One fantastic – and somewhat ironic – aspect of our awesome campus is its proximity to other awesome places. With that said, it’s only natural that we Blue Hens may want to spread our wings and explore regional gems, from big cities to charming beaches.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of our campus. You’re bound to find this Blue Hen roosting in one of the many nooks and crannies of the university on any given day. But as an out-of-state, car-less student with insatiable Henergy for exploring, I personally place an especially high value on the prospect of trips elsewhere. I’ve also discovered that leaving campus for a bit can sometimes be a great way of unplugging from academics and recharging, even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store for candy with friends.
Here are some ways of exploring the surrounding area that I’ve utilized over the past few semesters. Safe and happy travels!
Blue Hen Bus Trips
This program is run by Student Centers. For only $5, you can get transport and admission, where applicable, to a variety of sites and attractions in the area, usually for the entirety of a given Saturday. Last semester, my friends spent a day making new aquatic friends at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and shopped till we dropped (i.e., got hungry and decided to grab dinner) at the Towson Town Center. This semester, I got to go to Washington D.C., where my legendary speed-walking skills allowed me to check out three Smithsonian museums and eat a crepe on the outskirts of the National Mall in a single day.
Upcoming trips are usually announced on StUDent Central, along with information regarding when tickets go on sale. Pay attention to these dates and make sure you know your password for the ticketing website – they sell fast.
Honors Planning Board Trips
Our very own Honors Planning Board organizes various excursions throughout the semester. I have them to thank for my first visit to Milburn Orchards in the heart of fall and the chance to check out the beauty of Longwood Gardens during the holiday season. Trips, ticket prices, and sign-ups are usually announced in the delightful Honors Weekly Update emails – keep an especially careful eye on your inbox on Tuesdays.
I will say that, at least this year, many Honors Planning Board trips have been similar to those offered by Blue Hen Bus Trips. If you therefore didn’t manage to get a ticket or want to revisit a new favorite spot, these trips may come in especially handy!
Sometimes an RSO will offer a special trip to one place or another. I’m personally a part of Russian Club, and we’ve taken trips to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, and a restaurant and grocery store in Philadelphia. I also checked out the University of Maryland’s massive campus during a quiz bowl tournament that our Academic Competition Club competed in.
Of course, you may not be part of an RSO that regularly plans trips. If that’s the case, I suggest proposing any excursion ideas to current leadership. Additionally, while I can’t speak from personal experience, there’s also a chance that an RSO you’re not a part of offers a trip they open to the entire campus community. Keep an eye on StUDent Central and don’t be afraid to reach out to them with questions!
Your classes need not be confined to the lecture hall! Courses can sometimes include trips to other places – I recommend checking syllabi or asking professors. For my Museum Education and Interpretation class, we visited the New Castle Court House Museum, and for my Disaster Management class, we got an inside look at the Cooch-Dayett Mill, a site not regularly open to the public.
Taking an Honors course or section can also pay off in this regard. Last semester, I took the Honors section of Introduction to Museums, which included a behind-the-scenes tour of Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library by graduate students in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture – and lunch, of course!
SEPTA’s Wilmington Newark Line extends from Newark to Temple University, with stops in Wilmington and various parts of Philadelphia along the way. It definitely takes a little planning and research to get acquainted with the system and its initially intimidating timetable, but it’s seriously worth it for the ease of access to new places, especially Philly. Tickets are also less than $10 each way, at least to Philly, and while Philadelphia is reachable by car, you’re saving a lot of money in parking.
The only drawback is that the line runs from Newark exclusively on weekdays, and even on weekdays trains don’t come and go all that frequently. With a bit of planning, you could hypothetically leave on a Friday and come back on a Monday, or if you’re an especially savvy course schedule planner, perhaps there’s a class-less weekday you can take advantage of.
On that note, SEPTA is especially useful if you find yourself on campus for fall or spring break. I for one embarked on a personal adventure to Philadelphia during this past spring break and got to dive into fascinating neighborhoods, tasty restaurants, fun stores, and museums. So. Many. Museums.
The first time your loved ones come to visit, it’s only natural that they’re eager to see campus for themselves. On subsequent visits, however, consider taking advantage of UD’s central location and hop into the family vehicle to experience a new place together. There’s more sites in the surrounding region than I can list here, but I will say that the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Historic New Castle, Wilmington’s Riverwalk, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have made for great memories with my family.
Let’s be honest – we all have that one friend (or two) with a car on campus. If they’re willing to drive you and your flock, you have the chance to plan the friends trip of legends. Thanks to those buddies with a vehicle, my friends and I have had amazing adventures in the Delaware Art Museum, Rehoboth Beach, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and Target. Just be sure to reimburse the driver for gas – and let them pick the music. It’s only fair.