While some are still coming off the high of spending break somewhere a little less glacial, others are just crossing their fingers that spring might promise a warm escape from these Happy Valley winters. The temptation to wallow in self-pity is great this time of year, but luckily accepting your fate in the face of the Central Pennsylvania climate isn’t your only option.
It’s easy to develop tunnel vision when it comes to your favorite hang-outs downtown, but if you’ve got the winter blues, shaking up your routine and paying a visit to some of these local hot-spots can act as your ticket to paradise – let Valley create an itinerary for your stay-cation this semester.
One of the main reasons we all love going on vacation is because we come back looking refreshed and well-rested. Capitalizing on the absurd amount of pale college kids flooding downtown every semester, State College has its fair share of tanning salons. Stop by Ultimate Tans and The Bronze Tanning Co. on Beaver Ave for a spray tan – we prefer this option to UV tanning which can have damaging long-term effects – or try California Tanning Express on Calder Way. Just steer clear of the Jersey Shore look.
If pampering is what you long for from your stay-cation, a trip to the tanning salon can be complimented by a visit to one of downtown’s many full-service salons. Lipstick Salon and Color Lounge on Beaver or Viva Bella Salon on the corner of College and Fraser are both convenient locations to try, and while many of the salons can be expensive, Designer’s Denn Salon and Spa gives a discount for students.
Whether it’s because you’ve had one too many Bay Breezes or you’re suffering from heat-induced insanity, there’s something about a vacation that just makes you want to dance. With the added benefit of being a great workout, taking a dance class at a local studio will allow you to get your groove on without getting sand in your shoes. Movement Arts Studio, located under the Fraser Street garage on Kelly Alley offers Pilates, yoga and belly dancing classes, but if you’re looking to samba a little closer to home, the White Building offers Zumba and Power Remix classes, both featuring easy-to-follow moves and booty-shakin’ music.
What’s a great vacation without great food? Instead of traveling hundreds of miles for tasty cuisine, now you can just head around the block for a foreign thrill. Stop by Mad Mex for some south-of-the-border dining and drinks or Zola New World Bistro which prides itself on its eclectic international menu and culinary masterpieces. Equally as delicious and great for a quick in-and-out bite to eat, Pita Cabana on Calder offers Mediterranean classics with a friendly staff to help you maneuver the menu.
If your taste buds have already boarded a flight to Paris, allow State College to remind you there’s more to the city of love than fancy cheese. Saint’s Café has the cozy feel of a Parisian coffee shop with espresso art and freshly baked goods, and if you’re feeling more on the ambitious side, try taking a cooking class at Marie’s French Kitchen, which is a little further off campus, but a unique way to spend a chilly afternoon.
No need to worry about packing lists or busy airports for your next vacation – instead, simply grab a friend, catch the next CATA bus, and come back with stories fit for a world traveler.
Photo by Jessica Korch