Embrace The Final Days Of Warm Happy Valley Weather
If there’s one thing we know about State College weather…well, it’s that we actually don’t know. Will it rain tomorrow? Hail? Snowstorm? The forecast can say sunny with a high of 80, but it’s best to pack an umbrella and change of clothes, just to be safe, right?
As disorienting as it is, the last few weeks have actually been consistently balmy and peaceful in Happy Valley. And though crisp fall days and brutal winter months are on the way, it’s still technically summer for another few days. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors while the sunny State College weather holds up:
Don’t coop yourself up in the sterile dining halls or in your apartment room with the blinds shut. There are plenty of outdoor seating options available downtown. And if you prefer to stay on campus? Snag a bench outside the Creamery, an Au Bon Pain, or the HUB.
And if day drinking in the glorious sunshine is more your speed, there are plenty of options for you as well.
Take A Dip
You may think your swimming months are behind you because classes have begun, but don’t retire your swim trunks just yet. Below are some pools on and nearby campus that are worth checking out while the temperatures are high. Give that tan one last boost before going ghost again.
- Whipple Dam — If you don’t want your aquatic adventures to be confined by some plastic and concrete liners, check out Whipple Dam — it’s pretty much the closest thing Centre County has to a beach.
- Mayor Welch Memorial Pool — There’s a big water slide… enough said.
- Outdoor Natatorium Pool — Though already closed a few weeks ago for the season, this option is something to keep in mind for next year or if you spend time here in the summer.
- The Retreat — It’s the largest pool in Happy Valley, and the closest thing Central PA has to a luxurious resort. You’ll have to get chummy with a resident first to enter as a guest, but once you do — cowabunga!
You’re probably aware that hiking Mt. Nittany should be on your bucket list if you’re a “true Penn Stater.” However, there are plenty of more options and opportunities to get outside and enjoy that Centre County nature. From Shinglestown Gap to the rigorous 1000 Steps walk, consider taking a drive out to these scenic hiking trails. Huffing and puffing up Shortidge just doesn’t have the same effect.
Rent Outdoor Equipment
Now that the gyms are open to all students for free, there’s no excuse not to get out there and play. Head over to the Intramural Building and rent some beach volleyball equipment or play tennis. You don’t have to be a freshmen to soak up the rays on the East Beach. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, there are basketball courts in Pollock and North and the IM soccer fields are typically open for anything.
Ride A Bike
Try out the new Zagster on-campus bike share initiative. If you’re a little rusty on wheels, try them with a friend over the weekend somewhere secluded (read: safe from possible public embarrassment or accidents). For just a few bucks you’ll get some great exercise and may just find a new favorite way to get to your 8 a.m. lecture across campus.
Try Out A Winery
If you’re of legal drinking age, why not skip the same old bar scenes for some classy vineyard action? Happy Valley Winery and Mount Nittany Winery are excellent ways to reward yourself after a day of hiking or hard week of work, all while embracing some beautiful scenery.
Skip McClanahan’s — Hit Up The Farmer’s Market
Running on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the Farmer’s Market on Locust Lane has fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and all kinds of treats you won’t find anywhere else. Why resort to a dark grocery store when you can browse through tons of fresh produce in the sunshine and benefit local business?
Visit The Arboretum
Got some time to kill between classes? Stop and smell the roses. The Arboretum is a classic Penn State destination; it’s perfect for relaxing and for taking a break from first exam stress. Grab some cheap to-go food from North Halls and call it a picnic.
Get Out Of Town
Though it is Happy Valley, sometimes you need a break from the madness and escape the same 5-mile radius. If you have a car on campus or a close friend who does, band up some friends together for a small road trip. Driving only an hour or two away can get you to fun places like Hershey Park or Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park.
If you’re simply too bogged down with work or too tired to embark on the adventures above, just leg it. Simply walking outside will give you plenty of exercise and allow you to soak up just enough Vitamin D.
Avoid the CATA bus at all costs while you can. Enjoy your beautiful green surroundings. Remember, University Park doesn’t stay this lush forever.
When the weather’s this nice, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing — as long as you’re doing it outdoors. Grab your shades and enjoy it while you can because the relentless and unpredictable State College winter will be here before you know it.