Come May 19, most students are finishing up their final exams and preparing to head home for the summer. Restlessness has set in and warm weather has returned. Students everywhere are being called back to their friends and family, summer jobs, fun vacations, BBQs and trips to the beach. But for some students, summer break will be happening right here in New Paltz.
For fourth-year secondary education major Alex Vignogna, this will be his last summer in New Paltz before he heads to New York City for a semester of student teaching.
“This is my one last hurrah,” Vignogna said. “Who knows where my search for a job is going to take me. I want to get one last taste of the New Paltz experience!”
For Vignogna, that experience includes the regular wing night at McGillicuddy’s and things he hasn’t done during his time at New Paltz, like go on a tour of Huguenot Street and the Ulster County Fair. His last summer in New Paltz will be all about seeing and doing as much as the town has to offer, but not forgetting the familiar things he loves so much about it. Where else but Jack’s Rhythms can Vignogna add to his vinyl record collection?
And then there are other students, like fourth-year secondary education major Kyle O’Shea, who are spending their summer in New Paltz to catch up on school credits. O’Shea is hoping to graduate in December, so he needs the extra summer credits. While that might seem like a lousy way to spend your summer vacation, O’Shea, who also spent last summer in New Paltz, actually prefers it.
“The vibe is so much different in the summer,” O’Shea said. “It’s a lot more laid-back. The weather is nice and people aren’t running around crazed about papers or finals or grades. Everything is just chill. Really, it’s a whole different campus.”
In between his classes, he said he plans to check out events like the Hudson Valley Summer Music Festival and the Hudson Valley Ribfest. He will also be stopping by his favorite brewery, The Gilded Otter, for a beer sampler and “the best burger in town.”
For those considering staying in New Paltz for the summer, there is certainly no shortage of things to do. Minnewaska State Park, Dressel Farms, New Paltz Summer Repertory Theater, the Saturday night Antique Car Show, the New Paltz Regatta and Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Craft Fair are just some of the many local attractions and events that New Paltz residents take advantage of in the summer months.