I did not have my own car until extremely recently. Since then, it has been like I am discovering St. Mary’s County for the very first time. Sure, I have explored every inch of campus, but anywhere beyond walking distance was a mystery to me until this summer. Now I have an apartment off campus, a car, and a job that requires me to travel throughout the county. I have discovered so many great places since then that I wish I knew about sooner! I now implore new students, and even some upperclassmen, to not make my mistake and check out some of these places before your time at St. Mary’s is over.
-The entire town of Callaway: It is about 3 minutes past Sheetz on Rte 5. There is a Food Lion seven miles away from campus and I have been going to the one in California, which is twice the distance, for three years. Do not make my mistake. There is also the Gridiron Grill, a sports bar/pub/restaurant if you are looking for food, drink, and entertainment that is closer than Lexington Park or California. There are plenty of other things in the deceptively small town of Callaway; I highly encourage looking around and discovering what catches your interest there before wasting the gas (and time in traffic) on Rte. 235. If you do feel up for the drive, though, you’ve got to check out…
-DB MacMillians: Sure, there are a lot of restaurants in town. Sure, many of them can claim to have great food and a good bar, too. However, only MacMillians has live Irish music 5 nights a week, and I am pretty sure nowhere else has as good of a dessert list either. If you want a nice dinner off campus and have already eaten at Olive Garden too many times to count, you will find no better choice than MacMillians.
-Teariffic Café: I have no idea how this restaurant expects to be found; it is tucked away behind Thai Inter and Famous Footwear. I only saw it because I saw a sign that I thought would lead to a yard sale, and it led me there instead. Imagine my surprise when I found one of the best Chinese food restaurants I have ever seen! It has traditional Chinese teas, trendy smoothies with tapioca or lychee added, and really, really good food. If you can find this place you will never regret it.
-Indian Bridge Road: Okay, it isn’t a “place,” it’s just a shortcut to get to other places. This bypasses all of the traffic from the base and spits you out three traffic lights north of Wal Mart (as opposed to thirty of them if you take Rte. 235). If you take Rte. 5 up to the traffic light right after Sheetz, Indian Bridge is on your right. At the end, turn right onto Rte. 4. Soon you will see Wawa on your right, and that means you are at Rte. 235 again. Technically this way adds a mile to your journey, but it’s well worth it for all the traffic you will avoid.
Any of these places are easy to Google directions to, so the next time you are looking for something fun to do off campus or some way to avoid the insanity of the traffic on Rte. 235, try out some of these suggestions. You won’t regret it.