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Here I shall document my road trip around New England to visit various colleges. Pretend I posted them as separate daily entries…

Day 1, Sunday: The trip from home to Williamstown was uneventful, besides for about ten pages of history notes being taken, and my not having to drive because of taking said notes. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I think I have enough work to last for all the hours of this trip, and so won’t have to drive. But won’t get to knit much either. Also, on the trip up, the possibility of making the Knitters’ Pilgrimage to Webs was raised…and I am excited.

We checked into the motel, where a very nice Swedish guy recommended a restaurant and showed us a map of the town – which is pretty much the campus. I didn’t realize that, but it’s kinda neat, methinks. We went to dinner at Spice Root, a nice Indian place. My mom got carded when she tried to get wine! It might’ve just been because it’s a college town and all, but it was still pretty funny. The food was really good – I had my Indian standard, chicken tikka, and something new and interesting – ginger lemonade. It was actually pretty good – the ginger wasn’t too overwhelming, just enough to make the lemonade taste a little different. On the walk back to the motel, we stopped at ‘the ephporium’ (the Ephs is the name of the Williams sports teams for some reason…) because we saw a sign outside proclaiming ‘gelato,’ but it turned out to be some Haagen Dasz in a cooler…ah well. However, in there, I saw this, which was amusing:

Notice how they all recommend classy stuff like ciabatta, and then Lara recommends Ring Pops. I’d like to meet Lara…

Day 2, Monday: We spent the morning touring Williams – mascot: a purple cow! That’s pretty nifty. It was a really appealing place – apparently, the food’s excellent. Oh yeah, and it’s really rigorous academically and gorgeous and all that, too. This afternoon, we went to Amherst – we took a tour and went to an information session. The info session repeated a lot of what our enthusiastic tour guide told us, but was still really interesting. Amherst’s main appealing points for me were their membership in the Five College Consortium, so you can take classes at any of the other four nearby schools (with free bus service) and you can also get books out of their libraries; and their open curriculum – there are no course requirements! The food, however, didn’t get quite as good reviews. So I don’t know if I’d be able to choose between those two right now – b/c you can get library books from like a gazillion different colleges from Williams, too…and they have a cool mascot…and good food…

Amherst: option of courses at other schools, slightly closer to civilization, open curriculum

Williams: better food, purple cow, better chance at single dorms, one-month intensive study during winter term

They have pretty much everything else in common, including a fierce rivalry, school colors, total enrollment, general rigor, campus-wide wifi, etc…

More significantly – we went to Webs! It was pretty amazing – it’s huge! I saw a bunch of new yarns and stuff, but the coolest thing was that they have pretty much every color of all the yarns they stock, which makes for a great selection and incredible-looking displays. However, I resisted almost all temptation (and believe me, there was a LOT) and only bought one $2 pattern. Huzzah!

Tomorrow, we’re heading to Hanover and Dartmouth to tour the college and visit my cousin who goes there – we’ll probably take him out to lunch.

Day 3, Tuesday:Dartmouth was nice – about three times bigger than the ones we’ve seen so far, but it was nice to catch up with my cousin. We took him to a little place in Hanover for brunch/lunch, and he gave us an informal tour of the campus, during which we got a bit lost and ended up in the business school when we were looking for engineering. Fortunately, it was a nice day, so it was fine. Dartmouth is pretty in a much more majestic sort of way than the others – the buildings mostly match, there’s a big green, etc. Oh, but funny story – Dartmouth was founded originally to educate Native Americans, but for the first 200 years or so failed miserably. Then when they got this new president they dedicated all this money, and now apparently have a bunch of native students. With these millions of dollars of endowment, they wanted to create some kind of monument to this. With all that money, this is what they managed to do:

A pile of rocks in front of the admissions office.

Between splitting with my cousin and going to the info session, we got to wander around Hanover, such as it is, a bit. We went to a great Barnes and Noble and I got Maximum Ride 4, of which Alethia and I will have joint custody – she’s been looking for it for AGES. And by ages, I mean the week+ since it’s come out…The info session was not so fascinating, though – I’m glad I had knitting.

Then we drove up to Portland. We’re staying with relatives there and visiting Bowdoin (for some reason, pronounced BO-den) tomorrow. They have a pretty lighthouse there:

Day 4, Wednesday: Bowdoin was really cool! Apparently, they’re rated top in the nation for their food, and the campus was really pretty, in a more Amhersty way. Also, they’ve got Mathematica on their computers! Nerdfest! Honestly, I have no idea how I’ll ever decide on a college – all the ones we’ve visited so far seem too good to be true – like little utopias, where everyone there is taking classes and such because they want to, and they all actually care. And the general atmosphere is so cool.

On the way back, we visited Spunky Eclectic‘s brick and mortar store – fantabulosity. I came out with some roving (I’m picturing socks) and very nice silk lace yarn (shawl):

And hanging out with relatives has been cool – my grandma, uncle, and two cousins are here (the aunt’s out of town, getting in tonight).

The story of the day – I have a much stronger kinship with cats now. My little cousin (third-grade) was giving me the grand tour of their yard after my mom and I went running, and she somehow convinced me to climb one of their trees – she wanted to see how high I could get. I was pretty good at climbing trees when I was smaller, and I was still pretty good today, except maybe thirty feet up, one of the branches I had used to get up broke. I saw ways to get higher, but decided against it – I didn’t even know how I was going to get down. It took awhile, my mom and cousin coaching, and my uncle’s reassurances that at least it was a nice day and he could send up some food for dinner, but I eventually got down. I didn’t, because there were pine needles everywhere, but I felt like kissing the ground. Seriously. For a bit there, I was worried we’d have to call the fire department or something…

We’re staying in Maine tonight, too, then driving back down to Boston to see Haaahvard and MIT – neither of which I can really see myself attending but I want to see anyway.

Day 5, Thursday: Well, we made it to Harvard and had a great tour there – I liked it a lot more than I expected – they’ve got so many sweet study abroad programs and such. But I’m really bad at Boston, and so we didn’t make it to MIT in time for the tour. We’re going to check that out tomorrow before heading home.

We also visited two knitting stores in Cambridge – we’ve decided that we should try to see as many knitting stores as we do colleges…teehee.

Day 6, Friday: Home! Final score – colleges beat knitting stores 6-5. We visited one more store (Colorful Stitches in Lenox) on the way home, but since we saw MIT this morning, colleges still won. MIT was pretty cool, but I still can’t see myself going there. I just like the atmosphere of the small liberal artsy places better for some reason.

I did end up having to drive for a bit, but it was mostly highway and cruise control, so it was okay.

P.S. If anybody watched the iPhone keynote, or probably any other Apple introduction of a new product, THIS should be most amusing.