By Cooper Gerus ’17, Staff Writer
Welcome to college! You may be thinking, “Wow, I really am in the middle of nowhere!” Well, you aren’t the only one who thinks so.
Every senior wrapping up his or her academic career at LVC was once a freshman and was once looking for fun things to do on an afternoon or weekend just to take a little stress out of adjusting to college life. As many seniors will say, there really is not much to do around here.
That being said, college is what one makes it, and one only needs to look out into town and the surrounding area for ways to fend off boredom in the scant down time. There are even places within walking distance, while other places will need day-trip planning.
First off, make friends with people who have cars on campus. The walk to the gold lot can be excruciating, so sometimes it is nice to head out with a friend as company, considering the trek is about eight tenths of a mile. Upperclassmen, who have priority parking, might be willing to let you hitch a ride too.
A great place to drive close to school is Memorial Lake State Park, which is just past the Indiantown Gap. Straight up State Route 934, this serene lake has a 3 mile loop around it for hiking as well as several intersecting branch trails with nice views of the lake and surrounding valley. It’s amazing in the fall with a panorama of fire-colored trees changing in the cool air. There are canoe rentals as well as a small boat launch at this site.
Another place to get close to nature near campus is Boxcar Rocks, located up Route 72 in State Game Lands 211. This staggering rock formation less than 30 minutes from school is a great vista and accomplishment to climb should one reach the summit. Mount Gretna is another trip one should make if hiking is appealing; it’s much closer as it’s just a few miles down Route 72.
If nature is not appealing, there are plenty of things to do indoors. The Park City Mall in Lancaster is a bit of a drive, but it has great stores and the trip down Route 72 weaves through quaint farmland and towns. Manheim has a town center that is well lit during the holiday season as well as a huge tree adorned with lights.
The Lebanon Valley Mall is lacking in retail options when compared to Park City, but it does have a great movie theatre where one can catch the latest flicks. There is another movie theatre close to the Wal-Mart in Palmyra.
Further west in Hershey is the Botanical Gardens; the attraction is across the street from the amusement park. Admission is $12.50, and the 23 acre plot overlooks the park. There is also the Hershey Theatre, which draws national acts including bands and stand-up comedians. It is a beautiful tiered theatre and is very easy to find.
Surprisingly, another fun activity to do around LVC is thrifting. You never know what you’ll find in the many secondhand stores up and down Route 422. It’s possible to score a sweet Hawaiian shirt to wear to a party or some unique dorm furnishings. If one wants to do something other than sorting through people’s old clothes and trinkets, here are always the links. There are several golf courses in the tri-county area, including Fairview and the Hershey Country Club. If mini golf is more your speed, there is a course in Lebanon called Yogey’s.
Of all of these adventures, a favorite by far is the Quitte Creek Nature Park. Just a block from campus, this community park follows the winding Quittapahilla along bends, small rapids for wading, and plenty of wildlife to see. It is a welcomed break from the stress of assignments and is so close by that a visit can happen between classes.
While here in Annville, keep one’s options open. The surrounding area is surprising once one ventures out.