Historic and charming, Dansville is a delightful slice of small-town Americana in southern LivCo.

Dansville was founded in 1795 and is one of the oldest towns in the region. As such, it’s packed with history, from the Clara Barton Museum (fun fact: Dansville is home to the first American Red Cross chapter!) to the historic architectural works of Claude Bragdon. Beyond the history, though, Dansville also offers close proximity to lots of natural attractions and adventures, as well as a fabulous local dining scene. Ready to see what awaits when you visit? Here’s how to spend a perfect day in Dansville.

Fuel up for your day of fun

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Start the morning with breakfast at The Coffee Cup, right on Main Street, serving up all your breakfast favorites, from omelets to pancake breakfasts with all the fixin’s on the side. This is a popular spot, though, so you might find a line when you arrive. If that’s the case and you’re just too hungry to wait, head across the street for breakfast at Sunrise Family Restaurant, where the all-day breakfast menu includes options like eggs benedict and fajita omelets.

Explore the outdoors

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Spend your morning soaking up the spring air during a visit to Stony Brook State Park. With its rugged gorge and multiple waterfalls, this hidden gem is a fantastic spot for a scenic hike and photo op. There are three hiking trails to choose from and all are about a mile long, with stairs. The Gorge Trail is the most scenic, with three waterfalls and a trailhead conveniently located near the park’s North Entrance.

Not keen on hiking? You can simply stop by for a picnic and the playgrounds, or check out the sports fields and courts, including a tennis court, volleyball court, basketball court, and baseball field.


Waterfall at Stony Brook

Grab a light bite in town

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After all that hiking and waterfall chasing, you’ve likely worked up an appetite again, so head back to Dansville’s Main Street for a visit to Homegrown Coffee Bar. This locally owned and operated, brewery-style coffee bar is as hip as it comes, with its range of specialty coffees and focus on local ingredients. Not sure what to order? Try a coffee flight (Saturdays only), for a little bit of everything. With your caffeine fix, be sure to treat your sweet tooth, too, with one of their fresh-baked pastries.

Brush up on local history

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We’ve already given you a glimpse into Dansville’s robust history, but you can learn more about the town and the broader region’s past with an afternoon visit to the Dansville Area Historical Museum. There, exhibits focus on significant historic spots and people, including the Castle on the Hill (a once-famous health resort) and one of its owners, Bernarr MacFadden.

After a stop by the Dansville Area Historical Museum, swing by for a selfie in front of the Clara Barton Museum. Clara Barton founded the first local chapter of the American Red Cross while living in Dansville. Does any of this sound familiar? You may have spotted references to this famous moment in the HBO Max series, The Gilded Age.

P.S. This banner was displayed at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the founding of the Red Cross in Stony Brook State Park which Franklin Roosevelt attended!


Woman with Banner at Dansville Museum

Combine history with hops

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After a day of exploring and sightseeing, sit back with a frosty brew in Dansville’s only brewery, Battle Street Brewery, which sits in the renovated Dansville Mt. Morris train depot, originally built in the 1870s. Now, you can see the depot’s past — and its historic importance to the town of Dansville and the surrounding region — in the repurposed artifacts that you’ll find throughout the space, like the steel rails and vintage suitcases used around the bar. Beyond the history, though, this brewery serves up 12 brews on tap, along with pub fare.

Dine under the stars

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Save your appetite because next up on your perfect day in Dansville is a stop by Caffe Tazza for dinner. If you’re visiting in the spring, be sure to snag an outdoor table and settle in for a delicious dining experience, with tapas, wood-fired pizza, and Italian cuisine served alongside a selection of wine. Whatever you order, just make sure that you finish up in time for the nightly show at the more-than-100-year-old Star Theatre. Originally opened in 1921, the Star Theatre welcomes patrons every single night for 7 pm showings of the latest flicks (afternoon showings also take place Wednesday at 1 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm).


Star Theatre at Night

Sweet finish to the night

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Once the movie lets out, top off your night with ice cream at Ice Cream Island. This seasonal ice cream stand serves up classic favorites and soft-serve custard. The only downside? You might have a difficult time ordering, with so many delicious options to choose from (though that gives you all the more reason to stop in a second time!).

They've got your fan-favorite flavors as well as signature items including sundaes and shakes with all the toppings you'll ever want. With so many different flavors to choose from, you might want to try one of their ice cream flights of any four flavors topped with a cone to sample.


Want to explore Dansville at a more leisurely pace, or love Dansville so much that you want to stay a little longer? We don’t blame you. Turn your one ideal day in Dansville into a full weekend getaway, with a stay right on Main Street. Check out this downtown Airbnb for the entire family with five bedrooms and large living spaces, all with a rustic industrial feel, and all within walking distance of favorite spots around Dansville.