Hanover is well known as being home to Dartmouth College, but there’s a lot to discover beyond the Ivy League School. From covered bridges, public art exhibits, and fun, quirky shops to walking a section of the Appalachian Trail. (Yes, it’s a small section, but nonetheless a part of the Appalachian Trail goes right through downtown Hanover). Come on along, we’ll show you!
We started our tour of the area just outside of Hanover at the Enfield Shaker Museum. The property is situated right along the shore of Mascoma Lake. At one time there were 300 buildings on the grounds. There are 9 now and you can tour all of them either via a guided tour or by guiding yourself around. As you walk the grounds you can really get a sense of the history of the people who made this area home from the 1780’s until the early 1920’s.
There are a variety of events offered throughout the year, along with opportunities to watch artisans doing traditional craft demonstrations. Be sure to check their calendar of events for workshops that include everything from making soap and cooking with herbs to wreath making and making Shaker Brooms!
From Enfield we headed to Cornish to explore the beautiful galleries and grounds at Saint-Gaudens. This is New Hampshire’s only National Park. The historic site is dedicated to preserving the home, gardens and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the country’s greatest sculptors. You’ll find more than a hundreds of his works here.
There are nature trails to walk and the flower gardens are gorgeous. Be sure to leave some time to see the Sculptor-in-Residence. This is an opportunity to see the sculpture process in person and ask the artist questions. The artist-in-residence program at Saint-Gaudens is actually the oldest residency program in the National Park System.
While you’re in Cornish – you won’t want to miss a stop at the Cornish-Windsor Bridge! Built in 1866 it’s the longest wooden bridge in the US AND the longest two-span covered bridge in the world! The bridge spans the Connecticut River linking the towns of Cornish NH and Windsor VT. You may even consider doing some kayaking on the Connecticut while you’re in town.
From Cornish we headed back to Hanover to check out some of the sites. The Hood Museum is always a great place to start, but since they’re currently closed while undergoing a major expansion we’re exploring some of the other exhibits located on the Dartmouth Campus.
First up was the Public Art on Campus exhibit. We brought along our bikes to travel around the various pieces in the collection, there’s 12 in all. Be sure you download the map and bring it along to help guide you to the various sculptures. If you’re walking it’s estimated to take about an hour. There are information panels at each stop that have some great information about the sculpture and the artist.
While on campus make sure you head into the Baker-Berry Library to see the national historic landmark – The Orozco Murals. The extensive mural cycle titled The Epic of American Civilization was created by Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco. He created it while he was in-residence at Dartmouth between 1932-1934. There’s 24 panels in total, and you can see it anytime the Orozco Room is open.
Oh, the places you’ll go in Hanover! Like the Dr. Seuss Room! Also located in the Baker-Berry Library, it’s a quiet spot that pays homage to Theodore Geisel- AKA Dr. Seuss who just happened to graduate from Dartmouth in 1925. While he attended school here he wrote for Dartmouth’s student humor magazine, The Jack-O-Lantern.
There really is so much to do in the area you could certainly plan an overnight. The Hanover Inn is a historic boutique hotel located on the Dartmouth College campus, in fact it’s right across from the Dartmouth Green. There’s a long history of hospitality at the Inn, dating back to 1780 when Dartmouth College steward, General Ebenezer Brewster converted the property into a tavern.
Visitors can also check out Six South St Hotel, another boutique property located in town. Be sure to check the town of Hanover’s website too as it has some great resources to help when you’re planning a trip to the area.
That’s really just a sampling of the things you can see do and explore in the Hanover/Upper Valley area. Just a reminder to follow @LiveFreeWithKris on Facebook and Instagram and stay tuned for our next blog! Foliage season is coming soon and we’re hitting the road to highlight all the awesome foliage you’ll find in New Hampshire this fall!