10 March 2015

East Coast College Tour (Foodie Edition)

Posted in College Tour Planner, Whirlwind Tours

5 Great Colleges for Foodies in 4 Days

campus-foodHey foodie, are you headed to the east coast to check out colleges?  

If so, we've got just the itinerary for you—a mix of schools with great reputations for both academics and food scene, courtesy of The Daily Meal.  

Read on for the itinerary, commentary and tour times. 




Tour Overview 

Our itinerary starts and ends in Baltimore.  As can be seen in the map above, we'll do a clockwise loop through Upstate New York, New York City and Princeton before returning back to Baltimore for your flight out.  During the trip we'll check out a mix of medium and large schools in rural, suburban and urban settings that offer both strong academics and great food.  To come up with the list, we looked for top-ranked academic institutions from the U.S. News & World Report that also made it to The Daily Meal's list of Best Colleges for Food.  

We define a visit as staying for at least one information session and one campus tour.  Though we've compressed five campus visits into four days, feel free to spread things out or compress it even further.

At the bottom of the page we've provided a link to the Google map for your to customize and save to your Google account, as well as a link to our College Tour Planner if you want to customize your own tour from several popular cities across the nation.


Day 1: Johns Hopkins 

jhu logoStart the road trip off at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Ranked #12 nationally by US News & World Report and #2 for best college food by The Daily Meal, Johns Hopkins fits our definition of "great education and great eats" in spades.  Home to 5,200 undergraduates and 20,000 students overall, Johns Hopkins is the nation's leading academic institution in total research and development spending.  With top notch graduate programs in public health, nursing, education, biomedical engineering, biological sciences, statistics and environmental engineering, students here have ample opportunities to do research.

Join the 10am information session and 11am guided tour.  When you're done, grab lunch to check out their food scene. Some options to consider include Cafe Azafran in the Space Telescope Building or the Charles Street Market ("CharMar").  Boasting fresh quality ingredients, a hotel-quality brunch, food and wine pairings and cooking classes, Johns Hopkins promotes an all-around healthy eating experience. They pride themselves on making everything in small batches (and from scratch!) so you'll never feel like you're missing home cooking.

After lunch, hop back into your care for the scenic drive to Upstate NY and Cornell University.  It's a little off the beaten path, but between the rolling valleys of the Finger Lakes region and a chance to get away from urban life, Cornell will serve as great contrast to the other schools you'll be visiting.


Day 2: Cornell University

cornell logoYour destination for Day 2 is Cornell University, another highly regarded institution with a great education and eats.  Home to nearly 23,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Cornell is a large research university out in the countryside, away from it all.  Apart from the Ivy League education, Cornell boasts top ranked programs in agriculture and forestry, engineering, biology and physics and hospitality management.

Grab the 8:45am campus tour and 11am information session to get a feel for the campus, then grab lunch to check out the food scene.  Try Synapsis for the pasta bakes, ultra-thin pizzas and paninis, Cascadeli for the sandwiches and view, or Trillium for traditional food court action.

Reviewers venture to say that Cornell caters the widest range of dietary preferences and restrictions, with options for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, Halal, Muslim and Seventh Day Adventist diets. Beyond that, they make their culinary voices heard through events like A Night at Hogwarts (for you Harry Potter fans), Nutritionland (say no to the "freshman 15!"), Baseball Night and even Peanut Butter Month.  All this shouldn't come as a surprise, as Cornell's hospitality management program is top notch.

Now that you've gotten a taste for a large university in a rural setting, it's time to head to New York City for some serious urban action.  


Day 3: Columbia University and NYU

nyu logo new york universitycolumbia logo2Today you'll double up on Columbia University and NYU, two other great institutions with terrific food scenes.

Located in upper Manhattan, Columbia sits at #4 on U.S. News & World Report rankings for national universities.  With 8,500 undergraduates and nearly 30,000 students overall, Columbia is the epitome of a big city university experience. There's a distinct (and beautiful) campus, with New York City at your fingertips.

Given today's schedule, we recommend checking out the on-campus dining scene prior to the 10 am information session and 11am campus tour (students recommend Ferris as a good bet for breakfast). Columbia strives to prove their dining options are competitive with off-campus options, and while it's hard to beat the best of what NYC has to offer, the university partners with several restaurants and grocery stores in the city to keep student stomachs happy.  

After wrapping up at Columbia, head downtown to NYU for the 1pm information session and campus tour.  Ranked #32 by US News & World Report and #7 by The Daily Meal, NYU gives you a slightly different taste of university life in the Big Apple.  NYU is home to 26,000 undergraduates and nearly 60,000 students overall, so it's much larger than Columbia.  And unlike Columbia, which has a distinct campus, there are no walls or gates separating NYU from its environs. At NYU, you're truly in the heart of Greenwich Village, a haven for arts, entertainment and culture, and the epicenter of city action and nightlife.  

NYU is nestled in the food mecca that is Manhattan, and the university partners with over 20 restaurants and locations where students can use their campus cash to dine. NYU also recently opened a community garden where you can learn to grow, tend and harvest fresh vegetables.  Farm to table doesn't get any fresher than that! 

Traffic out of the city will be bad around rush hour, so grab dinner on or off-campus, then make the 90 minute drive down to Princeton after it clears. 


Day 4: Princeton University

princeton logo2We'll wrap up our road trip with a visit to Princeton University.  Named one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States by Travel + Leisure, Princeton offers an outstanding liberal arts college experience within a world class research setting.  With 5,200 undergraduates and 8,000 students overall, Princeton is a mid-sized Ivy League school in a suburban setting.  

Attend the 10am information session and 1pm campus tour.  In between grab lunch/brunch to sample the food scene.  As highly regarded as Princeton is academically, the food scene is no slouch either.  The university offers dozens of themed meals and events throughout the year, and daily menu offerings are equally as impressive.  Plus, with meals-to-go programs and programs like Visting Chefs that recreate a chef's restaurant menu, Princeton has students quite literally chomping at the bit to get in.


Wrapping Up

There you have it, a whirlwind tour of five east coast schools in four days.  They represent a good mix of sizes and settings to help you imagine the possibilities, and all are poised to provide you a great education and feed you well along the way!

Of course, there's no need to visit all of schools we've covered, much less in four days, so feel free to tweak our route plan by clicking on the view itinerary button below.  For example, it's a trek to Cornell, so you might want to leave it out or substitute it for a school in the Philadelphia area that can also provide some contrast to the other schools you'll be visiting.  And for those of you looking to create your own tour, click on the create tour button to let our college tour planner get you rolling.