A View of the World
31 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 8: Richmond
Visit: University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
Formal presentation by a rising Senior (very polished) - Photos here
Trip Log
Location: Richmond, VA
Departure Time: 9:30 AM
Destination: Charlotte, NC
Mileage: 320
Breakfast: Rodeway Inn (Richmond, VA)
Lunch: UR Dining Hall (Richmond, VA)
Dinner: Kabuki (Charlotte, NC)
Lodging: Comfort Inn (Charlotte, NC)


29 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 7: George Washington
Visit: George Washington University, Washington D.C. (Photos Here)
Informal presentation by: Admissions Advisor and a rising sophomore

Trip Log
Location: Washington D.C.
Departure Time: 9:30 AM
Destination: University of Richmond
Mileage: 150
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Washington D.C.)
Lunch: Burger King (Lorton, VA)
Dinner: Chipotle (Richmond, VA)
Lodging: Rodeway Inn (Richmond, VA)


  College Road Trip Day 6: Washington D.C.
A day to see the our national government buildings and memorials! Our hotel was right by a Metro subway stop, so it was our primary means of transportation. Clean and convenient (most of the time), we learned to ride the subway like regulars after a couple of trips. First stop: Capitol South, dropping us off 2 blocks from the US Capitol. We had not reserved tickets for a tour of the building, so after a short queue to get into the building (10 minutes,) we entered, were screened by security and then entered another 10 minute line to get tour tickets. The tickets were for the 12:00 tour, which was starting in 10 minutes!

The Capitol tour starts with an orientation video that overviews the Capitol building, history and purpose of Congress. Once the 7 minute video was over, we queued up in lines to meet our tour guide. Our guide was a jovial fellow named Vince. We informed us that we would not be going up to the rotunda, because the police had been called in for an incident. That was a huge let down - and I immediately Googled to find out what was going on. Turns out that a small group called GetEqual, staged an informal sit-in. The rotunda was cleared, police called, protesters arrested, and all clear, back to business. We were delayed 5 minutes, but were able to do the whole tour - including the rotunda. It was a great tour, we learned more about the Capitol building, the history of Congress, and saw statues from each US state (each state can have 2 statues in the building.)

After the tour we had lunch in the Capitol Restaurant, along with every Boy Scout in the US. Turns out that the Boy Scouts were celebrating their 100th Jamboree in DC. They were all polite and respectful - even when hungry.

We took the underground tunnel to the Library of Congress across the street (avoiding another security station.) This was my first time here, and although you cannot entire the library proper, was impressed with the presentation of materials in the many exhibitions. We saw an exhibition on entertainers and media, featuring Bob Hope and the USO, but also recordings and footage of 60s protest singers and performers. We also saw one of the Gutenberg Bibles on display, an original 3-volume set, 1,000 years old!

We went to the Supreme Court building (it's called the "supreme Court" in the Constitution.) Another round of security and we were able to go right up to the entrance of the court room and look inside. Little is changed here, with hard wooden seats for the gallery and lawyers. Each justice has their own personal chair, made for them by government furniture makers. This was the lowest visited building while we were there, which is too bad, because it is an important player in the balance of power.

By 3:30 it was about 100 degrees outside the all white buildings. We tried to step into the United Methodist building, (slogan: "open doors, open minds, open hearts") located right next to the Supreme Court building, but it was locked... so we headed back to the hotel room to rest and cool down.

We had dinner a a Moroccan restaurant in the DuPont Circle neighborhood. After that we went to the National Mall. It was still hot, but managed to see the following structures: Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, WW2 Memorial and the Lincoln Monument. By the time we got to the Lincoln Monument, the sun had set and it was fully illuminated. We walked around, reading the Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address, carved into the sides of the monument. Lincoln didn't way much, but what he said was inspiring for any age in American History.

Tired, hot and with swelling feet, we opted for a cab ride home. It was worth every inflated penny of DC cab rates.

Photos here.

Trip Log
Location: Washington D.C.
Departure Time: 10:30 AM
Destination: Tourist Destinations
Mileage: 0
Breakfast: Marriott (Washington D.C.)
Lunch: US Capitol Restaurant (Washington D.C.)
Dinner: Marrakesh Palace (Washington D.C.)
Lodging: Marriott Washington Wardman Park (Washington D.C.)

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28 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 5: Vassar & Princeton
Visit: Vassar College, (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Presentation by Director of Admissions (Photos here)
Tour Notes:
Visit: Princeton University, (Princeton, NJ)
No formal visit. (Photos here)
It was a 20 mile detour to see Princeton. We've seen Harvard and Yale, why not Princeton too? Another fantastic college setting. The buildings are large and architecturally interesting. We caught the last part of a tour, and while many of the things said were the same as other tours, it was the final wrap up that was interesting. Princeton has all alumni visit for graduation. They have a P-rade, starting with the oldest alums, and ending with the next graduating class. There is a really powerful bond between Princeton alums - not to say other schools don't have it, but the annual gathering makes for greater intergenerational connections and opportunities.

Trip Log
Location: (Fishkill, NY)
Departure Time: 10:20 AM
Destination: Vassar College
Mileage: 350
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Fishkill, NY)
Lunch: Vassar Snack Shop (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Dinner: Michael's (DE)
Lodging: Marriott Washington Wardman Park (Washington D.C.)


27 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 4: Brandeis & Brown
My new definition of "overwhelming": Two college tours and one college visit in one day...

Visit: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Presentation by Admissions Advisor and a rising senior, followed by a tour by a rising sophomore. (Photos here)
After the tour, a stop at the college Bookstore, then a 60 mile drive to RI.

Visit: Brown University, Providence, RI
Presentation by Admissions Advisor and a rising junior, followed by a tour by a rising sophomore. (Photos here)After the tour, we headed west to CT, deciding that since we were so close by, why not stop and see Yale...

Visit: Yale University, New Haven, CT
No formal visit. (Photos here)
Why didn't I ever hear about the beautiful Yale campus? I thought UChicago was something, but this is fantastic. Anna said "Even the ugly 70's architecture buildings are good looking here" and she is right! The blend of historical New Haven and idyllic Yale structures makes this my number one campus experience.

Trip Log
Location: Lexington, MA
Departure Time: 9:30 AM
Destination: Fishkill, NY
Mileage: 280
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Lexington, MA)
Lunch: Taco Bell (East Walpole, MA)
Dinner: Sal's Pizza (Fishkill, NY)
Lodging: Quality Inn (Fishkill, NY)


26 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 3: Boston
Boston, MA! Birthplace of independence, and home to some of the worse drivers in the USA. (I lived here for 1-1/2 years, I have lots of experience with them...)

We were tourists today. We drove in from Springfield and landed in downtown Boston at 10AM. We headed for the Commons and parked the car and started to walk - the Freedom Trail. This pedestrian "red line" weaves throughout Boston highlighting the many places where the independent ideals were born, developed or thrown overboard. It was a beautiful day to walk around Boston - clear blue skies, warm with a bit of a breeze. The walking tour takes about 2 hours to complete, and by the end, we wanted nothing more than to sit down and cool off. The best way to do that is the "T" - Boston's great mass transit system.

We took the T out to Harvard Square, to join the throngs who want to rub up against academic history. (We did our best to avoid the many homeless who just wanted to rub up against you... ;-) The Harvard campus is HUGE! We estimated that between the main campus, law school and medical school you could probably fit the Oberlin and Amherst campuses with room to spare. This was not a school visit, but provided a nice level set against the schools we are visiting. But there was a school that is on the 'possible' list that we did visit: Tufts University.

Tufts is a Boston institution tucked into the NE corner of Cambridge, in a little neighborhood on a Boston hill. Turns out that the neighborhood IS Tufts - they own most of the houses surrounding the campus. Tufts was founded in 1852, and from the looks of it, the university is preparing for their 150th birthday in 2012 with many renovated buildings. But even with the construction, it is a beautiful campus setting, with a large front lawn reminiscent of the front lawn of my alma mater, Wheaton College (IL). The Admissions team must expect drive by visits, because they had a box attached to the building with a 4-color map, self-tour booklet, and registration card you could fill out. I'm glad we did!

We ended the day visiting our friends Mary and Mike Barwell. They are friends from Cincinnati that now live up in Concord, NH. We met at Woodman's Clam Shack in Essex, on the North Shore of Boston. When I was in seminary in the late 80's Woodman's was drive up place that had good, cheap seafood. Well now it has expanded greatly, to include sit-down dining, a raw bar and a dessert shack around back, but you still get your good, cheap food on paper plates served in a cardboard box like in 1988. Glad some things never really change in New England!

Visit: Tufts University, Cambridge, MA
No formal visit.

Trip Log
Location: Westfield, MA
Departure Time: 8:00 AM
Destination: Boston
Mileage: 150
Breakfast: Econo Lodge (Westfield, MA)
Lunch: Brueggman Bagels (Boston, MA)
Dinner: Woodman's (Essex, MA)
Lodging: Quality Inn (Lexington, MA)

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25 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 2: Amherst
This was a dedicated travel day. We took the southern New York route along I86/NY17. This is a very rural part of NY, very reminiscent of Tennessee or Kentucky. Along the way we passed the following:
We didn't stop at any of these, but I was simply amazed at the rather out-of-the-way location for these places.

I did want to stop at one town along the way, Endicott, NY. My wife's maiden name is Endicott, so I thought it would be interesting for Anna to see this town that has a family name connection. (No other genealogical interest that we are aware of...) One of the hallmarks of this town is that it is the "Birthplace of IBM" and was the center of R&D for the company for over 50 years. Well, turns out that IBM polluted the place like crazy in the first half of the 20th century, got called on it, sold the site and left town in 2002. Today, the town is a shell of its former self. We went to the Endicott Visitors Center, only to be greeted by a sign saying "Closed Due to An Emergency." We decided to support the town by eating lunch at the Wendy's and filling up the RAV4 with a full tank of gas. It was a relief to leave the town - the boarded up Main Street looked contagious.

We made it to Massachusetts with plenty of daylight. After we checked into the hotel, we headed up to Amherst to visit Amherst College. (Photos here) This was a drive-by visit - no admissions tour or information provided by the college. We drove around the entire campus, parked the SUV and walked about, talking pictures and being generally amazed by the campus. (Statues of alums Henry Ward Beecher and Robert Frost are pretty inspiring.) The town is a block away, and it is a pretty typical college town with bookstores and coffee shops, bars and restaurants. I was all-around impressed with the place.

Visit: Amherst College, Amherst, MA
No formal visit.

Trip Log
Location: Erie, PA
Departure Time: 10:0 AM
Destination: Amherst College
Mileage: 550
Breakfast: Quality Inn (Erie, PA)
Lunch: Wendy's (Endicott, NY)
Dinner: Amherst Creperie (Amherst, MA)
Lodging: Econo Lodge (Westfield, MA)


24 July 2010
  College Road Trip Day 1: Oberlin
Visit: Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH (photos here)
No formal presentation: Q&A with Admissions Advisor, a Conserv student, a transfer student, a Chemistry professor and Financial Aid Advisor

Trip Log
Location: Home
Departure Time: 5:50 AM
Destination: Oberlin College
Mileage: 525
Breakfast: McDonalds (IL Tollway Oasis)
Lunch: Subway (Oberlin, OH)
Dinner: TGIFriday's (Erie, PA)
Lodging: Quality Inn (Erie, PA)


Insights from Randy Lawrence, aka randelaw

Location: Illinois, United States
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