Thursday, June 21, 2012

Princeton Charming

It was Princeton’s turn today, so we all rolled out of our soft beds at 6:45 AM to catch our 8:30 Amtrak train to Trenton, New Jersey. In Philadelphia, it was supposed to hit record temperatures of 100 degrees, and in New Jersey, it was 95. The train ride only took a half hour and this time I brought my iPod so I could listen to music while watching the worst part of Philadelphia slide past my window. The train passed ramshackle, crumbling buildings, now only decorated by faded bricks, broken windows, and large-print graffiti. I can’t imagine anyone living there, but I know some people are forced to.

From the Trenton station, we caught two cabs to Princeton, which was about fifteen minutes away by freeway. Eric Wilson accidentally left his camera in the taxi, but thankfully he was able to call the driver and get it back. After that small scare, we went to the campus information session; we waited in an older building that honored fallen soldiers that were former graduates (from the Revolutionary War all the way to the Korean War), and then went to a separate room to listen to the charismatic admissions counselor describe why Princeton was the best choice for us. I’m noticing that the Ivy Schools are rather limited in major choices; Princeton only has two schools - one for a Bachelor of Arts and one for a Bachelor of Science and Engineering. Between those choices, students only had about 46 concentrations to pick from. The campus also seemed to have little diversity (unlike Columbia). However, the buildings were absolutely amazing; some were set up in a Gothic style, while others maintained their 1746 appearance. The college is surrounded by greenery and brass statues; although it did not offer my major, it seemed like a nice school. With only a little over 5,000 students, and a 7.8% acceptance rate, it was smaller and homier than the other campuses that we have visited (as well as more competitive).
The dorms look like a castle!
From the campus tour, we went out to lunch at an Italian restaurant. I was only able to order a small salad, but it was very tasty. We also went inside some stores; I picked out a postcard for my brother, and a tiger stuffed animal for my niece (Princeton’s mascot is the tiger, and my niece’s room is jungle-themed, so it fit). We only walked around for a little less than an hour, though, because it was so hot. After making a loop back to the campus, we caught two more cabs back to the train station.
Once back in Philadelphia, the guys went out to get a Philly cheesesteak; I had to watch with envy. Then we went back to our hotel rooms to relax. Dinner tonight was at Lacroix in the Rittenhouse Hotel. The food and service were both out of this world; I ordered octopus for an appetizer, branzino for the main course (a light, Mediterranean fish), and a variety of ice cream flavors (rosemary, yogurt, honey, chocolate, and vanilla) for dessert. Upon special request, the restaurant even provided me with rice and tapioca gluten-free bread. It was another fulfilling day in many ways!

All of us at dinner; I apologize for the poor resolution, but I couldn't get it better than this.

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