Elmira is a city of about 30,000 down almost 6% since 2000. It is located in South Central New York near the border with Pennsylvania. The area has long been inhabited starting in prehistory. In early historic times the Cayuga Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy occupied this land. A village occupied this area starting in 1788 which became Elmira in 1808. Rumor has it the name came from the name of the young daughter of a popular tavern owner. Elmira is the county seat of Chemung County. Chemung County got its name from a Delaware Indian Village that was located nearby. The Chemung County Courthouse is very pretty and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings in the complex were built between 1836 and 1899.
Go to Quarry Farm. This is where Twain spent summers for many years. Mark Twain's study was originally here before being relocated to the college. They don't often let people into the house, but you can see the grounds.
Sometimes they have archaeological digs on the grounds, and they also will do guided tours through the house occasionally (the only way you'll be allowed in the house). Call the College for more information if you want to go in.
If you're a literary buff - Mark Twain in particular, there are 3 things you should see. The first is his study (the others - Quarry Farm and his grave- are on a separate tips).
Mark Twain's study, built by Susan and Theodore Crane in 1874, is now on the Elmira College campus. The octagon study is prominent on the campus. It is open to the public on weekends during the spring and fall, and almost every day in the summer. Make an appointment during the rest of the year. They have a person there to answer questions. Even if it isn't open, you can still see in the windows and get a feel for it. The campus library also has a huge Twain collection with a lot of original stuff - photographs, manuscript stuff, family things that were donated to the college.
This is considered one of the most beautiful Church buildings in the Finger Lakes. This National Historic Register, century old building is classic English Collegiate Gothic and the interior is stunning. Many of the statues were carved in Germany a century ago, the pulpit handcarved in England, bronze Stations of the Cross made in France in the 1920's, lovely pieces of stained glass, two beautiful Chapels off the main Church and much more. The pipe organ is not to be missed as it is one of the largest between New York City and Chicago, and is nationally recognized by the music world. This is one of those places you would expect to find in a large city, but not in a small city like Elmira. The worship services and music are also excellent and would rival anything you would find in large cities. It is well worth the time to attend and enjoy the worship, music and a large, friendly congregation.
We soard over Mount Zoar while visiting Elmira NY, where we enjoyed gliding that August day - the thermals were perfect for a high flight! No sound, just the beauty of the land below! The price is reasonable - and the engineless plane was fun - exciting - especially the take-off - right off a plateau! The flight lasted over an hour - and at one point, the controls were in my own hands!
This is highly recommended!
Mark Twain's gravesite is surprisingly low-key and unpretentious. You do have to do a little walking, but if I remember right, there are some signs to guide you there.