There are many attractions in the area for explorers.
Half a mile to the north of Cliff house is Taughannock State Park, which is a great place to play on the lawns or hike up to the falls (taller than Niagara!). There is a boat launch ramp and a small snack bar. The walk to the base of the falls along the creek is 3/4 miles, basically flat the whole way. There's also the Falls Overlook that you can drive to on Taughannock Park Road just to the North of the park which offers a spectacular view.
There are many other parks in the area, many of which feature beautiful gorges (you'll see bumper stickers and T-shirts with the local slogan: "Ithaca is Gorges"). One particular favorite of ours is Robert H. Treman state park. If you enter at the upper entrance (off Rte 327 near Enfield), a short walk takes you down to Lucifer Falls, which are very impressive.
Farther afield is Watkins Glen, famed for its car racing, but also for the park at the glen.
Museum of the Earth - The Paleontological Research Institution runs this small, but very nice, fossil museum. "Marvel at the skeleton of the Hyde Park Mastodon, one of the most complete skeletons ever found."
Johnson Museum of Art - A respected art museum with a good collection. Our main problem in visiting is getting distracted by the views from the balcony...
Sciencenter - A small but highly-regarded "hands on" science museum started and run by real scientists.
Corning Glass - One of the most important glass museums in the world, about an hour and a half away.
Cornell University - This major, Ivy League university dominates the town and provides a great deal of "big city" culture to "centrally isolated" Ithaca. More going on during the academic year, but many activities in the summer as well.
Ithaca College - "IC" is worth a trip, if only for the spectacular views it affords of Ithaca and Cayuga. Actually, it is a fine school, if eclipsed by Cornell, and itself supplies some of the best classical music available in Ithaca. In addition, IC hosts the annual fireworks display in Ithaca.
General information about Cayuga lake wineries can be found at www.cayugawinetrail.com
Lucas, Hosmer, and Sheldrake wineries are all well-respected, but our favorite is a bit farther, namely Goose Watch, which has a very nice, and reasonably priced white called Traminette.
Many of the older wineries are on Seneca and Keuka lakes to the west of Cayuga.
Trumansburg is the closest village, and has some shops and restaurants. From the Cliff House point of view, one of the most interesting bits of trivia is the fact that T-burg (as it is know by the locals) is named after Abner Treman, scion of the family that owned the Cliff House property for many years. Next door to T-burg is, of course, Podunk (no, really!).
Light in Winter (January) - An arts and sciences festival to help the locals survive the long winder in style.
Ithaca Festival (May) - More evidence of progressive Ithaca: parades, education, crafts, music, the works.
Grass Roots (July) - The legendary annual musical happening with thousands of bands (OK, maybe not that many).
Trumansburg Fair (August) - A classic small town fair, with demolition derby, midway, and farm animals. No web site, though!