Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little Winter Break

Leaving so soon? While winter break is a wonderful time to escape from the stress of academia, to spend with family and friends, travel, and watch Netflix for three days straight, there are numerous ways to enjoy break right here in Charlottesville.

1. Monticello.
Until December 30th, Monticello is offering Holiday Evening Tours. See Jefferson's beloved home decked out in Christmas decorations as well as explore Monticello's Dome Room. 
 2. Main Street Arena
Ready to hit the ice? The Main Street Arena in Downtown Charlottesville is home to an awesome ice skating rink. Public skating is offered weekdays (except Christmas).
3. Paramount Theater
Another great Downtown Mall hotspot is The Paramount. During winter break, enjoy Christmas concerts, watch classics such as It's a Wonderful Life and The Sting, or even catch the Downton Abbey Season Five Premiere Party.
4. Jefferson Theater
There's always something to do at Charlottesville's historical Jefferson Theater. Aside from seeing awesome bands, you can attend 106.1 The Corner's Ugly Sweater Holiday Party. Proceeds benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. 
 5. Massanutten Resort
If you're feeling adventurous, you can drive roughly 45 minutes to the Massanutten Resort in Harrisonburg, VA. Whether you prefer snowboarding, skiing, or snow tubing, Massanutten has it all. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Food on Grounds (also known as, what you think about when zoning out during class)

If there is one question that is hotly debated here at UVA it is this: where is the best food? Read on for one woman’s extremely subjective and highly questionable take on this hot button issue.

Ohill (aka Observatory Hill Dining Hall): This is the land of the first years and unlimited meal swipes, conveniently located right next to new dorms. The food here is what you would expect from a dining hall and therefore how good a meal is really depends on the day. However, throughout your first year you will come to love Ohill and its waffle-makers, perfect for a late night snack or an 11 o’clock brunch.

Crossroads: A convenience store located within Ohill is a wonderful land of junk food, burgers, cookie dough, Sbarro, and also salads, fruits, and “real food” (though I can’t remember ever getting any of this supposed real food so I cannot attest to its quality). Crossroads meets all of your study night/movie night/ hang out needs, especially late at night since its hours are later than the dining halls. There is no finals study session blues that cannot be cured with a Crossroads burger or milkshake.

Newcomb: Located more in the center of grounds this is the place for more low-key, before class breakfasts and very busy lunches. From my experience they tend to serve a greater range of food on a day-to-day basis and their salad bar is almost always on point. Plus, they are more likely to have whoopie pies which make it preferable to Ohill.

Food trucks: There are currently two food trucks that park right by the amphitheater during the middle of the day for the lunch. They are quick and easy ways to get food on the run or to eat in the amphitheater if it’s a nice day, and they take plus dollars which means you get the feeling of going out to eat without spending actual money. The dumpling cart is a fan favorite, a fact attested to by the long line they have pretty much always. The line does move fast though and the dumplings are totally worth it. Though be warned, once you try them you need to get your dumpling fix at least once a week. The other food truck is The Pie Guy. Fairly new, he doesn’t draw a crowd like the dumpling truck does even though he serves a good range of pies for only $5 including apple pie, which we all know is the absolute best kind of pie.

West Range Café: Also a wonderful drain for your plus dollars, West Range tends to be more the domain of upperclassmen located as it is next to the lawn rooms. If you are brave enough to go in however, you will find the best french fries on grounds. Seriously, these things are awesome and also very addiction-worthy. But, if you’re not a french fry aficionado like me, there are also really good sandwiches and sweet bakery things, all of which are really fresh.

Honorable mentions: Greenberry’s in Clark hall (just as good as Starbucks with much less of a chance of a huge line and long wait), the Pav in Newcomb (because Chick-fil-a, quesadillas, and smoothies are part of a balanced, healthy college diet), and the Fine Arts Café in the Architecture school (for when you feel like eating something organic and sustainable but also surprisingly tasty).