Sights, scents and sounds of spring

Ken F. T'12, May 18, 2012 | 0 comments
Tags: Hanover NH, Upper Valley, Dartmouth

I still vividly remember the scent of the Tuck admissions materials. The rich paper was distinctive - crisp, luxurious, rustic - as though it had been made in an artisan paper mill in the admissions suite on campus. I half expected to turn up and find the whole school was doused in the scent - as distinctive as an Abercrombie store. It is not. Alas, there is a great deal more sensory charm to explore here than one could ever imagine from the application materials.

My favorite months in Hanover are October, January and May. In October, the leaves are neon shades of orange, red, and yellow. In January, pristine snow glistens under frozen blue skies. But, for a full-on assault on the senses, it's hard to beat May.

In the hours that follow a rainstorm, the scent of pine seems to be everywhere - fresh air that I want to bottle and take with me for the post-graduation urban journey ahead. The closest I have found is Molton Brown's "bracing silverbirch" fragrance - that will be my daily morning escape back to the woods once I leave Hanover. Walking through pine trees, they seem to rise up forever to the bright blue sky. They're calm and peaceful. Something about them takes me back to childhood - to a time when I took time to be in awe of such natural marvels.

Walking around town, the charming New England architecture is brought to life by greening ivy on their sides and breathtaking blooms of pink and white on the trees around them, and by flowers of all the rainbow's colors in their gardens. The clean air is filled with a new scent - perfectly clipped grass. Pretty trees sit in circles of manicured mulch. I have no idea how much Dartmouth pays for facilities and grounds maintenance, but I hope the employees get a turkey for their table at the holidays, because the pride they take in their work is a joy to behold. Hanover looks like it's been designed specifically for a florist's catalogue shoot.

As I walk around, everyone is active. Runners. Cyclists. Cross country skiers on roller-skis. Golfers. Dog-walkers. Everyone is in shape - and wouldn't you be if the outdoors were this enticing? The hushed breeze through branches is barely audible past the orchestra of bird species vying for airspace. My noticing the birds singing may have you asking yourself whether I am a twenty-something girl in a rom-com who has just fallen in love - no! - it's impossible not to notice their incessant chirping, whether you like it (I do) or not (a new parent might object to the 5:30am avian alarm call, when junior had finally nodded off).

On entering the courtyard between Byrne and Stell halls, one's nostrils are filled with marvelous sweet air. And it's not the cooking from the dining hall. I'm no botanist, but I'm pretty sure it's Magnolia. Coupled with the sight of Tuck hall, what great elevation for the soul each morninng!

Don't forget the apparently ubiquitous smell of barbeque of an evening. Two nights ago I had Uruguayan asado; last night was the new BBQ restaurant in Hanover, Three Guys; this weekend, it's a New England style grilling at a friend's log-cabin house tonight and a South Carolinian cook-out tomorrow. Cue meat sweats. But meat sweats are avoidable, because Tuckies, ever creative in culinary endeavors, considerately offer a broader menu: swordfish, peppers, corn, and much more join the old favorites.

Why would anyone go to business school anywhere else?

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