College Town Tours: The Best of Hanover, NH

Nestled amidst the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the bucolic town of Hanover has much to offer by way of restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor activities. Though Hanover’s location may be rural, the range of activities of which students and visitors alike can avail themselves is anything but limited. From amazing hikes to delicious food, Hanover offers the perfect escape from big city life.

**SKC Picks**

Best Brunch
Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery
30 South Main Street // 603-643-3321

For any breakfast enthusiast, Lou’s is the go-to spot. The weekend morning lines may be long, but their tasty offerings such as Multi-berry Pancakes, Cruller French Toast, and Eggs Las Migas as well as to-die-for pies like the famous “Mile-High Apple Pie” make this Hanover gem well worth the wait. A tip for avoiding the long lines: Sit at the bar! It’s a prime spot for drooling at Lou’s amazing baked goods.
Must Order: Multi-berry pancakes, mile-high apple pie

Best Place to Sit and Ponder The Meaning of Life
Mink Brook

Hanover certainly has no shortage of great views, but some of the best panoramas are the ones that are the most difficult to find. My hands-down favorite of all of them would definitely be Mink Brook. To get to Mink Brook, you head down West Wheelock Street, turn left on School Street, right on Maple Street, and go all the way down until you see a small opening in the forest. You then descend down for about 5 minutes until you hit the Brook. It is very unassuming, so keep your eyes peeled! Mink Brook offers one of best views of the Connecticut River, a great summer swimming spot, and an ideal place to just sit and think.

Best Place for a Picnic
Nathan’s Garden
Intersection of Maple Street and Downing Road

This beautiful garden is another tucked away spot in Hanover, located about halfway down Maple Street. To get there, go down West Wheelock St, turn left on School Street, and right on Maple Street — as if you were heading to Mink Brook. Nathan’s Garden was built by a family in Hanover whose son, Nathan, died while swimming in a quarry nearby at age 20. The garden features copious flowers and plants, a pond, picnic tables, a swing, and — get this — a gazebo (a great place to fulfill your Sound of Music-esque fantasies). It is also very tucked away, so it’s the perfect private spot for a romantic (OR platonic) picnic. Before you leave, be sure to sign the visitor’s journal! It’s been there since the garden’s inception and contains a lot of really touching notes.

Best Swimming Spot
The Ledges

Simply put, the Ledges are nature’s best water park. Technically located in West Lebanon down I-90 South, about a fifteen minute drive from central Hanover, the Ledges provide ample waterfalls, tanning spots, and most importantly, cool, clean New England water. A must-do in the spring or summer!

Best Study Spot
One Wheelock
1 West Wheelock St

At Dartmouth, One Wheelock is my default study spot. Located in the basement of Collis Café in central Hanover, One Wheelock embodies the hip, trendy café feel. You can usually hear smooth jazz or Adele softly echoing through the speakers, and best of all, it has free coffee and tea in the afternoon. A special tip — One Wheelock has open mic nights on Wednesdays at 9pm, and free Lou’s Pies are almost always served!

Best Running Route
Pine Park
Directions available on website

For runners of all levels of experience, Pine Park is probably the best route you will find in Hanover. Pine Park is located at Occom Pond right next to the golf course. The trail runs parallel to the Connecticut River, so the views are gorgeous. It is also almost entirely in the shade, so it’s a great place to beat the heat during the warmer months!

Best Place to Eat the Best Cookie You Will Ever Eat
King Arthur Flour Café
Baker-Berry Library // 802-649-3361

In response to an overwhelming demand by Dartmouth students, this Vermont-based bread company finally opened a café in Baker/Berry Library in Hanover last spring. Their sandwiches — including their signature brie and apple — are delicious. But their baked goods are where it’s at. My absolute favorite are the Almond Clouds. It’s like a marzipan cookie, but better. They’re soft, sweet — but not too sweet — and so light and airy. You can also now buy them in packs of eight, which is extremely dangerous for me…
Must Order: Almond Clouds, Brie and Apple Baguette

Best Sandwich Place
Umpleby’s Bakery
3 South Street // 603-643-3030

Umpleby’s is a tucked away café right off of Main Street that is known for its creative and tasty sandwiches. My all-time favorite is the Adult Grilled Cheese, which is made on their homemade sourdough bread and served with a hot and hearty bowl of tomato soup!
Must Order: Adult Griled Cheese, Mocha Chocolate Truffles

Best Summer (or anytime) Treat
Morano Gelato
10 N. Main St // 603-643-4233

This small gelato shop opened its doors only a few months ago, but it has already been named by some food writers as the “Best Gelato in America.” Having visited Italy, I can till you that this gelato is just about as authentic it gets. The interior ambiance is a bit cramped, so customers usually opt to sit on one of the many benches right outside the shop.
Must Order: The hazelnut-dark chocolate swirl

Best Late-Night Munchie Stop
Everything but Anchovies (EBAs)
5 Allen Street // 603-643-6135

By “Best Late-Night Munchie Stop,” I actually mean “Only Late-Night Munchie Stop,” because in the quiet town of Hanover, not much on Main Street is open after dinnertime. Still, it offers every late-night munchie you could possibly want. From cookies to pizza to chicken tenders, anyone can find a suitable late night snack.
Must Order: Sweet Potato Fries, Tuscany Bread

Best Coffee Shop
Dirt Cowboy
7 South Main Street // 603-643-1323

When I first visited Dartmouth, I was immediately surprised and a bit disappointed that there was no centralized Starbucks on campus. And then I found the Dirt Cowboy. Their coffee and smoothies are both great, and the ambiance is even better. Their lunch sandwiches also come with this amazing mustard spread — you just have to ask the counter for it.
Must Order: Strawberry Banana Muffin, Salami and Cheese Sandwich

Best Place to Drop a Week’s Salary
JuliAna
44 South Main Street // 603-643-3350

JuliAna is my favorite boutique in Hanover not just because it offers a wide variety in terms of designers and styles. What I love most about JuliAna are the sales. Many of my favorite pairs of jeans and tops were found in the 70% off rack at JuliAna. So if you are planning on going, I would definitely wait until the mid-season and end-of-season sales, because they are incredible.

Best Restaurant for Parents’ Weekend
Murphy’s
11 South Main Street // 603-643-4075

For me, Murphy’s is one of the safest bets in terms of restaurants in Hanover. The menu is extremely varied, the quality of the ingredients is excellent, and the menu changes each term depending on what is in season.
Must Order: The Veg-Head Burger. It is the cheapest entrée on the menu, but also the best.

Best Liquor Store
Stinson’s
2 Allen Street // 603-643-6086

Stinson’s is the classic no-frills liquor store in Hanover. You can usually spot the social chairs of the various fraternities and sororities here on Monday nights purchasing astonishing amounts of Keystone Light for the upcoming week. The beer and wine selection is surprisingly good, and Jack Stinson, the owner, never fails to entertain.

Best Drink Deal
Molly’s
43 South Main Street // 603-643-2570

Molly’s is another classic restaurant on Main Street, but my biggest problem with it is the difficulty to get a table on busy nights. However, if you are looking for a stellar drink deal, you can grab a seat at a bar table without waiting and take advantage of their famous $2 margarita deal. Rumour has it they use tequila-flavored vodka instead of regular tequila to cut costs, but most customers will tell you that they cannot really tell the difference.
Must Order: Got Yer Goat Pizza, Mediterranean Pizza

Best Classy Late Night Scene
The Canoe Club
27 South Main Street // 603-643-9660

Canoe Club is great not only because of its delicious late-night desserts, but the fabulous entertainment the restaurant brings in each night. And as an added bonus, the Canoe Club is a fantastic place to spot hot grad students (particularly near the bar area).
Must Order: Chocolate Martini – it’s one of the best chocolate mousse cups I have ever had!

Best Grocery Store
The Co-op
45 South Park Street // 603-643-1836

The Co-op combines low prices with great quality ingredients. It features all of the area’s best local products – from cheese to fish to vegetables! It’s not too far from campus, and there is a bus service that runs between Main Street and the front of the store, so you don’t have to worry about lugging around lots of groceries.

Priya Krishna is a junior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where she is majoring in government and French. She is currently not taking classes this term in order to be a consultant for Dartmouth Dining Services and hone her baking skills!

Originally posted on Friday, February 17th, 2012

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