Road Trip: Maryland

Publish date:

The story goes that if you rub school mascot Testudo's nose, you'll have good luck. There are four bronze statues of the mascot on campus, and when students walk by, they often rub the diamondback terrapin's nose and hope it well help them ace that next test. There is one statue conveniently located in front of the library, which is en route to many classes. Around Finals, students leave offerings to this Testudo, hoping that if they leave a sandwich or a T-shirt for him, a great grade will ensue.

Is there anything more cliché than a group of college kids huddling around a pizza at 2 a.m.? Well, students at Maryland can fight the stereotypes and instead order D.P. Dough -- the self-titled "pizza alternative," which makes delicious calzones with whatever combination of meats, cheeses, sauces and vegetables the customer wants. Mmmm.

OK, I admit it. They still eat pizza at Maryland. Whether it's lunch or dinner time, Ratsie's is usually the busiest. Order a whole pizza and a pitcher of beer to split with your friends or just buy individual slices; either way, you'll probably leave full. Located in spitting distance from the city's five major bars, Ratsie's is sure to be packed each night after the bars let out.

The Diner, on north campus -- one of two dining halls at the university -- is open from 7:30 a.m. until midnight and offers pizza, cheese steaks, quesadillas, burgers and any other form of greasy food that comes to mind. Sure it has healthy options too, like salad and fruit, but tell me you're opting for that instead of freshly-baked cookies or a giant scoop of dairy-fresh ice cream, and I'll tell you that you're a liar.

The Eppley Recreation Center, located yards away from the diner, has a weight room, track, four full-sized basketball courts, racquetball and squash courts, deep water pools, saunas, ping pong tables, aerobics and martial arts rooms. All students need to do is show their student ID to get in. After a long workout, you can reward yourself with a cold smoothie from Sneakers Café.

To stand out from the other local bars, Santa Fe often hosts entertaining cover and tribute bands for bar-goers to enjoy. Past acts include bands mimicking Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews Band, Journey, and even Michael Jackson. If you're going to overpay for drinks and be crammed amongst your peers, you might as well add in some live music.

While many complain that it never gets as loud for basketball games as the old, Cole Field House did, Comcast Center is a state-of-the-art NCAA arena. It holds 17,950 fans and boasts a steep wall where students sit, behind the visiting team's second half basket. Unlike Duke, where students have to camp out for tickets, Maryland has a weighted online lottery system, rewarding "loyalty points" to fans that attend games and get their tickets scanned on the way in.

With the local Redskins and Ravens being shown on the network channels, it's difficult to find coverage of students' favorite NFL teams. But Cornerstone Bar has you covered, as it shows every NFL game each weekend on its plethora of televisions. If you can put up with the surplus of loud Philadelphia Eagles fans going to the bar to watch (and yell) while their team plays, you'll find a great atmosphere to catch each game.

Once the weather heats up, La Plata beach is the hot spot on campus. Located beside freshman dorms, students use the "beach" which is really a field with two beach volleyball courts set up, to play anything from football to wiffleball to horseshoes. And sure, plenty of the lazier folks just prop down a blanket and take in the rays.

Maryland's brand-new bar, the Thirsty Turtle has gotten rave reviews from students, but getting in is no quick task. With lines stretching down an entire block, it can take forever to just be admitted into the building. Never have students been so happy to see bouncers before.

The official school bookstore at the Adele Stamp Student Union Building offers a wide range of clothing, games, collectibles, and other gift items to show your Maryland Pride. The store has jerseys of the major sports teams, T-shirts galore, and a bunch of different hats to choose from. Oh yeah, they also have textbooks downstairs, and I guess those are kind of essential for learning too.

Terp Zone, located in the student union, has a bowling alley, pool tables, arcade and a lounge to watch television. There's also a Subway in Terp Zone, or students can walk downstairs to the food court for various other options including Sbarro, Chick-fil-A, McDonalds and Taco Bell.

The Hoff Theater, also in the union is a student run movie theater that screens older films that have not made it to DVD yet. With its discounted rate and reasonable prices for movie essentials (popcorn, soda, candy), Hoff is a nice alternative to the usually expensive movie-going experience.

While football, basketball and lacrosse get all the hype at Maryland, the field hockey team has been the best this decade. With coach Missy Meharg running the team for the past 20 years, the Terps' stick-girls have been a huge success -- winning four national championships in the past 10 years -- and are always near the top of the country's most competitive conference -- the ACC.