When In … Little Rock

Welcome to Little Rock! My name is Ray Owens, Class of 2002, and I work for the state of Arkansas, where I oversee the state’s Federal Tobacco Compliance Program.

In Arkansas, you will find acres and acres of parks and forests and endless miles of hiking and biking trails. There is also lots to see and do in the city, including great places to eat and landmarks to explore, and it all comes with Southern hospitality! I am proud to say I am a Little Rock local. Here are my top five recommendations for things to do in the capital:

 

1The Arkansas River Trail
If you like to be outdoors, the 88-mile River Trail is perfect. There is a 15-mile loop that runs through the city and along the banks of the Arkansas River. Also, there are several smaller loops and gardens to enjoy.

Pro Tip: There are three bridges — the Clinton Presidential Bridge, Junction Bridge and Broadway Bridge — that pedestrians can use to cross over the Arkansas River into North Little Rock.

 

2Museums

The Old State House Museum, the oldest surviving capitol building west of the Mississippi River, is my personal favorite. It has been the site of many important events in Arkansas history. Other museums in Little Rock include the Historic Arkansas Museum, Arkansas Arts Center, MacArthur Museum of Military History, Esse Purse Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, to name a few.

 

3The River Market

In the River Market District, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library is a must-see. Put political affiliations aside, if you must, and visit this amazing collection of artifacts, replicas and digital media dedicated to our 42nd president. The district also hosts the Museum of Discovery and Kilwins, both perfect outings for families. Live music is frequent because of the River Market Pavilions as well as the First Security Amphitheater.

Pro Tip: Park for free in the Clinton Presidential Library lot!

 

4Dining

Little Rock was recently named one of “Five Secret Foodie Cities” by Forbes Travel Guide. Little Rock’s craft brewery scene offers premier establishments, such as Flyway, Diamond Bear, Lost Forty and Stone’s Throw. Our family’s favorite restaurant is Iriana’s Pizza, located in the River Market District. If pizza is not your thing, try a delicious farm-to-table dinner at the Root Café or grab a steak at Samantha’s Taproom.

 

5Rock Region Metro Trolley

The trolley line is only 2.5 miles in length, but it goes through the historic downtown area and the River Market District and crosses the Arkansas River into North Little Rock. From the line, you can also easily walk to Dickey-Stephens Park and see a minor league baseball game. The trolley operators are city historians and will point out many interesting things along the route.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for surprise announcements of reduced or free trolley rates.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

 

 

When In … St. Croix

My name is Julie Abbott Hayne, class of ’94, and I am the owner and innkeeper of Coral’s Edge, a boutique, adults-only bed and breakfast on the Northshore of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. My husband is our on-site chef, and I have fun pairing everything with wine and cocktails. I left corporate America behind to open our small business and love sharing island life with folks who arrive as guests and depart as treasured friends who love St. Croix as much as we do!

1Cane Bay Beach
Only a half-mile bike ride from Coral’s Edge, Cane Bay Beach is perfect for lounging in the Caribbean sunshine, snorkeling or scuba diving St. Croix’s famous “Wall” just offshore.

Pro Tip: Enjoy a cocktail at the beach bar with live music by local musicians.

2Buck Island
Buck Island is a national monument off the East End of the island that you can only enjoy by boat. Take a catamaran or hitch a ride on a powerboat to amazing snorkeling.

3West End Beaches & Sandy Point National Refuge
There is no better place to treasure a gorgeous sunset than the westernmost point of the island, where you can also enjoy snorkeling with sea turtles, a sunset cruise on a catamaran, the Frederiksted Pier and some amazing restaurants!

Pro Tip: Islanders love to be greeted, and in the evenings, the authentic greeting is “Goodnight!”

4Point Udall on the East End
Point Udall is the easternmost point of any U.S. territory. Hike to Isaac’s Bay and Jack’s Bay to experience gorgeous views, stunning cliffs and warm waters.

Pro Tip: St. Croix is home to one of the world’s rare bioluminescent bays. Be sure to schedule a nighttime kayak tour.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

 

 

When In … Maui

Aloha, and welcome to Maui!

My name is Alex Urban, class of 2011. I majored in political science and minored in communications studies at Clemson and now work in professional golf as the executive director for the Sentry Tournament of Champions played at Kapalua each year on the PGA Tour. I have been living on Maui for more than two years, and the beauty and spirit of the island has captivated me since day one — let me show you around the Valley Isle!

 

1 | The Plantation Course at Kapalua
Of course, I am biased, but there is no better place to kick off the new year than the Plantation Course at Kapalua during the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January each year. Located on West Maui, Kapalua hosts the winners of the PGA Tour, and if you make it to the tournament, you can be just feet from the stars of professional golf. If you aren’t on Maui in January, make your way to the Plantation Course for a world-class round of golf.

 

2 | Honolua Bay
For the surfers out there, Honolua Bay is one of the most legendary surf spots on the planet. When the waves are pumping, it is common to see hundreds of surfers in the water, including the world’s top professionals.

 

3 | Lahaina
Just down the road from Kapalua is the town of Lahaina, a former capital of Hawaii and whaling town that is now a hotspot of restaurants, shops and culture. Grab a drink and some food from Down the Hatch, and if you’re a music lover, try Fleetwood’s on Front Street. Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac calls Maui home, and his restaurant is a great place for rooftop cocktails at sunset. If you’re up for an adventure, you can take a sunset or snorkel cruise out of Lahaina Harbor. 

 

4 | Kapalua and Napili Bays
These two bays are right next to each other and feature two of the best beaches in the world. Maui beaches boast crystal clear water, soft sand, great snorkeling, water sports and easy access. When you have finished up a day on one of these pristine beaches, head over to Merriman’s for a sunset mai tai on their lanai. 

 

5 | Haleakalā and the Upcountry
Haleakalā National Park is home to the tallest mountain on Maui and is known for its spectacular sunrises (don’t forget to make a reservation in advance!). The park has numerous trails and lookout points, and you can even rent bikes and take a guided ride on the twisty road to its summit. On your way down from the peak, Kula Lodge is the perfect stop if you get hungry. Don’t worry about any eruptions; Haleakalā is dormant — the largest dormant volcano in the world, in fact.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

 

 

Alumni Teaching the Arts

The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, tucked into the heart of downtown Greenville, hosts a myriad of talented and well-trained faculty who are dedicated to mentoring high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, immersing them in the arts with classes on dance, music, visual arts, drama and creative writing. Students work closely with mentors, who pass down their own experiences and teach self-discipline, respect, time management, resilience, professionalism and empathy.

The Governor’s School highlights an amazing reciprocal relationship with Clemson. Many graduates of the school later become Clemson students, and there are more than a few Clemson alumni who serve as teachers and/or staff members. The Visual Arts Department, in particular, boasts a few faculty members who all have something in common: a master’s degree from Clemson.

 

 

Marty Epp-Carter M ’09
MFA in visual arts, emphasis in printmaking
Teaches printmaking, drawing and visual language

Why is learning about art and developing artistic skills important for students?

“When an artist makes a piece of art, they are expressing themselves by solving a problem. This requires communication skills, and communication requires a clear and agreed-upon language. Students are learning to express themselves, work independently, meet deadlines, hone eye-hand coordination skills, pay attention to nuance and honor the tiniest details. They also develop the discipline it takes to follow through, despite mistakes and challenges.”

 

 

Cary Perkins M ’04
Master of Architecture
Teaches architecture 

How did Clemson help prepare you for your current career?

“One of my Clemson professors once said that a design education prepares you for any career path — every industry is improved by rigorous problem-solving through creative thinking. That perspective has shaped my thinking in many ways and is something I strive to share with my students, along with teaching them to focus on visually communicating, self-editing and constantly questioning.”

 

 

David Gerhard M ’13
MFA in visual arts, emphasis in printmaking
Chair of the Visual Arts Department; teaches drawing, graphic design and art history and also teaches graphic design at Clemson

What do you hope students and other schools will learn from the Governor’s School?

“We are a resource for all students and teachers across South Carolina. The Governor’s School is a model for what can be done under ideal circumstances. Something I hope my students take away is how to balance doing so many things at once. I teach them time management, how to push through when you don’t feel like you’re being creative anymore, discipline and how to take criticism. I also make sure I am being very practical while still allowing students to have that joy of creative work.”

 

 

Joseph Thompson M ’98
MFA in visual arts, emphasis in sculpture
Teaches sculpture, drawing and 3D design

How has COVID-19 affected the way you teach?

“COVID-19 has shifted the emphasis of my teaching practice from providing students with lessons in materials, processes and poetics to partnering with them in the investigation of those things. Students have less access to equipment and facilities, but their connection to their work as their work has never been greater. Students are seeing themselves as partners in their own education, something that has always been a marker of our department but is now being emphasized more than ever.”

 

 

When In … Leiden, Netherlands

Welcome to Leiden, Netherlands! My name is Katie Sweeney, and I graduated from Clemson in 2000 with a marketing degree. Now, I’m a freelance advertising copywriter living in Leiden. A university town and the birthplace of Rembrandt, Leiden is located near the coast between Amsterdam and The Hague. Let me show you around:

 

1 | Pieterskerk
President George H.W. Bush visited Leiden in 1989 and gave a speech at the Pieterskerk, a stunning church that served as the Pilgrims’ original house of worship. Visit Leiden’s quaint and quirky Leiden American Pilgrim Museum (pictured) to learn more about the Dutch connection to the Pilgrims who arrived in America on the Mayflower.

 

2 | The Burcht
Just around the corner from the Pilgrim museum is another important remnant of Leiden history. Look for the iron gates with Leiden’s lion and keys symbol. Straight ahead and up the stairs, you’ll discover the remains of an 11th-century castle.

 

3 | Naturalis Biodiversity Center
This stunning natural history museum reopened in 2019 and is a short walk from the train station. Its nine floors are divided into different themes, covering the varied eras and stages of life on Earth. The dinosaur exhibit never gets old, and my daughter loves the activity rooms, where she can look through microscopes and identify bones.

 

4 | Outdoor Market
Wednesday and Saturday are outdoor market days in Leiden. Walk along De Rijn canal and pick out fresh meats, cheeses, fish, fruits, veggies and souvenirs from the vendors. During tulip season, I can grab two bunches (10 purple, 10 orange) for 5€.

 

5 | Canal Tour
If it’s sunny, the Dutch will be outdoors soaking up vitamin D. Whether you rent a boat on your own or take a guided tour, seeing Leiden from the water is a great experience.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

When in Tokyo

Justin Prescott '09

Welcome to Tokyo! I’m Justin Prescott, class of 2009. I majored in economics and minored in Japanese at Clemson. I work at EY Japan in strategy consulting and lead Clemson’s (still unofficial) alumni group in Japan. I’ve spent my professional career in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, but I’ve spent the most time in Tokyo, so let me show you around.

1| Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station

Located on the eastern side of the city, Tokyo Station is a popular attraction as it was recently renovated with its iconic brick façade preserved. The surrounding area has a number of buildings famous for their mixture of new and old architecture, like the Kitte building. For food and drink, I recommend the ninth floor of the Shin-Maru building, which has a terrace overlooking Tokyo Station.

PRO TIP: Compared to Shibuya and west Tokyo, the crowd around here is more mature, making this area great for date night.

2| The Imperial Palace

Just a short walk away from Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace grounds are beautiful — perfect for a jog to cure your jet lag. Although the central area of the palace is only accessible on rare occasions, there is still plenty to see, especially if you’re able to visit when the cherry trees are in bloom.

3| Kichijoji/Inokashira Park

Kichijoji_Credit Alex Queen

Photo by Alex Queen

Located a bit outside of the city, Kichijoji is a neighborhood escape from the busy central Tokyo atmosphere. Inokashira Park is home to the Ghibli Museum, a must for Studio Ghibli fans, and Kichijoji has good shopping options with both high brands and quirky secondhand clothiers.

4| Shibuya

One of Tokyo’s most famous areas and the site of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection (the Shibuya Scramble), Shibuya is a great place to visit, especially for the younger crowd looking for solid night life, food that you probably should only eat while you’re still young and all-night karaoke.

PRO TIP: Check out Dogenzaka for a picture with the iconic Hachiko statue.

5| Ebisu

Ebisu

Although Ebisu is just one stop from Shibuya by train, the vibe is totally different. Home to the headquarters of Sapporo and Ebisu beer, Ebisu claims some great upscale restaurants, including M House for western-style brunch, Day & Night Café — one of the only places in Tokyo to get a real pulled pork barbecue sandwich, y’all — and the famous Afuri Ramen shop.

PRO TIP: For a more daring culinary experience, go to Niku-Zushi, which serves sushi using nearly raw beef.

When in Los Angeles

Valerie Joy WilsonWelcome to the home of the stars! My name is Valerie Joy Wilson, and I am a travel journalist, photographer, host and influencer, as well as the founder of TrustedTravelGirl.com — a guide to globetrotting. As a 2013 Clemson grad, I love to show off my class ring on all of my travels around the world. When I’m not traveling, I’m enjoying everything Los Angeles has to offer. Here’s a curated list of some of my favorite spots around the city:

 

1 BEVERLY HILLS With some of the best eats in L.A., Beverly Hills has more to offer than just Rodeo Drive. For lunch, Wally’s has outdoor seating, a phenomenal wine menu and incredible charcuterie boards. For cocktails, the brand-new Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria is the place to be with a cocktail menu crafted by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a rooftop bar boasting panoramic views of Beverly Hills.

 

West Hollywood

West Hollywood

2 WEST HOLLYWOOD Here is where you’re more likely to bump into some of the stars; it’s not unusual for me to see A-listers while grocery shopping or heading out to lunch. For breakfast, the Griddle is known for having large stacks of pancakes and “secret French toast,” which used to require a secret password for ordering. Now, anyone can order it (no password required), and it’s a fan favorite, so don’t miss it.

3 THAI TOWN Few cities around the world have Thai food that can rival Thailand, but Los Angeles does. In an unassuming strip mall in the middle of Thai Town is Jitlada, one of the best Thai restaurants anywhere in the world.

PRO TIP: Owner Mama Jazz cooks Southern Thai food, which means the dishes are spicy. If you can’t handle the heat, be sure to let your server know.

 

Lake Hollywood Park

Lake Hollywood Park

4 HOLLYWOOD One of the best places to catch a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign is Lake Hollywood Park. It’s the perfect place to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sunny SoCal weather.

 

5 MALIBU My favorite spot in Malibu is Paradise Cove, famously featured on the covers of Beach Boys albums. Just above the cove, you can catch a view of the “million-dollar trailer park,” where trailer homes have sold for up to $3.75 million. Stars including Matthew McConaughey and Pamela Anderson have been residents of the park.

Malibu

Malibu