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Top 7 chairs in Oberlin (#4 will shock you!)

April 2, 2024

Thorin Finch '26

After almost two years here at Oberlin, I would consider myself one of the leading experts on chairs here. While the research was grueling and strenuous, I am pleased to finally present you with an empirical, objective, and holistic review of Oberlin's finest seating options:

7. Rolly Chairs in King

The most important thing I learned in LEAD 050 (the one-credit intro course that all first-years take) was how to play tag without leaving my chair. Our PAL group met on the first floor of King, and though our meetings were technically supposed to last the whole hour, we often finished early. It was on one such occasion that a lively game of chair tag broke out, made possible by the fantastic, frictionless wheels of the chairs in our meeting classroom. Alright, FINE! Physics majors, you can sit down now. They aren’t frictionless, just very smooth. My point remains–if you’re a fan of rolling chairs, King has you covered.

6. Peters Lair Chairs

Ah, Peters Hall. Home of the Creative Writing department, the lofty expanse of the Language Lab, a labyrinthine maze of classrooms and offices, and wonderful views from the observatory deck. The majestic double curved staircases in the main lobby make it one of the grandest and most impressive buildings on campus, but behind them is one of the coziest nooks. Beneath the staircase in one of the high-backed wooden chairs, the only sounds the occasional tapping of footsteps above me, I have spent hours poring over worldbuilding ideas and discussing D&D characters, or furiously typing away at my novel. The armchairs get an honorable mention; they’re comfy too, but not quite as secluded. 

5. The Benches outside Blue Rooster

The little row of benches outside Blue Rooster Bakery notched spot #5 simply by being the closest comfortable seating to Blue Rooster Bakery. On an autumn afternoon, making the trek through the auburn sea of Tappan Square to Blue Rooster inevitably ends with a pause at these benches. Sit down, feel the breeze, and enjoy a delicious piece of Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake.

4. Any log in the Arboretum

In the sense that anything you sit on is a chair, and that most chairs are made of wood, the fallen logs in the Arboretum are easily in the top five on this list. Whether alone or with friends, there are few things more relaxing than a stroll through the forest to a sitting spot. Keep an eye out–I’ve heard from friends that if you sit quietly for long enough, you might spy a gathering of druids, hiding from the prying eyes of mortals in animal guises. 

3. The North Quad Adirondack Chairs

Having lived adjacent to North Quad for three semesters now, I can attest that it is beautiful at any time of year, and there’s no better place to appreciate that beauty than from the pair of white Adirondack chairs that live at the very center of the quad. While they might be frequently occupied on warm afternoons, most people sleep (quite literally) on their truest purpose: stargazing chairs. On a clear night, you can see the constellations spread out above you, glimpse airplanes and satellites and even the occasional planet. Under the brightness of a star-filled sky, even the most mundane or sleep-addled conversation becomes a little bit magical. 

2. The North Quad Bench Swing

As you might have guessed, I spend a lot of time in North Quad. And while the Adirondacks are great, when the sun is out and my little room in Noah is too stuffy to work in, my favorite haunt is the bench swing. There are maybe half a dozen bench swings scattered across campus, but the one outside my window is by far the best. Whether it’s hanging out with friends, reading in the shade with a lovely breeze, or chatting with people I know as they pass to and fro, the North Quad bench swing is the perfect place to be. So if you, too, live in Noah one day and have a window facing the quad, make sure to check it often, just in case the bench swing is free.

1. Womb Chairs

There’s a reason the admissions office made a sticker of these. Found in the Mudd library, they are the quintessential piece of Oberlin furniture. When you need peace and quiet and focus, there is no better place to be on campus than curled up inside the cushioned embrace of a womb chair. Time spent inside a womb chair eddies and flows in strange ways; fifty-page readings feel more like five-page pamphlets; hours of writing rush by in minutes. One time I looked up from my work, and suddenly flurries of snow were tumbling down outside the windows. From a clear winter’s morning to a crisp, snowy afternoon, all in what felt like heartbeats. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. 

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