From shower caddies to your cliche Pink Floyd poster, you probably think you have everything you could possibly need for your freshman year at Vassar. But, at some point during the year, you’ll probably realize that you need some additional supplies. Be it a new toothbrush, a new pair of pants or some cooking supplies, there’s a good chance it can be found somewhere in Poughkeepsie.
Although resisting the urge to order everything off of Amazon will require actually leaving your room, you’ll end up supporting local businesses and getting to know the community if you venture off campus.
For students looking to save money on everything from clothes to leaf blowers, one local option is the Bird House Thrift Shop, which is located on Raymond Avenue about five minutes on foot from campus. The Bird House is part of a nonprofit organization called The Barn Thrift Shops, which operates several thrift shops in the local area. Most of the goods at the Bird House are donated by members of the local community and the proceeds from their sales go directly back to the community to help those in need.
As an alternative for those who wish to remain slightly closer to campus, the Bearded Lady is directly across the street from Vassar. The store is run by a young woman who hand selects one-of-a-kind and vintage clothing, along with other quirky accessories and odds and ends. The owner tries to keep everything affordable to help college students who’d like to stay fashionable without breaking the bank.
Just up the street is the Krafted Cup, a small coffee shop with free wifi and comfortable chairs. During any exam period, the Cup becomes a popular study space for students who need both to get out of their room and to get some caffeine. Though they serve smoothies and other drinks, the shop is best known for their coffee.
“If you get tired of that black stuff the Deece calls coffee, head over to the Krafted Cup,” said Nora Molasky ’17, a sophomore who has been going to the Cup since the first week she arrived at Vassar.
As a freshman, you’ll mostly dine in the ACDC or Retreat, where food will appear prepared for you as if by magic. But it’s never too soon to learn some basic cooking skills for the time when your meal plan will be nonexistent.
Shevi Epstein ’15 has lived in Poughkeepsie for most of her life. Rather than relying on campus dining, she prefers to cook for herself whenever she can and has had to find reliable places to buy quality ingredients.
“Take the extra time to travel out to Adams. They have the widest and highest quality selection of foods in the area, great homemade ice cream and an outstanding plant nursery, not to mention lots of other fun stuff.” Epstein recommended.
Adams Fairacre Farms is located a short five minute drive north of Vassar offering fresh produce and foods. Adams offers a wide variety of both local and international food to fit all tastes, as well as a bakery. The store also has a gift shop, stocking everything from jewelry to potted plants to assorted gift baskets.
While there are tons of options in the area immediately surrounding Vassar, many students choose to make the trek to the distant Poughkeepsie Galleria. Fortunately for Vassar students without a car, the Poughkeepsie buses will let students on for free as long as they have their Vassar IDs all week long, and there is a free shuttle running from campus to the Galleria on the weekends. The Galleria has a Target and several other stores as well as a movie theater and restaurants, making it a favorite spot for students to spend a weekend afternoon shopping and hanging out with friends.
Although, Epstein pointed out, if you’re already planning on spending the half of a day or more it takes to go to the Galleria, you might be better served taking a train into the city.
“I rarely go to the Galleria for anything, it takes long enough on the bus, you may as well go down to the city and have a wider selection,” said Epstein.
So no matter what your hobby is or what kind of food you’re looking to cook, there’s a very good chance that someone in or around Arlington shares your interest and can help you out. And even if there aren’t any in the immediate area, students have the whole of New York City and the Hudson Valley to explore.