Adventures in New Hampshire

When I was offered a job at admissions over the summer last spring I was ecstatic. The admissions staff is extremely welcoming and personable, and I was excited to be a part of Marist’s image. Another reason was that I got to stay at Marist over the summer. Seriously, who wouldn’t love that? Another factor – don’t tell my parents – was that I was growing tired of NH. I was ready to stake out on my own and really test my ability to work, earn money, cook, and other things independent people do.

40 hours a week was a lot. In a sense, I didn’t have much of a “summer” in terms of adventures or free time, but the things I learned and took part of in the office more than made up for anything I wasn’t able to do.  I still found time on the weekends to visit friends, go hiking… in a thunder and lighting storm… to the top of a mountain, and test out new recipes and explore Poughkeepsie. After a while, though, it came time for a vacation. And by vacation, I mean I went home to NH to spend a week in the mountains with my family.

Every year my dad manages to book a big house with an amazing view of the mountains where we spend a week mini golfing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and other summerly activities. Usually friends tag along, and this year was no different. NY to NH is a long drive but luckily my friend Christine got a couple days off and came up with me. We’re both really into spending time outside, so it seemed natural (pun intended, sorry) to invite her. Another friend, Alan, was waiting back home to join us when we arrived.

After a quick pit stop at my house in Concord, we drove up to the White Mountains to spend the week. Let’s be clear, this area has VERY limited cell service, wifi is spotty, and the nightlife is reserved strictly for owls and bears, so it really helps you bond with family and friends. First day there was beautiful and full of family members like Uncles and Aunts who took the day off to come up and enjoy the day. We did a hike through the woods behind the house to balancing rock, a little spot we found while following the stream years ago. The way there is filled with awesome swimming holes to really take your time in with. After a cookout, we drove up to Cannon Mountain and took a gondola to the top to take in the views. Cannon, often credited with being the catalyst that started skiing, has an amazing observatory at the peak where on a clear day you can see into Vermont, Maine, and Canada. We capped it off with a trip to the Old Man Memorial. He was the face of our state, and it was cool seeing the imprint he left in our state’s history. It’s a New Hampshire thing.

The following day included a road trip down the Kancamagus Highway. In all the years I’ve been on it, this was the first that I was able to drive my car down so I was pumped. It’s a beautiful drive with trees right up to the edge of the road, rivers and gorges under bridges, and scenic views scattered along the 30+ mile drive. It’s been rated one of the best drives in the country and I can see why. At the end of the drive rests the town of North Conway, where mini golf and ice cream await every year. But before our competitive game at Pirate’s Cove, we stopped by Cathedral Ledge, which is a straight drop cliff that overlooks that valley in which North Conway resides. We also made a quick stop by the Mt. Washington museum and learned about the peak that endures arguably the worst weather in the U.S. year-round. After that I won the mini golf. Like there was any doubt.

The rest of the week we did more hikes to waterfalls and historical sites and enjoyed the company of everyone at the house. It was a pleasure working at Marist this summer and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, but sometimes it’s nice to escape back home and enjoy traditions that really create memories. Even after years of going up north, there are still many experiences to be had in the area. Coming back from this summer has actually made me more determined to make my time in Poughkeepsie mirror that of my week in NH. The Hudson River Valley offers a variety of trips and excursions ranging from the FDR mansion to Mt. Beacon, and for me to be halfway through my college career and remain lacking in those experiences is a bummer and there’s really no excuse. This fall I am going to get out there and explore. Marist offers tons of stuff on campus, but the area is calling, and it’s time for my friends and I to really take advantage of all it offers.

-Alex Berube

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