Yyale ale University campus is an awful lot of fun, in an old and crumbly kind of way, despite the fact that, at least by European standards, it really isn’t old and crumbly at all. Founded in 1701 in Saybrook, Connecticut; the university moved to its present location in New Haven, Connecticut in 1716. When you consider that the first of Oxford University’s colleges were established between 1249 and 1262 in England, and their rival Cambridge University founded the first of their colleges in 1284, Yale campus is really not that old. It could, in fact, be rightfully viewed as the new kid on the block; a mere youngster compared to its European counterparts.

yale universityYou would not, however, guess that this campus is a relatively recent creation, thanks to a diverse range of architectural styles and an architect by the name of James Gamble Rogers. Rogers designed many of Yale’s buildings in the 1930s, modelling them after the colleges he’d seen in Cambridge. Yale’s campus was built to look old, incorporating all manner of delightful features such as slate roofs, weathered bricks and cobblestones. Nooks and crannies abound, with wonderful Jacobean chimneys adorning the rooftops. A tour around the campus will give photographers photo opportunities galore. I was in heaven.

yale universityNew Haven is easy to get to from New York City; the Metro-North from Grand Central runs directly there. The journey takes just under two hours and an off-peak return ticket (at time of writing) will put you back $29.50. Here’s my tip for you – go on an official guided tour of the campus. The University puts on daily walking tours – see their Visitor Centre website – and I highly recommend this tour for two reasons. 1. You will get access to the interior courtyards which would be otherwise inaccessible and 2. It’s free. College students act as tour guides and show you around the grounds, regaling you with tales of Yale’s history and student misdemeanours.

Yale is home to two stunning libraries, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Gothic Sterling Memorial Library, such exquisite spaces that they deserved posts of their own.  Follow the links to read more about them. There were many other aspects of Yale that I adored too, including:

The towers, turrets and spires – Yale is full of them, everywhere you look there is another fabulous creation reaching skyward. Hogwarts eat your heart out.

yale university turrets

yale university turrets

yale university turrets

The archways. Not just archways, but archways leading to more archways concealing even more archways.

yale university archway

yale university archway

yale university archway

Windows, everywhere, catching light, shattering it and throwing back the most delicious reflections. In keeping with James Gamble Rogers’ vision of creating an ancient feel, the glass in these windows has been deliberately cracked. In a unique touch of whimsy, the glass many times has been cracked in the shape of a ‘Y’ to represent Yale – and then ‘repaired’ with lead.

yale university windows

yale university windows

yale university windows

And last but not least, there were the lanterns, of all kinds and shapes imaginable, decorating and illuminating the walls of this exquisite campus.

yale university lantern

yale university lantern

yale university lantern

One final photo from my outing to Yale. In complete contrast to the newly ancient campus, the train station at New Haven has a delightfully modern tunnel leading to the platforms. I felt like I was on the Starship Enterprise. The only thing missing was a door that goes “shooosh”.

yale university tunnel


About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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41 Responses to Yale

  1. WOW is all I have to say! ( so articulate )

  2. LOVE the photos and the feel…these are great!

  3. The windows especially are great.

    Now you have to do Harvard, of course! Maybe you already have?

  4. GrantOster says:

    Gosh, I would give anything to attend a school like Yale. Such prestige–and the campus is magnificent!

  5. I haven’t been to Yale and now I’m reminded of the great stuff I’m missing . Perhaps one day, I get to see this amazing place. Fascinating and spectacular architectural details. Beautiful!

    • ailsapm says:

      What I loved about it was the attention to detail, those weathered lanterns, the cracked window panes. It was all so beautifully conceived and masterfully executed. I really hope you get to visit! xoxo Ailsa

  6. I enjoyed every moment of this “tour”. It is certainly a lovely place. Thank you very much

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks for coming along on the tour with me, Charlene. Your ‘about’ page made me chuckle – just left you a comment. 🙂

  7. Jeff Sinon says:

    These are all great photos Ailsa, especially the last one. You have a gift using a camera.

  8. Lilian says:

    Looks like a beautiful place – and great photos!

  9. Architects art is very high, fabulous creation. Windows and doors all have unique characteristics. Nice collections photo’s @Ailsapm 😛

  10. ailsapm says:

    Thanks, campanulladellaanna, the windows were my particular favourite, the way they caught the light was just wonderful. xxx

  11. Paula says:

    This is a great post Ailsa!!! Lots of really great and much showing pictures. Can you guess which one is my favourite? It is …..the fourth one. Spectacular take! Are you a Yale student?

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks Paula, I do like the fourth one too, with the jumble of spires and windows and turrets. I’m not a Yale student; I went to university in Europe. When I was visiting New Haven I decided to check out Yale campus because I heard it was interesting – and it certainly was!

  12. Touch2Touch says:

    Terrific story, which I found even more fascinating because I would have said I already knew Yale reasonably well —
    My sister’s in New Haven, and we’ve often been downtown at the art museums and in general, just “around.” And I never saw these things! Didn’t raise up my eyes enough, or have a knowledgeable guide like you! Am looking forward to visiting my sister again and seeing through new eyes — yours!

    • ailsapm says:

      What a lovely compliment, thank you so much. After I did the tour, I spent a couple of hours wandering aimlessly, and that’s when I spotted a lot of the details. It’s all too easy when you’re visiting as a tourist; but when you’re visiting friends or family, you tend to have things to do and places to be, and you rarely get the luxury of wandering aimlessly. I’d love to hear how you get on next time you visit. xxx Ailsa

  13. I agree with Touch… the details are nice! Sometimes we miss these things and today buildings don’t see to have those cool little extras.

  14. cocomino says:

    They are great architecture. I’m very interested in such old architecture because i have been studying architecture since 20 years ago.

  15. Its really beautiful .

  16. Great photos. Our son’s college tour of the Yale campus just happened to be when they were filming the last Indiana Jones movie.

    • ailsapm says:

      Excellent, Naomi, what a happy coincidence that turned out to be. I suspect, had they been filming when I was there, I would not have had very many photos of Yale at all, and rather too many of Indy! 😉

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