After a low-key weekend in New York which includes Spring Awakening, the Tenement Museum, several dinners with friends (who, curiously, all recommend Bates College), a hunt for a faux Goyard bag and Earth Hour with three dear cousins, it’s time to hit the road. We decide to make up our hiatus by driving through three states and seeing seeing three colleges in one day.
9:00 AM – We rent a silver Subaru Outback at Hertz on E. 90th Street.
10:00 AM – First stop is New Haven, where we have breakfast with one of our favorite college students. Visiting Yale on this trip is like going househunting and looking at properties that are $1 million above your budget. Other than the wind chill factor, everything lives up to the hype, especially the dorm suites with fireplaces, and to CJ’s delight, foosball and ping pong in the lounge. (But my omelette was disappointing.)
12:30 PM – A peek at Trinity College. In spite of the College Critic’s low-IQ report (see previous post), the campus has an appealing vibe – some wonderful Gothic architecture, several lively sporting events and such perfect almost-spring New England weather that even Hartford seems inviting.
2:00 PM – Tour of Amherst College. Although CJ is fairly certain he wants a large or midsize school with multiple fraternities, he wants to check out a tiny Liberal Arts College where he can play Division 3 soccer. Amherst is supposedly harder to get into than Yale, but he has actually received a letter from the coach and had set up a meeting with a soccer player. This is supposed to be college Nirvana, but because there is no coffee available on campus on Sunday, I am not as impressed as I expected to be. Our tour guide here seems like a normal Ugg-clad, acappella-ish girl from New Jersey, but as an Amherst student, we know she is one of our country’s best and the brightest, destined to be head of Goldman Sachs, the next Maya Lin, or Chelsea Clinton’s Secretary of State.
3:30 PM – Amherst soccer player invites CJ to watch an important March Madness basketball game with the freshmen members of the soccer team.
3:30-5:00 PM – After an hour in the bookstores and cafes of Amherst, I decide to retire here and begin looking at real estate. CJ calls every half hour to say the game will end in "ten more minutes".
5:00 – 9:00 PM – An inspiring drive through the Berkshires, passing many of the spectacular spots where my family used to vacation when I was a child, and I probably didn’t appreciate then: Lake George, Stockbridge, Jacob’s Pillow, Tanglewood. CJ and I share some incredible bonding moments and even sing "Up on Cripple Creek" together. Sadly this is short-lived because he manages to get loud, staticky basketball reception. The last hour of our journey our GPS guy loses his mind and sends us onto sixteen back roads instead of taking us on an obvious direct route that we discover later when we look at a map. But every moment of the drive is fun, and I hope we get to do it again when CJ is looking for graduate schools.
Now in the picturesque town of Hamilton, NY, covered in a blanket of pristine snow. It could be the quintessential Christmas card if it weren’t almost April.
Next: Colgate and Cornell