Hanging Out in Hanover

When my boyfriend decided to go to Tuck last spring, I admit, I was a bit concerned. Having only lived in large cities, the thought of spending a substantial amount of time in a small town in New Hampshire gave me pause. What would we do up there? Wouldn’t I be bored? Did I even own the right clothes?

My assumptions, like those in most of my spreadsheet models, were completely wrong.

Hanover is one of the most beautiful, charming towns I’ve ever been to. (Note: have not been to many beautiful, charming towns, but still!) It only takes two hours to get there and the drive itself is absolutely breathtaking. Driving through empty highways that wind through mountains packed with trees, the leaves of which turn the most intense, vibrant colors I’ve seen, feels like being in a BMW commercial. It’s hard just to keep my eyes on the road.

And the driving couldn’t be easier: 93-North to 89-North to the Hanover exit and you’re there. Even I haven’t gotten lost. For those without cars or who like using travel time to get work done, the Dartmouth Coach (www.dartmouthcoach.com) leaves every other hour, seven days a week, from South Station and drops you off right on Dartmouth’s campus. They even show movies on the bus and give out free water and pretzels. It’s the little things that count.

While in Hanover, there are plenty of fun things to do. But first, there are certain things to be aware of before you set off for a bite to eat or a hike in the wilderness.

1. Bring some sturdy, water-proof shoes. It’s already covered in snow up there. This is not the place to show off your new Manolo Blahniks.

2. Don’t try to be a fashionista. You’ll only get some puzzled looks. Wearing jeans is dressing up on the weekends. Think North Face, Patagonia, Columbia. Fleece, fleece, fleece.

3. Bring some sweaters. It’s colder up there than you think. Layers help.

4. Be prepared that everyone from Dartmouth, Tuck, the med school and the engineering school is probably up at Killington for the weekend.

5. There is no HBO anywhere near the Dartmouth campus. There, it is TV.

6. Don’t forget to soak up the breathtaking scenery wherever you go. The Dartmouth campus is absolutely beautiful. When Dwight Eisenhower visited Hanover for the first time during his presidency, he said, “This is how I always imagined a college town should look.” Or something like that. Anyway, it’s a pleasure to look at.

Hanover Hot Spots
First, and most important, you must eat. Although downtown Hanover is approximately three blocks (total), there are restaurants offering every type of food imaginable.

My favorite restaurants:
Lou’s: A charming diner (open until 3:00 pm daily) with the best pancakes ever. The muffins, mile-high apple pie and chocolate chip cookies are also fanastic. The wait is typically fifteen minutes or less. (603) 643-3321.

Murphy’s: This restaurant and bar is the spot to go on campus. If you’re trying to avoid Tuck people though, don’t go here. It’s always packed. It may be the only place left where everyone really does know your name. Specialties include humongous hamburgers, sweet potato fries, French onion soup, great big salads and peanut butter pie. There’s always a game playing in the “bar” area, but the restaurant in the back room, lined with shelves of old books, is a place you could sit and chat for hours. (603) 643-4075.

Molly’s: A good catch-all, American restaurant with large portions, tablecloths you can draw on with crayons, basic fare and half-hour waits on the weekends. They have everything on the menu from pizza and pasta to fish and meat.

EBAs (Everything But Anchovies): This pizza place delivers everywhere on-campus through an online order form. You fill it out and within thirty minutes, the delivery shows up literally to the door of your dorm or study room. The pizza is phenomenal, but they also have a great Healthy Chicken Sandwich, hoagies and pasta. They have a “big cookie” on the menu. You must try it. (603) 643-2570

Other restaurant options: Subway and Ben & Jerry’s are right in town.
In nearby Lebanon, NH (fifteen minute drive), you can find every chain/fast food restaurant: Appleby’s, Denny’s, Chili’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Friendly’s, McDonald’s, Wendy’s. There’s no want for calories there.

Other fun things to do in Hanover:
The Nugget movie theater: This quaint old movie theater plays four movies (but hurry because people come from miles away on the weekend nights, so get your tickets early).

Hiking: There are hundreds of hiking trails both in Hanover and across the bridge in Norwich, VT. It’s also fun to go trail running (to burn off some of calories consumed above).

The Hop: The Hopkins Center for the Arts shows movies, visiting artists and photography exhibits. I haven’t been there yet, but everyone raves about it.

The Hood Museum of Art: Also supposed to have a wonderful collection.
Discount Shopping: If you need to go to Wal-Mart, Office Max, sports stores, mass merchandisers or TJ Maxx, head to Lebanon.

Bookstores: From the Dartmouth bookstore on campus to the charming Norwich bookstore across the river, from Borders in Lebanon to Wheelock in Hanover, there’s no book you can’t find. Well, maybe a few, but you’ll have a fun time trying.

Where to Stay: The Hanover Inn: Located right on the Dartmouth Green, this hotel is charming and very convenient. All I know is it has a very lovely lobby and ladies room. For reservations call (603) 643-4300.

When to Go:
Any time!

Enjoy. If I love it, anyone will.