The pedestrian's guide to Meadville

"The Cookie Lady," a staple of the Market House, prepares her wares for sale. DANA D'AMICO/THE CAMPUS

I spent two and a half years and two summers in Meadville without a car. However, now that I have one, however, I fully intend to indulge in my right to look down upon the pedestrian peons and pathetic peripatetics.

The only question is if I should do that before or after I start complaining about bad roads, bad drivers, traffic, cleaning my car off in the winter, gas prices, construction, confusing traffic patterns, cops, parking tickets, the lack of parking spaces and all those dang college kids walkin’ recklessly in the street.

In the spirit of generosity, though, I have decided to share a few of my favorite hangouts within walking distance of campus.

1. The Market House Farmer’s Market. It’s on Saturday mornings, so go while the weather is still nice.

Local goods –– everything from baked goods to carved objects –– are available, but the market is focuses on fresh and local fruit and vegetables.

Ask where the food comes from and plan a beautiful meal. It will feel like home but it is more connected to Meadville than Brooks. Farmers are always such nice people.

2. Of course, once you are there, you have to go to the Market House. I still hear people say they have never been there.

That is crazy talk. That’s like never having been to the campus center. It’s an historical treasure of Meadville, except way more delicious than most other historical treasures. It’s full of history, a sense of community and food!

Also, seriously, try the chocolate milk; you’ll never go back to normal chocolate milk.

3. Diamond Park. It’s pretty! And centrally located!

Hang around, climb a tree, visit the cannons.

Did you know that back in the day, the cool thing for teenagers to do was cruise around Diamond Park in their car at night? Apparently cruising is a real thing that really happened back then in Meadville.

I love that the 50s were filled with cruising and drive–ins. I totally understand. It’s that feeling you get when you are so excited about finally having a car.

You think, “You know what, it does not get better than this, sittin’ in my car, bein’ cool. I’m just going to do it all the time, while I eat, or socialize, or whenever.”

4. Kenneth A. Beers Jr. Bicentennial Park. Did you even know it existed? You can visit David Mead’s cabin. Well, actually, it’s a replica of the cabin that our town’s founder built upon his arrival. It is delightfully educational and historical, but it’s also a pretty place.

It’s near where French Creek and Mill Run meet, and running water is peaceful.

5. The library. Get a library card and connect yourself to the community.

Sure, Pelletier is a great place for studying and finding educational and research books if you like that sort of thing, but you need a different kind of library for fun reading.

This is a place to remember why reading is fun, if you are willing to make time for recreational reading again.

Or just do it because it’s fun to have library cards, as they are the best value card available. They are free and they give you continuous access to more free stuff!

When the first library in Meadville was established in 1812, people had to pay a dollar and give a book yearly to get access to the 150 volumes available, and their policy prohibited fiction books. Sometimes it is nice to reflect on how much more awesome life is right now than it was.

6. Ernst Trail is a former railway that was converted into a trail that crosses five miles of forest, field and  creek.

Go down through Meadville, across the bridge, past Hoss’s and it is on your left, right by Bean’s Auto.

It is easy enough to get there on a bike, if you happen to have one, and a beautiful trail. It runs along French Creek and it is full to brimming with wildlife and natural beauty.

7. The top of the parking garage next to the Market House. Sounds weird, but seriously, go up there, watch the sunset, play music loudly on a warm day and appreciate how beautiful the community is from up there.

Plus, it’s fun being high up. Some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen have been right here in picturesque Meadville.

8. Peppercorn and Vine, or Stacini’s or Julian’s. Class it up a bit with a trip to a nice restaurant. After days and days of the same two places, it’s worth it to dress up and make an occasion out of dinner.

If an occasion hasn’t yet presented itself, you can always celebrate Hobbit Day (Sept 22), Fish Amnesty Day (Sept 25), National Seat Check Saturday (Sept 25), or Fish Tank Floorshow Night (Sept 28) ––all fine and upcoming holidays.

9. The Artist’s Cup is always playing live music at open mic nights and whatnot. I really don’t know anything about music, but people seem to enjoy it.

10. See a show! The Academy Theatre hosts multiple shows a year, often with your fellow students performing in them.

On tap for this year: My Fair Lady, The Nutcracker, The Sound of Music and a murder mystery! We also have the option to go to Park Avenue Cinemas.

Freshmen, you will not understand how excited I was to finally go to this place.

Three years ago there were rumors, and sophomore year a sign appeared proclaiming that it was opening in October. This sign remained for months after October passed.

Then I came back from studying abroad for the spring of my junior year, and it really existed. And now we have a movie theater within walking distance! Score!

So get out there and start finding things to do. It really is easier if you’re willing to leave the campus –– although yes, I agree, that is an inconveniently steep hill.