Oct 09, 2014

15 Unique Upper Valley Activities

By Erica Johnston T'15

Erica is a second-year student from Chicago. She studied marketing and international business at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to Tuck, she worked in operations management in the industrial sector. A career-switcher, Erica has plans to work in brand management within the food industry.

When I moved to Hanover last year, I was concerned about how I’d adjust to life in Hanover since I loved big city life in Chicago. I’ve embraced life in the Upper Valley and enjoy taking part in the unique activities within a small radius of campus. Here are just a few of my favorites.

1. Hiking

Within minutes of campus you have access to tons of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Last weekend I did a beautiful hike along a bubbling brook teeming with fall foliage (see photo above). Last spring I did a night hike to local pools where amphibians gather after coming out of hibernation. Another memorable hike was to the top of a local ski mountain last spring where we roasted s’mores once we reached the top. You can’t go wrong with the hiking options!

2. Cabin Nights

Dartmouth owns numerous cabins in the area that students can rent for days at a time. Last weekend, I spent a night at Dartmouth’s Mt. Moosilauke compound of cabins with about 80 other classmates.

3. Biking

If you’re into cycling, the Upper Valley is the place to be. There are many scenic trails that pass through local farms. Nothing like coming across a cow on your ride!

4. Farm-to-table dining

If you’re a foodie like me, you’ll love the Upper Valley’s farm-to-table food scene. Many restaurants in the area source from local farms and some local farms even host dinners in their barns a few nights a week. This past weekend I had lunch at Worthy Burger—it’s tough to find a burger that rivals the Worthy!

5. Ice Fishing

If you told me a year ago that one of the events I would look forward to most this year is the Amos Trout ice fishing outing, I never would have believed you! A few times a year, many of us head out onto the frozen river to go fishing!

6. Snowmobiling

Thirty minutes from campus, you can take snowmobiling tours through nearby trails. Last winter, a large group of us went snowmobiling after we got a foot of fresh powder. What fun!

7. Dartmouth Skiway

With Dartmouth’s own ski mountain nearby, you can be from class to the slopes in 30 minutes.

8. Apple Picking

With local farms within minutes from campus, apple picking, berry picking, and pumpkin picking can make for a fun afternoon!

9. Kayaking the Connecticut River

A five minute walk from Tuck will lead you to the Connecticut River where Dartmouth rents out kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats. I love taking a break between classes to get out on the water, clear my head, enjoy the beautiful view, and get in a workout.

10. Dartmouth Organic Farm

Dartmouth has its very own organic farm where you can help out with the farming, take part in educational programs, and, if you’re lucky, take home some fresh produce! The farm sells its produce on campus during harvest seasons.

11. Niche Farming

Last spring, I took a workshop on how to raise and harvest mushrooms in the Upper Valley—an ideal climate for many varieties of mushrooms that are often considered delicacies. The strength of the agricultural community provides many opportunities to learn about niche industries in the Upper Valley.

12. Art Classes

There’s a great artisanal scene in the Upper Valley.  Local studios host painting classes and offer open sessions to come in and paint. Last spring, a few classmates and I painted our own Tuck dishware to show our Tuck pride during Small Group Dinners.

13. Ice Skating on Lake Morey

Before moving to Hanover, I’d only skated on man-made ice rinks.  Last winter I went to Lake Morey to skate a 4.5 mile loop on a picturesque sunny day!

14. Brewery Scene

There are 20+ breweries in the area. If you’re a beer snob, grab one of the local brewery passports and taste away!

15. Scenic Drives

Just driving around the Upper Valley is a treat, especially when fall leaves are at their peak. There are plenty of driving routes in the area that maximize leaf peeping.