Saturday, August 28, 2010

WVU Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10


Morgantown Click to enlarge
Image from www.retirewv.org

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

First Things First: GETTING THERE
If you’re a Pitt fan, finding Morgantown is easy and fairly painless. For the rest of us it is much more involved. The airfares into Morgantown (MGW) can be very expensive. Morgantown has scheduled service with United with daily flights to Washington DC (Dulles-IAD) on commuter aircraft. Probably the easiest way to fly there is to fly in and out of Pittsburgh International and rent a car.

For the rest of us, we drive from our homes. Here is a sample list of travel times by car: Pittsburgh 1 ¼ hrs, Washington DC 3.5 hrs, Cincinnati 5.5 hrs, Syracuse 7 hrs, Northern New Jersey 7 hrs.

This link has some good directions from the interstates. West Virginia offers a tremendous Football Game day environment. Since Morgantown is relatively small, the whole town is involved with the Mountaineers. It is very similar to how smaller cities within the SEC take to their teams.

From the Regional Research Institute: “WVU is easily Morgantown's leading employer. When school is in session, Morgantown's population jumps from 29,000 to 50,000. The city is located in the north central part of West Virginia, within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania border and 30 miles from Maryland. It stands near the corner of Interstates 68 and 79, but the more important intersection historically was the confluence of the Monongahela River and Decker's Creek.”

Campus Info:

In order to gain an understanding of how Mountaineer Field sits in the Campus you must first become familiar with the two campuses. A good view of the two campuses and the unique Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).




Two Campuses: Downtown on left, Evansdale on right--click to enlarge


Walnut Street PRT Monorail Station (Downtown Morgantown)

From the Regional Research Institute:
“The university's downtown campus lies on the northern edge of the city's small central business district, and a more striking setting for a university is hard to imagine. Dating to 1870, WVU looks like the Ivy League.
Campus streets lead uphill from downtown to hills and more hills. (After four years at WVU you not only would have a bachelor's degree, but Olympic-class leg muscles as well.)

At the crest of one landscape-dominating mound is Woodburn Circle, comprising three of the university's oldest buildings, which stand like three distinguished professors posing for a yearbook photo, overlooking the city and the Monongahela Valley.

In the 1950s, WVU ran out of room to expand, and a second campus - the Evansdale Campus - was initiated three miles to the north. Unfortunately, the Ivy League architecture stayed downtown. The new campus buildings are more functional and, well, dull. Except for the coliseum, it is on a hilltop is visible for miles. The coliseum looks like a concrete UFO. Saucer-shaped, big enough to hold 14,000 beings, it appears to be merely parked there, waiting for a call from its home planet.

(A WVU alumni friend, whose devotion to the university's sports teams is fanatical, insists that the true atmosphere of the university is revealed on any given football Saturday, when its Mountaineer Stadium is filled with 60,000 people chanting "Let's go, Mountaineers" and the prize-winning marching band performs.)
When WVU began operating two separate campuses, it needed a way to connect them. It was too far to walk, the hills discouraged bicycling and shuttle buses had problems on the narrow streets.

So in 1975 planners created the Personal Rapid Transit system, which is essentially a horizontal elevator. You put 50 cents into the turnstile (WVU students use a "Mountaineer Card") (Editor Note: the PRT is FREE on game day) and select your station, just as you would choose a floor in a high-rise. You wait for a yellow, electric-powered, rubber-tired car about the size of a soccer mom's SUV to sidle up to the platform. And off you go, even though there's no driver at the wheel - and there's no wheel.

The PRT system runs about nine miles from the medical center through the old campus to downtown. Most of the passengers are WVU students and staff, but anyone may use the system.”



West Virginia University Main Campus

Game Day Tailgating/Parking:


Parking on Campus--printable PDF with comments

Like most big time programs the ability of visiting fans to park near the stadium is extremely limited. Unlike some other Big East programs tailgating is very common and fairly easy to do. The close in parking lots are the haven for the season pass holders and the well connected. Some people like to park elsewhere and then wander over to the Blue Lot for the vendors selling food. The Blue Lot used to be referred to as "the Pit" and was home to a lot of rowdies. WVU cracked down on the rowdy behavior a few years ago. It is much tamer now but instead of a concentrated area of rowdy behavior it has dispersed into lots all around. Morgantown unlike other Big East cities turns into a huge tailgate around the city. If you have a good sense of humor you shouldn't have any real problems. One way to make friends with the natives is to buy some Pepperoni Rolls and share them. These WV favorites sound like the perfect tailgate food as they do not require refrigeration. BTW, most of the rowdy students have moved to the nearby apartment complexes and other private lots.

The Party in the Parking Lot
Using the “KISS” principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), I suggest first time visiting fans park in the free parking lots surrounding the Basketball Coliseum. It is located about ¾ miles away from Mountaineer Field and is an easy landmark for visitors to find. RV Note for the Coliseum Parking Lots: There is now a $40 charge for RV's. But, that $40 fee is good for the whole weekend, Fri - Sun. RV's in coliseum parking must park in an area near the stoplight at Patteson Drive. There are other free lots at the Evansdale Campus if you want a spot with better shade (these lots surround many of the academic buildings southeast of the coliseum). The Coliseum/Evansdale Campus Shuttles run continuously, starting about two and one half hours before kickoff and of course run after the game. The roundtrip cost is $4.00. WVU provides you a list of rules and suggestions to make your trip to the stadium stress free.

From the Official MSN WVU Website

2010 Football Parking Information

Parking changes now in effect

# The Green lot (off Van Voorhis Road) opens at 6 pm for RVs and a single-game RV pass is $100. The Green lot opens at 7 pm for cars. Bus parking is available in the Green lot for $50. Recreational vehicles who don’t have a season pass should park in the WVU Coliseum lots. The White lot, located off of Oakland St., will accept game-day passes for $40. This is a car-only lot.

The new parking garage will also be available to Green lot users for $40.

# The Gold lot (Area 72, adjacent to the Facilities Management Building in front of ERC/Towers) and the Purple lot (Areas 52 and 61 behind Sheetz on Route 705) will have limited spaces available to purchase single game parking passes. Passes will be sold for $20, and the Gold and Purple lots are car-only lots.

# Small tents may be erected in designated areas only and may not be larger than 12' x 12'. A parking permit for the designated lot is required to erect a tent and the vehicle must be parked adjacent to the tent. Tents may only be erected after 7 a.m. on game day.

Recreational vehicle parking

# Lots open for recreational vehicles at 6 p.m. on the Friday before the game (except for the Colorado game).

# Recreational vehicles are 20 feet or longer. Vans are considered cars.

# Trailers are permitted in the Red, Green and Coliseum lots only.

# Car passes may not be upgraded to RV passes.

# RV passes may not be used for cars.

# RV parking at the WVU Coliseum is now $40 in designated parking areas only. RVs parking at the WVU Coliseum will be issued a special pass when arriving and upon receiving payment.

# All RVs must now be parked three hours prior to kick-off.

Other Parking information

# Parking pass is not valid for limousines.

# Free parking is available in the lots adjacent to the WVU Coliseum. A shuttle service to the stadium is available for $4 round trip.

# No tent can be erected in parking spaces or in such a manner to impede the flow of traffic. Open fires in the parking lots are also not permitted.

# Parking passes are limited to one space per pass. Tailgate gatherings are not permitted to overflow into adjacent parking space and/or drive lanes.

# Parking by Ruby Day Care Center or anywhere on Hospital Drive will require a pass. All cars without a pass will be towed to the Coliseum at owners expense.

# Games involving the consumption of alcohol are not permitted in any of the University-operated parking lots.

# Fires are not permitted in any of the University-operated parking lots.

Handicapped Parking

# Handicap parking is available for single-game purchase ($20) on a limited basis at the WVU Law School (Brown Lot). Handicap-accessible vans will provide transportation from the Blue and Brown lots to the stadium gates.

# A handicap-accessible shuttle bus will provide transportation to and from the WVU Coliseum.

# Handicap parking will require the following admission to the appropriate lot:

-- WVU issued color-coded parking permit

-- Valid state-issued handicap parking placard or license plate

-- Valid state-issued handicap parking registration card

-- Photo ID of the handicapped permit holder (the photo ID must match the handicap parking registration card and permit holder must be in vehicle)

-- Handicap permit holders will be required to park in the spots reserved for handicap parking only. This will be strictly enforced.

If you arrive early ('eers start early-- 7 am for an afternoon or evening kickoff is considered normal) and want to get in a WVU lot closer to the stadium you can try the Gold or Purple Lots: NOTE from the MSN Website: "•The Gold lot (Area 72, adjacent to the Facilities Management Building in front of ERC/Towers) and the Purple lot (Areas 52 and 61 behind Sheetz on Route 705) will have limited spaces available to purchase single game parking passes. Passes will be sold for $20, and the Gold and Purple lots are car-only lots." The University’s sports website states, “Private Parking (not affiliated with WVU): is available for a fee at several locations along Patteson Drive, Van Voorhis Road, W.Va. Route 705, University Avenue, Don Nehlen Drive, Willowdale Road and other areas near the stadium.” Two suggestions: The first one is located across from the Kroger Grocery Store on Patteson Ave. It is a strip shopping center (Rite Aid, Boston Beanery Restaurant and Radio Shack). Expect to pay about $10-20. You can obviously get beer and other tailgate supplies at the Kroger. The White Birch Office Tower is located north of the stadium at 1255 Pineview. Parking costs about $10.

A very good article about the West Virginia Game Day experience was written by a Washington Post reporter a few years ago. Tailgating in its finest form is found in Morgantown, all Big East fans need to circle this game on their calendar to do. One last option is to park in downtown Morgantown and ride the PRT. The PRT will take you the PRT Health Sciences Center Station which is about 1/4 mile north of the stadium.

Low Hassle Shuttle Alternative

The Mountain Line Transit Authority (click on Football Shuttle link on right side at MLTA website) provides shuttles to all WVU Football home games. Shuttle buses pick up passengers at the lower entrance to Mountaineer Mall (5000 Greenbag Road Morgantown , West Virginia 26501) . Cost per passenger is $3.00 round trip, children 5 and under ride free. Shuttles will begin two hours before kickoff. The return trips will begin at the start of the fourth quarter and run for one hour after the game.

More notes from their website: All Buses are fully accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Parking is free at the Mountaineer Mall. Buses run every 10 minutes to the game. Buses operate return trips beginning at the start of the fourth quarter and run for one hour after the game. Buses load and unload under Ruby Hospital Canopy (a short walk north of the stadium). Accessible buses are available for transport from the Blue Lot to both East & West Gates (please notify shuttle driver of your needs)


Mountaineer Field The Big East's Largest Crowds are here!

Milan Puskar Stadium has been around since 1980 but has been enlarged and modernized.


TAILGATE SUPPLIES



Get WVU 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.

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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.

The closest places to pick up tailgate supplies: Kroger Grocery Store on the west side of the stadium (350 Patteson Ave). It is open 24/7. On the north side of the stadium is a Sheetz Convenience Store on the north side of the stadium. On the west side of town in Granville is a WalMart SuperCenter.

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.

Scalpers and You: From the University website:
The scalping of tickets on University property is forbidden. Violators are subject to removal from University property. No solicitation of any kind is permitted in the parking lots or stadium. Individuals discovered soliciting will be asked to cease or will be removed.
You have been warned.

Scalping tickets is illegal in WV. Reality is it is tolerated around the stadium on gameday. The blue lot(the lot located between Puskar Stadium and Ruby Memorial Hospital) is very popular for ticket selling. Another place for scalpers is on Patteson Drive. The road runs between the Coliseum and the stadium. You can find scalpers there with signs.

Since buying/reselling tickets is illegal in WV you can save this for future use at other locales. 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 plumment 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.

Finally, be sure to visit Larry and his crew and say hi at his WVU tailgate website.



'Eers Know How To Have Fun On Saturday!


LODGING:

Like most small towns it will be next to impossible to find a room if you look a week out. If you are a fan of historic, restored hotels Morgantown has the Clarion Hotel Morgan. It is within walking distance of the PRT. The Hampton Inn is very close to the stadium and might be a good option if you get lucky with a reservation. The Residence Inn by Marriott opened in 2006 and is also very close to the stadium but it sells out quickly. And a newly renamed 16 story Waterfront Place Hotel (nee Radisson) has opened in the Wharf District downtown. New to 2009 is a Microtel Inn near the Mall. Recent new additions are the Hilton Garden Inn in the Suncrest Town Center and the Fairfield Inn and Suites near the University Town Centre. Your best resource is to use the local visitors' guide. Last resort if you strike out, try looking for some "Mom and Pop" Motels near Morgantown.

Waterfront Place Hotel
If you decide to travel to Morgantown at the last minute: first see if you can find any cancellations at the motels in Morgantown. If you strike out, you’ll need to try outlying areas.

If you are traveling in from Pittsburgh and points north and east try these three cities: Washington, PA for motels, Waynesburg, PA for motels, and Uniontown, PA for motels.

If you are traveling from the south or west try these cities: Fairmont, WV for motels, Clarksburg/Bridgeport, WV for motels, and Wheeling, WV is another option for motels for those coming from the west as well as Washington and Waynesburg, PA.

DINING:
Almost all restaurants and pubs close to campus are going to be packed to the brim on a football weekend...so so enjoy the scene and have patience.
If you want to go somewhere not to far from the stadium that is a traditional haunt of WVU students/alums...I would suggest....Crockett's Lodge
The Boston Beanery II near intersection of Patteson Dr. and University Dr. has a varied menu, lots of fans and reasonable prices. Expect to have to wait to eat. A few blocks north of the Wharf District in downtown is Morgantown Brewing Company. Morgantown's only brewpub is located at 1291 University Avenue phone(304) 296-BREW. A comprehensive list of bars is here. One final website gives you some great options for food and drink and shows you where the bar specials are and menus for lots of restaurants.

For older readers who don't want to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the students...I would suggest Colasantes Ristorante & Pub ...this is a place is just west of Morgantown (in the city of Westover) and is very close to both I-79 and I-68. If you want a more upscale place....I would suggest Oliverio's Ristorante....this establishment is located on the beautiful new wharf district in Morgantown overlooking the Monongahela River. Tailpipes opened in early 2010 and features gourmet burgers and old fashion shakes. Dragonfly Sushi offers much more than just Sushi in an elegant environment. Yesterday's Bar & Grille restaurant has an upper-casual dining atmosphere. Other restaurants can be found here. BTW, you can limit your searches on this website to various neighborhoods of Morgantown.

SPORTS BARS:Kegler's is a sports bar near the campus, Buffalo Wild Wings is known for their duh, wings, and also lots of TVs carrying all the college football games. The Sports Page has ESPN Gameplan and looks to cater to a younger crowd. The Varsity Club is very close to the stadium and has an awesome baked Italiano Sandwich. Another gem is the the Brick Yard Pub. Finally, Damon's , on Hwy 705 about 1 1/2 miles from the stadium, is known for their ribs as well as their full offerings of sports programming. Not really a sports bar, Firkin Pub offers you a British Pub environment along with darts and pool. The Firkin Pub is just north of the stadium on Van Voorhis Rd. The Wings are reported to be good.

Shopping: Morgantown has University Town Center which has a typical assortment of big box retailers and trendy shops found in newer suburbs around most cities. It is located next to Star City/Osage--Exit 155 I-79 on Highway 19. Morgantown Mall is located across I-79 from University Towne Center. It looks to have a nice selection of retailers. If you are in search of chain restaurants you can find them in this area.

Things to Do:

If you happen upon Morgantown during the changing of the colors you need to checkout nearby Coopers Rock. It is the largest and most visited state forest in WV.


Cooper's Rock

A real nice website detailing all your outdoor types of things near Morgantown should keep you busy.
If you prefer to stay in town, the trolley is a great way to see Morgantown.
Whitewater rafting is great in West Virginia. If you are adventuresome, consider going on a river rafting tour on the New River or The Gauley if you have an extra day, they are several hours away. If you don't want to travel as far try the Cheat River or Youghiogheny River.

White Water Rafting on The Gauley
Morgantown is revitalizing an old area of their town into the "Wharf District". You can see the orientation of the Wharf District to downtown Morgantown here.


Wharf District

GOLF:

There are some great courses in West Virginia, including the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport (about 30 mins south--rated the top course in West Virginia and one of the top 100 golf courses in the US by Golf Digest) and the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. Note that White Sulfar Springs is 3 1/2 hours south of Morgantown near Exit 181 off I-64. Lucky for all of us--a very nice course with lodging is located in Morgantown. The Lakeview Resort might just be the perfect solution for a golf and football getaway.

The Lakeview Resort


Pete Dye Club

There are a number of golf courses the Morgantown Area. Here is a list. The Mountaineer Golf & Country Club is a public course for the golf challenged and/or budget minded. It is a short course that is relatively flat and inexpensive. You should be able to walk this course for less than $20, even on weekends.
Hope this helps. Thanks to WVURON and Jackson1011 for helping me with the guide.
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.
Return to TexanMark's Tailgate Guides Main Page

Sunday, August 22, 2010

USF Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10


Tampa Bay at Night


This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

University of South Florida (USF) is the lone geographical misfit of the Big East Football Conference. Most felt USF won the BCS lottery when Boston College bolted for the ACC and left the Big East searching for an eighth member for the 2005 season. Well I tell you what, they have fit in quite nicely in the Big East and have become a first tier team strength wise. Due to the southern location USF has become a favorite destination for mini-vacations for Big East football fans. USF is a young program but it is a great asset to the league.

First Things First: GETTING THERE

Unless you want to drive 900 or so miles (Louisville, Cinci, WVU and Pitt) this trip will be a flying event. The good news most everyone can get a nonstop into either Tampa or close by Orlando (90 miles). Both of these airports have a bevy of cheap flights to northern cities. Note: Orlando offers the most nonstops and generally the cheapest flights. It might be worth your while to fly into Orlando and rent a car and drive to Tampa. Obviously, many visiting fans will plan a four-five day mini-vacation and will visit Orlando anyway. If time is tight you should fly into Tampa. The airport is located about a mile from the stadium. You can easily take a cab to the game. Note: Taxis drop/pickup riders at the northwest corner of the stadium.
Other Travel Options:
Several ultra discount charter carriers offer scheduled service between some northeastern/midwestern cities and Orlando Sanford Airport (2 hours) and Saint Petersburg/Clearwater Airport (30-45 mins). Note: These airlines often only fly once a day so a missed flight or broken aircraft could be very problematic. If you have a lot of time, Amtrak offers service into Tampa. The fall season is a great time to visit Florida due to discount prices for rooms and other tourist related services. Consider yourself lucky if your team has an October or a November visit scheduled to Tampa and take advantage!


Getting to the Stadium: Raymond James Stadium Click to enlarge (Thanks USFFan)

USF (like UConn and Pitt) plays their football games off campus. The campus is located about eight miles northeast. Like Pitt, they share a stadium with an NFL team. Raymond James Stadium (RayJay or RJS) opened in 1998 and is a great venue with many amenities. Note: USF games since demand increased are selling upper deck tickets for all games. Listed capacity for USF games is about 66,000. RayJay is located off Dale Mabry Highway which is a major North/South Artery in Tampa. The stadium is located adjacent (east) to the airport.



Directions:

FROM THE NORTH
I-75 to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North
or
Dale Mabry North.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE SOUTH (SARASOTA AND BRADENTON)
I-75 to I-4 West to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North or North Dale Mabry
or
I-75 North to I-275 North to North Dale Mabry.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE EAST (ORLANDO)
I-4 West to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North or North Dale Mabry
or
I-4 West to Hillsborough Avenue West or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard West.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE WEST
I-275 to North Dale Mabry
or
Highway 60 East to Spruce Street East to North Dale Mabry.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.



Parking/Tailgating

Map of Parking Near Ray Jay Click to enlarge (From the official Bucs site)
Note:Lot 14 was the old mall lot

The easiest thing is to park at RayJay. The lots open five hours before games(or at 8am for Noon games). Note: Buses and Campers are allowed to park on stadium property for USF games in Lot 8 (located south of the stadium). Note: Campers/RVs park in a different lot for Buc games. Expect general admission parking to be directed to Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 but you can park in some other lots south of the stadium. Looking for where the USF students park and tailgate? Try Lots 3+4 and the old mall lot (Lot 14). Lot #4 is closest USF's student government sponsored tailgate area and student entrance (Gate B). USF fan outrunner states, "There's a lot of frats and clubs partying in there, and a lot of heckling/smack talk."

The official website states: “For USF home games Cars and Motorcycles will be charged $15, Buses, Campers, and Limousines will be charged between $45 and $60 depending on the size of the vehicle and the number of spaces it occupies.” Tailgating seems to have few restrictions.
Note: The stadium has in the past enforced very restrictive rules on the size of bags brought in the stadium. Definitely err on the conservative side.
However, charcoal grills are okay in the parking lots! One other parking option is located adjacent to the stadium grounds across the street (west) at Hillsborough Community College.
Note: Just to the east was the old Tampa Bay Center Mall. Recently it was torn down. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are building training facilities there. A lot of Bull fans and USF students have used the free parking at the Mall in the past. ARRIVE EARLY OPTION: The Mall Lot has been converted into Lot 14 now and is a pay lot. Students still flock there. It is a pay lot but people routinely show up 5-7 hours before kickoff. You can arrive early, set up, save spots and throw a football. The rules are more lax. Expect an attendant to come by later to collect money. All Ray Jay lots are $15 to park.

I tailgated in 2006 and found the convenience of the stadium lot hard to beat. I queued up 3 hours and 10 minutes before kickoff on the roadside of Dale Mabry (northbound) at Gate 9. There were about 15-20 cars waiting with me at 9am. (NOTE: kickoffs now open 5 hours before kickoff and at 8am for noon kickoffs) They opened at precisely three hours prior to kickoff. I went through the gate and turned left and parked in Lot 7 right behind a rope separating me from permit parkers. If you arrive early like I did you get a "primo" spot next to one of the walkways. Tailgaters filled in over the next hour or so. We were about 400 yards south of Ray Jay's entrance. Plenty of porta-potties and lots of good times as Cuse and USF fans intermingled nicely. We stayed about 90 minutes after wards. By then the lot was very empty. If parking on site doesn't appeal to you...try cruising around to find some private lots which might accommodate you earlier.

Finally, The Bulls Tailgating Association has a good website that gives you even more info. Their forums have some good suggestions in there for Bars, recipes, etc...

Driving an RV Down?

Florida in the Fall is a great time to get one last use in before the Winter for the northern Big East fans. Unfortunately no overnight parking is offered at the RayJay. Instead you'll need to park at one of these RV parks listed below and drive in the day of the game.
For overnight RV parking, please contact one of the following parks:

Bay Bayou RV Park
813-855-1000
12622 Memorial Highway
Tampa, FL 33635


Happy Traveler RV Park

813-986-3094
9401 E Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa, FL 33592


Lazy Days RV Campground
800-350-6731
6210 County Road 579
Seffner, FL 33584


Sun RV Resorts

813-659-2504
4630 McIntosh
Dover, FL 33527


Tailgate Supplies: About a mile south of the stadium is Total Wine and it had a huge selection of Liquor, Beer and Wine. I even found quite a few microbrews from up north there. There is a Walmart across the street for all your other supplies.

Ticket Scalping and You: USF fans have told me it is legal to buy and sell tickets now for whatever the market bears. Supply is more than demand currently. You should be able to find tickets offered for less than face around the parking lots and walkways except for the high demand games. Even though ticket reselling has been liberalized there is still a rule not allowing reselling tickets on the grounds of stadiums you have been warned.

With that in mind: 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 plumment 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.

RayJay Stadium:

This place is great now that USF is consistently drawing over 40,000 fans and a few games over 60,000...great job USF. The facility is absolute first class and has many amenities. I don’t expect all the concessions to be open but you should still have a good variety.


Buccaneer Cove
Buccaneer Cove is a tremendous landmark and you need to wander over and check it out sometime during the game. You should have great sight lines since the stadium was built for football.


City of Tampa a lot of stuff to do

TAILGATE SUPPLIES:



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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.


Shopping

I’ll keep it real simple. Drop your spouse here. The International Plaza shopping complex is located about 1 ½ miles southwest of RayJay stadium.
From the website: “International Plaza, adjacent to Tampa International Airport, is the most distinctive shopping and dining destination of Florida's West Coast. Four fashionable department stores, over 200 specialty shops and Bay Street at the Plaza... an open-air village of fine restaurants and small boutiques.” This place has a hotel (Renaissance) there and offers some travel packages. Thirty and over crowd alert: The Bay Street Level (Street Level) has a large collection of upscale drinking and dining establishments. This is a good alternative to the rowdier, younger Ybor City area.

Dining/Nightlife

I do know you need to try to eat at a Cuban Restaurant in Tampa. Cuban food is excellent and not too expensive. There is a huge selection in the area around the stadium especially if you drive south of the stadium. I would recommend after the game to head to Bay Street Level of the International Plaza or another option is cruising over to the Port of Tampa area and checking out Channelside.


Map of Channelside/ Hyde Park Areas
Channelside is another retail/dining entertainment area with many great restaurants, bars and lodging to include motels and condos. If you decide to stay downtown this place should be a must do destination. A trolley is available to take you from Channelside to Ybor—a plus. Hyde Park is located just SW of Channelside. There are lots of little shops to browse. Restaurant BT comes highly recommended. It specializes in a modern style of classic French & Vietnamese cuisines and is a great place for a quiet romantic dinner. Recommend using the valet parking because parking is at a premium.


Ybor City--a great place to party
Finally, Ybor City has an international reputation for hosting a great party. The crowd trends a little bit younger than International Plaza and Channelside. Ybor is Tampa’s old Latin community. Like many other urban areas it has been revitalized. If you really want to let lose and mingle with lots of other like minded people this is the place. The Columbia Restaurant (Ybor City) has been around for a century, specializing in Spanish and Cuban fare (get the paella). They have the best sangria, and is it is a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Following are restaurants recommended by local USF fans: “Bern's Steakhouse (South Howard Ave) offers the best steak in the Bay area. It's unique decorative style -- part bordello, part renaissance and the world famous dessert room is something to see. The Colonnade (Bayshore) offers great seafood and wonderful views of Tampa Bay and downtown Tampa. Whiskey Joe's Bar and Grille (Courtney Campbell Causeway) offers good food and reggae music and is built out over Tampa Bay. Salt Rock Grill (Indian Rocks Beach) is a great place to have dinner after a day at the beach. Frenchy's Rockaway Grill (Clearwater Beach) is the best place to grab a quick sandwich when catching rays on a GREAT beach.

SPORTS BAR ALERT!

Lee Roy Selmon's (Boy Scout Blvd - near Tampa Stadium) has some GREAT barbeque as well as a lot of TVs. The Pressbox Sports Emporium is also close by. Beef O'Brady's is a large sports pub chain. The Westchase location is fairly close to the airport area. International Plaza has Champps. It is a full service sports bar and should have ESPN Gameplan. Finally, if you are looking to shoot a game of pool and be surrounded by lots of Coeds...well Peabody's Billiards is the place for you. It is located just north of the USF campus.

BARBEQUE

Besides Lee Roy Selmon's (mentioned above)--other great barbeque places: Kojak's House of Ribs (Gandy Blvd), Jimbo's, First Choice BBQ, maybe the best barbeque around Tampa? Near the campus try Lupton's Fat Man's BBQ (located near the college). Another place with a great reputation is Big John's Alabama Bar B Que. Big John's daughter runs the location on Dale Mabry, called BJ's Alabama Bar B Que. Finally, Jazzy's BBQ has a legion of fans.

CK's (Tampa International Airport Marriott) is a revolving restaurant with a GREAT Sunday Brunch. Another great place for Sunday breakfast: The Brunchery (S MacDill Ave & N Dale Mabry). Charley's is great for gourmet steaks. Charley's can be seen from I-275 just east of West Shore. For tailgate sandwiches, Publix deli & Brocato's on Columbus and 50th are about as good as you are going to get. The bay area's best buffet (arguable) is right down the road on Dale Mabry (were RJS is) known as the Vari Asian Crazy Buffet. It has steaks, seafood, sushi, Japanese, etc. It's pricey at $22 a head. Looking for Thai? Try the Thai Terrace on Dale Mabry.
For wings, Hooters is north of the stadium on Hillsborough just west of Dale Mabry and the Press Box is south on Dale Mabry. If you are looking for a very good brew pub near RayJay try Cigar City Brewing. It is about a mile south of the stadium. The original Hooter’s is in Clearwater Beach. For Japanese hibachi steak, chicken, & seafood (cooked at the table), try Arigato's Japanese Steak House. It is reopening soon (as of Aug 2010) north at 14430 N. Dale Mabry in the Carrolwood Plaza (next to Bally's Fitness). If staying on the beach in St. Pete, for seaford I'd recommend the Hurricane on St. Pete Beach, Crabby Bill's with several locales, Ted Peter's in St. Pete on Pasadena for smoked mullet and Shell's Seafood. TBO.com is a good information source for Tampa Bay eats & things to do too.”

Note: long time restaurant Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse closed May 2010.

Lodging

Lodging is plentiful and comes in all price ranges. If you want to be able to walk to the game the (new) Holiday Inn Express, Day's Inn or Comfort Inn are your best choices. Note: You are smarter to drive and park if you are bringing in supplies staying at either property--Dale Mabry is a very busy road and not pedestrian friendly. A couple others very close to the stadium are the Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza (a Marriott Property, 4 star luxury) and a Mircotel (2 star budget). If you want to benear the airport (Westshore Area), there are a bevy of choices which you can see here. The airport motel area is only about a mile or two from the stadium which means you can avoid a rental car if you are only staying overnight.
Another option to try is the Downtown/Channelside/Ybor area, which is several miles from the stadium. Finally, if you want to stay near the beaches you should try Clearwater or St. Pete areas. Expect you’ll be about 45 minutes from the stadium. The Don Cesar is not to be missed.

Beaches and Other Tourist Stuff

World class beaches await you on your trip to Tampa. USF fan, JimUSFSig says: “Sand Key Beach, just south of Clearwater Beach, is usually less crowded and has some of the best sand around. Clearwater Beach is where the tourists head to catch some rays. St. Pete Beach is where the locals go -- check out the Undertow Beach Bar for one of the best beachside bars around.” BullDoug says, “don't forget Fort DeSoto Park. It was voted the nation's overall best in 2005. It is south of St. Pete Beach just west of the Skyway Bridge. It is about a 50-60 min. trip from (RayJay) and good for a relaxing day to picnic. Treasure Island is a nice beach too. T.I. is south of John's Pass where there are numerous shopping opportunities and dinner cruises leave from there.”

You all know about Disney in Orlando so I won't tell you about it. The Tampa Bay area has some neat attractions, too. Busch Gardens offers a chance to view animals, be entertained by performers, drink a couple brewskis and ride some awesome roller coasters. Hint: Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman is entitled to free admission under the "Here's to the Heroes" program. More info here. The Florida Aquarium a few miles south in Channelside is a neat place to take the kids. Into tropical gardens? Drive over to St. Pete's Sunken Gardens. About 60-90 minutes north of Tampa is Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs if you want to get away from typical amusement parks.

GOLF

Good and cheap:
East Bay
Located in the heart of Pinellas County, minutes from the Gulf Beaches, Eastbay is an 18 hole, par 72-championship layout. A William Mitchell design, this track features elevated, well-bunkered greens with water in play on 14 of 18 holes. Eastbay has the GPS yardage system on its brand new fleet of carts. All tees, greens and fairways are overseeded with winter ryegrass for the winter months, ensuring lush, green playing areas.

Babe Zaharias
Babe Zaharias Golf Course is a municipal course that winds through a residential area in North Tampa. It's the shortest of the city courses, but tight fairways and small greens keep it challenging.

Rocky Point
Rocky Point, located near Tampa International Airport, is a scenic course with a mix of tree-lined fairways and open holes. Water comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes.


The Claw at USF
Featuring long, tight fairways lined with oaks, cypress and pines, this attractive course is home to a variety of wildlife, including the occasional alligator. Located just off I-75 near the University of South Florida, the club is home to the university's golf teams and is a par-71 layout with driving range, golf clinics, individual lessons by PGA professionals and a golf shop. Summer golf camps are featured here, and players gather at Rocky's Sports Grill to moan over the score sheets.

Good and not so cheap:

Westchase

Since opening in the fall of 1992, Westchase Golf Club has established itself as one of Tampa Bay's upscale golf facilities. The 6,710 yard, Par-72 Westchase course was designed by nationally known architect Lloyd Clifton. Located in northwest Tampa, it is one of the better upscale courses in the Bay area. The natural setting and the well manicured fairways and greens of this course surrounded by natural wetlands, wooden bridges and bulkheads are what set it apart.

The Eagles
This facility features two 18 hole layouts, The Lakes and The Forest:


The Lakes
An abundance of water inspired the moniker for this course. Water comes into play on virtually every hole. This 18-hole course measures over 7,100 yards and is more like the traditional Florida course with huge greens and generous driving areas. Both nines of The Lakes start out with unique par-5's that challenge golfers to use their creativity to make a sub-par score. As you play these outstanding layouts, you soon understand why The Eagles Golf Club of Tampa Bay has a hard-won reputation for well-conditioned tees, greens, and fairways. Four sets of tees offer golfers a wide choice of challenges. When the St. Petersburg Times canvassed several dozen Tampa Bay golf courses to put together a Tampa Bay "Dream 18," two holes from The Eagles were selected.


The Forest

Noted golf course architect, PGA Tour professional and NBC-TV commentator Gary Koch and master architect Rick Robbins are responsible for the front nine of The Forest Course, while noted architect Ron Garl designed the back nine. Accuracy is a premium on this course, with its highly contoured fairways and well placed, meticulous greens. This course measures 6,700 yards and features the signature island-green, par-3 sixth hole, which rivals the famous 17th hole at the TPC at Sawgrass in Jacksonville.

Belleview Biltmore
Designed by world famous golf architect Donald Ross, the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club opened in 1925. It is a challenging course that features lush lined fairways and water hazards and is noted for its beauty.

TPC of Tampa Bay

The TPC of Tampa Bay is part of a network of outstanding stadium golf courses across the country owned and operated by the PGA Tour. Winner of the Golf Digest's four star award for places to play, this course is the home of the Verizon Classic, the area's only Senior PGA Tour event.

I’d like to thank USF fan JimUSFSig and BullDoug for helping me with this guide. I hope this helps.

Finally, a big thanks to all the posters at The Bullspen who helped with making this guide better with all their suggestions.

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.


Return to TexanMark's Tailgate Guides Main Page






......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rutgers Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10



New Brunswick (Raritan River in background) Click to enlarge
Photo Courtesy of RUNYYFan

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.



Rutgers University is located about 30 miles southwest of Manhattan along both banks of the Raritan river in the City of New Brunswick and the suburban Township of Piscataway, New Jersey. It can be an intimidating environment for the uninitiated. Traffic and a confusing road network compound a new visitor’s anxiety. The whole key is to have a well thought out game plan. Folks, this isn’t like driving to Syracuse, Louisville or Morgantown. You can’t drive into town with just a hazy idea where to go. If you prepare well, you will reap the rewards of having a car to visit many of New Jersey’s hidden secrets. If you decide against driving flying into Newark Liberty International or taking the train into New Brunswick are your two best options. I think most fans will be pleasantly surprised with a trip to Rutgers. IMHO, if you have a few extra days, you have the best city (good link for an overview of option to get from Airports to midtown) in the world 45 minutes away to visit. This website can help you figure out which subway line to take in NYC. Philadelphia is a decent alternate airport especially if you are flying USAirways, Southwest or AirTran. It is about 90 minutes from Rutgers. I saved $150+ flying in to Philly per ticket from Texas as opposed to Newark in 2008. Rutgers has developed a visitors guide for for fans coming to NJ.

Flying

You can fly into Newark and rent a car and drive to Rutgers. If you decide to rent a car, you need to do your homework. Note: Leaving Newark International airport without an explicit set of directions is a sure way to risk embarrassment or worse yet an accident. There is another option for anybody who isn’t comfortable driving in a busy, fast paced area. It is possible to fly into Newark Liberty International and get to the game without using a car. You can get a train from the airport and take it into New Brunswick. From there your hotel should be able to provide you a courtesy shuttle. Expect to take a cab or hop a ride with fellow fans to the game though unless you are staying in downtown New Brunswick. Note: There are not any motels really close to the stadium but the Hyatt and Heldrich (see below in Lodging) offer shuttles to the game and are very close to the train station. If you leaving immediately after the game you can get a shuttle back to New Brunswick and work your way back to the airport or Midtown Manhattan. NOTE: Rutgers Fans have told me that there are many shuttles running and even if you aren't staying at the Hyatt or Heldrich you can move easily between the stadium and Downtown New Brunswick and the train station.


AirTrain to NJ Transit

How to Transfer to the train after landing at Newark Int’l:
1. Find out which terminal you are arriving to.

2. Obviously collect your bags

3. Proceed to the airport shuttle train. Look for signs marked Monorail / AirTrain Link. Note: Do not follow signs for Ground Transportation. There are three different terminals (A, B and C) and you need to get on the shuttle (AirTrain) and go to the Newark Liberty Int’l Train Station. Note: AirTrain takes you between the airline terminals, central parking areas, car rental facilities and hotel courtesy vehicles. All travel within the airport is free. You need to go past Terminal C and P4 (Parking) and onto the train station. This link offers info about how often the trains run.


Link for a Printable Map

4. Get off the AirTrain Shuttle From the NJ Guide, “When you exit AirTrain at Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station, follow the signs to NJ TRANSIT trains. You will go up one level, pass through the fare gates and go down one level onto the NJ TRANSIT train platforms. It takes approximately 5 minutes to get from AirTrain to the NJ TRANSIT platform.”

5. Purchase your ticket; there are several different areas where to purchase your ticket. NOTE: AirTrain is free around the airport but you pay an approximate $5 surcharge to exit the airport using AirTrain on top of what NJTransit or Amtrak charges. If you are a first time visitor, it is best to get it at the Train Station. You are going to the Central New Jersey area. You want to get on the New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor Line (NEC) run by NJ Transit. A sample check for a Saturday shows a train leaving about every 20-30 minutes to New Brunswick. The cost is about $13.00 (which includes the $5.00 airport fee). If you get on the train without a ticket you can pay the conductor cash but he/she will charge you an additional $5. More info about the NEC here. Using the trip planner select Newark Airport and New Brunswick for your departure/destination as appropriate. Note: Some of the options have you getting on the “North Jersey Coastline” and transferring at the Rahway Station. One other option is to take Amtrak from the Airport but it is quite a bit more expensive than NJTransit.

6. Get off at the New Brunswick Train Station. It is located in downtown New Brunswick at the intersection or Easton Ave (Route 527) and Albany Ave (Route 27). You are within walking distance (a tad over a mile) of the Busch Campus where the Football Field is located. There are shuttle buses that run from the Hyatt Hotel and and the Ferren Parking Deck (across from the train station) in NB directly to the stadium.

Best Bet: Take the Red Northeast Corridor line to New Brunswick, be careful to avoid express routes which do not stop at New BrunswickClick to enlarge

Driving By Car

The official Rutgers University web site has directions from several approaches. I have been told by a Rutgers fan to forget them. Generally your best course of action is to:
come in on I-287 and exit 7 or 8 (and follow signs. This is accessed from the New Jersey Turnpike (NJTP) exit 10 or The Garden State Parkway (GSP) exit 127.
Route 18 through New Brunswick will take you extra time on game day, and River Road is the absolute worst way to get to the stadium (TRAFFIC).

I-287 exits 7 and 8 both have signs directing you to Hoes Lane which eventually becomes Route 18 as you head south, however you will then take the RAC exit or Campus Road exit before getting on to Route 18.

Use this Map of New Brunswick, NJ US as a guide.


NOTE: This definitely applies for weeknight games. If you are driving from North NJ or NYC and taking the NJ Turnpike do not use exit 9 and NJ Route 18 to get to the game. It is much quicker if you take I-287 (NJ Turnpike Exit 10) to the west and take a surface street into the stadium.

Finally, one more useful web site with directions is here.

Rutgers Stadium

Parking

PARKING AT RUTGERS--mostly prepaid except for the RAC, downtown and a few other spots

Parking is not easy at Rutgers, especially since they are now drawing great crowds. Officially, all parking on the Busch Campus (stadium is located at the south end of Busch Campus) is prepaid except the RAC lot (Rutgers Basketball Arena about 1 mile from the stadium) with one notable exception (see insider parking tips). The RAC lot costs $20. Buses run almost constantly from the RAC to the stadium. A plus is the ability to use the bathrooms inside the RAC. This is probably the easiest place to meet if you have several cars meeting up to tailgate. A nice overview (Interactive Map) of the Busch, Livingston and College Ave campuses shows you that Rutgers is spread out among many different locales. The downside is the bus ride and the crowds all trying to ride the bus at the same time.

Other Game day Parking Options

Rutgers offers this as locations you (the fan without a permit parking pass) can park on game day.

Johnson Park

Johnson Park is located across the street from the stadium and snakes along the Raritan River. It offers convenience but it costs a rather pricey $30. Expect heavy traffic in the area around game time. Arrive early for the best parking and least hassle. This site drew rave reviews from several of my buddies In Nov 2010. They loved the closeness to the stadium and park setting. I highly recommend this for visiting fans who plan to arrive 3+ hours early.

College Ave Area Downtown: You can park for free on the College Ave. campus during game day (weekend games only) and walk or shuttle to the game. The best thing to do is park in one of the lots behind the College Avenue Gym (College Ave and Senior Street)and then jump on one of the buses that are lined up in front of the gym. There's also plenty of parking along Senior Street and Sicard St. alongside of and beyond the gym. There are indoor rest rooms in the student center next door to the gym. I have been told the parking lots here are not known for tailgating but parking for patrons of nearby bars. However, if your plans are modest, "what the hay" give it a shot and set up a couple chairs. Before cracking beers open you should to check about open containers though.

Ferren Deck Downtown: When you buy your Rutgers ticket, you might be able to buy a parking pass for the Busch Campus (where the stadium is located). Possibly visiting fans can pay for this option through through their university but you need to work this out with your school. I wasn't given an option when I bought tickets through Syracuse. If it isn't available then then parking at the RAC (Orange Lot on Parking Map) on gameday is your easiest option besides the College Avenue (New Brunswick) Campus or adjoining areas in downtown New Brunswick. On weekends you used to be able to park for free (now 7:30am Sunday to 7:30am Monday) at the Ferren Daily Deck. You now figure about $8-10 on Saturday. It is across from the Train Station. You can then take the same shuttle bus serving the train to Johnson Park (located just south of the stadium). For a weekday game this might still be a viable option since the parking rate is reasonable.

UMDNJ: These big lots are located about 1 mile NW of the stadium on Hoes Lane West. If you are in good shape yo can walk to the stadium along the golf course. If not Shuttle buses will bring spectators to the stadium from the RAC and locations on the New Brunswick campus, including the bookstore on Albany Street.

Buccleuch Park: sits just across the Raritan River from the stadium. It is a 15 minute walk. If you arrive about 3 hours before kickoff you should be able to park for free here. Rutgers fan ABRO1975 states, "There is a circular road that loops around the park. Parallel parking anywhere here is fine, unless sign prohibits (usually fire hydrants). There is a small lot with spaces. The circular lot is about a mile in distance, the further west in the park you are, the closer you are to the Landing Lane Bridge, where you cross over the Raritan River. A good landmark is the high rise apartment building, which is adjacent to Landing Lane Bridge. You can see the High Rise Apt from anywhere in the park. If you get there anywhere before 10:30 you should be fine for a Noon Kickoff." I would assume allow at least 2 hours for later kickoffs. Since it is a park you should be able to do a modest amount of tailgating. Just see what the Rutgers fans are doing.

Saint George Greek Orthodox Church Lot: It is pricey but very close and secure. It does allow a quick getaway if you need it. They charge $35 (tax deductible with receipt) and open four hours before kickoff. They do allow beer but obviously frown upon rowdiness. They offer indoor bathrooms--a real plus for the ladies. They have 250 spaces, first come, first serve. They also sell pre-paid season passes for Rutgers fans. If anyone wishes to secure their spots (10 or more), please send an e-mail: stgeorgeparking@comcast.net and they will be able to accommodate your request. Lot usually fills one hour before kick-off but varies with the opponent. The only negative I saw was they require you to tailgate on the grass lawn away from your cars. Expect to move your gear from the car to the front lawn.

Saint Sharbel Maronite Church

St. Sharbel Maronite Church is located across the river about a 3/4 mile walk. You have to walk down Landing Lane and across the bridge. Some of the walk has no sidewalks so it isn't recommended for those with mobility issues or towing along small kids. They charge $20 to park. I recommend calling them if you are bringing a RV or a large group.

Insider Parking Tip: There used to be several spots you could park on the Busch campus for free. They are gone. There are two game day cash lots. The RAC and the other unpublicized lot is located in front of the Physics Building at Lot 53. You should get there at least 3 hours prior to kickoff to assure a spot. It is located at the corner of Frelinghuysen Rd. and Allison Rd. I would recommend having a campus map and a Plan B in case the lot is full. It costs $20 the same as the RAC. BTW, the Busch Student Campus Center which also has a has a convenience store if you need some extra drinks for your tailgate. This was current for 2008, with stadium expansion happening it could be different in 2010. Thanks to Rutgers fan RUNYYFan for the tip.

RV PARKING

Those with RVs will need to park at the RAC unless they have a parking pass in advance to park elsewhere. I would recommend calling parking services for the latest guidance. Cars are $20 to park. Not sure what RVs are charged. Rutgers fans have told me RVs can park in the permit lots. I'm not so sure about 2010, RVers need to call to check. The following is the parking info supplied by the University.

Unofficial Note from a Rutgers Fan: “It's not in writing, but if you bring an RV to the game, park at the RAC. I know for a fact, you will be able to park overnight. The RAC is the place to go if you don't have prepaid parking passes.” A shuttle bus runs before and after games between the RAC parking lots and the football stadium. Cost is $20 for cars.


Rutgers Tailgating

Tailgating suffers officially from short duration (officially only starts three hours before kickoff) but you can tailgate until dusk if you have an early kickoff. Numerous fans have told me you can start tailgating waaaay earlier than three hours prior to kickoff. Fans told me you can arrive early to the RAC and if a parking attendant isn't there to drive in and park. They will be by to collect the money. One other thing is contrary to policy you can set up a canopy...so bring it and see what others are doing.

With the improved team play Rutgers is developing a large tailgating scene. Rutgers has always done up tailgating right, some have suggested they were the first school to tailgate. During the "dark years" some fans would only tailgate and not even go to the game, not anymore! Bottom-line: I wouldn't worry too much about the three hour before rule and show up 5+ hours before kickoff and stay as long as you want after wards. The RAC is a good place to go for visitors since Rutgers opens up the bathrooms inside the RAC to use (always popular with the ladies). The university web site outlines the following policies:

Tailgate Policies
• Parking lots are open three (3) hours prior to kickoff and close at dusk.

• Parking spaces are limited and tailgating must be confined to a small area around your vehicle. Traffic aisles and parking spaces can not be blocked at any time.

• Spectators wishing to park together, must enter lots at the same time, displaying matching passes.

• All stadium parking lots will be reserved for those attending the game. If you do not attend the game, you will be asked to leave the stadium parking lots at kick-off time.

• University regulations and state statutes on drug and alcohol consumption will be strictly enforced.

• Kegs, beer balls, tents and canopies are prohibited. These items are not permitted in the parking lots/adjacent areas at any time.

• For safety purposes, charcoal should be discarded in specially marked yellow barrels located throughout the parking lots.

• Please recycle put all trash in proper receptacles.

• RUPD and Rutgers Athletics remind everyone to please drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.

Stadium Policies

• Gate Procedures – All spectators must present their own ticket. Spectators should not bring large bags, backpacks, and similar items into Rutgers Stadium. All items brought into the stadium will be inspected, including small bags such as purses and diaper bags. Spectators can speed their entry into the stadium by leaving these items behind. Rutgers Stadium regulations prohibit bottles, cans, alcoholic beverages, coolers, strollers, umbrellas, noisemaking devices, balloons, laser pointers, pets (with the exception of guide dogs), balls, weapons, sticks/poles, containers, fireworks, and any other items deemed dangerous or inappropriate from being brought into the facility. By use of your ticket, you consent to a reasonable search for prohibited items. Ticket stubs are not valid for re-entry.

• Alcoholic Beverages – Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in Rutgers Stadium. Any spectator possessing alcohol will be asked to surrender it. Any spectator under the influence of alcohol will be asked to leave the stadium.

• Lightning Alert – Rutgers University Athletic Facilities are equipped with the Thor Guard Prediction System. In the event that the system activates, proper evacuation policies and procedures will be implemented.

• Smoking Policy – Per university regulations, smoking is not permitted in the seating area, bathrooms, and lower/upper concourses.

• Solicitation – The selling of any item by anyone other that university-authorized personnel in and around Rutgers Stadium, including the parking lots, is prohibited. Violators are subject to prosecution.
Stadium Gates – Access stadium via main North and West gates. Exit stadium via all East, North and West Gates off of the lower concourse.

• Strollers – Strollers are not permitted inside Rutgers Stadium.
Umbrellas – To ensure safety and good field visibility, umbrellas are not permitted inside Rutgers Stadium.

Scalping and You

A few years ago you could get freebies. Not anymore. A disclaimer:
The maximum resale premium, in accordance with New Jersey State Law, is 20 percent of the ticket price or $3, whichever is greater.
For 2010 Rutgers has a year old expanded stadium. The early season games should definitely be a buyers market as the the opponents are not good (except UNC) and the stadium might not be sold out. Even if it is technically sold out there should be plenty of tickets available for sale around campus.

Now where do you look? The most popular area is along "Scarlet Knight Way" (Frelinghuysen Rd) near the intersection of Sutphen Rd. This is just north of the Stadium. On game days this road is a pedestrian walkway into the stadium from the Blue, Yellow and Purple lots. Another area is on the far side of the practice bubble in the vicinty of where the RAC shuttle bus drops off fans. Stubhub is another souce of tickets.

A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying: 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.

TAILGATE SUPPLIES:



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Last Minute Tailgate Supplies

If you need some supplies the day of the game there are a few places. Just a mile east of New Brunswick in Highland Park there is a Stop and Shop at 424 Raritan Ave. A list of liquor stores show a lot of choices. If you need more extensive tailgate supplies there are several Walmarts close by. Three are close to New Brunswick.


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


The Heldrich--New Brunswick's Newest Hotel
Rutgers lacks the close by hotels/motels where you can walk to the game. However, they offer a ton of motels in the area. Some folks will walk from the Heldrich and Hyatt but check out a map first and decide for yourself. Note: Three bridges from east to west allow you to cross the Raritan on foot. 1. The Rt-27 (Albany St. Bridge) goes to Highland Park Borough (pedestrians should turn left (west) at river road and walk though Johnson Park about 1.5 miles to the stadium). 2. The Rt-18 (John Lynch Bridge) goes to Piscataway (There is a pedestrian walkway on this bridge that is part of the inter-campus ped/bikeway system. It leads directly to the Busch tailgating areas near the stadium, and continues to the RAC). 3. The Landing Lane Bridge (there is a pedestrian walkway - Landing Lane leads directly to the South end of Rutgers Stadium. A walkway leads up the hill to the West Gate). Walking is a viable option for those who do not mind a one to two mile walk from New Brunswick.

The Hyatt has a nice advantage because there is a shuttle that leaves in front of their hotel for the game. A new luxury hotel has recently opened in New Brunswick. The Heldrich looks like a nice property and also offers shuttle service.. They are both accessible within a few blocks from the train station and both allow you to stumble home after an evening on the town. If you decide not to stay at the Heldrich or the Hyatt there are a lot of motels within a short drive. They mainly cater to the business traveler. Your best bet is to stay in New Brunswick or the nearby strip of motels. If you want to save some dough $$$, try the Motel 6 chain by the freeways (I-95/287). there are three motels close by and have rooms for under $60. Another source of hotels near campus lists many hotels that cater to business travelers.

Finally, a few miles NW of New Brunswick is Somerset, NJ. There are a lot of hotels here. If you have your game day parking figured out this is a great option. The Homewood Suites comes recommended as a great value.



New Brunswick Hyatt

New Brunswick is an urban environment with a nice variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes. These are found primarily along George Street and Easton Avenue near the New Brunswick campus. The Piscataway campuses (where the stadium is located) are isolated from alot of commercial development. It is a 2-3 mile drive from them to Piscataway's retail district found along South Washington and Centennial Avenues and Stelton Road (generally the area near I-287 to the north). Here you will find the usual array of chain restaurants, fast food, supermarkets and big-box stores. Below I'll concentrate on the on local places versus the national chains.


SHOPPING

A couple large scale malls are nearby. Menlo Park Mall and Brunswick Square Mall should keep your non-football watching spouse happy. Another large mall is the Woodbridge Center. One other suggestion is to wander around the many shops in downtown New Brunswick.
Menlo Park Mall

DINING

For classic game day grub, you need to wander down to College Ave and experience the Grease Trucks. Basically these are parked trucks which serve food. It doesn’t sound too appetizing to me, but the students love them.
Grease Truck--->
Stuff Yer Face has a reputation for excellent strombolis and a great selection of beer. Looking for Pizza and Subs--look here they all deliver. Jimmy's Grill has people raving about their Fat Sandwiches. Harold's Offers huge NY Style Deli Sandwiches. Want a great burger? Try Blitzbrger. There is one next to the Olde Queen's Tavern and one in North Brunswick. Want a great dog? Try Tido N His Junk Yard Dogs. Excellent Pizza at a moderate price, try Panico's Brick Oven Pizza.
R.U. Grill and Pizza is also noted for pizza and such. And they offer the famous “Fat Darrell”. Eat at your own risk. Many of the places above are on or near Easton Ave. the main student drag with lots of cheap eats. On Easton Ave try Thomas Sweets Ice Cream and Chocolate it is a local institution.

Fat Darrell Sandwich

Fine Dining

New Brunswick has developed a theater district along George Street. George Street has become a street know for upscale dining. If you dine on George Street Old Man Rafferty's and the Harvest Moon Brewery are two of the most reasonably priced places. Both are very popular on game day. Most of the others located on George Street are very upscale.

As mentioned above, Old Man Rafferty's is an excellent American Style Restaurant with a nice menu featuring delicious desserts. Old Man Rafferty's and Stuff Yer Face are very popular on game day. Other restaurants (some are 4 and 5 star rated fine dining establishments) that come recommended include: Tumulty's (noted for Prime Rib), Harvest Moon (gets overflow from Old Man Rafferty's--very good beer and food Brewery, A new addition for 2011 is the George Street Ale House which has a great selection of beer and upscale pub food, Old Bay (for Cajun), Catherine Lombardi (upscale Italian), Hotoke (Upscale Asian/Sushi) Stage Left (Upscale and Romantic), and The Frog and Peach (Exquisite Upscale Dining). Downtown New Brunswick Downtown New Brunswick offers huge selections of restaurants. Another list here. A nice map overview here of bars. Clydz Martini bar also hosts an upscale restaurant and is a great bar for the post college crowd. Rutgers fan RC1971 sez:
Very close to the Heidrich and a fantastic place. Flexible dress code, from jeans and a tee shirt to slacks and a button down, relaxed but somewhat sophisticated atmosphere, excellent cocktails, attentive staff, usually a fair amount of people. Not much of a "college" bar though.
Additionally he sez:
If someone is looking for a Dive, or to sample some of New Brunswick's local Music Scene, the Court is the way to go, at 124 Church Street (not too far from Clydz in the downtown area). It's a "rough around the edges" type of bar, but it is the heart of the high in tradition New Brunswick music scene. Cheap Beers, Dim Lighting (Probably a good thing) and always good music. FWIW, it's my favorite move to spend a swanky first half of the evening at Clydz and then roll straight into the Court.
Enjoy!

Bars for the Younger Crowd

For the younger crowd: Olde Queen's Tavern is Rutgers signature student bar. another place with a young crowd is the Olive Branch, (nee: Patty's). The Golden Rail linked below in sports bars is another bar loaded with college students. The Knight Club is another well known bar for the college crowd. A few other places are reviewed here. A list showing other bars shows many places that cater to the students. A few suggestions: Doll Place Restaurant--a restaurant and also a place to meet and mingle. Glo Ultra Lounge looks like it caters to those out of college. Perle is a classic upscale disc jockey dance club. The Corner Tavern is close to the train station. A great place to relax with pool, darts and shuffleboard. Drink prices are reasonable. Finally,a very good website going over all your entertainment options in and around New Brunswick.


Olde Queen's Tavern--A Rutgers Drinking Institution

Sports Bar Alert!

Stuff Yer Face is a great place to watch some games, eat a Stromboli and enjoy an extensive beer menu. Houlihans is your classic chain sports bar but very good. It is located on US 1 in New Brunswick. Glass Woods Tavern is an upscale sports bar in the Hyatt. Champps is another sports bar chain. It is located in nearby Edison. It should have ESPN Gameplan. South of town (about 10-15 mins) is Damon's. They are a national chain but are noted for great ribs as well as being a good sports bar.


GOLF
Consider playing one of these three Middlesex county golf courses, all located close to the Rutgers New Brunswick campus:
Raritan Landing Golf Course
This easy 3,400-yard, par-58 family style golf course, designed by Stephen Kay, opened on October 1, 1999. It is located a short drive from the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. Cost for 18 holes on the weekend for a non resident is about $30 walking (carts are $26). If you don't have much time or are a mediocre golfer, this would be a good choice.
The Meadows at Middlesex Golf Course
The Meadows is an 18-hole, 6,290-yard, par-70 championship course. It is located a short drive from the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. This bent grass golf course was designed by Joe Finger in 1972 and finished in 1980 by world renowned designer Tom Fazio. It features a full-service restaurant, locker rooms and electric carts. Cost for 18 holes on the weekend for a non resident about $35-50 walking (carts are $28).
Tamarack
Tamarack features two 18-hole championship golf courses, both designed by Hal Purdy (who designed a number of course in the Syracuse area, including Foxfire, Pompey Club and Kanon Valley). The East (Gold and Blue) course is a 6,226-yard, par-71 course and the West (Red and White) course is a 7,025-yard, par-72 course. The West course is tougher and is the better choice if you are an advanced golfer.
Tamarack includes a full-service restaurant, locker rooms and electric carts. The driving range features 34 stalls, five target greens and top-of-the-line tees and teepads. Located in East Brunswick, it is a short drive from the Rutgers New Brunswick campus.
The New Jersey State Golf Association rated Tamarack West as the second most-difficult course in Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset and Union Counties. Cost for 18 holes for either course on the weekend for a non resident is about $40 walking (carts are $28). Please note that these courses never close.
Rutgers University Golf Course
Over 6,000 yards in length, the picturesque, tree-lined course is a par 71 and offers a challenging layout with four teeing areas per hole. Like Tamarack, this course was designed by Hal Purdy (who designed a number of courses in the Syracuse area, including Foxfire, Pompey Club and Kanon Valley). Highlights include narrow fairways, fast greens, and water hazards on nine holes. Golf Magazine awarded the course a 4 star rating in 2004.

Rutgers University Golf Course
Cost for 18 holes on the weekend is about $50 walking (golf carts are $30). If you want to play here, get a tee time ASAP. The course is in great demand on football weekends.


Golf and Stay at Crystal Springs A nice resort with multiple golf courses (six signature courses within five miles!) is located about an hour north of New Brunswick in NW New Jersey. Crystal Springs ranks among Golf Digest’s top ten list for public golf courses in New Jersey.

I'd like to thank all the Rutgers fans who helped in making this guide better: Scarlet16E, Jumba72, Upstream, srru86, lawmatt78, Andrew, Randall, RC1971 and several others.

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.


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