There are presently more than 50,000 Saudi students in the United States. With the recent Education Fair that was held in Riyadh even more are expected to apply at U.S. Universities. The students elect to come to the United States for the educational opportunities not available in the Kingdom and for the chance to be exposed and experience Western culture.
Most Universities in the US attended by Saudi students will have a “Saudi Students Club” as well as an international student advisor. However I believe it is important for the students to not only enjoy American University life but to also take advantage of their time in the United States and see more of America’s diverse culture too.
Therefore, the purpose of this post is for YOUR recommendations on places and things to do that you think would benefit and enrich a Saudi students experience in the United States (or whichever country you, as a reader, are living in).
I think many Saudi students have places like New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington and other large cities on their own lists. I don’t blame them. These are places well-worth seeing. However I am going to start with a few places off of the beaten path which are rich in history and nature. Additionally, the local residents are already accustomed to Saudis having known my own husband and his children! When I took Abdullah to where I was born and raised, he said every Saudi should come to the area and visit.
I’m from a small village called Espyville, located in the Northwestern section of Pennsylvania. The nearest town of any size is Meadville (birthplace of actress Sharon Stone) which is a 20 minute drive. My family is one of the founding families of Espyville and there is a road named after my family – Lebhaft Road.
Espyville is located in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. One of the best things about the location of Espyville is that it is along Pymatuning Lake. This lake has great beaches, boating and fishing. Pymatuning Lake is an excellent place to fish for walleye and bass. The lake is divided by a causeway which takes drivers across the lake to Ohio and also by a spillway which takes drivers to a small town called Linesville.
On the way to Linesville along the Spillway there are a few places one must stop to enjoy. The first stop is the “honor store.” Many people come to the Spillway to feed the geese, ducks and fish. The honor store has bread for sale but there is no attendant. Prices are posted for selections and customers leave what they owe in a big bowl. After purchasing the bread to feed the fish, ducks and geese the next stop is about 2 miles along the Spillway and simply called “The Spillway.” There is plenty of parking, refreshment stands, washrooms, souvenirs and of course what you originally come for – to see the ducks walk on the fishes back!
Ever since the 1930’s people have come to the spillway to feed bread to the fish. As a result, more and more fish permanently gather at the spillway to be fed. The water is so thick with fish that the ducks and geese will land on their backs to also eat the bread that is thrown. My sister’s wedding party stopped at the Spillway to feed the fish enroute from the wedding ceremony to the reception!
After feeding the fish and before leaving the spillway one must stop at the refreshment stand. This is where homemade goat milk fudge is available for purchase. It is some of the creamiest and most delicious fudge I have ever tasted.
From the Spillway, continuing towards Linesville, there will be a museum on the right side of the road. This museum is free of charge and has exhibits and information about all of the fish and wildlife in the area.
Before leaving Linesville for the next recommended destination I suggest stopping for a tasty homemade meal at the Driftwood Restaurant located at 220 W. Erie Street. This restaurant has been in business since before I was born but I am not going to disclose my age!
The next destination is a place my late husband said every Saudi should see. That is Drakes Well located in Titusville, Pennsylvania. This is still in Crawford county and a nice country drive from Linesville. At Drakes Well one will learn all about the origin of oil in the United States. Yes; oil was found at Drakes Well before Saudi Arabia and Aramco!
So that’s my recommendation for a unique weekend trip for a Saudi student in the United States. What’s yours?