Corning, NY: Sweating it Out(side) in the Crystal City

Last week, I learned a fascinating new fact: Gorilla glass, the unbreakable glass on my phone, is manufactured in Corning, NY. Strangely enough, Corning is a town that I had never heard of until, oh, about one month ago.

What was I doing there, you ask? Well, this year Corning was home to TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) North America, a three-day travel blogging conference that’s held all around the world. I had the opportunity to attend as part of the .blog team, so we could connect, in person, with fellow bloggers.

We flew up on a very, very small flight from Newark to Elmira Regional Airport, which only last about an hour. It gave us a beautiful view of the wine country greenery as we landed. When we arrived in town, there were welcome signs for TBEX travelers and it seemed as if the whole community knew we were there.

It was a really great experience, with a great set of organizers, and a great conference.

Market Street, Corning, NY
The main street, and plaza, in Corning, NY.

Training in the Crystal City

As I’ve mentioned before, I usually try to find a gym or Crossfit box when I’m in a different city to still get some workouts in even when I’m on the road. When that fails, I typically will just go for a run, but with my knee still on the fritz, I’ve been trying to keep my cardio workouts relatively low-impact ⎯ especially if I know I’m going to be on a plane with limited mobility later!

Metal rose sculpture
A metal rose outside of one of the shops on Market St.


When I was researching the area, these two gyms popped up. While I didn’t have the opportunity to visit while I was there, I did pass both of them on foot and they looked very nice from the window 😀

  • Snap Fitness: a gym facility, open from 11am to 8pm on the main drag in Corning.
  • Journey Fitness: offers one-on-one and group classes just over the river in Corning.

The closest boxes I found were up in Ithaca, which is about an hour away. So if you’re in the area visiting and want to tour around, it’s worth checking out:

Liquid Shoes Brewing in Corning, NY.

Hotel Workouts

I stayed at the Staybridge Suites in Corning. Personally, I love hotels that have little kitchenettes in them and, every morning, I went downstairs to grab some cereal in the takeaway containers and ate in my room. (I absolutely love hotel breakfasts, of all kinds.) They also had eggs, some pastries, and fresh fruit every morning which I would grab after spending some time in the Fitness Room.

Fitness room Staybridge Suites in Corning, NY
The Fitness Room at the Staybridge Suites.

The Fitness Room ended up being a combo laundry room and fitness center, but it’s better than nothing! They had two treadmills, an elliptical machine, a bike, and an exercise ball to use. Most mornings, I spent about a half hour on the elliptical to get a little sweat in and then used my resistance bands to do some PT work on my knee.

My coach did send me some workouts to do while I was away, which required a bit of improve. Despite being only 5’2″, the ceiling in the fitness center was too low for me to do any double under practice and I had a few close run-ins with the light fixtures while trying.

However, there is a huge parking lot in front of the Staybridge Suites with picnic tables and, in my case, a handful of RVs. One morning I ended up going out here (thankfully, not too early) to work on:

7 double-unders
10 push ups
15 air squats

Double unders
Jump squats

Later on, I noticed a couple in one of the RVs working out in the parking lot as well with some equipment that they brought with them. How cool is that?


Corning, NY is a great little city for a walk around town. We walked from the hotel to Market Street, the main street in town, more than a couple of times. It passes over a river which, while mostly industrial looking, is a nice, scenic route.

Quite a few people mentioned the national parks in the area, especially Watkins Glen State Park which includes waterfalls. There’s quite a few trails and running routes listed here:

The Glass Museum, where the event was held.

In addition to the conference and having the chance to walk around town a bit, we also went to a farmer’s market as part of the event activities. It was so great to meet the locals who live in the area and so many of them have products or projects that they’re super passionate about, ranging from all sorts of artisanal cheese and jams to coffees and, something I’d never heard of before, wine flour! (It’s gluten-free and comes from the pulp left behind when making wine.)

While it’s not quite a workout destination, it is great for outdoor exploring – capped off with some wine or, if that’s not your thing, cheese 😀


  • Chrissie

    Wish I had known you were coming. That’s near where I used to live, and I would have loved an excuse to go back. I always thought glass was a bit boring until I went to visit there. Now I am enthralled with the history.

    • Erica Varlese

      Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about that! (I had asked Zandy if she was nearby and when she said it wasn’t very close, I assumed NY was just too big 😂 ) It’s such an interesting town – I had no idea!

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