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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING » CONNECTICUT » A Yale Education Tuition-Free?
A Yale Education Tuition-Free?

It Can be Yours in New Haven, Connecticut

By Robin Tierney | July 07, 2011

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library's Translucent Marble
The Rooftop View at Study at Yale
Frans Hals Portrait of a Matron, Yale University Art Gallery
BAR's Brick Oven
BAR's Red Pie Pizza with Artichokes Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil

You don’t need to enroll in summer school to broaden your cultural horizons. Instead, treat yourself to a trip to Yale University and the surrounding town of New Haven.

Phelps Tower

The university sprung from clergymen’s ambitions in the 1640s to transplant the European tradition of liberal education to Colonial America. The school was christened “Yale College” in 1718 to honor Elihu Yale, a merchant who donated funding, 417 books, and a portrait of King George I. Now a globally revered university, Yale offers enlightenment and relaxing strolls across its a 310-acre central campus. Along with the well-rounded attractions of New Haven, you have a perfect getaway for thinking (and drinking and dining) people.

On free campus tours, guides point out the blocks composing America’s first planned city, Colonial and Collegiate Gothic buildings, and architect secrets to instantly achieving the look of well-aged authenticity. Spend some time studying the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library’s translucent, 1.3-inch-thick marble walls.

Sally’s Apizza (old-school thin-crust “ah-beetz”), jogs around Science Hill, and cozy chairs in the Sterling Library are among highlights recalled by alumni making summer pilgrimages back to Yale. Be sure to catch a bargain-priced show at one of Yale’s theaters, where dozens of Broadway hits and award-winning shows have debuted. Yale Repertory Theatre, in fact, is a Tony Regional Theatre Award winner.

Two top-tier art museums offer free admission. When I visited Yale University Art Gallery, guard Frank Fazzino advised visitors to stand far left of Frans Hals 1643 portrait of a matron. “Her eyes, body and chair face you, right? Now walk to her other side.” One viewer complied with Fazzino’s request, then gasped. “She’s turning to watch me!”

Miya's sustainable sushi includes artichoke with spicy-sweet veggie-based "mother's milk"

Allow equal time to peruse the collections at the Yale Center for British Art, which recently opened the outstanding “Connections” exhibition. It spans three centuries, diverse genres and media, and such masters as Hogarth, George Stubbs, and Samuel Palmer

Music lovers enjoy freebies, too. They range from concerts to the Collection of Musical Instruments, with artifacts including a fascinating 1815 “pyramid” piano. For quick lessons in flavor-enhancing, chemical-free gardening, visit the Yale Sustainable Food Project farm. Its produce is used on campus and purchased by top area restaurants, says literature major-turned-gardener Zan Romanoff as visitors nibble Sungold cherry tomatoes, Hakurie turnips and figs.

What may be the world’s most sustainable sushi restaurant begins captivating diners with its gloriously extensive, educational, and witty page-turner of a menu. Miya’s Sushi serves rave-inducing creations that incorporate only abundant species, invasive species, and plant-based foods. To make healthy cuisine accessible to all, Miya’s counterbalances $45 “Art Rolls” with eight plum-basil rolls for $2.50 and $1 bowls of Great Pumpkin Miso and other soups. The owners of Miya’s and Claire’s Corner Copia, a vegetarian favorite since 1975, donate time and resources for nutrition educational initiatives across the region.

Amid BAR’s wild artworks, huge beer tanks, and wall-spanning brick oven, townies savor the Toasted Blonde ale. Check the scholarly tasting notes and oblong pizzas custom-built from local ingredients.

Visitors can lodge at the Study at Yale. Resembling a dream dorm, this contemporary boutique hotel combines comfort, central location, and affordability. And its lobby-level Heirloom dining room offers yet another option for local, sustainable, zestfully seasoned fare.

There’s plenty to satisfy travelers hungry for fine art, music, history, and cuisine. And after your visit, you can honestly say you went to Yale.


Art Faces at BAR

Yale University Visitor Center and Tours

149 Elm Street, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 432-2300


Free admission.

Hours vary; see their website.

Yale University Museums, Libraries, Visitor Center, and Other Cultural Venues

149 Elm Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Free admission for most venues and events.

Hours vary; see their website.

The Study At Yale Hotel

1157 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511

(866) 930-1157


New Haven Visitor Information

(800) 332-7829 and (203) 773-9494


Robin Tierney is an award-winning East Coast writer who explores invigorating, offbeat places primarily by bicycle. All photos are by, and copyright, the author.

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