Saturday, July 31, 2010

Penn State Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10



Penn State is the "Big Daddy" of tailgating in the northeast. It is the "Flagship" of the football rich state of Pennsylvania and has a large student body (about 45,000) that really gets into football weekends. Being a rural campus it has plenty of parking and you definitely know that the college and the game is the biggest event around central Pennsylvania.

GETTING THERE

Penn State, a land grant school, is the most eastern school of the Big 10 and can be hard to get to by car depending on which direction you're coming from due to the Appalachian Mountains (more precise the Alleghenies). The closest Big 10 school (Ohio State) is 5.5 hours away. The good news is Penn State is RV friendly and allows parking starting on Thursday evening for RVs. The school is located in the small city of State College in Centre County (Pop. 150,000). State College however lately has become a popular destination for retirees that enjoy the four seasons and outdoor activities.


Pattee Mall on the campus

Flying and Riding
State College is served by the small regional University Park Airport (SCE). Delta, United and US Airways offers limited service. The airport is conveniently located just a couple miles from the campus. Be advise airfare into State College can be high and you also can suffer long waits at hubs if you miss your connection. A better option might be to fly into Harrisburg (1 3/4 hours away), Pittsburgh (2 3/4 hours away), Baltimore-Washington (BWI) (3 1/4 hrs)or even Philadelphia (3 1/2 hours away) and rent a car. Train service is not available into State College. However, it is a short trip away (about an hour) from several Amtrak train stations, located in Altoona, Lewistown, and Huntingdon. Greyhound Bus Service is another option for those living close by as it offers service to the University. An easy to read map showing Penn State and State College is here.



Hotel State College on Allen Street in State College, PA a nice place to spend a weekend
Picture from Nittany Memories check it out


A printable map of the campus

Directions to the Stadium

Lots of different printable maps here.

All info taken from the 2008 Penn State Parking and Stadium Information Guide except where noted. This is a good read from 2007. The newest 2008 stadium brochure is smaller and suitable for printing. Additionally Penn State offers up a great game day web site for the visiting fan.

A nice overview map to use--centered on Beaver Stadium.

Fans arriving from the West via U.S. 322 SHOULD USE THE MOUNT NITTANY EXPRESSWAY (East/West Expressway just north of the stadium US 220/322).

U.S. Interstate 80 Traffic: Fans arriving from the West should take Exit 158 and follow Route 150 South to Route 26 South. Fans arriving from the East should take Exit 161 to Route 26 South or U.S. 220 South.

Persons without parking passes should follow the football directional signs from their route of arrival. Parking fee payment will be made at the lot entrance. Day of the game cost is $40 for parking instead of $10 + $2 Ticketmaster Fee if you prepay. So Plan ahead! You have been warned.
You will be directed to lots# 11 and 26.

NOTE: TRAFFIC ON UNIVERSITY DRIVE SOUTH OF CURTIN ROAD IS RESTRICTED TO BUSES AND
BLACK PASSES ONLY. PORTER ROAD IS RESTRICTED TO PRE-PAID PERMITS ONLY.

Yes, it is really $40 they doubled it this year. The story is here. IMHO, I think this is a blatant attempt at a money grab on those that drive up without prepaying. Shame on PSU this isn't Midtown Manhattan. Okay off my soapbox.

If you have a prepaid parking pass click here for directions. If you want to avoid game day hassles--here is the prepaid parking website--operated by Ticketmaster. NOTE: The website for prepaid won't seem to be working if you check before late July or so, have patience grasshopper and wait till then. Also, learn from my mistake: don't wait until two weeks before to purchase because the pre-paids will not be available (at least they sold out in 2009). I did hear you can buy a prepaid parking pass at the Bryce Jordan Center up to Friday closing before the game. If you are a visiting fan without a prepaid pass you will be directed to lot 11 or 23 depending on where you arrive from. Non prepaid RV's will be directed to lot 9. Non prepaid RVs will cost $80 instead of $40+$3 Ticketmaster Fee if bought in advance. Ticketmaster doesn't have an option for Buses but their day of the game price to park is $120. I suggest you call the PSU Ticket office to see about a prepaid pass.

Arriving via the Mount Nittany Expressway, YELLOW pass holders will be directed to: Lots# 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 26 northeast or east of the stadium.

Arriving via Porter Road, YELLOW pass holders will be directed to Lot# 25.

Arriving via Park Avenue (Atherton Street, Business Route 322), YELLOW pass holders
will be directed to: Lots# 11, 12, and 13.


Arriving via (Airport) Fox Hollow Road, Yellow pass holders will be directed to Lots# 16, 17, 18 and 19 northwest of the stadium.


Driving to Beaver Stadium--Can be a slow process


RV's are a Common Site at Penn State--photo from Tailgater's Handbook

Overnight and Game day RV Parking

Limited overnight parking for recreational vehicles ONLY is permitted Thursdays after 6 p.m. in the designated area (see Parking Map--Lots# 19 + 20 NE of the stadium). A $60 (for $2010???) per-night fee (for Thursday and Friday) is charged for this service. There will be separate charges for towing and towed vehicles. Game day RV parking is $80 or $40(+$3 fee) prepaid. Lots# 13 and 25 are set aside for game day RV parking. Bus parking is $120 game day and I assume about $60 prepaid. I recommend calling as Ticketmaster doesn't allow this option.

A Printable Parking Map is here.

Disabled Parking

From the PSU ADA Guide

Parking
In accordance with Pennsylvania law, parking is available near the stadium for persons with disabilities. Ticket holders with a Handicap License Plate or a state issued Handicap Placard may use parking lot #9 behind the Intramural Building. Patrons must arrive from the west on Park Avenue to access this lot. Shuttle Busses will circulate this lot for two hours prior to kickoff and will stop at Gate B west of the stadium.

Post-game
Shuttles leave from Gate B as soon as they are full, and operate approximately two hours following conclusion of the game.

Fans Requiring Wheelchair Parking
For fans requiring a wheelchair for mobility, please contact Lisa Clark at 814-863-1000 in advance to purchase the proper parking pass for parking areas south of stadium.


Scalping

If you plan ahead you usually can buy tickets for games through Ticketmaster. The early season OOC games usually have seats. Additionally at the Ticketmaster website, PSU runs a secondary market for ticket resell by season ticket holders. If you waited and can't get any through Ticketmaster then you have to scalp. From what I could tell Pennsylvania allows you to resell tickets to football games over the Internet (if you are instate) for whatever price the market will bear. The buyer of course can be out of state. It appears to be illegal to do it in person to sell more than $5 above face value. The linked article above stated they arrest between 50-100 people each season. Penn State fans have told me tickets are easy to come by right in front of the stadium along Curtin Road. 'Pro' scalpers and regular fans are selling and buying tickets in that area. Earlier in the day tickets are also easy to find anywhere along College Ave especially between McLanahans (Grocery Store) and the book store. With that warning above (about arrest) in place if you still want to buy tickets above face value the following techniques usually have worked for me in other states: I have always found the best spot to find extra tickets is at the tailgates. I would troll the tailgate lots before game time. As game time approaches you can find tickets leading to the stadium. It is always preferred to buy extras from fellow fans.

If you are willing to risk arrest the following techniques have served me well where it is legal. If you run into a professional scalper as opposed to a fan some off the following tips are key. A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used from both scalper and fan: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plummet to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by offering $20 less per ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.


Beaver Stadium Seating Chart--don't forget your binoculars

TAILGATING

Penn State has been argued by many to be among the best tailgating schools in the country. They come early and stay late. From the Penn State Parking and Stadium Guide:
Parking lots generally open at 8:00 a.m. For Noon games lots open at 7:00 a.m. For late afternoon or night games lot openings will be posted on the Web site: Plan to arrive at Beaver Stadium after the lots open in order to avoid standing traffic prior to opening.
Fans have told me it is best to arrive early before the lots open. Park your car in queue and wait.

Most of the tailgating is done in fields. As long as it isn't pouring rain this creates a much nicer environment than compared to most other northeastern schools who heavily rely on paved parking lots.

Also new for 2009: NO GLASS BOTTLES IN THE TAILGATE LOTS! Also as before, No Charcoal Grills!

PSU fan, "psufleish23" said:
There are green dumpsters spread around the tailgate areas and on them are rolls of Trash/Recycling bags. At the very least put all your trash in bags in a neat pile so the crews working overtime on Sunday can easily pick them up.

Bathrooms
Lots of port-a-potties but the lines are usually pretty long at them. A tip is that most of the public campus buildings within walking distance are open on weekends, especially the Law Bldg, Forestry Bldg, Business Bldg, Findley Commons, and IM Building. They have nice restrooms in them and the lines are not nearly as long.

Wearing The Other Team's Colors

Most of our fans are pretty nice to opposing team's fans, but we have had a few bad apples in some high-profile incidents recently. Most of those were with major rivals in town. For most games, don't be surprised to have people invite you over for some food or a beer. Some tips to avoid any trouble (applies to all sporting events): Try not to provoke. Avoid the larger tailgates with lots of students/drinking at them. Night games tend to be worse.

Also, a lot of fans like to give some good-nature ribbing to each other on game days. I've found that if you can be a good sport with them about it when you're at their venue, then they are usually pretty nice to you after that.







Photos from: Straight outta Johnstown

Tailgating Alternative

If you are downtown or along South Atherton (Business US 322) in one of the hotels...try setting up in your hotel parking lot and take the shuttle to the stadium. From the Penn State Parking and Stadium Information Guide:

Shuttle Bus (CATA) For the convenience of fans, shuttle buses provide continuous service between the many area hotels along South Atherton Street, Downtown State College, and Beaver Stadium(the corner of Curtin Road and University
Drive). They begin three hours before kickoff and run continuously until one hour after the game is over. They operate in both directions approximately every ten minutes before the game and every twenty minutes during the game. Following the game, they run continuously one-way from the stadium. All shuttle buses are fully accessible and the fare is $2.00 (exact fare only) each way. Individuals presenting a valid U.S. Medicare Card, Senior Transit Identification Card, or a CATA Reduced Fare Identification Card may ride for half the fare ($1.00). Call CATA at 814-238-2282 or visit the Special Services section of CATA’s website.


The shuttle run is quite extensive and ends at Hills Shopping Plaza and also a nearby street area and Easterly Elementary School is about a half mile away from Hills Plaza but is walkable to a shuttle stop. Parking spots are offered but be sure to read the website as to where to park. This might be a nice option for visiting fans. NOTE: I went to a game in Sep 09. I did this option. Parked in backside of the Hills Plaza. It worked out well. The parking lot isn't really conducive to good tailgating. It is best if you have a friend who is hosting in a lot near the stadium. The shuttle bus drops you off about a 1/4 mile from the stadium (near the basketball arena). It was well run.

NOTE: For 2010, I realize a few of the CATA links aren't working...I was assured by some PSU fans it is still running for the season.

A Few More Parking Tips

From PSU fan, psufleish23:
Parking on campus in most lots is free on the weekends after 9 pm Friday. If you can get their early enough on Saturday, you get free parking and it's usually a short walk to the stadium. But, this DOES NOT apply to the parking garages on campus.

A lot of the streets in the Highlands Area (the residential area basically bordered by Beaver Ave, University Drive, Easterly Parkway, and Atherton Street) all say that parking is prohibited from 2am-6am, and it's usually enforced pretty well based on all the yellow envelopes on windshields come Sunday morning. If you come in for the weekend, you can call the State College Police Department before 10pm at 814.234.7510 with your license plate # and the location of your vehicle and they won't ticket it for the weekend.


One last note: Do Not bring a backpack to the stadium...they will not let you in.


Hope this helps.

TAILGATE SUPPLIES:


Get Penn State Gear Like This at College Lags and Banners


New to 2010 are great tailgate products offered to my readers...BTW, you get a 10% discount.

College Flags and Banners Co. is the ultimate source for your tailgate. They offer a huge selection of college flags and banners including: Army, Cincinnati, Connecticut, ECU, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, USF, and WVU. Plus everything else you need for game day, from tailgating flagpoles and wheel stands to conference pennant sets. All products are officially licensed and ship within 24 hours. Order today and relieve 10% off your order by typing in coupon code "MARK10" at checkout.

If you are looking for more than just college try their sister company.

Other Sports Flags:
Sports Flags and Pennants Co. is the premium source for all of your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR flags and pennants. Fast, secured shipping to your doorstep and all products are officially licensed. Through our site we are offering a coupon code for 10% off your order. Just enter "MARK10" at checkout.

Last Minute Tailgate Supplies

A couple things make this more of an ordeal than many other schools. Pennsylvania has archaic alcohol laws and doesn't do the consumer any favor. Beer can not be bought in grocery stores or convenient markets. Hard Liquor and Wine is only available the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Stores. Centre County has several shops listed. Beer is not available at PLCB stores. For beer in State College you'll need to go to one of the larger distributors (Pletchers is one and is located near the largest PLCB store) or to a smaller 6-pack bottle or take away shops. The 6-pack shops are always attached to a restaurant - for example Hooter's has one and there is another attached to Sharkies. At the larger distributors you can get only get full cases and kegs (kegs are illegal in the tailgating lots). The smaller shops sell smaller packs but have a limit on the volume of beer purchased and are much more expensive. Wine and liquor are only available at the PLCB stores. So either bring it from home or get severely inconvenienced by finding one of these stores on gameday.

PSU fan "psufleish23" said:
The distributors usually carry all major brands, they generally align themselves with certain brands, giving better prices for that brand than its competitors. For example, Nittany Beverage gives better deals on Miller products, and W.R. Hickey gives better deals on Anheuser-Busch. I'm not sure about Pletcher's alliances, but I've heard they have a better overall selection, including micros. If you're looking for a semi-local beer, PA-brewed Yuengling Lager is a pretty good choice.

Although State College has an ordinance against open alcohol containers, it is relaxed during game day in the tailgate areas around the stadium. Also, they made a new rule a few years ago that prohibits drinking at the tailgate during the game. Once the game starts, cops patrol the lots and this will be enforced.


The closest store for all the other tailgating and food supplies is Mc Lanahans Penn State Room. They sell PSU merchandise and all sorts of tailgating supplies. Note: They don't sell beer, wine or liquor.

McLanahan's--a must for any one looking for PSU Merchandise and Tailgate Supplies.
If you are looking for a regular grocery store State College has several options. State College has a Wegman's Market on the west side. Wegman's is huge and competes with the best grocery chains in the US. Giant has two locations in State College. One on the east side and one on the west side. Weis Super Markets have four stores in the State College Area. Finally, Walmart has two Supercenters. One on the west side and one on the east side. Wegmans, Giant, and Walmart are all open 24 hours. Finally, if you are buying food for your tailgate be sure to pick up some Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna...it is one of those must try local foods.

Money Saving Tip: Weis, Wegmans and Giant all use loyalty cards. Either apply for one online or at customer service and maybe ask someone to scan their card for you to get the discounts.

TAILGATEWIKI--Total Tailgating Resource


Tailgatewiki.com is designed loosely on the wikipedia concept that anyone with internet access is considered an expert in the field and can contribute their personal knowledge in an online arena. Wikipedia covers all areas whereas Tailgate Wiki focuses on tailgating and improving the game day atmosphere. Because many fans
follow their team when they play on the road, Tailgate Wiki will serve as a resource for those fans to understand what to expect when they get there. Kind of like having a friend in every city, at every stadium, giving you the inside scoop on the best places to park, tailgating policies and much more. This is all user generated content and the goal is to benefit the entire tailgating community.

LODGING

State College boasts over 3000 hotel rooms and they need all of them for football weekends. The key thing is to book early if you want to be close. Here are some of the more popular motels in State College. Of course if you do some detective work you can find some hidden gems like the Nittany Budget Motel on the budget end or the Carnegie House on the higher end. The Hotel State College only offers 11 rooms but can't be beat for location. If you are a Bed and Breakfast fan this link will sure to please. This is the most comprehensive list I found for the listing of all lodging in the State College area.

Te Penn Stater Inn and Conference Center is located on campus and is usually very popular. Occasionally for out of conference opponents you can still find rooms a few weeks out.

Some out of town options: Clearfield, PA is about 45 miles NW located next to I-80. It has a nice assortment of motels. Altoona, PA is about 45 miles SW and also has quite a few motels. Another resource for Altoona showing all types of lodging options. About 70 miles east is Milton/Lewisburg and they offer options for those coming from the east coast. Finally, this guide is good for giving you phone numbers for various "Mom and Pop" Motels.


DINING
Famous Berkey Creamery
Okay let me get this out of the way first before talking about food: you need to go get ice cream at the University's Berkey Creamery (the largest college creamery in the US). They open early and close late on the weekends. Parking is available in the East Deck Parking Garage on Bigler Road located directly behind the Creamery Store and the Food Science building. The first 30 minutes is FREE. Just go you won't be disappointed.

FINE DINING: The Carnegie House, a few miles west, is a lodge but offers meals in a nice setting. The Atherton Hotel boasts the Tarragon Restaurant and a varied menu. The Tavern Restaurant is a long standing tradition and is very popular. Mario and Luigi's offers up the finest in Italian...they have an extensive menu. Spat's Cafe and Speakeasy offers Cajun Food on their varied menu. Zola's Bistro has a varied menu and popular.

CASUAL DINING: The Diner is just that but they offer the Grilled Sticky. Sounds interesting. The Diner is also a popular breakfast place. If you want something different try Korean at the Korean Kimchi Restaurant. Herwig's Austrian Bistro has fine food in a casual,cozy setting. Try Penn State Sub Shop#1 for great subs, cheese steaks and wraps. If you want steak, seafood and don't want to spend a fortune then Hoss's Steak and Sea House is for you. It offers alot of food for the money. Try Kelly's Steak and Seafood...it offers a nice menu at reasonable prices but is more upscale than Hoss's. Barbecue is hard to find in State College but west of town (about 10 miles) is Clem's Wood Fired BBQ. Clems also sell BBQ on the weekend in State College. Fat Jack's also come recommended for BBQ. See Bar Blue (nee: Buelah's) below for another BBQ option. If you are looking for Mexican Food--State College offers the fast food chain Qdoba Mexican Grill. Burritos are their specialty. The Rathskeller offers lunches by day and lots of beer and coeds by night. The Saloon is another college bar. Okay where do I go on Sunday morning after a hard night of partying? The Original Waffle Shop is outstanding. Expect a wait on Sunday mornings.


The Newly Renamed Bar Blue (nee: Beulah's BBQ:

Sports Bar Alert Bar Blue serves Kansas City Style BBQ and offers lots of HDTVs to watch your sporting events. It was formerly known as Buelah's. The Arena offers lots of TVs and is a full fledged sports bar--they should be able to find your game. Bill Pickle's Tap Room is Bar/Restaurant that also has TV's. Champs Sports Grill has reviews all over the place. It might be worth a look. One regional chain also has a sports bar in State College. Damon's offers their famous ribs as well as a full setup of TVs.

Bars

State College has a ton of bars catering to the younger crowd. Check out your specials here: Bar Guide
If you are looking for a slightly older crowd, I heard the Rathskellar, Adam's Apple (at the Tavern), or Allen Street Grille should be to your liking.

SHOPPING
If you have a spouse that doesn't want to go to the game the Nittany Mall should keep them busy. The Woolrich Clothing Store is a must see if you love their outdoor wear. It is located about 45 minutes NE off US 220. Other shopping possibilities are here.

GOLF

Penn State Golf Course--Blue and White Courses

Blue Course--from the official website:

The Blue Course finished renovations in 2006. We added three ponds and lengthened the course over 640 yards. The front nine, par 36, measures 3691 yards off the New Nittany tees. Its layout is quite different than you will find on the back nine. Tee shots require close attention to placement. A rewarding tee shot puts you in position to try your luck at carefully guarded greens. Twenty seven strategically placed green side bunkers on the front nine will challenge your course management skills, and patience. The front nine provides a challenge to the most experienced player by demanding not only length but accuracy.

The Blue Course back nine awaits your arrival. The back nine, par 36, is a newly constructed nine holes completed in 1994 and new additions in 2006. It measures 3481 yards off the New Nittany tees and provides a quite different experience than the front nine. The back nine not only includes 16 green side bunkers, but adds to the challenge by including 11 strategically placed fairway bunkers. Water hazards on the 14th and the 18th can add pressure to a seemingly easy tee shot. The back nine will provide you with large undulating greens and a links style atmosphere. Bring your "A" game. The Blue Course is the more expensive of the two courses.

White Course--from the official website:

The White Course, renovated in 2005, provides a challenging alternative to the Blue Course. With holes dating back to 1922, the White Course will test even the most skilled player. The front nine, par 36, measuring 3245 yards from the blue tees. The older course provides smaller crowned greens adding to the character and demanding a creative short game. Nearly 40 bunkers on the front side alone force you to manage your game, in your efforts to shoot a low score.

The back nine, par 36, measures 3099 yards and starts your journey with a straight forward par 5. Take advantage of these first few holes and you will be in good shape as you approach the home stretch. Elevation changes and deceptively placed fairway and green side bunkers will challenge your distance control and depth perception. Your finishing hole is a 492 yard, uphill slight dog leg right, that can make a strong case of being one of the toughest finishing holes in the area. The White Course par 3's will prove to be some of the most challenging you have played. This course will test your creativity. When in doubt, bump and run. Greens Fees here.



Toftrees Golf Resort and Conference Center

This might be the best choice for the Football Fan who also wants to play alot of golf. They offer stay and play packages. Five different tee settings allow you to play easy or play hard. Toftrees - meaning "Home among the trees" - is nestled amid 1500 scenic wooded acres in beautiful Centre County, Pennsylvania.

Toftrees Golf Resort has recently been rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest magazine's "Places to Play" and one of Pennsylvania’s Best Resort/ Public Golf Courses. Toftrees was selected by Meetings and Conventions magazine as one of the Top 75 Golf Conference Center Resorts in the U.S.A.



Finally, a link to a few other golf courses in the area.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Navy Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is located in Annapolis, MD, 30 miles east of Washington, DC and 30 miles south of Baltimore, MD. Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, is situated at the mouth of the Severn River on the Chesapeake Bay and is known for its sailing (the city is known as “The Sailing Capital of the World”) and historic downtown district. Perhaps the most important piece of information to have up front is that the Navy Marine Corps Stadium where the game will be played is not on the Naval Academy campus. It is actually located about a mile and a half northwest from downtown on Rowe Blvd. Visit the Annapolis Visitor Center website for a slew of information. If you are visiting Annapolis for the first time I highly recommend getting in a day early. A visit to the the Naval Academy is a must. Parking and Visitor info is available in a nice printable map. There is so much to do in the area. I suggest using the Official Maryland or the Washington D.C. Guides.


Midshipmen March On About 30 Minutes Before Kickoff Thanks to DC Pages.

Naval Academy Things to Do List
(Thanks to Scout poster Unrep)

1) Go to "Noon Meal" formation in front of Bancroft Hall in Tecumseh Court.
2) Turn around and see Tecumseh painted up for spirit before the game.
3) Once noon meal formation is over go inside Bancroft and see Memorial Hall. The Annapolis Peace Conference was held there in 2007. Dedicated to fallen Navy and Marine Corps heroes and Academy Alumni. Some neat Naval Artifacts. Sample Mid's room as you enter Bancroft on the right.
4) Tour the Chapel and John Paul Jones Crypt.
5) Naval Academy Museum in Preble Hall has historic artifacts and priceless sailing ship models.
6) Drydock in Dahlgren Hall a good place for a bite to eat and a soda on campus.
7) Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center has a 12 minute movie about "The Academy", exhibits, and gift shop. The visitor center is where you go to start your USNA tour.


Noon Formation--hated by the Mids, loved by all others

FLYING

There are three major airports in the area. The closest to Annapolis is the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (aka BWI or Thurgood Marshall Airport). BWI has Southwest Airlines, AirTran and USA3000 and because of that the airfares are usually very competitive. The other Airports are Reagan National (DCA) in Washington DC and Dulles International (IAD) on the west side of DC. Both DC airports will require considerable more travel time, although cheaper airfare can be found at times. Reagan is literally within about a mile or two from the US Capital. It should be a serious option if you plan on visiting DC. It has several discount air carriers. Washington Dulles (IAD) is the international gateway but is the furthest away. NOTE: DC and Baltimore traffic is atrocious. I would try to avoid traveling by car anytime from 6-9am and 3-7pm during the work week.

GETTING FROM BWI TO ANNAPOLIS

All major car rental companies are represented at BWI. Driving from BWI to Annapolis is very easy. Airport traffic is relatively light for a major airport and the drive to Annapolis is quick and easy. About 30 minutes total travel time, most of which is on limited access highways.

Airport Shuttle
Van transportation from BWI to many destinations in the Annapolis Area. Reservations are recommended (you can reserve a private van or share one with other travelers). Prices generally run about $40 one way for a single person on a shared ride (prices go down with more passengers on a reservation). A reserved van runs about $111 each way


TAXI AND BUS

Taxi service to Annapolis is relatively easy. Make sure you make return reservations as there are not a large number of taxis in the Annapolis area. RMA sedans and Limos also serve BWI. Trip cost is approximately $69 to Annapolis.

Annapolis Transit Buses
Only operates Monday through Friday
Departs BWI at :45 after odd hours
Last bus departs BWI at 5:45pm

TRAIN

Amtrak service is available. You should arrive at Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI) train station. The station is actually a little over a mile from the Airport Terminal but is connected via free shuttles. The airport shuttle offers convenient service for Amtrak patrons to Annapolis. Another option is to rent a car at the train station station.

GETTING TO USNA

Directions to the campus can be found on the Academy’s website:
It’s important to note that there are restrictions on the campus as it is a military base. Unless you have DOD stickers and military ID, you can not drive on the installation and there is no public parking on site (vehicles with handicap placards can park on campus after a vehicle inspection). There are parking decks in downtown Annapolis within short walking distance to the main gate. You must have photo ID if you’re over age 16. Visiting hours are 9am – 5pm. During these hours, there are guided walking tours of the campus which depart from the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center (home to a gift store and Naval Academy museum).

For those driving down from points north of Wilmington, Delaware – if you’re driving down on Friday before the game and want to avoid rush hour traffic around Baltimore, you might consider alternate routes, such as the one found here.



Annapolis has a Great Downtown to Browse

DIRECTIONS TO STADIUM

DIRECTIONS TO THE STADIUM (Courtesy of the Navy Sports Dept)

FROM THE NORTH
• Take I 97 South to US 50 East
• Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (exit #24)
and bear to the right
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

FROM WASHINGTON
(WEST)

• Take US 50 East
• Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (exit #24)
and bear to the right
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

FROM THE SOUTH
• Take I 95 North to 495 East
• Take I 495 East to 50 East
• Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (exit #24)
and bear to the right
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

FROM THE EAST
• Take US 50 West across the Bay
Bridge
•Exit US 50 at Rowe Blvd. (South)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial
Stadium is on your right
• Right on Farragut Road gives
access to gates 1&2
• Right on Taylor (second right) gives
access to gates 5&6

The stadium is named Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It was built in 1959 and renovated in 2004. It seats about 35,000.



Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium






PARKING

The Blue and Gold parking lots at the stadium are all reserved parking spaces. There are single game parking passes, but these go fast and are determined after season parking passes are sold. Check early with the Navy ticket office for availability (1-800-US4-NAVY). There is a parking lot at Germantown Elementary school (here is another google map view) for $20 a car…but get there early! The parking guide also says RV parking is $60. Germantown Lot opens at 10am. This seems late for a noon kickoff. You can find parking info on the Navy Athletic website. RV'ers: Bad news, looks like no overnight parking. In fact I'm not sure if visiting RV's are allowed to park next to the stadium where the Navy RV's park. I suggest you call the Naval Academy to find out where you can park. The closest Campground for your RV is the KOA. For Military RV'ers there is a fam camp you can try. Important: Arrive to the stadium early. The entire brigade marches from the campus to the stadium, culminating in the march on that takes place about 30 minutes before kickoff. If you’ve never seen it, it is a must-attend event.


Stadium Map

There are also shuttle buses from downtown to the stadium for those who park in the decks. There is also a park-and-ride off of Riva Road that has shuttles to the stadium on game day. All the info you need is with Pinnacle Parking.


Downtown Parking Available on Gameday

Tailgating

Tailgating is awesome here. The lots open at 7am at the season pass lots next to the stadium. Expect more civilized tailgating with expansive spreads. If you are a burger and beer guy you shouldn't feel out of place though. One thing different is you won't see a bunch of drunk coeds or local knuckleheads spoiling the day.

Your 2009 Gameday Guide is here. It lists all the info you need to know to enjoy your visit to the stadium.

TAILGATE SUPPLIES:



Get Navy Gear Like This at College Flags and Banners


New to 2010 are great tailgate products offered to my readers...BTW, you get a 10% discount.

College Flags and Banners Co. is the ultimate source for your tailgate. They offer a huge selection of college flags and banners including: Army, Cincinnati, Connecticut, ECU, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, USF, and WVU. Plus everything else you need for game day, from tailgating flagpoles and wheel stands to conference pennant sets. All products are officially licensed and ship within 24 hours. Order today and relieve 10% off your order by typing in coupon code "MARK10" at checkout.

If you are looking for more than just college try their sister company.

Other Sports Flags:
Sports Flags and Pennants Co. is the premium source for all of your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR flags and pennants. Fast, secured shipping to your doorstep and all products are officially licensed. Through our site we are offering a coupon code for 10% off your order. Just enter "MARK10" at checkout.

Last Minute Tailgate Supplies

Not a lot of places real close by. The closest is Grauls Market. Wine, Hard and Beer Liquor can be found through a google search. Maryland law leaves it up to the individual Counties in regards to what type of establishments can and cannot sell beer, wine and liquor (the good news is you can find beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores in the Eastern Shore counties). The state totally leaves it up to the counties. There are plenty of convenience stores in the state that sell beer, it just depends on the licensing process in that particular county. The closest liquor store is located in a drugstore next to Grauls Market. Mills Fine Wine and Spirits is located between the stadium and the Naval Academy. It offers a great selection of wine and spirits.

Scalping

From what I could tell Maryland allows you to resell tickets to football games but limits the amount to basically face value. The best spot to find extra tickets is at the tailgates. I have always found Service Academy Fans very gracious and will sell extra tickets to opponents. I would troll the tailgate lots before game time. As game time approaches you can find tickets leading to the stadium.

If you run into a professional scalper as opposed to a fan. A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plummet to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.



Seating Chart--click to enlarge

TAILGATEWIKI--Total Tailgating Resource


Tailgatewiki.com is designed loosely on the wikipedia concept that anyone with internet access is considered an expert in the field and can contribute their personal knowledge in an online arena. Wikipedia covers all areas whereas Tailgate Wiki focuses on tailgating and improving the game day atmosphere. Because many fans
follow their team when they play on the road, Tailgate Wiki will serve as a resource for those fans to understand what to expect when they get there. Kind of like having a friend in every city, at every stadium, giving you the inside scoop on the best places to park, tailgating policies and much more. This is all user generated content and the goal is to benefit the entire tailgating community.

Lodging

There are 3 distinct types of lodging available in Annapolis: the “luxury” hotels in downtown Annapolis, Bed and Breakfasts in downtown, and your standard hotels outside of the historic area. Here is a nice overview map of where everything is located.

Luxury Hotels

There are two hotels in downtown Annapolis – the Lowe’s Annapolis and The Annapolis Mariott Waterfront. Both hotels are within walking distance of downtown and the stadium. Both will cost you $300+ a night (not including parking). Several Historic Inns can be found in Annapolis. These are generally smaller hotels but usually pamper you like the best luxury chains. Check out the Maryland Inn, Governor Calvert House and the Robert Johnson House.

Bed and Breakfasts

Probably for the older fan who doesn’t plan on being drunk and rowdy late at night. These B&B's are all owned and operated by single families, and none have more than 5 rooms. Most cost anywhere from $100-$200 less than the downtown hotels. Most don’t allow children or pets and have two night minimums on the weekends. These tend to fill up early in the fall, so advance reservations are highly recommended.

The Flag House Inn is one of the more recognized B&B’s in Annapolis, not just because of it’s location, but because the owners fly the state or country flag of each of the visitors. The owners, Bill and Charlotte Schmickle, had a son graduate from the Naval Academy in 1999, and Bill spent time as an adjunct professor at the Academy. Bill also spent many years as the chairman of the Annapolis Historical Preservation Society. The combination of close ties to the Academy and the city give them a unique insight into all things Annapolis.


Flag House Inn--One of Annapolis' many B+B's

Standard Lodging

There are numerous chain hotels in the Annapolis Mall area (about 2-3 miles from the stadium). A comprehensive list can be found at the visitor’s center website. Google also shows about 10 of the properties. For those eligible to stay (Military) at the Navy Lodge you need to call early.

DINING

Annapolis is known for fine dining especially seafood and steaks. Before we explore Annapolis fine dining I'll recommend a few casual dining places. For Breakfast and lunch try Chick & Ruth's Delly (close to the Naval Academy). Another quaint lunch joint is the Cafe Normandie. Five Guys is a growing chain of burger joints. They are noted for big greasy burgers, hot dogs, lots of fries and free peanuts. Note: Order half the amount of fries you think you'll eat...trust me. When you get your fries expect to get twice as much as you ordered. Looking for Pizza, Strombolis and Wings; try Pizzaboli. California Pizza Kitchen is a national chain but they do a good job in delivering numerous specialty pizzas. They are located at the Annapolis Mall. The Mexican Cafe generally has good reviews for Mexican Food. Finally, a solid Brew Pub is the Ram's Head Tavern.

Annapolis delivers several nationally known steakhouses or seafood restaurants. Morton's, Ruth's Chris, and the Chart House. Some of the best local fine dining can be found at: Lewnes Steakhouse, Carrol's Creek Waterfront (surf and turf), Carrapaccio's (Tuscan), O'Leary's Seafood, Middleton Tavern (Historic, a short walk from Gate 1), Butcher's Block (a unique store/restaurant), Galway Bay (Irish), for ribs try Adam's Rib, and the Lemongrass (Thai)


We've Got Crabs! Maryland is famous for their crabs. Crab cakes is something you should try before leaving. Several restaurants come recommended: Buddy's Crabs (short walk from the Naval Academy Gate #1), Cantler's across the bridge to the north, Mike's Crab House a couple miles to the southwest, Magothy Seafood a bout 10 minutes north and Harris Crab House on the other side of the bridge going over to the eastern shore.


Mike's Crab House--click to enlarge

Sports Bars
Annapolis has several sports bars that offer TVs for watching football before or after the game. The West End Grill offers an upscale look but still maintains a sports bar resume with 11 plasma screens. Hero's offers satellite TVs with a Fire Dept Theme. It is just north of the stadium. TK Sharky's is a sports bar/pool hall/music. It turns into full fledged bar at 9 pm on Saturdays. About Five miles SW of downtown is the Original Steak House & Sports Theatre in Edgewater. I'm sure how many TV's they have but they might be worth a call.

LIBATIONS
Scout poster Gaetano01 suggests several places downtown for evening drinks.

1) O'Briens Oyster Bar: almost always live music on the weekends, decent food and oysters
2) McGarvey's Saloon: aviator motif
3) Dock St Bar and Grill: live music upstairs
4) Federal House: a middie favorite.
5) Ram's Head Tavern: live music
6) Middleton's Tavern: Have a drink where George Washington did.
7) Armadillo's: next to Dock St; can watch Mids bolting for the pedestrian gate before liberty expires, or bolting for a good place to jump the wall (Gate 0). Finally a website listing many other bars.

SHOPPING

If you are taking along a spouse who isn't interested in watching the game, the Annapolis Mall is large with a great mix of stores. A nice upscale lifestyle center is at Annapolis Harbour Center.

GOLF

Maryland's mild climate allows you to play golf throughout the football season. The first few courses listed are for golfers of all skill levels on a budget.

Eisenhower Golf Course:
Crafted by renowned architect Ed Ault from more than 220 acres of splendidly wooded landscape, Eisenhower's meandering terrain takes golfers through forestland, around one of Maryland's finest lakes, and alongside numerous creeks and swales. Eisenhower's championship layout boasts bent grass greens and plush fairways, welcoming golfers of all abilities. Golfers have long enjoyed playing Eisenhower Golf Course, Anne Arundel County's first public golf course. Since Eisenhower's opening in 1969, the 6,659-yard course has provided a fun and challenging golf experience for tens of thousands of area golfers.


Eisenhower Golf Course

Bay Hills Golf Club
Bay Hills Golf Club was designed in 1969 by renowned golf course architect Ed Ault. The scenic 18 hole golf course finds its beauty in its wooded rolling terrain. Players must place a premium on strategy and shot placement to conquer the six doglegs, 52 bunkers, and water which comes into play on 10 of the 18 holes. The Zoysia grass fairways at Bay Hills gives it a distinct lush condition. Bay Hills layout and conditioning gives players of all skill levels a challenging fun golf experience.

United States Naval Academy Golf Course,
is located in Annapolis. If you get a chance to play you should go. It is open to Military and their guests. Prices are below market.


Upscale Golf

South River

South River i being converted to a private course however it looks like you can still play in 2008. Diverse and well-manicured, Atlantic Golf at South River is an 18-hole shot makers challenge designed by Brian Ault and nestled in the South River Colony community, conveniently located just outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

Renditions

Internationally acclaimed, Renditions salutes the great championships, champions and courses of golf’s Grand Slam. Each of Renditions eighteen holes is a replica of a hole from a golf course that has hosted one or more of golf’s four major championships: The Masters, The U.S. Open, The British Open and The PGA Championship, plus a hole from The Players Championship, golf’s "fifth major."

Open to the public, Renditions is an award-winning development that offers a unique opportunity to “walk in the pro’s shoes" for a day and play replicas of holes that are historically significant to golf.

Queenstown Harbour

Welcome to Queenstown Harbor, one of the foremost golf experiences just outside Washington, D.C. Here, 36 holes of championship golf on two unique layouts, amid spectacular Chesapeake Bay waterfront beauty and contemporary style, combine for an unforgettable round at Maryland’s premier golf destination. Superior service, including our premium forecaddies, makes Queenstown Harbor the perfect play. The Courses Experience two stunning 18-hole tracks.


Queenstown Harbour

Compass Pointe

Golfers are celebrating the opening of Compass Pointe - Anne Arundel County's newest and only 36 hole public golf facility. - where they can enjoy a premium golf experience at an affordable price. Compass Pointe's 36-holes of championship caliber golf was designed by award-winning architect Lindsay Ervin. The "four nines" - North, South, East and West - cover more than 800 acres of diverse woodland, and provide a wide variety of golf terrains and challenges for golfers of all skill levels.



I'd like to thank Navy Alumnus Andy Schmickle '99, Unrep, Gaetano01, Witt94 and several other Scout Board Posters for helping me with this guide. Their help was invaluable.

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.