Travel Tips & Adventures

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Archive for the ‘Campus’ Category

Travel to Boise – more on a great city

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Over the years, we’ve been in many cities, both capitals and smaller cities.  Boise, Idaho ranks high in our estimation as one of the most attractive downtowns we’ve seen.

With a population of over 200,000, Boise still seems like an accessible and people-friendly place to live, raise children, work, and enjoy leisure time.


More on Travel to Tempe, Arizona and ASU

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Even if you are not a student or employed by Arizona State University, ASU has a presence in Tempe, Arizona.  Many large buildings in Tempe sport the ASU name, but the campus is accessible to visitors as well.

Shops and the atmosphere cater to students and their families.  There is also a community feel that the downtown has cultivated where individual shops, not usually part of national chains, create a fun shopping experience.  There are places to eat, like Rula Bula (a pub), Chompie’s Deli, and House of Tricks that offer unique dining experiences from easy on the budget to upscale (definitely House of Cards).

For an evening out, there is Gammage Auditorium, part of ASU’s campus.  National tours of shows like Wicked and Jersey Boys give the locals a chance to see great theater. Crowd pleasers like Phantom of the Opera and Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins and Annie join more serious fare like award-winning August: Osage County.  Prices are typically more reasonable than a Broadway show and the actors are equally talented.  (One note: sound quality may suffer in the upper regions of the theater in the last few rows.  We struggled to hear the fabulous solos of “Wicked.”)

Eating in Tempe

We wandered into the second day of a new chain restaurant in Tempe on Mill Avenue, Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  While it is a chain, it has a very homemade feel to the food.  They do not have freezers and everything is fresh. It also offers more menu choices than the popular In ‘n Out Burger chain.  Five Guys promotes their fries’ potato source as being from Shelley, Idaho, so we just had to try them.  (I am named Shelley, remember.)

A lot more than five guys were prepping burgers and fries in Tempe

A lot more than five guys were prepping burgers and fries in Tempe

They had quite a crowd on their second day due to the Festival of the Arts, but were moving things along very briskly. The place was mobbed, but the red-shirted staff handled it all with aplomb.

In addition to the aforementioned burgers and fries, their menu also includes grilled cheese, hot dogs and many toppings, like grilled mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, A-1 sauce, all free.  The 2-person fries order was GIGANTIC – and that was the small size.  My small bacon burger was a large serving.  Considering that all of the toppings are free and the food is freshly made (“never frozen”), the price tag is very reasonable when compared with other chains.  They also have peanuts available for free that you can scoop out and eat – as much as you like. We spent $16 for our burgers (One large and one small), small fries, one drink and water.

Another chain, but a local one, is Chompie’s Deli, which will fulfill anyone’s craving for deli food.  The bagels are good –chewy and flavorful – and the enormous menu offers so many choices that your biggest issue will be making a decision on what to order.  Old family favorites like giant deli sandwiches and stuffed cabbage, plus new twists like a brisket served in tortillas make it possible for every family member to find something they’ll enjoy. The quality and quantity definitely go hand in hand at Chompie’s, which has been around for 30 years.  You won’t leave hungry!

In the heart of downtown Tempe is House of Tricks, definitely an upscale menu with white tablecloth service.  The food service is excellent and the presentations very appealing.  Their restaurant has been around for over 20 years and it is apparent why: exotic and unusual twists on culinary efforts that incorporate the best of many cuisines. One entrée was: Lemon Honey Braised Grouper with Sautéed Watercress, Parsnip Pear Puree and Whole Grain Mustard Buerre Blanc.  An appetizer, “Miso Marinated Foie Gras with Ginger Snap and Warm Black Mission Fig Chutney,” put a homemade touch on what could be something served anywhere.   Their chef is obviously inventive and committed to using fresh, seasonal ingredients, a quality we very much encourage.

So, now you won’t go hungry while in Tempe.  We’ve tried other restaurants as well, but these three are worth a trip.

Now that we’ve given you places to eat, sleep and entertain yourself, we’ll continue our “Wacky Wednesday” tomorrow with a visit to a casino.  You’ll need some luck to win and a means of transportation to get there.

Tempe is a Tempting Travel Spot

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Tempe, the hometown for Arizona State University, is a vibrant city with business, social and quality of life issues well-handled.  With a population of 175,000-plus residents, Tempe has a business center, new malls, revitalized housing stock and is just a fun place to be.  It’s also near to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, so there is easy access in and out.

Housing in downtown Tempe

Housing in downtown Tempe


Festival of the Arts

During the weekend of December 4-6, Tempe hosted the Festival of the Arts, an arts and crafts gathering that last year attracted 250,000.  In 2009, over 400 artisans with some stunning work were displaying and selling their works.  Pottery, glass, wood, photography, woven items, painting, sculpture and even food showed the individuality and quality of the handmade efforts.

With no two works identical, visitors had the opportunity to see and buy something for their use for as little as $5 or as much as thousands.

Colorful Pottery from Ken Foster Ceramics - and useful, too

Colorful Pottery from Ken Foster Ceramics - and useful, too


(As of early December 2009, his Web site was not populated yet.)

Doug Maders metal art

Doug Mader's metal art - Courtyard Art and Design

(No Web site available – 503-537-0720)

I tend to like usable art, so I was on the lookout for a small pottery casserole to replace one that had broken. I couldn’t find what I was seeking.  Instead, I saw a gorgeous pottery French butterkeeper made by Liscom Hill Pottery Works that I purchased.  (I did not take a photo – the display was crowded and I was intent on my purchase.)

Bands also performed throughout the Festival.  On the jazz stage, we heard the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Band perform big band numbers.  They had an interesting medley with “Auld Lang Syne” intermingled with Christmas carols, plus a rendition of “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady.


To host the Festival, Tempe blocked off about fifteen blocks of the downtown area.  Since these events occur regularly in Tempe, check out the light rail which travels right through the campus to save you time looking for a parking spot or $10 for event parking. The light rail is relatively new to the Phoenix area, but it is clean, on schedule and reasonable in cost.

Other Tempe notables

It may be in the desert, but Tempe has an amazing amount of water.  Tempe Town Lake, a manmade body of water, is a centerpiece for many community events.  In the area adjacent to the lake, events from ethnic fairs to fireworks are held regularly.

If you’re coming to the Phoenix area for a visit, we recommend that you check out what might be happening in Tempe.  There are hotels in Tempe if you care to stay; the aloft hotel is new, a “hip” hotel, and there are other hotels that can put you right in the middle of things or give you some quiet at the end of the day, if you prefer.

aloft hotel in Tempe

The Buttes

(Tucked into a hillside and next to a spring training baseball facility.)


ASU and Tempe

You can’t miss ASU’s presence in Tempe; it is unmistakable.  

Come back tomorrow for info on Arizona State University and other amenities in the area.

Travelling to a “College Town” – - Charlottesville, Virginia

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

There’s something about a college town. I’m not talking about New York City, Boston, or Los Angeles, but rather those small to mid-sized towns that cater to, or are intricately involved with, the day–to-day operations of the campus.

Virginia has several such towns, Lexington (Washington & Lee University), Williamsburg (College of William & Mary), Blacksburg (Virginia Poly Tech), Radford (Radford University), even Farmville (Longwood University) are a few of the ten such towns that are labeled “college towns.”

But, my pick for this article is Charlottesville.

Home to the University of Virginia, designed by United States President and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville is just over an hour from Richmond, and easily accessible by car or plane. Current population of just under 50,000 makes this a small college town with amenities that you might not find in other towns of this size. (more…)

Traveling to Virginia Tech

Friday, November 20th, 2009

By Guest Author Peggy Bradshaw; Photos by George Bradshaw

Commonly called just “Virginia Tech,” the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is located on 2,600 acres in Blacksburg, VA and contains 125 buildings. It was founded in 1872 as a public grant college and has worked its way up to be one of the top public universities in the United States.

Virginia Tech Hokie stone building

Virginia Tech "Hokie" stone building


OSU – Traveling to the Beav’s Campus

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Oregon State University is a great example of a northwestern campus – a cross between imposing Greek-style buildings and some modern facilities.

With almost 22,000 students in over 200-plus different disciplines in undergraduate and graduate programs, OSU is training a lot of minds! Majors range from forestry – a natural with those tall pines – to oceanic and atmospheric sciences as well as education, business, agricultural sciences, veterinary medicines and more.


Memorial Union - dining establishments, library and more

Memorial Union - "dining establishments," library and more


The environs around the campus have some heavy-hitters in the technology world as the Hewlett-Packard campus is nearby as well as other large companies.

More than academics


Reser Stadium scoreboard

Reser Stadium scoreboard

And, then there are the extracurricular experiences – may I interject – Go Beavs! The OSU football team (Pac-10) is known as the Beavers, conjuring up kindly, but intrepid creatures, gnawing away at the opposition. When we last looked, their season was at 7-3, so they are winners!



Footballoutside of Reser Stadium

"Football"outside of Reser Stadium

Reser Stadium is just across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn where we were staying, but the campus was very, very empty, so we didn’t see ANY students. That felt strange. We passed by Reser Stadium, the athletic center and the student union, but they were locked tight. But, trust us, it was a great campus that honors both the modern and classic traditions.

We were also eager to see their “award-winning” library, but it, also, was closed.
Visiting a campus during intersession has mixed blessings. Getting around was easy, but we didn’t get the full flavor of what the campus and Corvallis are like with the thousands of students in session.


We’ll be going back.

Another Campus

Another campus we wandered onto in Corvallis does – apparently – top secret agricultural research.  We were just looking for the covered bridge shown on the map. (See Irish Bend Covered Bridge below.)  We were told that we weren’t supposed to be on this campus in the western part of the City, but lots of others were riding bikes in the vicinity.  Be aware that a road shown on the map as a through road, isn’t.  We took pictures quickly and headed back the way we came.


Irish Bend Covered Bridge

Irish Bend Covered Bridge

(The bridge had been relocated from elsewhere, but it is one of the wider covered bridges we’ve seen.)

We invite you back tomorrow for some Corvallis dining and entertainment experiences…