Getting to New Haven can be a bit tricky. There are no direct flights from Houston. Dmitry has to make the journey every other weekend for his MBA for Executives program. He usually lands in Newark airport and then hops on a train either from the Penn Station, NJ, or takes a train to Grand Central, NY to catch another train to New Haven. If he flies into La Guardia, on certain days, there is a shuttle directly from the airport. Basically, there are options. Some are more comfortable than others, and may cost a bit more. Since we were staying a whole week and visited other cities, we rented a car.
In my experience, renting a car for a week directly from the airport (Newark) during the Thanksgiving week was almost $200 more expensive than from other nearby car rental places. So I reserved a car with Enterprise at the Penn Station, NJ, $15 Uber ride from the airport. However, most car rental places outside of the airport close at 6 p.m. We were supposed to have plenty of time.., but of course our flight was delayed by several hours (oh, United). Thankfully my Enterprise reservation was refundable, so I canceled it and looked on Priceline for car rental deals. Luckily there was a Budget deal directly from the airport for the same price as my Enterprise reservation. Perhaps sometimes it’s better to wait for a deal and not book too early…
Either way, the car was really nice and we even got a free upgrade from mid-size sedan to intermediate SUV. It made up for the delayed flight. I’ve been contemplating about upgrading my Camry to a small SUV and I finally had a chance to try it out (spoiler alert, I loved it!). The blind spot signals, the back up cam, the car play, are all the things I am convinced I need now, although at first I thought of them as distractions.
We’ve spent a total of three nights in New Haven. The first night at someone’s house, not an officially listed bnb, but someone Dmitry got connected with though another airbnber. It’s in a nice quiet neighborhood and is walking distance to the Yale School of Management, but a bit far from food places.
For Dmitry’s first semester, one night was covered under his tuition at the Omni Hotel (reg. $160+ /night). As a member of their rewards program he was also able to get a free night, so we spent two nights at the Omni. The hotel is centrally located, and has a nice view of the city from their restaurant JOHN DAVENPORT’S AT THE TOP OF THE PARK on the 19th floor.
My favorite part about staying at the Omni was the parking garage. Parking in New Haven is limited and there are lots of rules and regulations about times and permits. This was common for most NE cities we visited, but coming from Houston, where the whole city is a huge parking lot (exaggeration for effect), it was a bit stressful. So it was nice to be able to leave the car in the garage, and wander the campus.
But really, it’s not that bad. In most spots you can sign up for notifications via phone and add more time if needed. Just don’t bother looking for free parking, you’ll waste more time and gas.
New Haven food scene is poor. Like really, really poor. Alright, alright, I am being dramatic. There’s food, there are choices. Again, it all depends on your previous experiences. The first night we ate at Chipotle, nothing to report about. The second night we dined at the famous Frank Pepe’s. There is usually a huge line to get in, I guess we got lucky, there was no wait. Dmitry had it once before without me and was not too impressed, and honestly, I was not impressed either. I’d give it another chance though, since the reviews are so high for this place.
Breakfast at the Omni is buffet style, and is very-very good (although pricey, so eat!)
For lunch, I found B Natural in Sherman’s Alley that served healthy bowls. Dmitry was in classes, so it was a nice place for me to chill while waiting for him.
But my favorite was The Trinity Bar and Restaurant. The combination of food quality + portion size + service were all in a healthy equilibrium.
The first morning in New Haven, Dmitry left early for school, and I had some time to myself. I checked out from the bnb and decided to visit a park. First park I found was the West Rock Park. There was no one else in the park except for 1 runner. The sun was already up and the nature was slowly de-thawing from a chilly night. This would be a great place for picnic on a warm day.
Next, I moved on to East Rock Park. This park is a must visit if you’re in New Haven. Upon entering the park, there is a parking lot, but don’t stop there, make sure you make it all the way to the top. Once you’re at the top, and amazing view of New Haven will open up! It’s like the whole city is in the palm of your hand. And if you’re looking for something historic, there is a Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (1887) that honors lives taken during several wars. This park is great during the day and at night and makes a perfect place to study. There were some shady characters in the area, just don’t leave any valuable in the car.
Yale University Art Gallery
This gallery was amazing! There is so much to see! And best of all, it’s free! This is a popular destination for parents, who come to visit their kids at school. During my visit, there was a special exhibition of American furniture and a group of very excited furniture craftsmen touring the exhibition could barely keep their hands off the historic pieces. Poor gallery attendants were on edge the whole time the group was there. It was quite amusing to witness. 😛
Yale has several libraries on campus. We’ve only made it to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. We went after Dmitry’s classes, so this time I wasn’t alone. Yale University Library was unfortunately closed. I must definitely come back! Although Beinecke was also very impressive, definitely more modern, though.
After visiting the libraries, we just wondered the campus. New Haven is pretty much Yale. The city and the campus blend in. Perhaps because we went during the Thanksgiving week and many students were out for the holidays, I didn’t feel extremely safe, especially at night. But there were a bunch of Asian tour groups. I am not sure of the purpose of their visit, but apparently it’s a thing. Some visit because they want to apply, some visit just because it’s famous. 🙂
With Dmitry’s school ID we went into the Yale Law School. We walked the halls and breathed the air that past presidents have walked and breathed. The classrooms were very small (10 chairs to a table) and there were lots and lots of posters around hallways giving students tips about not stressing out and a hot line number. I don’t think I will be applying to Yale Law School any time soon. 🙂