For those of you that don’t know this about me, I am a proud Penn State Nittany Lion. Once a year I try to head back down to Happy Valley for a game. I love the White Outs and provided they aren’t in November, that is usually my game of choice. The 2016 White Out was against Ohio State on October 22. I got my tickets and I made a plan to head on down. I often head down to PSU alone but this time Steve was coming with me and he was a first timer to Happy Valley. So I knew I had to hit all my favorite spots to show him a good time. I will say this right off the bat for any current or former Nittany Lions that are reading this, we did miss wings at the Skeller and pizza at Canyon Pizza. Time and stomach space just did not allow for the visits. But if YOU have time during YOUR trip you should def check them out. I’d suggest wings for lunch on a Friday afternoon and Canyon pizza for a late night snack Saturday night.
But here is my perfect weekend:
Friday afternoon I began my drive down. This trip was not a solo trip and my boyfriend at the time of writing came with me. He worked a half day that day and we left when he got out of work. We stopped for lunch somewhere along the way and got into town around 7 PM. First this we did was check into our AirBnB and then went off to buy the wine for Saturday’s sangria and the beer. For those of you that don’t know, wine and hard liquor are sold in one store, beer in another, so make sure you plan for that if you will be needing both. Also, it’s best to go do a place that sells beer that isn’t attached to a bar/restaurant as those bottle shops tend to be more expensive. After gathering our libations for the next day’s tailgate we headed downtown.
Since it was a big football weekend I had made dinner reservations in advance. I always love a night dinner or Sunday brunch at Allen Street Grill. So we went to our 8:30 reservation and had a wonderful sever who explained drinks and food may be running a little slower since it was such a busy weekend but he’d have everything out as quickly as possible. I think it’s great when server explain a situation to a table, it’s better for a table to be surprised that things came out quicker than expected rather than getting upset that things are taking longer than expected. Either way, both drinks and food came out quickly. Our table was in the corner right at the windows that looked out over both streets, it was a lovely view. I got the pork chops which can be a gamble as pork can easily get dry but they were deliciously moist. And my boyfriend got the Home football weekend special of the mixed grill. (There is one that is on the normal menu and one that is a special). We shared the meats on both our dishes and everything was delicious. His came with sausages, lamb, duck, etc. I could not have expected anything less from this establishment. You can certainly go in any sort of jean and t shirt combo, but if you feel like strapping on a pair of heels or dress shoes a button down shirt with dark wash well fit jeans or and a skirt or dress it wouldn’t hurt.
After dinner we walked up and down College Ave and Beaver Ave to check out the bar scene. All of the bars had lines and we settled on starting off at Local Whisky. Local Whisky is one of the more recent additions to State College and on this Weekend seemed to draw a rather large alumni crowd. If you like whisky, you should def check the place out and see what you think. After a drink there we went to The All-American Rathskeller, or The Skeller for short. We grabbed a drink and headed into the back room (There’s about 3 different rooms at The Skeller) to listen to the band play. They were the greatest sound wise but they were fun. And we enjoyed rocking out to a bunch of classics that spanned the last 40 – 50 years. After a drink there we decided we’d head home.
We got in the car and made a stop at Gumby’s first. We got a pokey stick which is basically cheesey bread but one of the best late night snacks of PSU students. I love it with the marinara dipping sauce and the garlic butter, but the girl working the counter forgot our dipping sauces. Make sure you check before you leave!
We woke up early, got ourselves ready, and then headed to the stadium. If you know someone down in State College that can buy you a parking pass ahead of time it is much cheaper, you can call and order one, but you need to do it 2 weeks before your game, otherwise you’re paying a pretty penny to have it shipped. Otherwise you can do what we did, which is buy it day of. The cost day of (as of writing November 2016) was $40 (cash only). After parking we walked ourselves back downtown.
First thing’s first, we got breakfast at Irvings. A bagel with lox and cream cheese to share, then we both got breakfast burritos. I go to Irvings after Saturday game day. The food is delicious, the wait is a bit long at times, but its hot and pretty filling so it’s just want you need before the game (especially those night ones!)
From there we went shopping to get him some white out gear. There’s a ton of stores, the prices vary from store to store as does some of the merchandise, so if you can research ahead and know what you’re looking for, and check out prices online to known which stores fit your budget I would suggest it as the stores are pack on home game weekends.
Our final stop before we headed up to set up our tailgate was the Creamery. They don’t let you mix flavors, the line is long, but moves quickly, and the flavor options are listed well in advance, so please make your decisions so when it’s game time (I mean order time) you are ready. The cones are one size and the size is massive. Well worth the money.
From there is was time to head back to the stadium to get out tailgate on. Unfortunately is was cold and windy this October day, so our tent wasn’t happening and either was our grill. But the nice people at all the surrounding tailgates offer to use of their grill and their help with our tent. There’s a lot of comradey at these tailgates. I suggest you learn where the closet bathroom or porta potty is to you tailgate and bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer! Just imagine using a porta poddy then grabbing at the finger foods at the tailgate… gross.
If you’re a game type, there’s plenty you can bring a long, populous are of course beer pong and corn hole. I myself tend to refrain from games and just watch. I’m not a party type, but I enjoy great food. So I love the tailgates that go all out of their food choices. The larger the tailgate and more easily that can happen, so if you can, combine your tailgate with your friends. Also, make sure to have hot food! Even if it’s a warmer gay its nice to have actual food rather than just all snacks. And a new staple that I put get that I saw at a neighboring tailgate is a propane run fire fit. That helps with the cold immensely!
For the game itself no bags can be brought in, ladies, this includes purses! I know crazy right? I had my wallet with me last year which is a standard size women’s wallet and they said that was too big to bring in. Make sure you get in early enough to find your seats and not miss the Blue Band! It’s set up as N for North for South and so fourth. Then each :section” N,S,E,W have smaller sections among them, but knowing which direction your in should help you find your seats a little quicker so you can head straight to that part of the stadium.
This game in particular was an excellent one. PSU took down #2 ranked OSU. Nittany Lions rushed the field after. This doesn’t happen every game, if it does at one you are at, please be respectful. You can go on the field but stay away from any area guarded by police that is how you will find yourself in some trouble. And when they ask you to leave, please do so.
We actually stayed out of State College Saturday night so Sunday morning we did not have breakfast in Happy Valley.
But when we got back we did a walk through campus, took photos at the Lion Shrine and then headed over to Primanti’s for lunch. We of course got the sandwiches in the Primanti style with the french fries and cole slaw on top of the sandwich. Now as a person who hates cole slaw something about the way Primanti makes there, it’s just different, and I LIKE theirs.
From there it was time to make our drive home. Until next year State College, you have been wonderful!