NYC Day Trips: New Haven, CT and Yale University

Okay, this is, I admit, a lazy post. I haven’t had a ton of time to explore in the last few weeks (though I have a fun, full weekend ahead that should merit a couple of posts!) and so this topic comes to you courtesy of “photos I’ve taken in the last year and not already used for a post”. These were taken in November 2013.

My illustrious alma mater, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is gorgeous, especially in the fall. There are a lot of good reasons to go to Yale, but its loveliness definitely doesn’t hurt. When I was applying for college I was at first attracted to enclosed campuses where there weren’t a lot of cars (and took one look at NYU and said, “Nope.”), but after a second visit to Yale I really fell in love with its mixture of serene courtyards and somewhat busy streets. It was a taste of city living but in a very structured environment.

The walkway between Jonathan Edwards and Branford colleges

The walkway between Jonathan Edwards and Branford colleges

If you’re looking for a nice fall day trip from NYC, New Haven is a great option! A Metro North round-trip off peak ticket is about  $32 and the ride is around two hours long. If you’re ambitious, rent a car and drive up so you can take advantage of nearby farm markets like Bishop’s Orchards and go apple picking. There’s also an Ikea, but we’ve got one in Brooklyn, too, so maybe not critical.

Outside Branford college

Outside Branford college

When you get to New Haven, take a bus or taxi or use your feet and head toward the New Haven Green, right next to Yale’s Old Campus. The Green is a park and former burial ground, and Old Campus is a beautiful green space enclosed by freshman dorms. During the day, the gates to Old Campus are open and visitors can wander across it, enjoying the architecture and trees and a nice view of Harkness Tower.

Harkness Tower

Harkness Tower

Make sure to check out Sterling Memorial Library. On campus tours, the guides always mention that the architect had always wanted to build a cathedral and decided to do it with Sterling. It does resemble an altar to knowledge, and I believe some renovations were recently completed, so it’s definitely worth a visit. Make sure to also visit the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which always has interesting displays and where you can take a look at a Gutenberg Bible.

Branford College courtyard

Branford College courtyard

Take a walk down Chapel Street and check out some great shops. Book Trader Café, with its used books and lovely light-filled dining space, is a nice stop for a snack break. The two fantastic Yale art galleries, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art, are both on Chapel Street and are both free admission. The YUAG was just remodeled and is stunning. I was lucky enough to see “Starry Night” there when it was touring a few years back and got to see it up close, without the crowds you see at MoMA. Seriously, make sure you stop in to these museums – they would be worth the visit to New Haven, even if the rest of campus wasn’t. Which it is.

Branford College courtyard

Branford College courtyard

There are about a million pizza places, including the renowned Sally’s and Pepe’s, over in Wooster Square, supposed to be some of the oldest pizza places in the country. Closer to the rest of campus are the popular Bar (famous for its mashed potato pizza), the after-rehearsal spot, Yorkside, and my often overlooked no frills favorite, Wall Street, formerly Naples.

I’m leaving out a ton of wonderful things about New Haven, but this is enough to get you started if you have a day to visit! Yale friends, anything to add? Other friends, what are your favorite day trips from NYC?

PS Next time I’m in New Haven with some time to take photos, I’ll get some pictures of things that are not near or in Branford College. I promise the rest of the campus is also this pretty!

2 Comments

  1. Oh man, what a throwback! Two details I’d throw in — if you’re driving, take the Merritt rather than 95. So beautiful, easily worth the trip on its own, especially in fall obviously. Also, my favorite pizzeria was always Modern Apizza…

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