For those of you who think that spring break consists of wild, half-naked pool parties, wet T-shirt contests, mango body shots, performances by Snoop and Wiz, DJ Pauly D on the turntables and naked debacles to remember – or not – for the ages, I regret to inform you that you’re seriously mistaken.
And if you haven’t learned it by now, MTV is in no way a realistic depiction of college life – save for those drunk chick fights on Friday nights.
If, as of now, your spring break is shaping up to be a stay-cation with your parents and Netflix, and you’re under the impression it’s too late to take misadventures, you’re severely mistaken. Plane tickets to Cabo San Lucas might be a lofty goal at this point, but the East Coast still has plenty of offerings to make your spring break a wild weekend of misadventure.
Aside from being the hub of political hotheads and our nation’s history, D.C. actually has a thriving nightlife for the young crowd.
Megabus will take you from 30th Street Station to Union Station for approximately $11 to $17 in three hours. For a faster mode of transportation, Amtrak offers one-way tickets from 30th to Union starting at $49.
But, being a top international destination, hotels and motels in D.C. aren’t often wallet-friendly. Before you head to the nearest hostel, though, look up CouchSurfing. CouchSurfing is an international hospitality service that offers a home-stay for website members in cities around the world for free.
Once you’re there and have a bed, get down to DuPont Circle in Northwest D.C. A walking tour of the neighborhood will show you national embassies, varying in decadence and size on Embassy row. The Circle also offers a slew of museums, including the Women’s National Democratic Club Museum, the National Geographic Museum and several converted historic mansions.
At night, the Circle opens up with bars and nightclubs to balance out the day’s intellectual activities.
With a week off from homework, exams and portfolios, this is the perfect opportunity to explore your own backyard. Stray off the beaten Walnut Street path and explore some of the city’s more hidden treasures.
The Italian Market, at Ninth and Christian streets, offers a variety of imported and local gourmet foods for shoppers and foodies to drool over. D’Angelo Bros. sells an array of hand-made and all-natural sausages, including the French garlic, Italian and kielbasa sausages.
After you’ve devoured the delicious meal, head down to the Mütter Museum at 19 S. 22nd St. to lose it. This medical museum preserves pathological anatomy has been preserved and displayed among other bizarre oddities. Keep an eye out for the wax woman with a horn protruding from her forehead and the Hyrtl Skull Collection.
Other under the radar activities include mini golf at Franklin Square, the Mural Arts Program tour, the Rodin Museum and the Navy Yard.
Atlantic City, N.J.
Atlantic City gets a pretty bad rap, but undeservedly so. With concert venues like the House of Blues and a slew of casinos, bars and clubs – not to mention the beach – AC can has enough events and activities to keep you entertained for a week.
Transportation is simple, too. New Jersey Transportation has a direct line from 30th Street Station to Atlantic City for $10 each way. The AC line runs seven days a week, on an almost hourly schedule, and the train takes just more than an hour-and-a-half.
On Friday, March 2, Trey Songz will bring his Anticipation 2our with Big Sean to the Trump Taj Mahal at 8 p.m., and tickets are still on sale.
Also during the break, Atlantic City will host its 2012 Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants will have a pre fixe meal, with lunches at approximately $15 and dinners for approximately $33. Participating restaurants include Buddakan, Palm Atlantic City, The Melting Pot and others. For a full list, visit acrestaurantweek.com.
For lodging, most hotels offer seriously discounted rates during the week. The Golden Nugget – formerly the Trump Marina – changed hands last year. Sunday through Thursdays, nightly rates range from $39 to $45. By the weekend, rates rocket up as high as $279.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
For a warmer and more relaxing getaway, head further south to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where the weather is predicted to climb into the high 60s during break.
Pile into a friend’s SUV and take I-95 south to Virginia, then 41 South into the Carolinas. It’s a bit of a hike – just more than 10 hours – but with a great playlist, a couple DDs and the scenic coastal drive, you should zoom through it pretty quickly.
Several resorts on the beachfront have rates starting at $30 during the week and $40 during the weekend for one and two bedroom rooms. With two or three friends, the trip can be more affordable than you think.
After an afternoon of water sports and tanning, head down to the Pier House at 110 North Ocean Blvd. for Myrtle Beach’s First Saturday Music Festival for beach music, food and an open air bar on Saturday, March 3.
Off the Maryland and Virginia coasts, Assateague Island homes more than 300 wild ponies who wander the coast and its inner woods.
The three-hour drive down the Delaware coast and through Maryland will take you to Assateague, where you can set up small camps and RVs. The east side of the island also offers waves for surfing and other water sports, and a ways inland is densly wooded for day hikes and pony watching.
RV, tent and trailer rates start at $16 per night through April 14. Check out assateagueisland.com for rate information, camping guidelines and activities on the island.
APPALACHIAN TRAIL HIKES
Your TUmail inbox is overflowing with emails from unknown classmates asking what they missed in class, your eyes are permanently fixed to double vision from staring at 9 pt. font PDFs and your phone is permanently fixed to your ear. Sounds like it’s time to take a break from technology for a while and escape to the great outdoors, Henry David Thoreau-style.
The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest footpaths in the world, clocking it at more than 2,100 miles, and stretches up and down the East Coast. Trails vary in difficulty based on elevation, trail layout and length, from easy to strenuous.
If you head up to Greenwood Lake, N.Y. for the Fitzgerald Falls and Mombasha High Point trail, you’ll get a view of the New York City skyline on a clear day, and pass the Fitzgerald waterfall.
For information on trails, difficulty and hiking information, visit appalachiantrail.org.
new york city
The Big Apple isn’t just Times Square and Broadway, and we hope you’d know that by now. If you’ve never been to NYC, or even if you have, there’s so much to discover. Even if you spent your entire break in just one borough, we doubt you’d soak up all the city has to offer.
If you’re over the tourist scene, opt for a wander through West Village, where historic brownstones wind in disarray. Rows of gastropubs and bakeries tempt your sights and smell here, but no tourist fanny packs in sight.
Be sure to check out Film Forum, a famous cinema at 209 W. Houston St. that plays indie features, foreign art and hard-hitting documentaries that you may not get the opportunity to see otherwise.
Megabus rates start at $8 and peak around $17 each way. Even if you can’t find or afford lodging, the trip is only two hours and the last buses leave around 9:30 p.m., which is more than enough time to make a day trip out of it.