

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The Rockwell Museum of Western Art.

Reasons to go:  What a surprise the City of Corning turned out to be! Prior to visiting, my only association with it was the white baking dishes that I would give as shower gifts to anyone whose taste I was not familiar with. Turns out, it’s a great place to spend a weekend.

I’m not the only person who thinks “Corning Ware” when they hear the name, but one visit to the Corning Museum of Glass knocked that impression right out of my mind. The collection was astounding. I expected to find a lot of vases and dinnerware, so I was completely unprepared for the art collection that is housed there. It is definitely not all pretty: there are some very compelling and political pieces, like Omagh, a red glass sculpture of an exploded torso, related to the Omagh bombing in 1998. There are stunning – and huge – stained glass windows salvaged from local churches, chess sets, and yes, vases, along with all of the art pieces. I spent three hours there, and only managed to see a small fraction of the 45,000+ collection. You could easily spend two days touring the collection, attending live demonstrations, taking workshops, browsing the massive gift shop and having lunch.

Market Street is a great place to stroll, do a little shopping, and stop for coffee along the way. Crystal City Olive Oil is a fun place to taste your way through. Olive oils from several countries, along with a wide variety of vinegars, are all available to try before you buy. Let the staff suggest combinations – you’ll be surprised how flavorful a paper cup containing nothing but oil and vinegar can be. The most interesting thing I tried here – and brought home for friends – was their Butternut Squash Seed Oil. Delicious!

Corning is home to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. Not only is there an interesting collection to browse through, but it is a beautiful building. Also worth seeking out is the lovely upstairs deck, in the event that you need a little break. I found the prices in the gift shop to be unusually reasonable as well.

After a day of walking, touring museums, and shopping, you will be ready to visit The Cellar. Not only do they have a large wine list, presented to you on the vino-pad (like an iPad full of wine – what could be better?) including lots of local selections, but their food is excellent as well. For the carnivores, I can recommend the Snake River Wagyu beef with duck fat fries. Oh yes, I can.

At the end of the day, no one will welcome you more warmly than Suzanne Sanders at the Rosewood Inn Bed & Breakfast. When I walked through the door of her Victorian home, she said “I have a feeling about you. I think you would like to be a princess!” She then led me to a room with a four-poster bed that I had to climb up into. Just like a princess. Now, I would not have conceived of myself this way, but I did have the best sleep I had had in some time. Breakfast in the gorgeous dining room is a real treat, and your host will have you engaged in conversation with your fellow guests in no time.

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You can expect a warm welcome from Suzanne at the Rosewood Inn B&B.

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Omagh, by Clifford Rainey, at the Corning Museum of Glass.

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Steak frites the Cellar way.

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 2 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)

  • Nancie (Ladyexpat)

    The first thing that popped into my head when I read Corning was Corning Ware :) Sounds like a fantastic museum, and a great town to spend a day or two!

  • Magpie

    I collect studio glass, so a few years ago I traveled from Kentucky to Corning just to see the glass museum. I rented a car at the Buffalo airport and drove there. The next day I was the first one into the museum when it opened and almost the last one out at closing time. If you are interested in glass art it’s great. There are also big sections on the science and uses uses of glass–fiberglass, optical lenses, bulletproof glass, etc. I had dinner at an Italian restaurant on the Main Street and went to a movie.

    I stopped at Niagra Falls on my way back to the Buffalo airport. Overall, a good weekend.