Venturing Out of the Bubble

4 mins read

I transferred from Villanova to Swarthmore my sophomore year of college. As a Villanova student, Lancaster Ave provided great places to go and study and restaurants to eat at with friends on weekends. I would go off campus at least once a week, and it was great to step away from work and stress. Lancaster Ave connects Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Villanova University and is teeming with stores, restaurants, and other activities. Need a break from campus? Take the Swarthmore Shuttle to Haverford and Bryn Mawr. 

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute offers showings of an array of films including “King Richard,” premiering Nov. 19, “Mary Poppins,” showing Nov. 20, or “Beauty and the Beast,” playing from Dec. 4 to the 18th. The theatre, built in the 1920s, is a great place to escape with friends and enjoy a film. 

Close to the theatre is La Colombe Coffee. While it is a wonderful place to work, La Colombe is a no-WiFi zone. I used to walk to La Colombe and work on some readings or grab coffee with friends. The use of actual mugs adds some “Friends” vibes to the cafe and is a quick walk away if you are taking classes at Bryn Mawr.

Besides coffee shops and movie theatres, Bryn Mawr and Haverford have some great restaurants. A notable restaurant is Snap Pizza where you can make your own pizza. Connected to Snap is Hope’s Cookies. While eating your pizza, the aroma of homemade cookies and ice cream is five feet away. 

Located near Snap Pizza and Hope Cookies are restaurants such as Turning Point and Pho Street. Walking into Turning Point, there is the immediate overwhelming aroma of french toast and coffee. With a diner feel, Turning Point has an array of breakfast and brunch choices from the “OMG” French Toast to the “Enlightened” Omelet. Pho Street is a Vietnamese restaurant in Bryn Mawr and has delicious vermicelli pho. There is another restaurant in Springfield as well. These restaurants are merely a sampling of the wide variety of cuisines to choose from, all within a two-mile radius. 

If you’re looking for a change in scenery and a chance to get outdoors, off of Lancaster Avenue is Stoneleigh, a public garden filled with beautiful trees and plants. Visitors are allowed to picnic in the pavilion and can also receive tours of the gardens. Each month, Stoneleigh hosts several events at which the public can volunteer, such as fall and winter farming. Another event is the Winter Wreath Workshop, which includes creating a festive wreath with fresh greens and other natural materials from the gardens. Stoneleigh is a wonderful place to go to escape into nature or to enjoy a fun off-campus activity. 

Whether desiring a new place to study, a day trip with friends off campus, or just a change to your routine, Lancaster Ave has a lot to offer.

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