Light & healthy lunch before immersion in Mark Twain Country + Jewish heritage exhibit: Elmira, NY’s Turtle Leaf Cafe’

When traveling, it feels good to enjoy a clean, healthy repast. It gives you energy without feeling loggy. Turtle Leaf Cafe’ — deep in the heart of Mark Twain Country in Elmira, NY — will let you revive with familiar but with a twist treats. Everything is high quality and you are welcome to take your lunch on the Trolley into Twain Country Tour, departing around the corner.

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Turtle Leaf Cafe’ has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, as well as non-red meat choices. There’s a wide selection within the categories of burgers, salads, sandwiches and paninis. Most of the selections sneak in extra fruits and veggies in clever ways. The Big Apple Panini was a special that kinda hits all of my flavor faves at once: green apple, grilled ham, crushed pecans and a caramel drizzle.

For coffee drinks, they have lots of flavored syrups to create several dessert-themed beverages. To keep things to a dull roar, I was happy to see they have a few sugar-free choices. I did my own take on their Turtle latte with sugar-free chocolate, salted caramel and almond syrups and made it iced, to-go.

It hit the spot on a warm day of seeing historic Civil War spots, stunning architecture, Mark Twain’s wheelhouse themed writing office and his final resting place.

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The trolley departs from the Chemung Valley History Museum, which happened to have a charming exhibit: At the Jewish Table: Food, Family and Heritage in Elmira. It was fascinating to see the different Jewish populations that settled in town and the fact that they were mostly accepted in all facets of town life. There are lots of treasured photos and artifacts on display. Elmira still hosts a Jewish Food Fest.

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