It might be after your fourth midterm. Or maybe the dining hall’s umpteenth night of serving baked scrod. As wonderful as Yale is, there will be times when nothing seems more appealing than a chance to get away. Here is a guide for a few off-campus excursions guaranteed to bring you back refreshed. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Problem: You’ve been digging in the sales bin at J. Crew so often you know all the still-annoyingly-overpriced items by heart.
Solution: Connecticut Post Mall.
If you’re looking to do a little shopping and you’ve already exhausted all the options around campus, the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford is just a bus ride away.
This all-in-one shopping center is just what you need to get the soul-healing “Clueless” shopping experience. With large department stores such as Filene’s, JC Penney, Sears and over 150 specialty stores — everything from Abercrombie and Fitch to Zales Jewelers — you’ll find more than enough uses for that plastic in your wallet.
The Connecticut Post Mall is located off I-95, exit 39B, at 1201 Boston Post Road in Milford. It’s a great place for a shopping binge during Parents Weekend. When you’re automotively challenged, the best bet is the “O” bus on the corner of Chapel and Temple streets, which will still make you a mallrat in under an hour.
Problem: You’re so nostalgic for FOOT, you haven’t showered for a week.
Solution: Don’t let the buildings and traffic fool you — New Haven is closer to nature than you think.
Need some ambience? For the romantically ambitious, Lighthouse Point offers one of the most gorgeous sunsets around. You can see all of New Haven Harbor from the point and all of Long Island Sound beyond. The park attached to the point provides picnic tables, benches and walking paths. A great place to bring your love interest and only a 10-minute ride on the “G” bus from the corner of Chapel and Church streets. Just don’t forget: last bus back is at 6:45 p.m.
Fort Nathan Hale and Black Rock Fort
Fort Nathan Hale and Black Rock Fort, located in a park together in eastern New Haven, are a greener, less sandy alternative to Lighthouse Point. Although they’re right next to one another, the forts are from different wars — Black Rock is from the Revolutionary War, and Fort Nathan Hale is a remnant of the Civil War. The park is filled with exciting nooks and crannies to explore, including a small stream and bridge, a rocky beach, and an outcropping with a beautiful view of New Haven Harbor.
Problem: You’ve realized the dining halls are way too into recycling, and the off-campus restaurants are starting to bore you.
Solution: Make your own gourmet nosh — hot pots and microwaves can do a lot more than you think, and the fact that they’re officially illegal adds an exciting element of danger.
Markets on Orange Street
A couple blocks northeast of campus, Orange Street is a haven for foodies and foodie-wannabes. DeRose’s, at 500 Orange St., has fantastic vegetables (including tomatoes that are actually red!), bread from a local baker, and all kinds of exciting cheese, pasta and cookies. Romeo and Giuseppe’s, a few blocks farther north at 771 Orange St., is a slightly larger Italian market that also features hot specialty foods and regular grocery staples. On a fall or spring afternoon, it’s a beautiful 15-minute walk to the neighborhood for a shopping trip. You can take care of other errands, too — there’s also a coffee shop, small supermarket, hardware store and dry cleaner.
The 1998 opening of Shaw’s on Whalley Avenue was a landmark moment in the revival of downtown New Haven. It was also a great improvement for Yalies. Located at 150 Whalley Ave., Shaw’s is close, convenient and open late. It’s perfect for standard study snacks but also features an impressive array of ethnic foods of all descriptions.