Checking out the dorms. Meeting with college reps. Touring the campus. Maybe even attending a mixer or other social hour for prospective students.
There’s so much to do and see when you’re visiting a college or university. But in the frenzy of squeezing it all in, it can be easy to forget to schedule in some down-time for you and your college student in-the-making.
What’s more, while it’s important to check out a prospective college, it’s just as important to get a feel for the local community and nearby attractions. After all, your child will be spending four years here, so doesn’t it make sense to investigate what else the community offers in the way of off-campus culture, recreation and leisure time activities?
Thanks to the new travel search engine Goby © you can do just that. Simply type in your destination or use Goby’s interactive map and then choose from its menu of things to do, like “family fun”, “entertainment and nightlife”, “arts and culture” and “sightseeing and tours." Better yet, download Goby’s © fun feed for your iPhone before you hit the road.
That’s just what we did on a recent trip to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, home to Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Situated just off Interstate 80, this college town in the Central Susquehanna River Valley is an easy two to three-hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia or Baltimore.
Aficionados of that quintessential American ritual — the agricultural fair — will likely have heard of the Bloomsburg State Fair. Held each year in late September this is the largest fair in Pennsylvania so, if you’re planning your visit during fair week, you’d be wise to book your hotel reservations well in advance. But, in addition to the fair, there’s plenty of other family fun in the area:
- Downtown Bloomsburg boasts an assortment of restaurants, small retailers and fast-food joints. Our favorites? The Bloomsburg Diner on East Main Street, for its breakfast omelets and burgers. For die-hard New Yorkers like me, there’s even a decent bagel shop — Bloomin’ Bagels on East Main Street.
- If it’s local community theater you love, then check out Bloomsburg’s Theater Ensemble. Since 1978 this non-profit has offered live theater and arts education for kids and their families.
- A short drive away in Centre Hall, PA, is Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park . For less than $25 per person you can take a one-hour guided tour by motorboat through America’s only all-water limestone cavern and marvel at the stalactites, stalagmites and other wonders of this natural landmark.
So the next time you’re headed out on yet another college visit road trip, check out Goby © for family fun no matter where your travels take you.
Justine Ickes writes about culture, family, and people making a difference. She is a contributing writer for Washington Parent and blogs at TravelingMom.com. Her work has appeared in over two dozen publications, including Language Magazine, Litchfield Magazine, New Jersey Monthly and Scholastic’s Parent & Child.
Click here for travel planning tools for a college visit to Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.