10 Alternative Athens Activities

Every Bobcat knows that there are many activities one should accomplish during their time in Athens, Ohio. Among the more popular are participating in a Court Street Shuffle, attend a Fest, steal an Athens Brick, and hike the infamous Bong Hill. These are just a few on the massive bucket list of things to do in Athens before impending graduation starts to loom over little Bobcat’s heads. However, part of what makes Athens so unique is all of its hidden gems. Here are 10 alternative activities to accomplish in Athens before graduation:

10. Visit the Athens Farmers Market

One of the great things about Athens being in the middle of nowhere is that it is surrounded by farmland. With farmland comes awesome fresh produce! Every Saturday from 9 am – 12 pm in the parking lot of 1000 E State St, Athens Farmers Market takes place. At the Farmers Market you will find a variety of fresh produce, locally made food and crafts. There is everything from raw meat to sprouting flowers to some yummy salsa. Attending the Athens Farmers Market is a must before graduating.

9. Have a brew at Little Fish

Picture of Little Fish’s beer selection

Athens is well known for the local brewery, Jackie O’s but not many are aware of another delightful brewery Athens has to offer. Little Fish Brewery is a charming brewery overlooking the Hocking River. It has outdoor seating, play toys for children, a wide selection of delicious brews, and there is even giant Jenga. What more could you want in a local brewery? Little Fish is located at 8675 Armitage Road, Athens, OH and is open Mon-Thurs: 3 pm-1opm, Fri: 3 pm-11 pm, Sat: 12 pm-11 pm, and Sun: 12 pm- 8 pm.

8. Boogie on the Bricks

Picture of me at Boogie on the Bricks 2015

Another popular activity for Bobcats are the fests and HallOUween block party (all of which are fun) but those are not the only street parties Athens has. Every year in June, Athens City Council shuts down Court Street for one day for Boogie on the Bricks. Boogie on the Bricks is a free Music and Arts Festival featuring local artists and vendors. This year’s Boogie on the Bricks takes place on June 17, 2017 from 12 pm-11 pm. If you are a fan of live music, the arts, good food and free things, then put on your dancin’ shoes because Boogie on the Bricks is the place for you.

7. Hike up Witch’s Peak

 

Nestled in the hills of Appalachia, Athens as a variety of wonderful hiking trails. Bobcats tend to favor the famous Bong Hill due to its spectacular view of Ohio University. Although Bong Hill has a nice view, located right across the street is its lesser known sister, Witch’s Peak; which has the beauty. Witch’s Peak is an enchanting forest with boulders to climb, a cave for burrowing and breathe taking surroundings. All hiker enthusiasts should wonder their way up to Witch’s Peak before leaving Athens.

6. Sleep on a porch couch

SnapChat of Annie Powell after a nap on her porch couch

Why sleep in your warm, cozy bed when you can sleep on a booze covered porch couch?! There are many off-campus houses with lovely porches, many of which are inhabited by college students. When choosing what furniture to place on said lovely porch, many students select used couches from Goodwill. Throughout the year these couches get pretty grimy, but this doesn’t stop students from sleeping on them! After a long night out on the town, the booze (and other questionable substances) covered porch couch doesn’t sound so bad. Don’t knock it til you try it Bobcats.

5. Trek through Moonville Tunnel

Me sitting on top of Moonville Tunnel

All Athens residents know of the local haunted asylum, the Ridges; but for those who like a good scare or even a pleasant hike, Moonville Tunnel is definitely worth checking out. Located about 30 minutes outside of Athens, Moonville Tunnel is an old mining trail that was boosting in the 1800s. The tunnel and trail are rumored to be haunted by a ghost in a white robe, carrying a lantern. Many visitors claim to see a ghostly figure and flashing lights shining through the tunnel at night. This is a beautiful trail to hike with a little spook.

4. Hear jammin’ music at the DIY Local House Shows

Picture from DIY House Show at the Pink Mistress

Athens may be a small town, but the music scene continues to thrive. We have #NumbersFest as the biggest college music festival in the nation, an array of concerts and dance parties at The Union and Casa Nueva, as well as DIY Local House Shows. There is so much passion and support for music and local artists here in Athens. To support local artists, students will turn their houses into venues to host house shows. These shows feature a variety of music genres and are usually a small donation or free to get in. Shows happen a few times a week and are posted on the Athens DIY Community Facebook page. If you’re into great music and cool people, these house shows are the place to be.

3. Vegan Cooking Workshop

Busy schedules and small budgets can make cooking healthy meals a bit of a challenge for college students. But every Tuesday night students and Athens residents come together to chow down on some delicious vegan food. Starting at 7 pm, people begin cooking then food is served at 9 pm. Helping to cook the food is not required but it is a great way to learn how to make yummy health food. For those who do not cook there is just a $2 donation for the meal to help fund the cost of food and rent. Athens Vegan Cooking Workshop takes place in the basement of United Campus Ministries (UCM) at 18 N College Street. This is a fantastic place to eat a delicious healthy home cooked meal and hang with lots of friendly hippies.

2. Get on the roof of Pawpurrs

Chilling on rooftops is another popular activity that Bobcats frequently engage in. There are some Bobcats who like to take this to the next level. The roof of Pawpurr’s is the ultimate rooftop chill spot. The view of Court Street is breath taking and it’s an awesome spot for watching drunk Bobkitties stumble down the bricks. However, getting on top of Pawpurr’s roof is illegal so climb at your own risk!

  1. Rope Swing on Mound Street

The rope swing on Mound Street is Athens ultimate hidden gem. Behind one of the houses is a massive tree and a large cliff-like-pit, looking over the woods. Tied to one of the tree’s branches is a heavy-duty rope with a milk crate attached to it. You sit on top of the crate, jump off the top of the cliff and hold on for your dear life. You swing over the pit, flying around the brush below. It literally feels like flying. Rope swing is fun during the day but is best at night because the view of the stars and moon is unreal. This may seem unsafe but no one has died (yet) from falling off. Take a swing on Athen’s greatest gem; it’s worth the risk.

Potential grad students should understand the challenges and opportunities of their programs and community

Being a graduate student is a life changing experience, and students often take on a dual role as both a student and teacher.

Students considering Ohio University have a lot to consider before they enroll. First, there is the classroom where students are going to be asked to do much more than they did as undergraduates. There will also be the addition of research expectations, and finally many will have to get used to living in a new community.

There is certainly an adjustment that must be made in the classroom. Amber Damiani, a graduate student in sociology, stated the expectations increase and students have to change how they take on assignments.

Graduate students need to start planning their project immediately, there is no room for procrastination, she said. In the following video Damiani talks about developing good habits for classroom work.

The additional reading and writing isn’t the only adjustment. Students at the graduate level also have more freedom to choose what classes they will take to help them meet their professional goals.

Students at the graduate level need to change their mindset from one of simply taking classes to fill requirements to one where they consider how classes will impact their future career, said Jamie Beth Boster, a doctoral student in communication sciences and disorders.

“You can really expand and build on things that you are interested in,” Boster said.

While students can still explore in classes, they also can really dig deep into certain areas, she said. Graduate school is much more about the individual and developing as a professional.

This leads Boster to provide advice in the following video about thinking deeply about the program you choose.

Entering Grad School

When considering what school to attend there are a lot of things that should be considered.

First among them should be a true interest in the area a person is considered studying.

Students getting into graduate school shouldn’t be afraid to take a year off and truly consider what they want to do. In psychology taking a year off is not uncommon, said Allix Beauchamp, a doctoral student in OU’s psychology department.

“They should organize their thoughts, think about what they want to do, where they want to go, and what field of research is most intriguing to them,” she said. “There’s a lot going on in your senior year, people start feeling burnt out they’re wrapping up this major part of their life.”

Such a big change in life can be overwhelming. Once a student has made it to the interviewing process the school has acknowledged the student is a good candidate, Beauchamp said.

The goal for the student should be to determine if they are “a good fit for the type of program that (the school) likes to foster,” she said.

Some programs are more involved with mentoring while are less so, Beauchamp said.

“These are questions you really need to know because this sets the foundation for the rest of your life,” she said.

The student can’t be afraid to ask questions about the type of program during the interview process, Beauchamp said. This is because as Beauchamp talks about below graduate school has an significant impact on the rest of your career.

Potential graduate students get a lot of bad advice from people about what they should do, according to Elizabeth Keenan in an article on Vitae.

Furthermore, potential students need to be aware of the challenges they will face while seeking an advanced degree. For example an article from Inside Higher Ed warns that students must be prepared to take charge of their own program, understand why their work is important, and finally comprehend that most of the problems that face graduate students are psychological.

Research and Teaching Expectations

 There are research expectations that come with being a graduate student. Students are expected to contribute to the body of research in their field.

Students should understand that once they turn in a paper they shouldn’t just forget about it. Most graduate students want to do something with their work, said Ryan Dunham, a doctoral student in media arts and studies.

“In graduate school your goal should be to turn term papers into conference papers,” he said. “Use the feedback from the professor to improve your piece.”

Then if the paper is accepted by a conference take the feedback received at the conference and edit the paper again so it can be submitted to journals, Dunham said. The final goal is to get the paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

As a second year doctoral student in Journalism, I believe that graduate students need to take the role of researcher seriously.

 

It’s hard to understand when you first arrive, but having confidence in your work and understanding not just what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how it ties into existing research will be what leads to a job when you finish your program.

In addition to research, graduate students often teach classes. This places students in the position of being both a student and teacher. Students also should understand they have to take the teaching responsibility seriously, make it a priority and not simply focus on their own work even if you might feel overwhelmed.

You have to remember the teaching is often your job as a graduate student and why you don’t have to pay for school. The reviews from students will also influence your ability to get a job.

Around Athens

Not every student focused on the academic side of being a graduate student, some sought to inform incoming students about interesting things to do in and around Athens. The town of Athens and the surrounding area has a number of things for students to do outside of class.

Damiani recommends outside of class enjoying the bike paths. The library allows you to check out a bike and check it back in.

“It’s a good way to see the area. It’s a way you can see the outdoors and not always be cooped up and studying,”

It would be helpful if the university offered tours, or some other type of resources, to new graduate students to learn about the history of the area and see some of the more interesting sites like Bong Hill or The Ridges, which does have tours. It would be a way for students to understand some of the rich culture within the area.

“It’s a small town so there’s the movie theater, a bowling alley, and of course the bar scene,” she said.

Steve Richardson, a master’s student in geography, focused on the number of hiking trails in the area.

 

In addition, he talked about the number of breweries in the area as something grad students like to visit.

“Most people don’t know there are actually four breweries within the Athens area you have Jackie O’s, you have Little Fish (Brewing Company), you have Devil’s Kettle (Brewing), and there’s another one that’s being built,” Richardson said. “It’s great to have local breweries creating fresh local beer for you whenever you want.”

I also believe that graduate students shouldn’t be afraid to venture away from Athens and explore the surrounding communities. Those who simply stay within the city will not understand all the area has to offer or really comprehend the culture of Southeast Ohio.

While graduate school is demanding Dunham has some advice for keeping your sanity.

Finally this slideshow shows a few of the offices where graduate students at Ohio University engage in research and meet with students.

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Little Fish Brewing Company offers brews and bites

Large Ohio cities such as Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland are known for successfully conjuring excellent craft beer (think Great Lakes and Columbus Brewing Company). Yet Athens is slowly, but surely, becoming a new hub for craft brewing. The town has long been known as being the home of Jackie O’s, but this past summer two new breweries entered the fold.

beerOne of the new establishments is Little Fish Brewing Company. The small brewery, located a short five-minute drive from campus at 8675 Armitage Road, opened in early July right before Ohio Brew Week. Athens natives Sean White and Jimmy Stockwell are the founders and owners of the operation.

The duo both started as home brewers for many years. White went on to have brewing internships and jobs in different corners of the United States but eventually came home to Athens to fulfill his dream of opening his own brewery. All of the beers served at Little Fish’s taproom are made right there at the facility. The open floor plan allows guests to see where their beer is made and stored. It’s a participatory atmosphere White and Stockwell are proud to have created.

But besides awesome beer and a unique setup, Little Fish has other special features. Currently, the brewery doesn’t yet have the ability to produce its own food. Instead, it has created partnerships with local food trucks to come to the brewery every day that it’s open. Holy Guacamole, Cajun Clucker and Mauvette’s Caribbean Fusion all make stops at Little Fish throughout the week. Having food at the brewery was always an important objective for the brewery.

“We are kind of on the outside of town, and certainly people can have food delivered here, but we thought it was important to the experience of coming to the brewery and spending the afternoon here; and if people were going to spend extended periods of time, we wanted them to have food,” Stockwell said.

Senior strategic communications student Alessa Rosa visited the brewery at the beginning of the semester with her boyfriend and his family. During her visit, she was surprised to see that one of her favorite trucks was serving food.

“Holy Guacamole was there and I almost died,” she said. “It was nice because I had been hunting Holy Guacamole down for like months and they don’t have regular times when they’re in their usual spot and I can’t find the information. So it’s nice knowing that every Thursday they’ll be there so I can go and get [it].”

Incorporating a local food truck along with the well-made craft beer made a positive impression on Rosa. She said she would like to go back sometime to try something new.

White said a long-term goal for Little Fish is to one day open an independent restaurant on site. Though the planning for this is far in the future, it’s still something he’s very excited about. Being sustainable is something the brewery is proud of and hopes to continue to improve on.

“To sort of get a real farm-to-table experience out here we can’t just have brewing ingredients out there, but maybe we’ll have a small greenhouse and some garden beds and be able to supply some of our own produce,” White said.

In the mean time, Stockwell and White are celebrating a big milestone for the company. On Oct. 24, the brewery celebrated its first bottle release of three of its brews. Stockwell said bottles are available of Saison, Woodthrush and the original version of the Reinheitsgewhat?! sour beer. Customers looking to get their hands on some brews for home can stop by the taproom or select bottle shops around town. Stockwell also said some brews are on tap at Casa Nueva, J Bar and Pigskin.