The "Cardiac Hill Roadshow" is a six-part weekly series that covers the ins and outs of traveling to watch your Pitt Panthers on the road this season. We will touch on everything from how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, what to see and do on and around campus, and even some sights you might run into along the way. Join us each week as we offer up information and entertainment as our lead-in to the 2012 college football season.
Today we will look at the trip to Syracuse, New York and Syracuse University.
Starting point: Pitt campus
Ending point: Syracuse campus
Time: 6 hours, 17 minutes
Distance: 364 miles, or roughly the equivalent of 9,856 Adam Graessle touchbacks
Places to see along the way:
Penn DOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden, Meadville, PA
The Place Where Ducks Walk On Fishes Backs, Linesville, PA
The Jell-O Gallery, Le Roy, NY
The Grave of Jack The Ripper, Rochester, NY
Green On Top Traffic Light, Syracuse, NY
For further information about traveling to Syracuse, we've solicited the help of some locals. Here is some advice that Sean and Matt of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician had to offer.
Where To Stay
Sean: Ideally, you want to stay at the University Sheraton. It is literally across the street from the campus, right around the corner from Marshall Street (where all the bars and shops are) and usually hosts some pre-game events. It might be a little pricy so if that's the case, there are a handful of smaller hotels in the immediate University area (Hotel Skylar), try to latch on to those. The next closest option is to stay downtown, which will require a short bus ride or a slightly-long walk. And if money is really tight, there's an area called Carrier Circle near the airport where most of the reasonably-priced hotels are. Keep an eye out for a shuttle or rent a car if you stay in one of those.
Matt: In your car under I-81. The amount of culture you'll experience is unparalleled: Attempted car jacking, attempted robbery, attempted destruction of private property, attempted kidnapping. The biggest benefit of sleeping in your car with a knife under the passenger seat to keep things at "attempted" rather than "consummated"? A return trip to lovely Syracuse, New York as a coveted and important key witness for the great state of New York in your perpetrators trial!
Where To Eat
Sean: First and foremost you gotta try out some of the Marshall Street hotspots. The Varsity is our classic pizza joint and where everyone will go after the game to flip the Pitt banner after we beat you. Faegan's is a brewpub with decent grub and a fine beer selection. Cosmos Pizza is a decent alternative to Varsity as well.
If there is one joint that you are required to get a meal while at Syracuse, it's Dinosaur BBQ. I assure you, unless you don't eat meat, you will come away a happy camper. Some other Syracuse "institutions" include Heid's (amazing hot dogs, featured in Man vs. Food), McShane's (fried chicken), Asti Caffee (Italian) and Gentile's (Italian).
Matt: Dinosaur BBQ downtown is a must-have if you're into testing the durability of your digestive system, accepting full failure as a potential consequence given the concentrated happiness you just shoved down your gullet. Or, you can do what I do: Skip eating because it cuts into continuous drinking and make your face melt at any of the houses of fine spirits and brews in Armory Square.
What To Do On & Around Campus
Sean: Depends how Syracuse-y you want your trip to be. The Melo Center is a shuttle-ride away from the main campus but that's where we keep all the memorabilia. Schine Student Center is home to the bookstore and our many, many, many t-shirts. On campus, keep an eye out for the Ernie Davis Statue, just across from the Dome. Peruse the many shops, bars and restaurants of the Marshall Street area. Downtown Syracuse has an area called Armory Square that's the "cool" place to be (please don't expect too much, it's Syracuse). If for some weird reason you want to go shopping, the Carousel Mall is enormous and can eat up half a day easily.
Matt: Enroll at the university if you know what's good for you. M-Street has all kinds of restaurants, shops, and bars to hit up if it tickles your fancy. There's a bunch of sculptures, statues, and murals and stuff around campus to look at and not care about 10 seconds after viewing. Or you can go hang out in the cemetery next to the Dome, behind Tree Hugger U, and wonder where the ghost of John Marinatto will stalk his murderous traitor.
Gameday Traditions To Take Part In
Sean: We're a little light on the big traditional stuff. I will say the tailgating scene is much improved since my days on campus. Before the game, the band and cheerleaders will gather on the quad, sing some songs, do some dances, twirl some batons, and then walk over to the Dome. After the game, if we win, everyone heads over to The Varsity to flip the banner of the team we just beat. And I mean everyone, the football team will go there as well. And really, everyone goes down to Marshall Street after the game to drink. Of the many bars there, Faegan's is really the only one worth your time.
Matt: Other than standing in a circle, putting on robes, and attempting to lift the curse of Greg Robinson? The marching band does a concert on the Quad before the game followed by a march to the Dome. That's fun. Also: cursing, usually about the football currently being watched but also including - the weather, Paul Pasqualoni, beer being too expensive yet creating anger when you can't buy any more of it when the Dome closes sales, that not enough people show up for games, that tickets are too expensive, ad naseum. Aren't you pumped to hang out with us in the ACC?
Other "Good To Know" Information
Sean: You can drink the Dome! That's exciting. Be careful when you leave because when you open the doors, the Dome creates a wind tunnel that will certainly knock your hat off and might possibly knock over small children as well. Syracuse fans are, for the most part, pretty congenial. Like any fanbase, there are nogoodniks, but most are up for a little friendly taunting. And if you want to check out the house parties after the game, head up to Euclid Avenue. If you're 25 or older, please don't...
Matt: Syracuse football games are a different kind of animal. It's really hard to park near campus, the tailgating scene is weird, and attendance is basically treated like jury duty. Armory Square at night is fun, though. Oh, [edited for content], almost forgot: The Dome's public address announcer is a [edited for content].
I don't know about you, but I'm pumped to continue handing out with these guys in the ACC. Why? Well, the Panthers never lost a football game in the Carrier Dome under Dave Wannstedt (Todd Graham never played a game there). And until this past season, Jamie Dixon had never lost a game there either.