Now, I'm 38, single no kids and want to return to graduate school to finish my Ph D.
Honestly I can't stand Los Angeles anymore and am ready to escape.
Cornell does draw a wide range of populations and people to Ithaca but on it's own without Cornell, Ithaca is not going to be a great dating area.
Weather questions are really dependent on the person.
There isn't a lot of suburban sprawl, so a couple of miles from downtown and you are in country/farmland.
As far as things like sustainability, natural building, vegetarianism, attention to locally sourced food, small farms, permaculture and peak oil activity, probably the only north-east city-region with more going on is Burlington, VT.
They also are located very close to the vineyards and many beatiful state parks with waterfalls, etc.
They are about 2 and a half hours drive to NYC, depending on how fast or slow you drive OMG!
There are lots of activities while the colleges are in session and summer time in that area has a lot to offer also. As far as dating goes, Ithaca is a small town so your opportunities may be more limited but I do know that Cornell has it's own dating site Cornell - THE online dating singles service and personals website for the Big Red and anytime I visit Ithaca I find that there is a large european and diverse population because of all the research that Cornell does.
Per Mapquest from the center of 14850 to the center of 10001 is 225.16 miles.
That's 4 hours without traffic, especially if one is driving the typical Ithaca car, a 1990 Honda Civic wagon held together by bumperstickers. You are in close proximity to other cities too like Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton and Elmira, among others.
I will say that Ithaca has a lot to provide outdoors regardless of what weather it is.
In the winter, they are right next to the ski resorts.