Monday, March 30, 2009


After an exhausting day visiting three colleges plus quite a bit of driving, we arrived at our Bed & Breakfast in Providence, Rhode Island Tuesday night, opened our blinds and this was what we saw. A gorgeous view of the state capital building.
Our room at the Christopher Dodge house was really lovely, however the breakfast part of the deal left quite a bit to be desired.
Christopher Dodge House B&B:
Our first Wednesday stop on the Providence college Tour was Brown University. It was a gorgeous day and the Brown Campus is really special. We enjoyed our time at the school. Below is a photo of one side of the Brown War Memorial Gate
Learning a little about the housing and meal plans at Brown on the Campus Tour
The Center for Information Technology
Old Dorm Building for upper classmen... great location right on the quad
oldest building on campus, used for Administration
Our afternoon info session and tour picked up literally one block from where our Brown tour had left off. The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD-pronounced Rizdee) is a really wonderful Art School (generally considered the best fine arts school in the country) with a decent liberal arts program and some pretty famous alumni including Gus Van Sant (Writer and Director including Drugstore Cowboy, Good Will Hunting and most recently Milk, who also graduated from Catlin Gabel high school--the boys' current school in Portland). Brown and RISD have a nice reciprocal agreement so students enrolled in one of the schools can also take classes at the other. Although I don't think Joey will choose a focused art school for undergrad, we had a great time on our tour and the RISD campus was awesome.
RISD Classroom building:

RISD had a really phenomenal nature lab

and the library was a sight to see. The library also had the same natural cork floors that we have in our kitchen. Easy on the feet and great for sound absorption. Very practical.

After our exhausting tours of Brown and RISD (did I mention the campus buildings are located on a very steep hill), we headed out of town to our next stop: Amherst, Massachusetts

We stayed at a really cute B&B in Amherst named Purple Gables.

Everything about Purple Gables was just wonderful, including the homemade breakfast of fresh fruit and yogurt and perfectly prepared Eggs Benedict.

3 in 1

As in 3 colleges in 1 day and 3 states in 1 day. After our phenomenal Rhinebeck breakfast, we headed a few miles up the road to our first of three college tours set for Tuesday. Three colleges in one day, what were we thinking....

First we visited Bard College in Annandale on Hudson, NY. Bard will go down as the school with the most eclectic variety of buildings. From an old stone church to a completely modern steel science building, Bard is definitely a keeper. If Joey decides to apply to Bard, it won't be the most difficult to get into, but it will be a good match for Joey. They had a decent art building and Bard is considered one of the most, if not THE most, liberal college campus in America. 

Although it was sunny, it was cold and windy in the little "town" of Annandale on Hudson. Its really not a town, its six houses and the college.

Second on our Tuesday college tour was Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Joey REALLY likes Vassar. Another good choice. Vassar has some of the most beautiful buildings including very old dormitories.

Really beautiful classroom buildings and THE most beautiful library I have ever seen.
including a pretty spectacular stained glass window. Who wouldn't want to study in this library.
Joey thought this building, the drama 
and film building, looks like something from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

After leaving Poughkeepsie, we drove for a couple of hours to Middletown, CT. We knew we would be too late for an official tour at Wesleyan, but we grabbed a map at the Admissions Building and headed out on our first (and only) self guided tour of the trip.

Wesleyan also has some gorgeous buildings
Joey really liked the contemporary concrete art studios:

Middletown has a pretty cute old downtown where Joey and I stopped for an ice cream sundae before getting back in the car and heading to our next stop: Providence, Rhode Island.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let the Fun Begin

Monday, March 23rd was officially the first day of the College Tour part of our trip back east.

Since we were in NYC, we decided to visit two city schools: Columbia University & New York University (NYU).

Each visit included a one hour info session led by an Admissions staff person and a one hour campus tour led by a current student.

Columbia University, New York City
A gorgeous campus in the middle of a fantastic city with a compelling academic reputation. Hopefully Joey will keep this school on his list.
Old Columbia Library

Joey on the Columbia Tour with dorms in the background
After Columbia University, we caught a cab down to NYU, however, we did not take any pictures and it seems it is off Joey's list anyway, so nothing lost. The school did not have a true campus feel and the programs did not seem to match up to Joey's needs.

We did stop into a great Ukrainian restaurant near the NYU campus and had pierogi and stroganoff. Yum! 
After our tour of NYU and delicious lunch, we caught the subway at Cooper Union Station and headed back to Times Square where we walked two blocks from our hotel and picked up a Budget Rental Car--who would have thought you could pick up a rental car two blocks from Times Square and then drive three blocks and be on an expressway out of town.
After a 90 mile drive up to the Hudson River Valley, we arrived at our next destination. The Olde Rhinebeck Inn was a lovely B&B located in Rhinebeck, NY, a few short miles from our Tuesday morning appointment.
We each had our own room and the breakfast of fresh fruit, stuffed french toast, scrambled eggs and chicken breakfast sausage certainly satisfied our cravings for a real breakfast.

Visiting the Village

Even though Joey and I were suffering from a little bit of jet lag, going to bed too late and getting up too late, we still woke up Sunday craving a good breakfast. We searched the internet and found what looked to be a reputable restaurant for brunch, but it was in SoHo. We hopped on the On/Off bus in Times square, thereby getting in a little sightseeing on our way downtown.
After fighting some pretty substantial Sunday traffic, we finally reached the Balthazar Restaurant, however, there was a 1 hour and 45 minute wait for two people for brunch. Right next door to the restaurant was the Balthazar Bakery, which looked mighty good at 1:00pm in the afternoon and we were quite hungry. So we settled for croissants, coffee and hot chocolate.
So Delicious!
While in SoHo we also did some shopping. Joey found the NYC Uniqlo, the only Uniqlo in the US.
While Joey shopped, I rested my weary feet.
Man were my feet tired.
We left SoHo and walked to Greenwich Village where we visited a local street market
watched some musicians in Washington Square Park

and grabbed a recession special at Gray's Papaya
2 hot dogs and a soft drink for $4

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Big City

We started our second day in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We spent four long hours scouring the museum and studying every photo, painting and piece of sculpture. 
Joey's effort to save a tree... why use paper to write down your favorite artist's names when you can write it on your hand and then take a picture of it.
After so much time on our feet, we needed a rest. We found an amazing Viennese Pastry Shop named Demel. It is famous and this particular little coffee/pastry shop on the lower level of The Plaza Hotel is the only bakery carrying these authentic pastries outside Austria. Apparently it is such a big deal that when we were carrying our little Demel Bag later that day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a group of very snobby 20 somethings actually asked us if we had brought the bag back from Austria or was there really a Demel in NYC?

After our short break, we headed straight to Central Park with the intention of spending a little bit of time at the zoo and then the rest of the evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), but instead we got sucked in to a pitch by a bicycle cabbie (modern day rickshaw) hanging out just outside The Plaza Hotel. It actually turned out pretty great because we got an awesome tour of pretty much the entire Central Park.
Just inside the park with The Plaza Hotel in the background.
Gorgeous Minton Tiles and Bethesda Fountain, Angel of Waters, at the Bethesda Terrace, Central Park

Central Park is full of gorgeous ornamentation including the Season Themed stairways at Bethesda Terrace and the Strawberry Fields Imagine Tile Mosaic

After our two hour tour of Central Park, we headed straight to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) but with only an hour and a half until the museum closed, we decided to go eat at the museum cafe instead. We ended up with about 30 minutes to see the museum. A museum that if we spent 30 days there we probably wouldn't see everything. Oh well, 50 pieces of art down, 2 million pieces of art to go....