Quarantine life dragged for everybody and being stuck indoors definitely increases feelings of cabin fever in everyone. Returning to a beautiful and spacious campus such as State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz provides relief for many students. With the reopening of campuses comes the question many students find themselves wondering — what will I do in my spare time? Not to worry — check out plenty of friendly activities to do with friends, or by yourself, this fall!
Read on for 10 COVID-friendly activities to keep yourself busy in New Paltz, New York this semester!
1. Supporting Small Businesses
New Paltz boasts multiple wonderful spots to eat off-campus with friends such as Asian Fusion, Main Street Bistro, B-Side Grill, Lolas or McGillicuddy’s for wing night. These small food businesses are perfect for treating yourself after completing assignments or if you need a break from campus cafeteria food already. Not only do students benefit from buying food from a small business nearby by enjoying some time off of campus, they also work to help out their community.
2. Supporting the Farmer’s Market
Whenever students hear about the local outdoor markets selling seasonal fruits and vegetables, they head down— already tasting the fresh produce lovingly grown and handpicked by the locals. With farmer’s markets such as the Wallkill View Farm Market and New Paltz Open Air Market a short drive from the college, students find the opportunity to support their community. Enjoy some time outdoors with friends and stock up on delicious baked goods, preserves and other farm-to-table delectables.
3. Reentering the Workforce
With campus reopening, or even if you chose to stay home for a remote semester, you need the green. Everything costs an absurd amount of money as a college student, and being laid off during the pandemic does not help. “The pandemic has definitely made an impact on how dorming would normally be, specifically the new regulations to help keep the campus community safe, but everybody is doing their best to make the most out of their time back on campus after such a long time in quarantine at home,” SUNY New Paltz junior Renee Akselrud said. If the opportunity arises for you to secure a campus job, jump on it—getting paid and making friends with the other students on campus seems like a great way to pass the time while putting something on your resume.
4. Campus Life Returns
While the return to campus proved anything but traditional, campus staff and students definitely try to make the best out of a sticky situation. Rumor has it that you can experience many campus activities held outdoors in an attempt to respect social distancing guidelines. These events plan to offer an educational aspect for all to enjoy, such as a stargazing event. Perhaps if the educational twist sounds like a bore outside the classroom, students can suggest more active and socially distant-friendly activities such as dance parties outdoors or sprucing up the campus grounds for the fall with autumn-themed decorations.
5. What New Paltz (the Town) Has to Offer
Campuses find themselves at a loss as to what safe activities they can advertise for their students while back on campus, but luckily New Paltz students find themselves with plenty of options to occupy themselves off-campus. “An off-campus activity I love to do is walk around Main Street,” SUNY New Paltz senior Gabrielle Vultaggio said. “I go to the cute little shops and get food.” Grab yourself some new shoes or sit down for a cup of joe.
From stylish boutiques to dazzling art galleries, to historic sites and memorials, there’s plenty to explore for a day around Main Street. Trying to impress your date? Main Street presents multiple excellent date spots. Honorable mentions include the John R. Kirk Planetarium to dazzle them with the stars; the Cheese Plate, boasting delicious sandwiches and charcuterie plates; and Handmade and More, bursting with unique clothing and gifts to share with your significant other.
6. Finding Time For Yourself
With the stress of returning to campus for a remote semester, don’t forget to take time for yourself away from the assignments and distant socializing. While the definition of self-care varies for each person, everyone can agree that doing something for themselves once in a while proves beneficial. “Recently I’ve gotten into doing morning and night yoga,” SUNY New Paltz junior Cynthia Vasquez said. “It’s an awesome way to start your mornings and wind down for the night.” From creating a playlist to exercise, relax or study to, or working out the stress of your professor uploading fifty assignments on syllabus day, try and come up with multiple ways to allow yourself to take a much-deserved breather. Grab some Yogi friends and begin a daily or weekly yoga club on campus to relieve the stress of this new semester together.
7. Exploring the Wilderness
SUNY New Paltz students agree that the Lake Minnewaska trail proves a must-see area to explore, whether you happen to be a student, resident or passerby. The trail around Lake Minnewaska (which happens to be a sky lake) has beautiful cliffs and woods surrounding it, making for an excellent outdoors day-trip with friends or family. Many students enjoy hiking around the Water Street Market as well, getting in that extra bit of exercise.
Popular outdoor areas include the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary, an excellent place to learn about wildlife or go for a walk during sunset. The Sojourner Truth Park is perfect for attempting kayaking for the first time. For a calming view, the New Paltz Gardens for Nutrition, an absolutely stunning community garden. Pack a picnic, embrace your inner Wilderness Explorer (make Russel proud) and enjoy a day of stunning natural sights!
8. Maintaining Friendships on Campus
With a campus as large and beautiful as SUNY New Paltz, hanging out with friends while socially distancing is more than feasible. “My friends and I like to explore the area of New Paltz,” SUNY New Paltz junior Eileen Traver said. “My suitemates and I binge watch shows together as well.” Many students enjoy utilizing the track together for their workout routines, or simply enjoying each other’s company while eating or doing homework in an outdoor setting. Take advantage of a large campus and explore all it offers with friends.
9. Drive-In Movie Nights
With the pandemic preventing many movie premieres, Drive-In theaters allow for a safe way to pass the time with friends. The Hyde Park Drive-In Theatre, Overlook Drive-In Theatre and Fair Oaks Drive-In Theater all boast humongous screens and plenty of space to park comfortably. With a family-owned and friendly staff, great prices and delicious snacks, there’s no doubt you’ll have a great time at any of these theaters. Pack up the car with some sweet movie theater treats, comfy pillows and blankets for a comfortable night in true 1950s style.
10. Finding a Unique Hobby
Taking up new and interesting hobbies amounts to the ultimate quarantine trend. From learning how to roller-skate to finding their green thumb, students found some exciting things to share on TikTok. One especially interesting hobby to take up? Learning how to mend and create clothes to wear once everything reopens. “During the whole quarantine, I took up sewing, as in more than just mending some of my damaged clothes,” SUNY New Paltz junior Kiara Vedovino said. “I am now able to make full garments, which is pretty exciting!” Craft stores like Manny’s Art Supplies and Rhineback Artist’s Shop contain everything an artist needs. Take those clothes you seldom wear, transform them into an amazing new outfit, and start trending on TikTok.