Top Five: Cheap Spring Break Getaways

By Caroline Berens, The Dartmouth Staff | 3/9/15 3:26pm

While some of us are surviving the run-up to finals with thoughts of warm sun and tropical drinks, many of us don’t have such exotic (and expensive) plans for this year’s spring break. Instead, some of us are headed home (like me, to Boston, which in a cruel twist of fate currently has three times as much snow as Hanover), and others are getting ready for a quiet stay here at the good alma mater.

Although some might consider the later of these options the least exciting — watching dirty snow melt into puddles for two weeks may seem bleak and unexciting, after all —we here @Dartbeat haven’t bought into the anti-hype. In fact, after setting a crack research team to work (read: me) researching what spring break is like in the Upper Valley, we’re more confident than ever that you can have an incredible time here in Hanover without breaking the bank, destroying your liver or ending up with a hideous sunglass tan. Don’t believe us? Well, maybe these five vacation destinations —all within driving distance of campus —will change your mind.

Quechee Gorge – Quechee, VT

As your peers recount tales of seeing Machu Picchu and the Great Pyramid of Giza, you can nod patiently — if not a little condescendingly — provided you make a trip out to Quechee Gorge, a little known additional wonder of the ancient world. Just a 20-minute drive from campus, the gorge offers breathtaking views and endless Instagram opportunities —the hallmarks of any good adventure. Plus, if you get hungry, you can stop by Quechee Gorge Village, which features an enormous store filled with fine chocolate, artisanal breads, and — wait for it — FREE samples of several types of Cabot cheese! How could any beach vacation ever compare?
Distance: 7.4 miles
Cost: Free

Destination #2:
Harpoon Brewery Tour – Windsor, VT

Yes, this exciting getaway is perhaps most accessible to those who are over 21 years of age. A tour of Harpoon Brewery, though —complete with a beer sampling and a souvenir glass you can take back to campus —will live long in the memory. Who needs endless margaritas when you can taste some of the finest brewed products in New England?
Distance: 19.5 Miles
Cost: $5

Destination #3:
Ben & Jerry’s Factory – Waterbury, VT

Where better to escape dreary Hanover than one of the happiest places in Vermont? A guided tour of the factory offers you the opportunity to explore the ice cream making process, get a free t-shirt and sample a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor (!). If you find yourself with time to spare, you can go snowshoeing around the factory, watch an artist at work at Ziemke Glassblowing or hit up the Cold Hollow Cider Mill – all while eating your pint of Phish Food. Who needs sunshine, am I right?
Distance: 49.4 miles
Cost: $20

Destination #4:
Wine Tasting at Shelburne Vineyard – Shelburne, VT

Sure, drinking sangria on a beach surrounded by palm trees might sound enticing, but who needs to actually be somewhere tropical to enjoy fine wine? At Shelburne Vineyard, not only can you sample some delectable vintages, but you can also learn about Vermont’s viticulture and even get a free souvenir wineglass to add to your growing collection. Again, this is perhaps a venture best suited for those over 21 years of age.
Distance: 99.3 miles
Cost: $7

Destination #5:
Woodstock Inn – Woodstock, VT

Forget Barcelona and London — as a quintessential vacation spot for New Hampshire and Vermont locals, Woodstock is easily one of the coolest places in the world, and it has the accommodations to match. A weekday stay for two at the quaint Woodstock Inn includes a reduced rate and a Heart Country Breakfast in the morning, featuring real Vermont Maple Syrup. What could be better? Oh wait —we forgot to add that Woodstock itself is filled with small shops to peruse, farms to visit and scenic covered bridges to walk through. Time to make your booking?
Distance: 20.2 miles
Cost: $169

Caroline Berens, The Dartmouth Staff