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A War Eagle Weekend

A quick word to the wise, if you’re planning on traveling during the winter and a snow/ice storm arises, cancel your plans and abort mission immediately. Do not naively think you will beat the storm, or that you are any match for mother nature. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Actually, do collect $200, by canceling your flight and staying home. If you don’t, you will be stuck in a connecting airport for 20 hours, forced to make up white lies for food vouchers, redirected twice and found sleeping on the floor under a desk next to a snoring, middle-aged man.

…because that’s exactly what happened to us this past weekend. Our quick, three-day getaway to Alabama soon turned into the weekend from hell (and this is not including the girl sitting in front of us on the flight home who projectile vomited… three times).

ASIDE from the traveling though, our trip was a blast and I can say without hesitation that Auburn University is one of the nicest college campuses I have ever seen.

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There’s really no airport near the college unless you’re willing to drop close to a grand, but if you fly into Atlanta it’s a quick and easy drive via I-85 directly into Auburn. We got in to our hotel (The Hotel at Auburn University) around noon on Sunday, and the staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating, letting us check in three hours early (probably because we looked like death and were near tears). The hotel is absolutely gorgeous, and I highly recommend staying here if you’re ever in the area- it’s a 4.5 star hotel for an incredible price, and great location directly across from campus.

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After a quick power nap, we decided to do a little exploring and headed to check out the surrounding town. First on the list was Toomer’s Drugs, known for its classic soda fountain and it’s location on the infamous Toomer’s Corner.

If you’re not familiar with the tradition of Toomer’s Corner, essentially Auburn students “roll the corner” whenever there’s a cause for celebration for the town (perfect example, Alabama losing the championship Monday night). What does “roll the corner” mean, you may ask? Essentially, it’s glorified TP-ing done to the two oak trees on the corner of the intersection. Now that’s a tradition I can get behind.

After we stopped into the drug store for some quick shopping, we toured campus for a bit. If you didn’t already know you were in Alabama, the architecture of the campus definitely gives it away. Giant brick buildings line every street and sidewalk. We even came across this beautiful white pillar building, the Honors College, which looks like a scene straight out of The Notebook. Southern charm- nothing like it.

But by far my favorite part of the campus was the football stadium. I’m telling you, pictures just do not do this place justice. Why oh why I didn’t choose to go to a college down south for undergrad is besides me, I can’t even imagine what the energy in this place must be like on game day. Located at the heart of campus, you can pretty much get an idea for where you are based on your proximity to it, and just from hearing several faculty talk about the facility, you can tell just how proud people are of the program.

(A little added fun fact: Heisman coached at Auburn for four years in the mid-90’s.)

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Other added perks of Auburn’s campus- the university has a really unique bike share program set up! Due to the enormity of the campus, in multiple locations there are Auburn-Tiger-themed bikes for students to use. All you have to do is swipe your card right along the side of the bike, and you’re off! Just follow the paw print mile markers along the sidewalk if you get lost.

There’s not all too much to see in Auburn aside from the university, but the university in itself is a sight to be seen for sure. Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about solo adventures though, so I did take the chance to go on a small little excursion of my own. What did I find? The cutest ever crepe shop and a national park!!! …making me a very, very happy Jess.

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I found Crepe Myrtle Cafe just through a quick Yelp search. Only a 5 minute drive down the road from campus, this place is downright adorable. When you first pull in, you’ll find a garden shop- just pull around the corner to find the cafe itself, which is quaint and rustic. To give you an idea of just how quaint, I was greeted by a pair of chickens milling about, blockading my way in through the front door. Ahh, feels just like home.

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Once inside, choose from over ten different specialty crepes (I chose one called Cloud 9, a combination of bananas, strawberries and Nutella that’s to die for), as well as salads, sandwiches, paninis and more!

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Beautiful hand painted artwork lines the walls in the cafe (which, important to note, are also for sale), and in the back corner there’s a small little farmer’s market well-stocked with fresh fruits and veggies. Small town vibes galore, it doesn’t get much better.

With a full stomach, I decided that I could use some exercise and went in search of a park. In my experience, there’s usually a national park within a few miles of wherever you are, and it turns out I was right! I stumbled upon Chewacla National Park, and with some help from my pal Eddie-the-park-ranger-with-the-thick-southern-accent, after getting lost on my first loop around the trails, I finally found the waterfall trail. A short, no more than half a mile hike leads you to this gorgeous view:

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Even though it was a slightly chilly day, there were still a good number of people out enjoying the sunshine,  and who could blame them with views like these?

On my way back up to the park, I also found a sign that I felt accurately described our weekend in a nutshell and snagged a photo as a momento. LOL.

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If the highly ranking university and beautiful weather still aren’t enough to entice you to visit Auburn, let me mention mention you’ll be treated with the upmost southern hospitality at all times. Whereas I have doors slammed in my face daily in NY, I can’t even begin to count the “yes ma’am” and “thank you ma’am”‘s that I received over the course of two days. A feel good visit for sure, thank you Alabamans for restoring my faith in the human race.

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