I love small towns. Something about their charm, uniqueness and generally being devoid of crowds just gets me every time. We visited Corning during our recent 4-day weekend in western New York and were pleasantly surprised. Honestly, although I had heard of Corning before, I knew nothing about it. With a historic and hipster kind of vibe happening all at the same time, the very walkable Gaffer district was big enough to keep you interested and small enough to manage in a day.
Corning wasn’t really on our original list of places to go while in New York, but when we decided to pay a visit to the Corning Museum of Glass, we figured we might as well stop by and see what the small city has to offer. The best part about Corning is, like I previously stated, it is very walkable.
We actually parked at the museum and walked over the bridge to get to the Gaffer District so we wouldn’t have to worry about finding parking there. It’s an easy 10-minute walk, but if you’re not up for that, there is a shuttle that will take you from the museum to Corning for free. Or if you aren’t going to the museum, you can just drive over and park at a metered spot on the street. We didn’t see any lots while there, but we also weren’t really looking since we had walked.
After making glass at the Museum and spending most of the morning there, we needed to fuel up. Poppleton Bakery and Cafe hit the spot. With a wide array of bakery items, sweet and savory crepes and delicious Bubble Tea, this place was adorable and the people here were so friendly. Definitely a hot spot in town, this place was pretty busy, but we were able to find a seat and enjoy the vibe while we snacked and sipped our tea.
Eager to see what else this little place had in store, we headed back out to explore. Everything in the Gaffer district is located on Market St, which is basically a long street lined with historic buildings turned into local shops, galleries and restaurants. We noticed quite a few antique shops, beauty salons and restaurants with a little bit of everything else mixed in. We love antique shops and enjoyed rummaging through the treasures there and were even able to find a few unique souvenirs to bring home with us.
I’m always on the lookout for a good pizza, and Aniello’s Pizzeria seemed inviting. With a casual and laid back atmosphere, this place was busy! This is a great place to eat if you’re on a budget, just order at the counter, sit down and they’ll bring it out to you. Easy. They serve by the slice or you can order a whole pizza; since we were still on the go, we decided to grab a slice and eat in. Service was a bit slow, but only because my Sicilian had just been put in the oven when I walked in. It was worth it though, amazing! G got her standard pepperoni and enjoyed it as well. Note: If you love cheese, get the Sicilian. SOOOOOO GOOD!
When you need a break from shops and restaurants, head over to the Rockwell Museum. Located in the historic 1983 former city hall, the building itself is even beautiful. This is not Rockwell as in Norman Rockwell, but rather a collection of American Art which is just beautiful. While it’s small, it’s definitely worth a visit and you can expect to spend an hour or two here. They also have a small shop inside with unique artisan goods, which I always think make great gifts or unique souvenirs. If you’re visiting the Museum of Glass as well, you can get discounted admission if you choose to see this museum as well, which is always a nice bonus!
We really loved Corning and found its small town charm to win us over. If you’re visiting the Corning Museum of Glass, you can easily spend a day here between the two museums and the Gaffer district. Otherwise this makes a great half day trip as well!
Be sure to check hours before visiting the Gaffer District. We found a lot of shops to be closed on Sundays and Mondays, which means less people, but also less to see and do.
Grab a coffee at Soul Full Cup or Old World Cafe. I tried both and they were both delicious!
Bring cash. Most of the shops here accept cards, but some of them don’t.
If you’re visiting both museums, be sure to let them know when purchasing tickets. You can see the prices here. Kids are free to both museums.