Four months ago fellow Onward Stater Evan Ponter wrote about the Grand Opening of the newest smoke shop in town, Exscape. Three months later, I wanted to take another go to see how the classiest head shop in town was holding up. I stopped in to meet shop manager Skylar Bechdel and get my first peek at what I now believe to be the best place for all of your State College smoking needs.
Exscape is different from all the other smoke shops in State College. For one, they have seven different locations (five of which are in New York), so they buy their items wholesale. In other words, you are not going to find what they carry anywhere else in town at a better price.
Then there is the actual aesthetic of the shop itself. There is no permanent patchouli stink, Grateful Dead memorabilia, or anything reminiscent of your typical “stoner culture.” What you get is a professional, functioning-art boutique where you feel less like a hippie, and more of an “enthusiast” when you walk through the door.
While the location is hard to spot given that it is hidden in an alley off of Beaver Ave., they have installed a sign on the corner facing the road to make it easier to see and are working on more eye catching signage to alert their audience that their smoking needs are just around the corner.
As for what your smoking needs might entail, Exscape pretty much has you covered. They have special cleaners for smoking devices as well as every kind of cigar, wrap, paper, or secret stash spot (some look like a can of Pringles or Gatorade bottle but you can hide your “tobacco” in it), which can all be found right behind the counter.
As for, ahem, “water pipes” and “hand pipes,” (which are not to be referred to as “bongs” or “bowls” within the shop) they can be found all over, in all different shapes and sizes, with different kinds of percolators, down-stems, ice catchers, ash catchers, and different mods to make any “enthusiast’s” head spin.
They also exclusively carry a brand name “waterpipe” by the name of “Flo” which is actually owned and operated by one of the owners of the company.
Exscape also features an array of hookahs and flavored shisha.
As for those of us who prefer the healthy alternative to smoking and prefer their herbs and leaves vaporized, Exscape has got your back there. Yes, they carry the notorious “Volcano,” which you may recognize.
Then you have your designer scales, grinders, air-tight jars, and padded carrying cases for transporting precious glass pieces all of which are for those of us who like to live dangerously. In addition, they have an air freshener by the name of Ozium, which removes the smell of any smoke almost instantly.
There you have it, “enthusiasts.” Exscape has pretty much anything you could possibly desire. If you are sick of the hippy-ridden smoking culture and want to see what the whole “modern-day stoner” experience is all about, swing by Exscape and see if it’s not right up your alley. Check out their tumblr for more information here.