The library is deserted. You can park anywhere in town and not worry about having enough change. The air is cold, the wind is howling and scarves are in high demand. Winter break has come to Blacksburg. For better or worse, exams are over, the semester has ended and many students have returned home for their holiday break. The city is empty and it has never been easier to order a sandwich.
But Blacksburg can feel a bit lonely in the wintertime. Students may find themselves as the only remaining tenant of their apartment once all of their roommates have returned home. Virginia Tech’s campus certainly loses some of its charm once it is devoid of foot traffic. And now that the weather has taken a turn for the chilly, the city itself ceases to contain much of the life that sustains it through the first semester of the academic calendar.
But it would be wrong to assume that just because the majority of students leave that Virginia Tech and Blacksburg cease to be exciting and enjoyable places to be. For those students who, for whatever reason, have chosen to remain here over their holiday break, here are some things you can do to make the most of all this newly acquired elbow room.
For one thing, there is perhaps never a better time to go to the movies at either Paragon Theater or the Lyric, whichever you prefer. Winter is the season for cinema, more than anything because it is often far too cold to do anything else. Don’t be afraid to see movies all the time; there’s a reason why the two best movie seasons are summer, when everyone is out of school, and winter, when indoor entertainment is most preferable. Enjoy the privacy of a half-empty screening from the cheap seats, folks. It is actually a lot more fun than it sounds.
Even though outdoor activities are rather inadvisable at this time of year, or at least in the considered opinion of a great many homebodies, there is still plenty to see outdoors in Blacksburg in the wintertime. For one thing, a student’s time at Virginia Tech is simply incomplete without seeing the Duck Pond frozen over at least once. Of course, there’s no guarantee that it will happen in any given year, but it happens regularly enough, and it is sufficiently sublime, that seeing it is worth the hike down to the Duck Pond’s main pavilion to see the pristine sheet of ice stretch off into the farmland that backdrops the university.
Another spot that is mercifully deserted in the wintertime is the Huckleberry Trail which, to the disappointment of many young readers, has nothing to do with Mark Twain. The trail winds from Blacksburg to Christiansburg and exposes its visitors to the topographical wonders of southwest Virginia, stretching out over rolling hills of forest and farmland. These sights, like the Duck Pond, take on an entirely new dimension behind the veil of winter, especially after the first snowfall. Treat yourself to a winter wonderland that unfolds as far as the eye can see, over the rolling hills of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
No place is without its off-season charms, and all it takes a slight shift in one’s entertainment paradigm to them for what they are. Blacksburg and Virginia Tech may seem lonely over the winter, but given just a moment’s consideration they both unfurl a wide assortment of wintertime delights to those who chose to remain here during the semester break.