Bucknell is way the hell out there in central Pennsylvania, pretty much due north of Harrisburg. It wasn't too bad of a drive—about 2 1/2 hours each way—and especially not this time of year, with lots of beautiful leaves to peep. But the stretch on Route 80 was a bit of a slog. "Stay on I80 East for 92 miles," my phone instructed me on the return trip. Sigh.
I stayed overnight that Friday at a Hampton Inn outside Lewisburg. Next time, I think I'll try one of the charming-looking B&Bs in town.
Mike's dorm is very nice, maybe the swankiest on campus; its nickname among students is Hotel Bucknell. Here's a photo of him in his room:
You can also see on his desk a container of Basset Tracks–inspired cookies I made for him and, this past week, for Matt. I followed this recipe from Gluten Free & More but added a half teaspoon of salt to the batter and pressed pieces of milk chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups into the tops of the cookies in the shape of a basset paw1 before baking. Here are Mike's cookies right after I made them and put them in the container:
Mike is also into Stranger Things (and Tony and I enjoyed that show, too2). Mike made this image of the character Eleven, and I just bought a T-shirt with her on it at Mike's online store:
Speaking of artistic endeavors, there was a cute, fish-themed mural in the stairwell leading to Mike's floor:
Mike said he likes to think of the two identical fish in the second photo as being Matt and him. 😀
Mike showed me around the campus, which is quite attractive, ...
... and then I drove us into town and we walked around for a while.
We had dinner at a Thai restaurant called Siam:
The first few bites of my Panang Curry With Chicken and Brown Rice were terrific. But as I kept eating the dish, a sweetness that evoked maple syrup accumulated in my mouth and made the experience somewhat less pleasurable. For his entree, Mike got the Massaman Curry With Tofu and White Rice. To start, we each had a tasty Curry Puff.
The next morning, we had breakfast at Amami, a charming little spot that, like Siam, is on Lewisburg's main drag, Market Street. Then we took another walk around town ...
... and down to the river:
Mike was up to his neck in that river during a cleanup day with a bunch of people from his dorm, which houses mostly students interested in pursuing environmental-related careers. Mike had planned to study environmental or civil engineering but is now considering getting his degree in physics, a science he excelled at in high school and is really enjoying in his first semester.
Before I left, I asked Mike to take a selfie with me near his dorm:
Even though I would have liked to have spent an equally long time with Matt, I couldn't justify the expense of a hotel stay given that Lafayette is only 45 minutes away. So I drove up on Saturday morning and came home in the afternoon.
I'd been to Lafayette many years ago, probably 1997, for the wedding of a guy I worked with then, so it felt a little bit familiar to me.
Matt's dorm is much older than Mike's, so it's decidedly unfancy, but it's not uncool. And I liked the campus a lot; I'd give it the edge over Bucknell in terms of quaintness.
This is Pardee Hall:
Matt took me to the radio station, WJRH, where he broadcasts a show with two friends:
I enjoy most of the music Matt, Henry, and Ben play. I've especially gotten to appreciate the band Capital Cities and have bought the album In a Tidal Wave of Mystery and the single "Vowels."
After Matt showed me around campus, we walked down the big-ass stairway that leads to the town of Easton. We hit the farmers' market, which features at least three of the same vendors that go to the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers' Market on Sundays. I bought baked goods from my favorite bakery stand, Apple Ridge Farm (and more from them the next day at the HLT market), and soap from Teels Hill Soapworks.
Next, we went to the wonderful Easton Public Market, an impressive indoor market ...
... that had a few of the same vendors as the outdoor farmers' market, including Full of Crepe, which is where Matt and I got lunch. Then we purchased peppermint teas at the Fieldstone Coffee Roasters stand, which we'd seen at the farmers' market and which is also a regular at the HLT market. More Than Q, which used to be inside the Stockton Market, is now in the EPM (as you can tell from the photo) and in Lambertville. It's a small artisanal-food world. 😊
Then we went to Bank Street Creamery for ice cream. We both got cones of Bank Street's signature flavor, Purple Cow, which consists of a black raspberry base and chocolate truffles:
(The business was called Purple Cow Creamery for many years until a large Midwestern food retailer that was cranking out an ice cream business of the same name decided to litigate against small businesses that had been using that moniker but hadn't trademarked it.)
This coming weekend, Mike is going to bring M&M's friend Naseem and his girlfriend—who go to Lehigh, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—to Lafayette for the 152nd football game between the two teams. It's the oldest college football rivalry, as attested by this sign on the Lafayette campus:
1There should really be four smaller pieces along the top and one bigger one below, but whatevs. That would have been a tight fit.
2Some of my favorite moments *POTENTIAL SPOILERS* were when Dustin explained to Mike that he understood Mike considered Lucas to be his best friend and not him, when Dustin found the pudding stash in the middle school cafeteria, when Lucas effed up the demogorgon with his slingshot after a couple projectiles had pretty much no effect on it, and when Nancy gave Jonathan a new camera for Christmas. I also enjoyed the interaction between Joyce and Sheriff Hopper. I hope they become a couple in Season 2. Or at least start doing it again. 😜