Getting Cozy

1377976_10102551241204097_1935092419032890762_nSeptember 23rd, marks the first day of fall.  This particular region of the North Country/ Adirondacks is blessed with having so many outdoor recreational opportunities, from hiking to spending time on quiet bodies of water.  It is also home to some of the most scenic roadways imaginable as summer begins to hibernate and the fall colors start to come alive.  Against the bright blue sky, leaves in shades of hot red, glowing orange, vibrant yellow and earthy brown start to appear.

One question I always have is “where is the BEST place to see the changing colors?”  Everyone I ask seems to be stumped as they fumble around with a direct answer.  That is because there is no “best” one place to see the beautiful radiant fall colors.

Some suggestions I have heard include a short hike up Baker Mountain located between Long Lake and Tupper Lake off Route 30, and or if you don’t feel like hiking, take a long scenic drive. Some specific stretches of scenic roadway include Route 86 to Paul Smiths, Route 3 to Bloomingdale, McKenzie Pond Road and Forest Home Road to Lake Clear.

If you are lacking transportation or motivation to hike, you can always take a short walk and or bike ride around campus.  You will be amazed at what you see.  The different pieces of artwork displayed around campus have certain radiance in the changing leaves and cozier weather.  Walking down the main drag of campus shows fall beauty in many ways.

This is the perfect season for pumpkins, bonfires, nature walks, s’mores, autumn leaves, corn mazes, lattes and apples; seeming to hit each and every sense we have.  The best part about this area is the easy access to a pumpkin patch, apple farm, or cider mill.  A great site to find out different pumpkin patch locations in the Plattsburgh area is to visit: www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org

Our academic semester is now in full bloom but don’t forget to take time to breathe and view the beauty happening around you.

So far so good.

IMG_20140905_141058_583Being on campus all summer long and living nearby, I felt like I never really left between semesters.  I have grown to know the campus very well over the past few years as an undergraduate student and through summer employment.  However, this didn’t stop the anxious feeling to start the new semester this fall.  The semester felt like the first day of second grade all over again.  I was excited to see old friends and make new ones, put on my favorite outfit, and break into my shiny new notebooks.

While the first week of classes can be less than exciting, with professors going over the syllabus, establishing your workload, times and dates for deadlines, and his/her availability, it’s also a great time to get to know your classmates and build a sense of community within your cohort/class.

My general feeling is that this semester = so far so good.  The first week required some experimenting to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it came to study locations, buying vs bringing food from home, walking vs driving, available parking, buying vs renting text books, and deadlines.

At times it can be overwhelming with the amount of work that is due over the course of the semester but it is important to take each day, project, and paper, one at a time.

Having a planner is absolutely crucial to me. This is my life saver when it comes to keeping track of deadlines, projects, papers and events. I’m finding that in graduate school, it is even more important to keep track of your deadlines to eliminate the last minute rush.  In undergrad it may have been possible to stay up all night and crank out a paper, but the depth of research involved in graduate school no longer allows this type of procrastination!

We are already in our 4th week of classes here at SUNY Plattsburgh, which means the semester is already about 25% over – hard to believe!  Here’s hoping it continues to go smoothly for all of us :)smooth+sailing

Coffee coffee coffeeeee!

imagesCoffee, tea, cappuccino, latte, sugar, no sugar, extra (x3) sugar, cream.  However you like your wake-up beverage, Plattsburgh has a place that will make it just how you like it.

Many of the campus buildings have small cafés within them where you can find all sorts of treats to feed your cravings. These cafes are open before classes begin (around 7:30AM) and stay open into the early evening (5:30PM). There is one located in Hawkins Hall and Sibley Hall, as well as a Tim Horton’s and Campus Express in the ACC building. You can find information about all campus dining locations on the College Auxiliary Services webpage.

I should also mention that Einstein Bagels will be opening up in Hawkins Hall once renovation is complete!

Einstein_Bros._Bagels_logoAs a graduate student many departments have a lounge area specifically for your major, most of which have a community coffee pot. This is definitely something you will want to utilize, because if you’re like me, you will spend much of your time there!

If you are driving, biking, or walking into campus and want to visit an off-campus location, Plattsburgh has a Dunkin Donuts, open 24 hours and roughly 0.6 miles from campus. There is a Starbucks 0.9 miles from campus, and a small local shop called Koffee Kat which is 2.5 miles from campus. There is also a newer place called My Cup of Tea which is 0.6 miles for campus and offers more than 95 varieties of Republic of Tea, coffee, and custom beverages.

If you haven’t already heard about Cardinal Cash, consider loading some onto your ID card.  There are bonus dollars added to the amount on your card based on how much you initially deposit, plus there’s the everyday convenience of not needing to dig out cash or a credit card to make small purchases.  Cardinal Cash is accepted at every dining location on campus, including vending machines.  Many off campus businesses will accept Cardinal Cash too, and may throw in a student discount or offer you a special as a SUNY Plattsburgh student.  To view a complete list visit the Where to Use Your Cardinal Card/Cash page online.

It may take a few weeks to get into the groove of finding the right caffeinated beverage just how you like it and just when you need it, but I am confident that Plattsburgh has enough options to make everybody happy.  Just make sure you don’t get overly excited and accidentally order 3, like Lorelai Gilmore:

Ahead of the Game

calendar-crossed-outSummer is coming to an end and as warm nights have started to fade into cooler ones, I am thinking about this upcoming semester. The calendar is marked and the countdown is almost over – school starts in only 6 days!

Here are some steps I have taken to help ease the anxiety of the upcoming first day:

Taking care of business: Prior to my arrival I like to make sure everything is confirmed under my Student Accounts. This would include processing any leftover Financial Aid paperwork, submitting Health Insurance, obtaining a parking pass, setting up or checking my email account, and obtaining my Student ID card. Each of these specific areas helps pave a smooth path of communication between SUNY Plattsburgh and myself. Most of these tasks can be done online at one’s convenience.

Organize word

Hit the ground running: One of the more important things I like to do before the first day of school is to know exactly where my classes are located.  This upcoming semester I have classes that are close together (1-3:45pm/ 4-6:45pm), which makes it important that I know where I am going.  I also like to put together calendars to help me manage my time.  Everyone has a different preference for how they track their own schedule, but for me, planning a basic week schedule that shows my work schedule versus my class schedule is helpful.  Publication3This allows me to plan my days in terms of meals, breaks, studying, and extracurricular activities. As a graduate student I have found that it is important to keep a balance between my work/class schedules and my free time.  I am a very routine-based person. Knowing what days I need to pack a breakfast, lunch and dinner is important when it comes to staying healthy and stress-free. No one likes to learn on an empty stomach.

Research: Imagine walking into your first class on the first day of school having no idea what to expect, and having done no background research… scary!  This is why I like to take a look at my course descriptions and peek at the textbooks, to help me get an idea of the subject matter. When doing this, I like to keep an open mind. You never know how much you’re going to read or use the textbook. Also, I like to attend any orientations, welcome meetings, etc. before classes begin, which help me get an idea of who my peers are.

Remember: Your overall experience in graduate school is, for better or worse, in your own hands, so be sure to make it all it can be. This is your time to sharpen old skills and create new ones. As you get ready for this upcoming semester, remember to breathe :)

#1 Taste Tester

delishFrom Taco Tuesday at Olive Ridley’s to the Nepali cuisine at Himalaya, Plattsburgh has a huge variety of food options for a city of its size.  Tripadvisor lists 117 different restaurant options in our area.  Let me tell you about a few of my favorite places that are unique to Plattsburgh!

If you’re looking for something fast, Cheechaco Taco is great for a taco, wrap or quesadilla.  The names of the items on the menu are just as outrageous as their flavors (Pocatello, Portland, Noura’s Nom Noms).  IMG_2734-editedThere are several great local pizza places around town too, like Giuseppe’s, Bazzano’s and Dino’s Gourmet Pizza and Pasta, to name a few.

Plattsburgh has a very popular Thai restaurant, Sawatdee, where a wide range of traditional Southeast Asian dishes are offered.  406715_10152372306800195_1237949009_nMy taste buds always thank me when I eat there, especially if I order a Thai Ice Coffee or Thai Ice Tea!  YUM!

I have not yet had a chance to visit the newest addition to downtown Plattsburgh, Aleka’s, a Greek restaurant that many people are raving about. Before this upcoming semester is over, I will be checking this place off my bucket list!

Another popular new restaurant downtown is Blue Collar Bistro, which first opened last year at the 1002740_606866252671993_66159037_nPlattsburgh Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market, then established a restaurant on Margaret Street in 2014.  Their emphasis is on fresh, local produce, and their menu changes seasonally. My boss, who is vegan, had lunch there recently and really liked it!

In addition to the local restaurants, Plattsburgh is home to many common chain and fast food restaurants that you may enjoy, including Panera Bread, Starbucks, Texas Road House, Five Guys, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle, Ground Round, Perkins, Ninety Nine, Applebee’s, Friendly’s, Dunkin Donuts, and a bunch of others.

If you’re looking to cook instead of go out to eat, there are several different options for grocery stores, including Hannaford, Price Chopper, and Aldi’s.  The North Country Food Co-op is one of my favorite’s, for healthy, organic, local, clean items that come in bulk.coop-001

Plattsburgh is also home to Pray’s Farmers Market, where they do the growing for you!  PrintIf you’re looking for locally grown fresh fruits and veggies, Pray’s offers a great variety at a low price.

I know that as a grad student, the cost of going out to eat is often a concern.  Remember that some off-campus restaurants do accept Cardinal Cash, and that many restaurants in town will offer a student discount.

Enjoy exploring our local area food options!  And let me know if you discover any others that I should try :)

 

K9s in Northern NY

IMG_20140725_130631_049When it comes the exploring the North Country, I like to do so with my Giant Alaskan Malamute, Otis.  Otis and I love to splash and cool off during the hot summer in many of the different bodies of water surrounding the area, such as the Saranac River, Chazy Lake, and even Lake Champlain.

We also like to hike on many of the nearby trails that are pet friendly.  There have been several times Otis and I have been the only ones on a trail, allowing him to hike freely off his lead. He is trained well with voice commands, which is extremely important in this situation.

I’ve found that most trails in the Adirondacks do allow dogs, with the exception of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (where the Ausable Club is located).  The Reserve is private property, and trails in its vicinity do not allow dogs.  This is really no big deal though, because there are literally hundreds of other nearby options.

As a graduate student, managing your stress is important. Being outdoors and exploring with Otis is a great stress reliever for me. Sitting together and taking in the scenic view of the mountains and feeling the cool breeze between the trees is a breathtaking experience. If you live right in downtown Plattsburgh, many of the city parks (Melissa L. Penfield Park, Peter S. Blumette Park, South Acres Park, South Platt Park, Belmont Park, Broadway Park, Tremblay Park, Champlain Park, MacDonough Park, Jay Park, Hamilton Park, Base Marina, Fort Scott Park, US Oval, Lakeview Park, Trinity Park, and Fort Brown Park) are open to dogs. Otis loves to play at these parks and make new friends.

Exploring the outdoors is not the only thing we like to do. Many local stores for example Lowe’s, are pet friendly. Plattsburgh has several pet stores Otis loves to go to, such as, Pet Smart, Tractor Supply and Tails of the Adirondack. Otis being a car ride lover loves to go to the store with me.  Conveniently, Plattsburgh also has several pet friendly stores, that allow him to enter on a leash. This is where his cuteness plays into action the most!

SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus is very welcoming when it comes to pets. Otis and I have taken many leisure walks throughout the campus. The sidewalk is not only wide enough for us two-legged humans but for our four-legged friends as well!

Lastly, I should mention that in terms of pet care, Plattsburgh has a few good options.  If I need to go out-of-town and Otis can’t come with me, I have a variety of daycare and or motels to choose from, including Adirondack Pet Lodge, Canine Adventure, LLC and Adirondack Pet motel.

So, if you are looking to attend school or even visit the area surrounding SUNY Plattsburgh and you have a K9 friend, have no worries. There are plenty of places to go and explore for the both of you!

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Wanderlust

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”- Susan Sontag

I have always considered myself a hiker; hiking the beautiful gorges around the central NY area, but what exactly qualifies you to be a hiker?IMG_20140627_161016_922
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 It wasn’t until I was taken, to what turned out to be my very first mountain hike. Mount Marble: a very easy start, with sporadic steep inclines, created alongside several open faced tree bottoms, and large rocks smothered by the earth. Nothing I had ever seen before. It was magnificent for about 15 minutes then is started to get real and as in real, I mean it got tough. There seemed to be no top, no end to this long trail. I just wanted to see this view that everyone had been talking about.

Many friends and acquaintances had informed me that there was this label you could earn, known as the six-err (http://saranaclake6er.com/), an ultra-six-err or even a forty six-err (http://adk46er.org/index.html)!  Of course I wanted to be one of those, maybe even all of them! When do I
start?

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IMG_20140627_161440_491Last summer I did Whiteface Mountain, which is just past Mt. Marble a ways. Boy was that an experience! Round trip the hike took about, give or take six hours.

This summer I was determined to hike more. Venture out in the Adirondacks as much as I possibly could. So far…

v  Otis took his very first hike up Silver Lake Mountain:

v  Next we did Lyon Mountain:

v  Then we explored the Silver Lake Bog:

v  We have also spent some time at Chazy Lake, kayaking, boating and
swimming.

Alongside the vibrant campus life here at SUNY Plattsburgh, there is much to explore in the Upstate New York and Champlain Valley. The beautiful sights and sounds of the Adirondack region truly add to the educational experience. You are never far from a mountain, river, or lake. With an hour in every direction, you can visit more exciting destinations such as the cosmopolitan city of Montreal, Canada, the Olympic Village of Lake Placid, and Burlington, Vermont!

Visit the link provided to find more activities and resources: http://www.plattsburgh.edu/admissions/region.php

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