On an US Airways flight from Buffalo to Philadelphia last year, I was very surprised to come across an article on State College, Pennsylvania or Happy Valley as we know it. Known to many and unknown to yet more, this little town is in the middle of nowhere and as we like to point out, still at the center of everything (including the Centre County). But I will not get into the geography or weather discussions in here, nor about the where-to-stay details. You can find enough of that information online (or US Air magazines!).And if you look well enough, you might be able to grab a copy of Ken Hull’s Going Local www.goinglocalpa.com/ … it is the most comprehensive information that you will get about the area. And I will by no means even try to encroach on his expertise! (Look out for his new book!)
1. Creamery on a Sunday (or game day) and check out the line. When you eventually get to the front of it, order Keeney Beany or Peachy Paterno, read up on the creamery and history for more! Remember NOT to be blasphemous enough to ask for mixed flavors. even those who ask twice if State College is the name of a town, have heard of the creamery and the rule that the Penn State Creamery does not mix flavors. (Picture: Graduate students taking a break from scooping Creamery fun…who’s to say its blowing 40 degrees we’re all warm for our FIG Tailgate Fall ’07)
2. State Theatre, Downtown State College. Catch off-beat movies, shows and fun stuff for tickets and schedules go to www.StateTickets.org
3. Herwigs, Austrian Bistro… (this should be the #1) have you ever been intimidated by the cook, teased by the owner and hit with a stick by the staff and force-fed sauerkraut because it’s heart-healthy? Bet not, unless you’ve been here. The first time I went to this family-owned/ cooked/ operated/ staffed place, the son came to me and said (in the most evil way) ‘smile, so people outside think you’re liking it here’… what took me back the second time? —well the food to start with and the best customer service! Force-feeding I tell you…feels like being at home. as scary as it is, when you can’t pronounce half the menu, they add to it but not taking your order unless you do it the right way. So I start ‘reisen’ and then move to “that rice and pork thing” and the eyes start rolling…
i) you will be beaten with a red stick (big one), or
ii) you can be given a take out box for $32, or
iii) Charged double if you ask for a half portion.
4. Walk on Allen to see the pig, with her babies…crouch down to take a picture with them and
hug them on my behalf.
5. Sit at the College-Allen bus stop, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, read the Daily Collegian and listen to the drummers play….Any other day? Sit there, feed the squirrels
6. Drive on blue course drive in fall
7. Also drive from Bellefonte to the tiny State College airport (SCE) and see the planes take off right off the road…
8. Appreciate the wall murals on College Avenue near Pugh Street.
9. explore the alleys and small roads parallel to Atherton and Burrows from Easterly Parkway to downtown and marvel at the gardens you pass
10. sip coffee on the IST bridge and enjoy the sway when a big vehicle on 322 B zooms under you
11. Visit the artists’ co-op shop called the Gallery Shop in Lemont, its right beside the Art Alliance of Central PA and has been exhibiting the best of its class since 1968.
12. go to Penn’s cave
13. Buy Penn state gear from family clothesline.
14. Drink a mocha at Webster’s with double shot espresso and munch a chocolate cookie, you can also try a variety of tea there…while enjoying old books, live music, local art and great conversation.
15. doze off on the hub lawn on a warm sunny morning and startle up with “we are….penn state” shout from group of people running around the huge lawn (probably with no shirts on, unlike the one in the picture)
16. buy fresh goodies and flowers from the farmers market on Friday afternoons
17. Do the downtown fall festival and a hay ride around town.
18. Do the Art Crawl on your own: the Palmer Museum of Art, the HUB-Robeson galleries and the Artisan Connection.
19. Walk around campus and read the blue and white signs of the ‘first–s, biggest–s and best–s’ of Penn State and imbibe the history of the first calorimetry to animal husbandry.
20. Squat in front of the Pattee library and people–watch
21. ride the blue-loop (the white-loop, the red link and the green link are good too…but the blue beats ‘em all)
21. scream your lungs out at the homecoming parade, collect as many goodies as you can
22. dance your @$$ off at the next Thon
24. drive to Raystown lake to see the sun rise at 7 point
25. Have ice cream at Meyers on S. Atherton. (its okay to ditch the creamery once in a while)
26. walk around town during arts fest
27. Check out the stone tower near Sackett and Hammond (not that towering) made of stone from different times and places (?)
28. Walk from Willard to the Hub and sit on the benches hiding under the trees.
29. click a picture at the alumni center with the metal statues
30. munch a warm walnut brownie at the Deli
31. Sit outside @ café 210 on St. Paddy’s
32. try your hands at painting your own pottery at 2000 degrees (on college)
33. Go for a free movie at the CAFÉ series in the Music building—they show what you won’t find anywhere else… from rare documentaries to independent movies from Taiwanese to Czechoslovakian, CAFÉ is about Critically Acclaimed Film Experience.
34. Spend one whole hour watching the fish in the HUB aquariums
35. catch an off beat lunch (stir fry buffet….)at the Green Bowl on Beaver.