The annual tradition of the Dartmouth’s Winter Carnival is reason alone to pay Hanover, N.H., a visit, but even without the festival, which dates back more than 100 years and features skiing competitions, an ice sculpting contest, and more, the home of Dartmouth University is a quintessential New England escape in midwinter. It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with a number of alpine, Nordic, and hiking activities, as well as Granite State charm at the Vermont-New Hampshire border, where the White and Green mountains meet.
Overlooking the Dartmouth Green, the historic Hanover Inn (Two East Wheelock, 603-643-4300, www.hanoverinn.com, rates $115-$319), a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Historic Hotels of America, features 108 guest rooms and the farm-to-table mission of PINE, a restaurant from James Beard Award-winner Michael Schlow, who also owned and ran Boston’s own Radius. The establishment has a history that goes back to 1769, when it served as the home of General Ebeneezer Brewster, former steward of Dartmouth College, and has offered lodging since 1780. A quieter stay can be found at the Trumbull House Bed and Breakfast (40 Etna Road, 603-643-2370, www.trumbullhouse.com, rates $155-$299), only four miles from campus, boasting a popular breakfast featuring fresh fruit, buttermilk pancakes, and omelettes. Just over a mile across the border in Vermont, the Butternut Lane Bed and Breakfast (32 Butternut Road, Norwich, Vt., 802-649-1549, www.butternutlanebnb.com, rates $120-$240) is perfect for a romantic getaway, with only three guest rooms in the quaint brick home overlooking the Connecticut River. For those interested in more of a lodge atmosphere, the Fireside Inn and Suites (25 Airport Road, West Lebanon, 877-258-5900, www.firesideinnwestlebanon.com, rates $134.95-$199.95) marries a rustic nature with a variety of luxury suites.
Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery (30 South Main St., 603-643-3321, www.lousrestaurant.net, breakfast entrees $5.95-$10.45) has been serving locals and visitors since 1947 with an array of breakfast entrees. Try the breakfast tacos, or the house specialty Eggs Las Migas — tortilla chips cooked with eggs and salsa, topped with melted cheese — and baked goods. Bonus: Breakfast is served all day. Molly’s Restaurant and Bar (43 South Main St., 603-643-2570, www.mollysrestaurant.com, entrees $11-$19) is a comfortable stop for lunch, with traditional fare such as burgers and wings, in addition to steaks and seafood. For dinner, 3 Guys Basement Barbecue (5 Old Nugget Alley, 603-643-7227, www.3guysbbq.com, entrees $12-$18) serves comfort food such as blue cheese-stuffed meatballs, hand-pulled pork, and brisket shepherd’s pie, made from scratch along with an extensive whiskey menu.
DURING THE DAY
Winter Carnival runs from Feb. 6-9 with collegiate skiing competitions held all day Friday and Saturday. Other events include a polar bear plunge and the popular ice-sculpting contest. Visit www.dartmouth.edu/~sao/events/carnival/index.html for a full list of events, once this year’s schedule is finalized. If you want to hit the slopes instead of being a bystander, the Dartmouth Skiway (39 Grafton Turnpike, Lyme Center, 603- 795-2143, www.dartmouth.edu/~skiway, $45 lift tickets adults, $35 ages 13-18, $30 ages 6-12) features 31 trails and four lifts on the small (968-foot vertical) yet enjoyable ski area. The Skiway is great for families and novice skiers and riders. If you’d rather exercise your brain than your legs, the Montshire Museum of Science (1 Montshire Road, Norwich, Vt., 802- 649-2200, www
.montshire.org, $14 adults, $11 ages 2-17) features more than 140 hands-on exhibits dedicated to natural and physical sciences, including ecology and technology, while the Hood Museum of Art (4 E. Wheelock St., 603-646, 2808, www.hoodmuseum
.dartmouth.edu, free admission), on the campus of Dartmouth College, besides boasting a substantial collection of art also possesses one of the largest and oldest collections of global cultural artifacts of any college or university in the country. Shopping along Main Street delivers an eclectic mix of stores including Simon Pearce, the Dartmouth Co-op, and Main Street Kitchens.
You can get a taste for how the collegiate crowd spends the night at Murphy’s on the Green (11 South Main St., 603-643-4075, www.murphysonthe
green.com), named one of America’s top college bars by Travel and Leisure magazine. Murphy’s also offers a late-night menu, with such fare as nachos, sandwiches, and salads. At the Hopkins Center for the Arts (4 E. Wheelock St., 603-646-2422, https://hop.dartmouth.edu/Online/) you’ll find the cultural hub for Dartmouth College, with a variety of films, concerts, and other live performances on the busy schedule. Visit the website for complete details and ticket information.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the status of Radius restaurant in Boston.