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Carnegie Inn, Spa, Golf Course, and Suburban Sprawl, State College, PA

December 12, 2012

Somehow the world has passed right by State College, PA and nobody seems to have noticed. I was expecting a town like Bloomington, Ann Arbor, or Charlottesville. Though there is a major university here and it is the main employer, State College feels more like West Lafayette than those other (amazing) towns. Must be too many engineers here?!

The Carnegie Inn is apparently about as close to upscale as you can get near Penn State. No cigar. And no tobasco for your eggs. And the bar closes at 10pm. And your grandmother would feel right at home in the decor. And the new wing construction is suburban sprawl cold. At least the staff is very friendly and warm.

I was in room 22, which is a suite whose dimensions are disproportionate in just the same way that a McMansion entrance hall with a huge staircase to nowhere is. It’s like everything is off by a foot or two. The floor joists are too far apart and the construction is thin. You can hear other people clonking around in the building. The stairway is just plain cold.

Entrance.

Entrance.

Chandelier.  Now that's tasteful.

Chandelier. Now that’s tasteful.

Bedroom (room 2 of the suite).

Bedroom (room 2 of the suite).

The bathroom in 22 is huge. But also wrong. For example, the shower is an expanded one of those 1970 showers with the thin wobbly glass doors like at your parent’s house. The floor, which is plastic, sproings like a trampoline. To make up for this, there is a huge tub thing by the window, which must be fancy in some alternate dimension.

Shower = nope.

Shower = nope.

Being naked in this tub might cause the neighbors to gasp.

Being naked in this tub might cause the neighbors to gasp.

One word: wallpaper.

One word: wallpaper.

Anyway, it’s all told probably better than a Doubletree, but fancy it is not. Two showerheads and a “nice try” to the Carnegie Inn.

In town for dinner, we tried Zola’s. Zola’s is as upscale as you can get in central PA. So close, but so not ready for primetime. Our server was superb and fun. But the confit was not so good. And the sommelier, instead of learning how to use a carafe when decanting said, “They did not teach me to do it that way in sommelier school.” Uh, right. Mr. wine dude, you are hereby sentenced to a life of mediocrity in State College.

The American Alehouse is kind of like a non-chain Cheers. Nick scraped together a decent Manhattan. But no mixology in this town. Feels like a sports bar. Nah, is a sports bar.

Coffee = Starbucks. Sparkling water = non-existent. Youch. I hope there is a good bookstore!

One Response to “Carnegie Inn, Spa, Golf Course, and Suburban Sprawl, State College, PA”


  1. […] but the hotels in the academia sphere appear to be trapped in the late 70s. (For example, see State College, Palo Alto, Bloomington, and Ann Arbor where I find myself again […]


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