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There’s more to Middletown than the Wesleyan campus. It will be definitely worth taking time to explore your new hometown during your first few months at college. This list contains just a few of the off-campus places that can brighten your time at Wesleyan.
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- Food! Middletown boosts an impressive array of restaurants. Favorites include Puerto Vallarta for generous portions of Mexican food, Forbidden City Bistro for upscale Chinese fusion and tasty desserts, and, of course, Udupi Bhavan which serves delicious and inexpensive vegetarian Indian food in an unassuming setting. It’s totally worth the short car trip. And no night spent dancing until the wee hours would be complete without a trip to O’Rourke’s Diner for the cheesy omelettes and a chat with Brian O’Rourke.
- Farms. The trip to Lyman Orchards by bike is pleasant, but also check out High Hill Orchard at 170 Fleming Road in Meriden, a lovely small organic alternative with heritage apple varieties and hay rides. Connecticut is an agriculturally rich state and you can find farms and farm tours nearby using LocalHarvest. Also, through October there is a farmers market on the South Green in town on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.
- The Roller Skating Rink. This place is such a blast and probably hasn’t changed much since it was built with vinyl flooring and a disco ball. You can even bring your own cds to play over the sound system.
- Coffee! Middletown has not one, but four independently owned coffee shops. Go to Klekolo for the sweet chai, Brew Bakers for the tasty black bean sandwiches, Cafe Ology, across the street from the High Rise parking lot, for pineapple pizza, and Javapalooza for the pastries and Italian soda.
- Vinnie’s Jump and Jive. Featuring a variety of dance classes, including country line and breakdancing, and monthly swing dancing nights, this place is perfect for mingling with Middletown residents and boogieing to grooves not often heard on campus sound speakers.
- Wadsworth Falls. This state park has a mossy mini-waterfall and hiking/biking trails, making it a nice mini-campus getaway.
- Metro Movies. When you want to see a new film before it gets to the Film Center, this theater is the place. You can pick up discount vouchers from the box office at Usdan. The large popcorn boxes come with free refills, which is perfect for when you bring a large group to a midnight showing.
- Veterans Memorial Park. It’s fun to walk around barefoot in the mud and moss near the Coginchaug River. You can bike to this 41-acre park in under 15 minutes.
- Green Street Arts Center. Started as a collaboration between Wesleyan, the city of Middletown, and the North End Action Team, Green Street offers all sorts of arts classes. Wesleyan students volunteer at the After School Program, but there are also neat performances including a Salon Series of mini-lectures and arts events on Sundays.
- The Russell Library. Located five minutes away from Fisk, this is the local public library. It has a great dvd/vhs collection and is a fine place to study when you want quiet and no distractions. Getting a library card only takes a few minutes.