Pay a Visit to George Bailey
You don’t have to be a diehard “It’s A Wonderful Life” fan, but it helps.
Seneca Falls in upstate New York is home to the It’s A Wonderful Life Museum and this December they’ll be celebrating the film’s 70th anniversary at the town’s It’s A Wonderful Life Festival. Locals believe Seneca Falls was the town that director Frank Capra had in mind when he polished the script for “It’s A Wonderful Life” and set the story in fictional Bedford Falls. Capra spent time in Seneca Falls directly after he got out of the Army in 1945. Shortly after leaving town, he started preproduction work on the film.
The It’s A Wonderful Life Museum is housed in the town’s first movie theater and holds a sizable collection of movie memorabilia, photographs and props – many donated or on loan from the personal collections of the film’s child actors. It even has on display a first edition copy of “The Greatest Gift,” the Philip Van Doren Stern novel that served as source material for the film.
The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
But it’s not all just Frank Capra classics, there’s lots of history in Seneca Falls. The town is home to the Women’s Rights National Historic Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Seneca Falls was home to the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848.
Seneca Falls is textbook New England Quaint, so even if “It’s A Wonderful Life” isn’t your thing, the town still has plenty to offer. Roughly 45 miles west of Syracuse and situated at the top of Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s famous Finger Lakes, Seneca Falls looks just like that image you get in your mind when you close your eyes and imagine upstate New York.
Strolls along the main drag downtown offer plenty to do with a great collection of shops and eateries. The Finger Lakes region is home to more than 70 wineries so a winery tour might be just the thing on a warm summer day. You can also just go hang out at the lake and while away the summer day before you get back on the road.