Getting Around Hartford

Getting Around Hartford

One of the great things about Trinity is its location. We are located just outside of Downtown Hartford, a thriving city with museums, amazing restaurants, art and performance venues, and its own identity and culture. Trinity has implemented many resources to help students get around Hartford as easily as possible. Trinity’s campus is located at the conjunction of four residential Hartford neighborhoods, so there are only a few restaurants and markets within walking distance of campus. But Trinity has made it pretty easy to get anywhere you might want to go around the city.

There are a variety of ways that Trinity has set up for students to get around the city, and even more ways provided directly by the city of Hartford. The first thing Trinity has done is secure a shuttle that drives around the perimeter of campus at all times. It stops at different locations around campus every 20 minutes. The shuttle will pick you up anywhere on the outside of campus, and drop you off anywhere along the route. You can also call campus safety and request the shuttle to your location. There is also another shuttle that runs off campus. This shuttle has specific times that change every once in a while, but the main time it runs is on Saturday afternoons, when it takes students to Walmart, Target or the Westfarms Mall, and then picks them up and brings them back to campus. Trinity also provides each student with a free Bantam Bus Pass every semester. These allow students to ride the Hartford city buses completely free all around the city. There are even some field trips that require students to take the bus, and there are chaperones who teach and show the students how to use the bus system. Bus schedules and routes are located in Mather Hall.

There are many festivals downtown throughout the semester, and the bus is the perfect way to get around during those times. Its a great time for students to get a chance to experience the cultures of the city. Students also love going to the local coffee shops to get a change of scenery when studying for tests or doing homework. Story and Soil is a local coffee shop co-owned by a Trinity alum who wanted to celebrate the Hartford culture through coffee and community. There are also amazing arts venues and performance spaces around the city like Real Art Ways, Playhouse on Park, The Hartford Stage and The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Hartford is there to take full advantage of and students can’t be more grateful that Trinity offers so many opportunities to do so.

Aside from public transportation and the shuttles, it is also incredibly easy to order Uber or Lyfts to campus. This is a quick and easy way to get downtown if necessary, or for a night out to the theater, to dinner, or to a movie. The nice thing about Ubers and Lyfts is that they pick you up and drop you off exactly when you need and where you want to be. The other forms of transportation have specific stops. However, all are easy and fun ways to get around Hartford, and it allows the students to break out of the Trinity bubble and explore the amazing city of Hartford.

Things I Learned After My First Semester

Things I Learned After My First Semester

Even though this is only my second semester here at Trinity, I can confidently say that I have learned a lot, in and out of class. For most, going to college for the first time is a major transition, so there is a lot to learn.

Lesson #1- Learn how to manage your time wisely:

My first couple weeks at school, I was amazed at all of the free time I had. I wasn’t really used to having only a couple hours of class everyday and was overwhelmed by my free time. That being said, if you feel that you have a lot of ‘free time’, realize that it is never ‘free’- take advantage of that time and get ahead on work before everything starts piling up.

Lesson #2- Befriend your professors 

One of the major perks about this school is the size. Some of my classes consisted of only ten people which may seem intimidating, but you will soon realize and appreciate how close you can get with your professors. Every professor has office hours which you should really take advantage of. Even if you don’t have a question about the class, go in and have a conversation with them about anything! They will appreciate your efforts to reach out and it will benefit you in the long run. It is also nice to know a little background about your teachers, know where they came from, why they started teaching, and they will always have tips and suggestions for you!

Lesson #3- Try new things

It is really easy to continue your old ways because that is what makes many people feel comfortable, especially when in a new environment. It is important that you branch out, do something you would never have done. Join a club, try out for a sports team (even if its just at the club level), try foods you have never tried, take a class you never thought you would take before, and most importantly- meet new people. It is important to expand your horizons and  be open-minded because you will find out a lot about yourself that you had not previously known.

Lesson #4- Find your place of relaxation

I am not going to lie, college can be very stressful and it is important to learn how to cope with that stress and anxiety. Find that little niche at the Underground Cafe where you can listen to music, find a bench on the quad where you can sit outside and enjoy the environment around you, or find that cozy spot in your room where you can take a nice nap, and relax.

Lesson #5- Have fun!

For many, college will be the best four years of their life. It is a time to explore yourself, have fun, experience new things, and of course, learn. Be social, go out, and enjoy yourself from time to time. Make the most of your four years.

On Moving to a City

On Moving to a City

For 18 years of my life I lived in a town with a population of about 10,000. My high school had about 200 kids per grade, kids that I had gone to kindergarten with and graduated high school with. It is a “quaint New England town”. And the one thing I knew I wanted when looking at college was to be in a city. I wanted to experience city living for a while and see what I was missing.

Riverfront Recapture connects Hartford business and organizations to the community.
Riverfront Recapture connects Hartford business and organizations to the community.

Hartford is about twelve times the size of my town, in terms of population. There’s a public transportation system, there’s more than just two restaurant, and the city has so much stuff to do. Connecticut has a rich history dating back beyond the Revolutionary War with many historical sites dedicated to different parts of history. Bushnell Park, the center of the city, is beautiful, especially the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial arch, which I got to go up in my first week on campus. Being from Massachusetts my only real experience with city halls was the Boston City Hall, which isn’t the prettiest. Hartford’s on the other hand is magnificent. When I round the bend on the highway coming back to school and see the stunning golden dome rising above everything else, I know I’m home.

One thing that I didn’t expect was the noise level. I knew it wouldn’t silent living in a city. It took a little while to get used to cars driving around all the time but I grew accustom to it and it doesn’t bother me now anymore. It’s almost like white noise. But when I went home for the first time after living in the city for a few months, it seemed like it was deafeningly quiet. At night the only sounds were the cicadas and the occasional call of a bird. I found myself missing my noisy city.

Another aspect of city life that I really love is not having a car. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving probably more than the average person, but living a city, you don’t need a car. In my town if you didn’t have a car, you didn’t have a life because the closest anything was always a 10 minute car ride away. In Hartford I can walk really anywhere I want to go. First-years aren’t allowed to have cars on campus but even as a sophomore, I don’t feel the need to bring a car down. Getting off campus is easy without a car and like most cities, it’s difficult to find parking.

Sometimes I do miss home and the simpler “country” living but I wouldn’t trade my city school for anything and I can’t wait to keep living here for at least a few more years.

Coffee Shops Around Hartford

Coffee Shops Around Hartford

Over the past few years, Hartford has come to garner a reputation of being a tough little city with nothing but insurance companies downtown. I thought this same thing when I first came to Trinity but after venturing out beyond campus, I came to find this was certainly not the case. Hartford is a vibrant, thriving city in which you don’t have to look far for fun things to do and cool places to check out. And one of the best things about living in a city, especially Hartford, is the numerous, wonderful coffee houses.

Blue House Coffee has locations across New England, including in downtown Hartford.
Blue State Coffee has locations across New England, including in downtown Hartford.

Café Sophia, 984 Farmington Ave, West Hartford

Located in the heart of Blue Back Square, this popular coffee shop is right across the street from Bar Taco, Max Burger, the Elbow Room and tons of other places to shop and eat. It’s a small place but always welcoming with great coffee, tea, and crepes and waffles anyway you want. Plus it’s not very expensive, something every college student values.

Blue State Coffee, 777 Main St, Hartford

Not only does this place have a small town vibe, it gives back to the surrounding city and the places they get their products. Right across the street from the Old State House, Blue State lists where in Connecticut it gets its coffee, eggs, dairy, and other produce from. It also gives 2% of all profits to local charities. Plus the coffee is really good! If you go to a different city, but still crave Blue State, they have other locations including three in New Haven, two in Boston, and two in Providence.

Tisane Euro Asian Café, 537 Farmington Ave, Hartford

Just a little up the road from Café Sophia is Tisane, which is a coffee shop and restaurant. In addition to the outdoor seating, with a fire pit, there are tons of beautiful chandeliers above you and art around you. You can get dinner, brunch, lunch, or just a drink here. They specialize in all different types of tea, hot or iced, with a fusion of Asian and European styles mixed in. And every time I’ve been the staff is beyond friendly and the music is great.

Sarah’s Coffee House, 257 Asylum St, Hartford

In the heart of downtown Hartford, next to the XL Center, is Sarah’s, a small time coffee house that occasionally has music and art. With a lot of natural lighting and a Gilmore Girls vibe, it’s very good place to get work done or just chill and drink some good coffee. It often has local musicians come and perform that can add to your Instagram-worthy cappuccino or chai and pastry.

Tea Break, 994 Farmington Ave, West Hartford

Also on Farmington Ave, a stone’s throw away from Café Sophia, Tea Break boasts mainly authentic bubble tea, and are one of the best places in the state. Their coffee bubble tea is to die for. And if you’re going with someone who doesn’t like coffee, they have a variety of different flavors of bubble, range from ‘coco love’ to ‘plum green tea’. Like many of the other places on this list, it’s a great spot to study but it has more room to spread out, unlike the previously mentioned coffee shops.