Wednesday, May 2, 2012

the 'cuse bucket list

I graduated from Syracuse University nearly two years ago. Crazy, isn't it? I've also visited three times since then: (1) for my first homecoming as an alum, (2) to support my sorority sisters, and most recently, (3) "just because." This past weekend, I simply wanted to visit two very good friends who still live in the Syracuse-area (one of whom just got engaged!) and one very special grand-little who will soon be graduating. If you've been reading danielle abroad for a while now, you know that I had an absolutely phenomenal undergraduate experience, so trips back up to Central New York are always a great time.
In addition to spending time with a few of the people I love most, I also wanted to take the opportunity to check a couple of very important things off my 'Cuse Bucket List and nostalgically relive some my best college-y memories. I cannot even tell you how I thrilled I am to have accomplished it all in a matter of days. Go me! ;)
I arrived late on Saturday afternoon to Meg's apartment. We lounged around with her boyfriend and his friend, and ended up ordering a perfectly delicious pizza for dinner. Later on, we left the boys and headed to SU to meet a few girls at Lucy's.
I expected to "feel old" and not stay too long at one of my favorite Marshall Street bars, but as it ended up, Meg and I spent the entire night at there. What fun. We danced and drank with a fabulous group of younger girls from our sorority.
The following morning, we slept in and then set out to Green Lakes State Park. Such a gorgeous sight! The strikingly scenic park contains blue-green lakes (obviously) that get their unusually bright color from rare minerals in the water.
Please don't ask how I managed not to come here for a trail run or lakeside picnic at any point in those four years I went to college just a few miles away...
Following our nature excursion, Meg had to make a quick grocery run and I was more than happy to join. Wegman's is a magical place. How I'd missed it so.
From there, she brought me to Laura's apartment. We caught up for a few minutes and admired her beautiful ring before Meg headed home. Soon after, Laura and I went downtown for a very important dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
It was important because it was my first meal there, and that is ridiculous. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is one of those Syracuse restaurants that nearly every student loves. The wait is always long and the food is always worth it. 
Laura and I shared a Swag Sampler Plate with Chicken Wings, Fried Green Tomatoes, Catfish Strips, Deviled Eggs, and an assortment of dipping sauces. On my own, I also enjoyed an entrée of the Big Ass Pork Plate (pork shoulder smoked low & slow, hand pulled & piled high) served with Honey Hush Cornbread, Cole Slaw, and Simmered Turkey Neck Collard Greens. I'm so glad I eat healthfully most of the time, because this... was delicious. Again, how have I never been?!
That evening, Laura and I rolled ourselves back to her apartment and watched a favorite movie of us both (Crazy, Stupid, Love) before bed.
I awoke early this Monday morning. Laura went off to work and I got set up with my laptop in her apartment. Trouble is, as soon as I was supposed to have a virtual meeting, her internet cut out. I scrambled to get myself ready and walk over to campus to use good ol' Air Orange. I hopped around my favorite campus study spots for the rest of the day. It was pretty wonderful; I'm so sentimental.
At some point in the afternoon, Katelyn texted me to ask if I'd like to join her at Hot Yoga. I'd hung out with her briefly on Saturday night but jumped at the opportunity to see her again and stretch a bit at my former yogic locale.
Following our class, Laura and I dropped her off at Brockway (my freshman year dorm too!) and ran a few errands. Then I met up with my grand-little for dinner at Faegan's. The photo you see above was our first, taken at my last formal.
Much to my surprise, Kate had never eaten there before--a small feat being that Faegan's is the one of the best Marshall Street pub restaurants. I used to go there all the time, especially when my friends and I wanted to eat out as freshman but didn't have a car to drive off campus. I believe my parents and I ate there when we came to tour Syracuse, too. Anyway :) I had a cup of their White Chili (chunks of chicken breast, fresh veggies, cilantro & white beans topped with cheddar, sour cream, & scallions) and a Field Greens Salad as we caught up.
I then convinced her to meet me at Chuck's later that evening. If you recall, Chuck's is the best and I spent many a happy hour/late night there. It was so good to be back! Plus, I saw about a dozen more girls that I hadn't yet. Happy Monday?
It was, made more so because I was able to enjoy the quintessential Chuck's signage. Signing the walls of Chuck's is, thankfully, a 'Cuse Bucket List item I've already taken care of. That would've been embarrassing otherwise...
On my final morning, Kate and I went out for brunch at Eggplant (it's my favorite diner). We split an order of scrambled eggs with our blueberry pancakes and strawberry Belgian waffles, respectively. Following our leisurely morning meal, we crossed the street to my beloved B&N for coffees and books until Kate eventually dropped me off at SU, I walked around campus with Laura, and Meg drove me to the train. Syracuse had treated me very well, but it was time to go home :(.
For fun, here's the rest of the 'Cuse Bucket List items I came up with: 
  1. Take a picture with Otto. (The photo above = freshman year orientation.)
  2. Go to a football/basketball/lacrosse game.
  3. Eat at every dining hall.
  4. Pull an all-nighter.
  5. Become involved with more than one SU club.
  6. Explore Armory Square.
  7. Shop & see a movie at the Carousel mall.
  8. Party with Greek life.
  9. Volunteer on and off-campus.
  10. Go the the New York State Fair.
  11. Play in the snow and in the sun on the Quad.
  12. Enroll in Wine & Beer Appreciation.
  13. Attend a local sporting event.
  14. Venture to Ithaca for AppleFest.
  15. Become familiar with SUArt Galleries and Syracuse Stage.
  16. Experience the Cayuga Wine Trail.
  17. Take a run to South Campus.
  18. Dine at Elderberry Pond.
  19. Enjoy an Orange Appeal performance.
  20. Visit a farm in the area.
  21. Celebrate MayFest.
  22. Make lifelong friends, and find the time to support them.
  23. Roadtrip to Canada.
  24. Drink at every bar on the Hill.
  25. Spend far too much time in Newhouse/the Warehouse/____________


  1. oh my gosh, syracuse looks ADORBS. you are a lucky lady.

  2. What a perfect weekend! You managed to eat well, get some yoga and activity in, and hit the town with the girls... what fun!

    By the way, you're such a beauty! That pizza doesn't look half bad either :)

  3. @Mackenzie: Thank you, darling, I'd have to agree. It was an amazing place to go to school.

  4. @Jessica: It was, wasn't it?! I don't know how I managed to cram all of that goodness in, but I'm so glad I did. You're too sweet, by the way... the pizza is blushing ;).


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