Bloomington is wonderful.
That is no secret, but you have to dig to find the coolest things in town. I'm friends with a few native Bloomington people that are students here, so that really helps in finding fun little perks.
Let me give you the low-down on five of my favorite things in Bloomington.
1. Local Honey. Buy it. My favorite is Hunter Farms, though there are a few other local honey businesses that I am sure are great. It helps me cut down on junk food and excessive snacking. Basically, I just drink it. It can be found at Bloomingfoods and Sahara Mart, as well as the farmer's market.
Speaking of which...
2. Farmer's Market. It's on 401 N. Morton St. in the Spring until Fall, and it's held at Harmony School in the winter. If you're tired of school food (which you probably are, especially near the end of the year) and you have a little extra cash, spend it at the farmer's market. They have all kinds of produce, baked goods, flowers, honey, sometimes cheeses, and pretty much anything that can be made on a farm. Excellent.
3. Nature Stuff. The perfect way to get a real break from school stress, in my opinion, is to get the hell out! Meaning, get off campus and into some woods somewhere. Griffy Lake is just a 5-minute drive and a pleasant (but really long) bike ride north of campus. Here's Griffy in Fall!
Brown County, aka the most beautiful nature preserve in the Midwest, is about a half-hour drive east of campus. I also really like Yellowwood state forest, which has camping spots and Lake Monroe. They're not really secrets, but they are really relaxing places to be. If you don't have friends with cars, bury yourself deep within Dunn woods. :)
4. Local Music. There's a certain little kind of party called a house show. If you want interesting, sometimes really good music, find one. The great thing about house shows is that if you don't really feel like talking to anyone, you don't have to and it isn't awkward. Just watch the band and leave, if you just want something to do. If you do feel like meeting people, the greatest musicians and hipsters (and all kinds of others) around can be found near local music. Here's my friend Aaron. He likes banjos.
5. Ice Cream. Just get all the ice cream you have while your youthful metabolism can still handle it. But nobody really cares about metabolism so just eat Bloomington ice cream forever. I especially like Brusters (my favorite), the Chocolate Moose (outside), and Hartzell's. Here's a guy who probably just ate ice cream.
"I like ice cream."
Have fun, everyone!