Embrace living on the Vern and take advantage of the campus’ perks

Media Credit: Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor

Black Coffee, a 10-minute walk from the Vern, at 4885 MacArthur Blvd. NW, offers brunch.

Don’t be disappointed if you end up living on the Mount Vernon Campus next year. It might be out of the way, but the Vern has its own set of perks.

Despite what you might hear, GW’s more remote campus boasts easy access to Georgetown and Dupont Circle and has great brunch options that measure up to Foggy Bottom favorites. Plus, there are community benefits and competitively priced food options that are exclusive to the Vern.

Here’s how to make the most of your year on the Vern:

Getting around D.C.

If you plan on making the most of the District from farther away, you’ll need to know how to get around efficiently. The Vern is well connected through two main bus systems: the Mount Vernon Express, the University’s shuttle service known as the Vex, and the public D6 Metrobus line.

The Vex is free for students and runs every five minutes on weekdays and evenings and every 15 to 30 minutes on weekends. It connects the two campuses, so if you’re trying to get to class or the Foggy Bottom Metro station, serving the Orange, Silver and Blue lines, this is usually your best bet.

The D6 bus line runs down MacArthur Boulevard, a short walk from the Vern, and costs $2.25 a trip to take you to the various District hot spots. In less than 15 minutes, you can window shop on Georgetown’s Wisconsin Avenue, and enjoy the nightlife around Dupont Circle in less than 20 minutes. From there, you’ll also be in walking distance of popular nightlife neighborhoods like Adams Morgan, U Street and Logan Circle.

Restaurants in your neighborhood

If you get tired of the campus’ food options, like Pelham Commons or Higher Grounds Coffee, the neighborhood directly adjacent to the Vern will help you mix up your menu. The Palisades neighborhood is a late breakfast heaven with three great brunch spots just a short walk away.

Black Coffee is a 10-minute walk from the Vern, at 4885 MacArthur Blvd. NW, and offers interesting options like vegetable latkes ($9) with lime butter and mixed greens, or a pork belly and fried egg sandwich ($16). It also has the classics like buttermilk waffles ($12) that will remind you of your parents’ cooking, and menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Black Coffee’s neighbor and sister restaurant Black Salt has a slate of seafood-inspired brunch options like Poached Eggs Chesapeake with Old Bay hollandaise and Maryland blue crab ($21) and more conventional selections like the three-egg omelette with asparagus, goat cheese, oven-dried tomatoes and grilled scallions ($15).

Salt and Pepper, 10 minutes farther down at 5125 MacArthur Blvd. NW, fills your glass with bottomless mimosas and bloody marys ($14). On the food side, you can scarf down savory dishes like the early morning burger ($15) stacked with smoked bacon, aged cheddar and a fried egg, served with home fries and a side salad.

Grocery stores to stock your pantry

If cooking is more your style, you’ll be glad to know that every residence hall on the Vern has a kitchen in its floor plan. However, you may have trouble getting friends to come over for potlucks at West Hall without schooling them about the perks of the nearby Safeway, located at 4865 MacArthur Blvd. NW. Vernies have cheap home-cooked meals at their disposal because of the nearby market, while students on Foggy Bottom are stuck paying top dollar at Whole Foods.

During the spring, summer and fall, the Palisades Farmers Market opens next to the Safeway every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. so students can take home fresh produce, flowers and other finds.

Outdoor activity at your disposal

For students who want to get outside, the Vern is the perfect fit. The campus is home to six of GW’s varsity sports teams, giving its residents VIP seating to their home games. Walking through the campus to West Hall, you’re bound to spot a game or two in the first few weeks of school.

In the fall, the men’s and women’s soccer teams practice daily and play weekly on the soccer field. And in the spring, women’s lacrosse and softball both offer almost daily opportunities to catch the teams in action. If you’re lucky, certain rooms in West Hall and Somers Hall have excellent views of the fields, so you won’t even have to leave your bed to watch the games.

Just across Foxhall Road, students can find a more adventurous outdoor activity in Glover Archbold Park. The green space is a 183-acre subset of the larger Rock Creek Park, where students can find trails for walking and biking.

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