Last updated: 12:48 PM ET, Sun September 25 2016

Presidential Debate: Yes, There Are Things To Do Around Hofstra University

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | September 25, 2016

Presidential Debate: Yes, There Are Things To Do Around Hofstra University

PHOTO: Hofstra University (Courtesy Hofstra)

Hofstra University, host of Monday night’s first Presidential Debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, might not be top-of-mind for most people when it comes to thinking of colleges.

But Hofstra is a highly respected university on Long Island, New York, and has become something of a home for the debates – this is the third consecutive election cycle that the school has served as host, the first time any university has hosted three consecutive presidential debates.

In the previous two general election years, the Hofstra debate has proven critical. In 2008, it was the third and final debate between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, and in 2012 it was the second debate that served as Obama’s bounce-back after a poor performance against Mitt Romney in that year’s first contest.

The university itself is located in western Long Island in Hempstead, closer to New York City than to the east end and the Hamptons, and whether you scored a ticket or not, here are a few things to do around Hofstra while killing time before or after the debate – or, you know, during.

HEMPSTEAD LAKE STATE PARK – This is a hidden treasure among New York’s state parks. According to its website, Hempstead Lake State Park is a multi-use facility with 20 tennis courts, children's playgrounds, basketball courts, bridle trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, shaded picnic areas and a historic hand-carved wooden carousel. There is a picnic pavilion available for large parties. There are three ponds that are accessible for fishing. McDonald Pond, South Pond and Hempstead Lake are stocked with trout in the fall and you may target trout year-round. Other species present include large-mouth bass, chain pickerel, black crappie, perch, tiger muskies, carp and sunfish.

CAFé BACI – Consistently rated as one of Long Island’s best restaurants, Café Baci is a mix between traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine. There is an immense menu, with 21 different pasta dishes – and at Café Baci, that’s just considered the first course, or the pasta course, not even the appetizer, much less the meal itself! Then you have the meat, the fish and, well, a ton of good stuff. Our suggestion? Try the Ravioli Riviera, stuffed with lobster, soaked in a cream sauce, with baby shrimp and garden vegetables.

NOVITA WINE BAR AND TRATTORIA – Cap off your debate night with a nightcap. This is a unique space in nearby Garden City – remember, the area around Hofstra makes it a college town with college bars and college kids – so if you’re willing to make a short drive you’ll be rewarded with one of the biggest wine selections on the east coast. Not to mention the unique pouring system via gas-propelled taps that keeps wine fresh longer.


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