Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Break, Part 1

Feels odd to be writing about Spring Break tonight.  It was only a week ago - but today hit 90 degrees and feels like summer in a big way.  But I will persevere, if only because I've finally conquered the hurdle of actually sitting down to write a blog post.

We went on a college tour for Spring Break this year.  JC is a junior, and I've had people telling me that we are BEHIND on this looking for colleges thing.  Granted, they are the kind of over-involved pushy parents that give parenting a bad name, but still, it starts to sink in anyway.  We went on a college tour in November, at a place that had a very nice campus but really wasn't a good fit for JC, and we managed to hit another college during its winter break and there were no actual tours available - we walked around anyway but it's not the same.

So we made the effort for Spring Break.  JC has received a ton of college porn during the last three months (you know, the beautiful brochures you get when they buy the PSAT/SAT mailing list).  The very first one to hit our mailbox was from this little college up in Burlington, VT, that, wouldn't you know, advertised a "Creative Media" major.  Creative Media (along with Interactive Media and about 16 other names) is what they call video game design, 3-D animation, website design, and similar programs of study these days.  The challenge is that every college and university seems to call it something else, so doing a Google search to find schools is... challenging. 

So this one found him, and as he did some looking around the school website, he liked what he saw.  I checked out their admission statistics and said, ok, this one has potential.  And you know, from what I knew of Burlington, it sounded like a cool little town to visit.  And Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream!

Off we went.  Burlington was great.  We got there Sunday evening, and had our admissions office visit at 10am on Monday morning.  And can I say, Champlain College has their act TOGETHER.  We got there, they had a name tag and tote bag for JC.  We got sent to the waiting room and a charming young lady immediately showed up to chat with us and answer questions.  The information session was informative AND entertaining (well, except for William, but he hung in there because I let him play his gameboy), and then they divided up all the interested students into groups for the tour.

 Our tour guide was Josh, who was also charming, entertaining, informative... and way too fast on his feet.  Burlington is quite hilly, and Champlain is on a very steep hill.  We started out walking UP the hill, trying to keep up with Josh, and then immediately to see a dorm room - on the third floor.  Then to the library, again the third floor.  The kids were ok, I was falling further and further behind.  But it was worth it.  This above picture doesn't do justice to the view.  It was lovely.  That darker blue is Lake Champlain, and you can sort of see New York State on the other side.

 It's a very compact campus.  Basically a city block, plus just a bit.  This is a statue of Samuel de Champlain, who of course discovered Lake Champlain (among other things).

 I thought this was great.  This is the "Stall Street Journal", on the inside of the bathroom stall in the Student Center.  Events and activities, in a location where you won't miss it!

After our campus tour, and lunch in the student center (courtesy of the admissions office, which I thought was a really nice touch), we went downtown to explore.  Yes, we drove, even though it was barely a mile.  It was a mile DOWNHILL, which meant we would have to hike UPHILL to return to the car.  We were already getting a little tired.

 But downtown Burlington was well worth the effort.  Parking was pretty easy, and there's a several-block-long pedestrian mall right through the center of downtown.  All sorts of cool shops and restaurants.

 This one's for you, Mom.  We didn't actually go in, but I loved the bright blue front, and the name of course.

And this was hysterical. 

We had a really good time wandering around downtown, went back to the hotel in the late afternoon to recharge our batteries (i.e., us old folks took a nap and the kids read/played Game Boy).  Dinner was back downtown at a local steakhouse, very tasty.  Alas, we got done too late to hit the gourmet cupcake bakery, they had closed about 5 minutes before we got there.

Tomorrow: University of Vermont and ICE CREAM.

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