The air is crisp, the leaves are changing and pumpkin has snuck its way back into every drink. It’s officially fall and that means it’s time for a nice, refreshing walk in the brisk weather.
In such an irregular year, students’ social options are down to a low. Clubs are closed but the outdoors never will be. And to give that walk some purpose, here are three scenic routes to different grocery stores, all starting from the Loyola stomping grounds.
All of this is dramatic for what seems like a grocery run — and it should be. As those cliche moms on TV always say, sometimes, you have to stop and smell the roses. While there are no rose-guarantees on these routes, there’s a lot of fun to be found on the way.
Trader Joe’s (121 Chicago Ave., Evanston)
Nothing embodies fall quite like the pumpkin display set up right outside of the Evanston Trader Joe’s. A long, but oh-so-worth-it walk from Loyola’s Lake Shore campus can lead you to this sanctuary disguised as a grocery store.
While the first mile of the walk will take students down Rogers Park roads they may have walked a thousand times, the next stretch will take you on a spiritual journey that evaporates life’s worries in the comforting breeze.
A walk next to Lake Michigan (and a graveyard — but ignore that), beautiful park scenery and a detour through a picturesque, suburban neighborhood makes this walk a diversified, worthy experience. Imagine life as one of the upper-middle class, 65-year-olds who lives in these glorious, million-dollar homes, sits on their porch to read the paper (The Loyola Phoenix, by chance?) and more-than-likely owns a summer home in Florida.
The walk is far longer than any casual walker will want, so beware of that. This route to Trader Joe’s is all about the journey — the destination’s just the cherry on top.
Target (4466 N. Broadway Ave.)
There was a time before the Sheridan mini Target swooped in to make Target runs easier than ever. Back in those dark days, the most convenient Target was the one just off the Wilson L-stop. Although the Sheridan Target exists to make lives convenient, here’s some encouragement to take a detour and explore the two-floor extravagance after a fulfilling walk.
Head south down Sheridan for just less than a mile before hopping onto the Lakefront Trail, a popular 18-mile course that hugs Lake Michigan. Enjoy the fall scenery as leaves scatter on the ground and trees coalesce in a beautiful orange mirage. Pass runners, walkers and bikers alike on journeys of their own.
Stop for a relaxing break on one of the many benches scattered throughout the trail, or plop down on the grass if that’s preferable. Sit on the rocks by the lake and wistfully kiss warm weather goodbye as the waves come crashing in.
Once you diverge off the trail, you’ll have a quick walk ahead toward Target. And for convenience sake, the L is right next door for the ride home with groceries.
Whole Foods Market (6009 N. Broadway)
Some days, getting out seems ideal but going the distance isn’t in the cards. While this walk is just more than half a mile from the Damen Student Center, it’s still a good escape from the monotony of life indoors.
Head down North Sheridan Road (or eventually, North Broadway) for a streamlined journey. If the Broadway route is too familiar, go one street over and head through the neighborhoods. This walk may not bring the glitz and the glamour but don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and walking with a purpose to pick you up after a rough day (or week, or month… or even year? Maybe “Friends” had a point).
This walk packs a punch too as the smaller distance makes it great for heading there and back without breaking a sweat. Students can pop in a Whole Foods walk in between two Zoom classes for a light reprieve.
Watch the cars pass, look in store windows and think, “Oh yeah, I’ve always wanted to go there.” You won’t, but at least you’ll get some groceries.