#CSHLCourseLife: Main Campus (Part III)

You have made travel arrangements to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and know what to expect once on campus. Let’s now talk “fun”. Specifically, let us discuss the ancillary happenings and other benefits that accompany a CSHL course: 

Blackford Bar

Located in the same building as the dining hall and where you can grab a cup of coffee, the Blackford Bar offers a wide variety of spirits, wine, and beer from 5 PM to 1 AM Monday to Friday. Also, fun fact, it is designed after The Eagle in Cambridge, England where James Watson and Francis Crick announced their discovery of the structure of DNA.

The first leg of the 2016 Plate Race.

The first leg of the 2016 Plate Race.

Plate Race

Since the 1980’s, our course trainees have competed in this annual race and CSHL summer course tradition. The Plate Race is a relay race where the baton is a tall stack of 40 petri dishes. Four teams – each representing a course – compete for a small trophy, but mainly bragging rights. The Race takes place on Main Campus in August. Therefore, if your course runs into August, begin mastering the petri-dish-pass now! The Yeast, Gene Expression, and Synthetic Biology courses can be found practicing late at night. 

2011 Plate Race Winners: Gene Expression Course

2011 Plate Race Winners: Gene Expression Course

Scavenger Hunt

The Scavenger Hunt is another CSHL summer course tradition that is generally carried out for all courses with a June and July start date. The winning team is awarded the treasured Golden Bucket, but there are no losers because the Blackford Bar will have Happy Hour waiting for all legally-aged participants. 

For any inquiries regarding this event, feel free to contact your course registrar.

Statistical Methods for Functional Genomics, Class of 2016

Statistical Methods for Functional Genomics, Class of 2016

Course T-Shirts

In addition to acquiring leading-edge knowledge from highly-respected scientists, our Main Campus course trainees proudly return to their home institutions with CSHL course T-shirts. The T-shirt design, in a given course, is overseen by the course instructors, and the process has become a kind of rite of CSHL course passage. If your course has a T-shirt, make sure to post a picture of you and your fellow course trainees rocking it and tag us


Free Time

On average, a half day of free, personal time is allotted for every week a CSHL course is in session. For instance, participants of a two-week course would have 1 day of free time while a three-week course would have 1.5 days of free time. The scheduling of free time varies by course and is decided by the course instructor staff. 

Nearby Activities & Destinations

For those interested in spending their free time off-campus, there are a number of activities and destinations available to you: 

  • Huntington Village: The Village offers a variety of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and a concert hall. It is accessible by taxi or the CSHL Shuttle
  • New York City: The Big Apple requires no introduction and is conveniently accessible from CSHL. Plan your transportation here and please note the CSHL Shuttle’s days and hours of operation.  
  • Hamptons: Located on the eastern end of Long Island, the Hamptons is accessible by the Hampton Jitney or LIRR Cannonball. Please note that the LIRR Cannonball departs only from NY Penn Station, requires a reservation, and runs less often than the Hampton Jitney. 
  • Shopping: Below is a list of the nearby malls and outlets, in order of distance from the Laboratory, that are accessible by public transportation as well as taxi:
  • Parks: Long Island has plenty of parks and hiking trails with Cold Spring Harbor State Park being the closest one to the Laboratory. Check out this site for more options.
2016 Mouse Development,Stem Cells & Cancer Course; Photo by  @deneenwellik  (Twitter)

2016 Mouse Development,Stem Cells & Cancer Course; Photo by @deneenwellik (Twitter)

Social Media

In addition to this blogsite, the CSHL Meetings & Courses Program has a dedicated account on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we share information related to our meetings, courses, as well as news about our course alumni. Our handle for all three platforms is @cshlmeetings and ‘#cshlcourselife’ is the official CSHL course hashtag. Tag @cshlmeetings and use #cshlcourselife so we can share your posts. Also, remember to follow us to receive information about upcoming CSHL meetings and courses. 

Moreover, a number of the courses have their own social media accounts. To find out if your course has a dedicated social media presence, check out this webpage and/or feel free to ask your instructors. 


Departing Main Campus

Your course and stay at the Laboratory will eventually come to an end. Here is some information to help ease your departure: 

Check-Out: Check-out is 10 AM and extensions are not possible because Housekeeping has to turn over the room in time for the incoming course and/or meeting participants. For those supplied with a room key, please make sure to return it to the Meetings & Courses Office.

Travel: For those who traveled by car or ferry, simply reverse the ground travel itinerary you followed to Main Campus. For those whose travel involves an airport, either reverse the ground travel itinerary you took to Main Campus, or choose from below an alternative ground transportation itinerary to your airport. 

For international travelers, plan to arrive at the airport three hours prior to your departure time to apportion time for Check-in and Security. Domestic travelers, can arrive at the airport two hours prior to their departure time


Alumni Network

Our alumni have described their experience at our courses as “life-changing” and return to their labs with a larger, international network of professional colleagues. To help our alumni maintain and, most importantly, continuously expand their networks, we developed platforms dedicated to do just that:

Course Alumni Network: This is a section of our blogsite that is dedicated to our alumni. It is a central location to find the various, online-based and course-centric groups available to all course years. If you aren’t yet part of your alumni network(s), check out this page to get back in touch and reminisce with your fellow alumni. Membership is complimentary and we encourage you to post questions, publications, collaborations, upcoming meetings you’re attending or that may be relevant to your fellow alums, and any other updates in your research and career. 

Alumni Coordinators: A number of courses have a coordinator who we consider our alumni liaison. They are in charge of managing the alumni group and ensuring everyone is kept in the loop. If you want to be a coordinator, let us know.

If have a tip or two you would like to share with the future generations of CSHL course trainees, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us and we will update this post. 

Also, this blog post is part of the #CSHLCourseLife Series. If your course is taking place on Main Campus, make sure to check out Part I for any travel-related information and Part II for details to help you prepare for your stay. However, for those whose course or workshop is taking place at the Banbury Campus, refer to the Series' Banbury Edition.