We arrived at Oberlin College & Conservatory, guided by our GPS, after dark on a Sunday after driving from Chicago. The contrast with the big city was startling at first. We felt like we were way out in the middle of nowhere, it was pitch dark, and we had no idea where we were staying.
We found the hotel easily enough -- right across the street from campus. The Oberlin Inn proved graciously accommodating and moderately priced. The next morning, while Betsy (with mom Cathy) made the rounds of the admissions office, took a campus tour, and also met with some professors, Sparkle, little Josh and I mostly hung out in the historic Tappan Square and circled the campus a few times. I was impressed with the friendly intimacy of the campus and the quaint town, which are connected by the grassy, tree-shaded square. And Oberlin is not out in the middle of nowhere, it's about a half-hour from Cleveland.
As the hours stretched on, it was great exposure for Sparkle exploring the college neighborhood. After Betsy was finished, we ate a late lunch at a downtown cafe, then took a final tour around Tappan Square, which was named after Arthur Tappan, an abolitionist who helped keep the college financially afloat in its early years.
Late in the afternoon, we headed out of town and back toward Philadelphia. Sparkle slept easily, just as she had the whole trip. I was feeling a little anxious: We missed out on an earthquake and a hurricane while we were gone. Timber, our 14-year-old golden retriever, fell down the stairs during the quake, but luckily wasn't injured. For her part, Sparkle gained a whole wealth of new experiences, remaining calm, confident and cheerful.