Fall Break Top Five

Scranton offers some of the best autumn plans in the country, from beautiful scenery to delicious eateries to picture-perfect pumpkin patches. If you’re spending your fall break in wonderful NEPA, you definitely won’t have a lack of plans. I’ve compiled a list of the five best things to do for your five days of complete fall fun.


After your last day of classes, you might be tempted to go into a semi-hibernation. Before doing so, enjoy some (free) First Friday festivities! From 5-9pm, over 25 venues throughout downtown Scranton will showcase live music, paintings, photography, pottery, Halloween themed exhibits and of course, delicious snacks. Singer and guitar player Riley Loftus will perform live at the Steamtown Market Place, Visual artist Sam Kuchwara will show:  Recent Works in Painting and Mixed Media at Northern Lights Espresso Bar, and Painter and printmaker Marc Schimsky will show his work on the first floor of AFA Gallery. Check out the map and kist of First Friday’s locations on http://www.firstfridayscranton.com/


Boo! It’s officially Halloween season, and if you’re down for an exceptionally haunting experience, head to Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Attraction! Reaper’s Revenge is four haunted attractions in one, combining a haunted hayride, dark forest walkthrough, pitch-black indoor walkthrough, and apocalyptic zombie maze. Not to brag, but it’s also been voted America’s Best Haunted Attraction. If being scared is at the top of your fall break to-do list, test your fate at Reapers!


So, you spent your Saturday screaming and crying (in a cool way) at Reaper’s and need to wind down a bit. What better place to relax than Ritter’s Cider Mill? Ritter’s is an old-fashioned and down-home cider mill open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can enjoy a hayride, corn maze, farm animals, apple slingshots and even watch cider being made! You can sight-see on a not-so-haunted (thank goodness) hayride, sip on some delicious homemade cider, and take in the beauty of NEPA fall all in one trip. Ritter’s is located in Mt. Cobb, just a short 20-minute drive from campus!


Fall isn’t fall without carving a pumpkin. Roba Family Farms has you covered. As you pick your perfect pumpkin to bring home, you can enjoy a fresh apple cider doughnut or campfire s’mores. Between the pumpkin patch, mega corn maze, pig races and wagon rides, you definitely won’t be bored. Here are some one-of-a-kind pumpkin carving ideas to try out this year, thank me later for the inspo.


It’s the last day of break, and before you get ahead on all of the work you procrastinated, there’s still some time for fall fun. Sometimes a little scenery and time in nature is exactly what you need, and NEPA has some of the best fall foliage in the country. Enjoy a scenic drive to Lake Wallenpaupack, the Delaware Water Gap, or the Poconos. Or, for the more adventurous, head to Pocono TreeVentures for the ultimate zip lining experience! I mean, what can get you into the fall spirit more than zipping mid-air through the foliage!


Whatever you decide to do this fall break, stay safe, have fun and make the most of your time before midterms!


The First 5 Weeks of the Semester: What to Do, Who to See, and Where to Go!

By Zoȅ Haggerty and Katelyn Moore
The first week of the semester can be pretty hectic. There are club fairs to explore, floor meetings and programs to attend, and new buildings to navigate, not to mention going to classes and figuring out how to use your syllabus. But now the first week is over, and you may be wondering, what’s next? We’re here to help you find fun events, plus recommend some things to do in these first weeks to guarantee a successful semester!
Getting Situated
Get a Planner! One syllabus can be intimidating, but after 4 or 5 class syllabi, you may be feeling entirely overwhelmed. Don’t worry! Your syllabus is actually one of your best resources this semester. It lets you know every due date, exam date, and homework assignment waaay ahead of time, so you can be prepared and start bigger projects early. Head over to the bookstore to grab a cute planner or a jumbo-sized calendar, and start filling in those due dates!
Club Meetings How many clubs did you sign up for at the Student Activities Fair? They’ll probably start sending you emails soon regarding when their first meetings will be! Go ahead and visit as many as possible to see what you’d like to be involved in this semester. Clubs are an excellent way to connect with new friends who are interested in the same things as you!
Check Your Email Daily Prior to college, email might not have been on your radar, but now it’s one of your main sources of communication! Be sure to keep an eye on your email throughout the day, as professors and various organizations will send you updates regarding assignments, mandatory meetings (such as the Royal Taps Program and PACT), and important upcoming events. Plus, don’t be afraid to email your professor with questions or concerns!

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‘Fugetabout’ the Rain: La Festa 2018

Not even a possibility of rain could keep La Festa goers and vendors from attending the yearly Labor Day weekend festivities. After all, a specialty cannoli eaten under the glow of the Scranton sign is definitely worth some puddle jumping.

However, there must have been some luck-of-the-Italians, because the rained stayed away except for a couple on-and-off showers on Monday.

Truly, no forecast is a match for the overwhelming power of good friends, good food and, of course, exceptional old-school Italian music played on an accordion.

“I never miss a chance to go to La Festa. Even when it looked like it was going to rain, I knew I’d risk getting poured on to get some fresh lemonade and New York style pizza with my friends,” Kaleigh Valeski ’20, said, with lemonade and pizza in hand.

Each year, around 70 vendors head to the square to express Italian heritage through the selling of foods, crafts and everything in between. For four days, they work over 12-hour shifts to satisfy the crowds who flock to the festival.

The Italian Festival is a tried and true Scrantonian right of passage — the event has been held for the past 43 years. If you’re a local to the area, there’s a good chance that your grandparents took your parents, that your parents took you, and that you’ll inevitably keep the tradition going. (I mean, who wants to miss out on this four-day food party?)

Although much has changed in the years since it began, one thing always remains the same; there is no better end-of-summer celebration than a memorable weekend at La Festa Italiana, rain or shine.






Delicious Places to Eat in the Scranton Area

By Zoë Haggerty
If you plan to enjoy any of the activities suggested in last week’s blog, you’re sure to work up an appetite–but don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered! Scranton is home to some delicious and unique dining locations, from diners to ice cream parlors to international cuisine. Dig in!
Brunch, Lunch, or Munch:
Downtown Deli
A short walk from The University of Scranton campus on Spruce Street, this popular dining location offers all-day breakfast (french toast for lunch? Yes please!) as well as a salad bar and deli menu. With sandwiches like The Spruce Street and burgers like The RailRider, this sit-down restaurant in Scranton is great for both breakfast and lunch! (**Top photo from breakfast at Downtown Deli!)
Glenburn Grill & Bakery
Located in Clarks Summit, PA, this family-owned and family-friendly cafe is just a short drive from campus. Baked goods, such as homemade pies, nut rolls, and cookies, are made daily, and you can’t go wrong with any of the generously portioned breakfast or lunch options!
Mansour’s Market
This old-fashioned eatery and coffee shop on Prescott Ave offers baked goods and breakfast items, as well as various sandwiches, salads, and burgers. Highly recommended by one of our tour guides, Mansour’s brunch menu is a must try while you’re in town!

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Oct. 10: Fall Break at Elk Mountain Fall Festival

By Jessica D’Aquila

From scenic chairlift rides to delicious fresh kettle corn, Elk Mountain’s annual Fall Festival was the ideal way to kick off my favorite season.  Elk Mountain, the tallest peak in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is a ski resort nestled in the Endless Mountains just 30 minutes north of Scranton. The mountain is a skier and snowboarder’s dream – with trails suited for experts and beginners alike.

Every year, Elk hosts its Fall Festival to celebrate all things autumn: It’s two days of delicious food, local craft vendors, and a chairlift ride to the best view in town! The nostalgia of sitting on the lift is irresistible for skiers, like myself, who had to wait months itching for the ski season to begin. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the peak of Elk Mountain and once you do, the view is unforgettable: up to 90 miles of visibility. There are splashes of yellow, orange, red and green as far as the eye can see and somewhere in the far distance, you will see the faded outline of the Catskill mountains.

After the beautiful chairlift ride, we decided to check out some of the local vendors. Dozens of booths are lined up from artisanal soaps, home decor and paintings to homemade fudge, kettle corn and candied nuts. After walking through all the tents, and wanting to buy everything, we settled on a bag of sweet and salty kettle corn (still warm!) and some cinnamon candied pecans. I may or may not have finished the entire bag before the car ride home… what a perfect way to celebrate one of the most beautiful times of year in scenic Pennsylvania!


Fall Activities in #OurScranton

ccparksNay Aug Park

Nay Aug Park is only a few minutes away from campus and is the perfect place to admire the fall foliage. Get in touch with nature on a hike and take in the “gorge-ous” view from the Wenzel tree house. You can always pack a lunch and enjoy it al fresco at one of the park’s several picnic areas. Find out more here.

Lackawanna River Heritage Trail

The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is part of 70-mile trail system that follows the Lackawanna River. Bike it, walk it or run it – it’s up to you! You can find more information here.

McDade Park

Stay active while enjoying the brisk fall air in McDade Park. The park features basketball and tennis courts, a two-mile cross country course, an outdoor picnic area with charcoal grills and much, much more. Not to mention the breathtaking view of the city of Scranton! Read on here.

NEPA’s Pocono Environmental Education Center Hike

The Pocono Environmental Education Center will be hosting a hike Oct. 15 that will explain the science behind the season of fall! Topics like why the leaves change color and changing animal behavior will be discussed. (And, the cost of the hike is only $5!) Click here to find out more!

Roba Family Farms

Corn mazes, hayrides, pig racing, pumpkin picking and more! You’ll really be in the fall mood after a visit to Roba’s! Tickets are discounted on Fridays with student ID! Find out more here.

Roba Family Orchard

ccroba2One of the best and most common of fall activities is apple picking! Hop on a shuttle at Roba Family Orchard to pick your own apples! The Orchard also features a corn box, a goat corral, and a market that sells fresh donuts! (Yes, there are two Roba locales – don’t get mixed up and end up at the wrong one!) Read on here.

Bonfire Festival at the Iron Furnaces

There is nothing better than a bonfire on a chilly autumn evening! The Bonfire, taking place on Saturday, Oct.15, will be accompanied by live music, fire twirlers, a jack o’lantern competition, face painting and much more! Click here for more details.

Circle of Screams

Prepare for screams and horror at Dickson City’s Circle of Screams, the largest haunted drive-in theater in Pennsylvania! Click here for more information.

Haunted Lanterns Tour

Get in the Halloween spirit at Scranton’s Courthouse Square by going on a historic lantern and candle-lit ghost walk. Find out more info here.

Haunted Houses, Etc., in the Area 

“Howls, Haunts and Hayrides” are all around us! Check out this NEPA Family list for more.