Secret happy places: locations for rest, relaxations and reading

by Annika Kouhia | 8/13/17 11:25pm

This article was featured in the 2017 Freshman Issue.

The Statue of Liberty, the Four Corners, the original Starbucks — all iconic places we acknowledge because of some grand public meaning or established importance. Some places, however, are special for more personal reasons. Maybe it’s the diner you’d frequent with friends every weekend, or the lookout point where you had your first kiss or wherever you were when you received your Dartmouth acceptance — for me this was in the back of a class I was too nervous to pay attention to, and then the hallway outside after I began to cry from happiness and had to excuse myself. The point is, as you arrive at Dartmouth for the first time, you’re arriving at a very special place which will only become better as you create memories and experiences across campus. Here, we celebrate a few of the lesser-known happy places in our little corner of the woods. By this time next year, you will have a few of your own to add to the list. While I hope this list helps you discover a few hidden gems at Dartmouth, I know you’ll eventually find your own secret happy places.

For the Faux-Crunchy and Sunshine-Seekers: The Greenhouse. The greenhouse occupies the top floor of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center and encompasses all things green and wholesome. You have the benefit of being surrounded by beautiful plants and feeling super outdoorsy from the safety of the indoors — a plus for those of us who may be less crunchy than the average person. Stick around long enough you’ll get to see Morphy, the Amorphophallus titanum “corpse flower”, bloom, an event that only occurs every five to six years. You also can hide away in a warm safe haven during the winters you’ve probably heard so much about. Where else can you visit the plants of different warm climates, ranging from exotic flowers to cacti, while gazing out at Baker Tower? Even when there’s a blizzard outside and you feel like you haven’t seen the sun for days, you can count on the greenhouse to feel like summer.

For those whose computers are never above 10 percent battery: The Hop Patio. Located on the top of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, this patio gives a wonderful view of campus — perfect for appreciating Dartmouth’s wholesome side during the spring when groups of students can be found throwing frisbees, eating lunch and “studying” on the Green. The Hop patio also boasts what could be the most important amenity for any space: outlets. Idyllic views, cool breezes AND access to electricity? What more could you ask for? Take a psychology reading, a Hop grill item or just a good friend to the patio for ensured good vibes and chill times.

For those who love good people and good food: The O Farm. A few miles off campus, the Dartmouth Organic Farm or the “O Farm” is sure to be bustling with activity. Whether it’s volunteers working in its sprawling garden, professors completing slightly messier research projects or students participating in social events like Brewhaha and Farmal, there is always something to do on this 220 acre patch of land that is home to students, plants and the Dartmouth Bee Keeping Association!

For the posh: Sanborn Library. Snag yourself an upper level seat in Sanborn, the small English department library off of Baker-Berry with comfy leather chairs and an “old, wise book” smell. A popular destination on tours, Sanborn is one of the most beautiful libraries on campus. It has the old school allure of a Downton Abbey parlor or somewhere you would see Sherlock Holmes smoking his pipe. Despite the urge, please don’t bring a pipe to smoke in Sanborn, you will be asked to leave! To top it all off, an anonymous successful alumnus made a generous donation to the College a long time ago with instructions that it should go towards funding tea and cookies at 4:00 pm each afternoon in Sanborn at the bargain price of ten cents for the rest of time. What could be better? Whether you’re looking for the traditional and ornate side of Dartmouth, or just are low on DBA and need to snag some cookies and tea as you walk through, make sure to check out Sanborn and those super comfy chairs.

For the posh who fall asleep in Sanborn: The Periodicals. If you’re like me and love Sanborn, but tend to fall asleep with half a cup of tea and cookie crumbs on your lap as you sink into those leather chairs, then I suggest trying out Sanborn’s alternate identity: the Current Periodicals room. It took me a full two terms to actually find the Periodicals, because the only way to access the room is to walk through King Arthur Flour café and go through the doors in the back. The Periodicals have the exact layout of Sanborn, but with an opposite design scheme. Where Sanborn is old wood, Periodicals are painted over in a bright white. Where Sanborn has comfortable, sinking chairs, Periodicals has more classic straight-backed wooden chairs. Where Sanborn is mysterious and cozy, Periodicals is one of the brightest places on campus, generally filled with natural lighting. Though Periodicals do not boast tea and cookies, it is roughly 15 seconds away from KAF, which is both a blessing and a curse as you’ll notice your mood lightening as you chomp through a flaky pastry and a chai tea latte, and your DBA steadily declining until you’re trying to live off of the free saltine crackers in Novack.

For those who love a nice walk: Occom Pond. My personal favorite, Occom provides a tranquil and scenic break from the usual bustle of campus. Whether chatting with a friend about weekend happenings, assuring my mom over the phone that I had not transformed into an Animal House crazed wild-child without her supervision or spending a few minutes in solitude pretending I didn’t have looming homework, walks around Occom Pond were a constant source of happiness during my freshman year. It’s a place to stop worrying about challenging courses and your alarmingly short supply of clean underwear and instead focus on all of the good. The things we love, the things we look forward to and the things that were at once humiliating and funny are all remembered, analyzed and glorified around Occom Pond.