Spring relaxation and recreation: A campus guide

by Samantha Cooper | 3/28/16 6:08pm

The River

In my opinion, the Connecticut River is one of Dartmouth’s most underrated spots on campus. Tucked away on the edge of campus, away from the hustle and bustle of the Green, it’s the perfect place to escape when you need a few moments of peace and quiet. It’s stunningly beautiful at all times of the year, especially when surrounded by foliage rich trees in the fall, but there’s something special about the river in the spring. The ice has melted, indicating the end of a long and arduous winter (or, in the case of this past one, a disconcertingly mild winter) and the impending arrival of warmth and greenery. There are multitudes of activities on the river during this time of year; my personal favorites being canoeing and kayaking. Bring a few friends down, rent out a canoe or kayak from Ledyard and go to town. The river has so many little inlets and islands to stop on, you could spend a while rowing up and down it without running out of things to do. Not to mention, the scenery is stunning. And when the weather gets warmer, grab your bathing suit and go for a swim in the river. Nothing screams spring term like a chilly plunge into the river.

Occom Pond

Walks around Occom Pond are a good idea at any time of the year, even during bitter cold nights in the winter (perhaps after going skating and having hot chocolate at the DOC House). There’s something magical about its tranquil, secluded location near the scenic golf course and the historic DOC house. It always seems that after a few laps around Occom, chatting with a friend, all of your problems and fears are way smaller; it’s indescribably therapeutic. And the fact that Occom looks beautiful when flows bloom in the spring, in addition to the warmer air, easily makes it one of the best places to go this term.

Golf Course

Right beside good ol’ Occom Pond is the golf course, which is another slightly hidden gem on campus. Of course, it’s great for sledding and cross-country skiing in the winter, but I think its best asset is the opportunity it provides for stargazing in the spring. The ice has all melted from the course, leaving the grass green and free to roam. Granted, the spring rain can make the grass wet, so when you go stargazing be sure to bring along something water-resistant to sit on — maybe a raincoat or small tarp. But there’s no better way to spend these soon-to-be warmer nights than looking up at the sky and remembering how unimportant that reading you should be doing really is. If you’re feeling especially ambitious and want to switch up the usual Foco-to-go-on-the-Green, get food to go with a few friends and eat on the golf course.

Frat Row

Though frat row is undoubtedly more notorious for its nighttime offerings, a daytime trip down Webster has its own unique benefits-especially as springtime approaches. The frat dogs constitute the row’s biggest attraction. Whether one is missing a beloved pet at home, or just needs a boost after a tough day, playing with an adorable puppy is undeniably a popular activity. Be sure to check out Phi Delt’s yard if you want to catch a glimpse of Winston the pig, who has just returned from a relaxing winter vacation in Atlanta. Webster is also the perfect place for a leisurely walk with a friend, or a light jog. In the light of day, the architectural beauty of some of the frat houses becomes all the more apparent. This term also might be the ideal time to give the row a chance, since the construction work on Tri Kap is almost completed, and Webster has been instilled with a new sense of peace and quiet.

The Green

As the temperature rises, so too does the number of people frequenting the Green to talk, tan, study or just get in a relaxing nap under the sun. Already, the time has come to carefully plot pathways through the Green in order to avoid the frisbee and soccer games of students eager to embrace the warm weather and open space. On a particularly hot day, there’s also the chance to seek solace under one of the trees lining the green across from Baker. Certainly, studying for an economics test becomes considerably less grim when you are surrounded by laughing children and dogs playing fetch. An obvious improvement from the dimly lit corridors of the stacks! Of course, you might also want to practice caution while navigating the Green at night. It may make for for a vastly less peaceful area if one were to unwittingly stumble upon a couple intent on completing the Dartmouth seven.