Spring has arrived, and the warmer weather is calling us to emerge from the campus tunnels and explore Boston and beyond. These five “daytrippable” destinations are off-the-beaten-path and capture some of what I love most about the area I call home.
1. Hudson, Massachusetts
1 hour from HBS
Formally a shoe-manufacturing town, Hudson has undergone a veritable revival anchored by independent businesses and restaurants. Its walkable Main Street features quintessentially-New-England brick buildings and storefronts. Stop by the Haberdash to shop a collection of creative, local wares; grab craft beers from the Medusa Brewing Company; enjoy the homemade ice cream at the New City Microcreamery. Don’t leave New City without heading to the heavy gray door in the back—flip the light switch on the wall to open the peephole to a dimly-lit speakeasy, Less Than Greater Than, and when asked whether you need to see the cobbler, answer yes: the inventive cocktail menu and boozy ice cream will say you won’t regret it.
2. Kittery, Maine
1 hour from HBS
Neighbor to better-known Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Kittery is a bona fide destination of its own. While its suite of outlet malls attracts shoppers from afar, the quieter Wallingford Square offers a small-town shopping feel amidst modern design, close to the Atlantic shore. Visit Lil’s Café—named for a beloved cashier of Bob’s Clam Hut, down the road—for coffee and crullers that have been called the world’s best. Shop the vinyl records in the restored bank vault in the back of Lil’s. Dine at nearby Black Birch for refined American dishes or visit Anju noodle bar for an impressive spread of ramen. Folk, a store of handcrafted goods, and MEat, an artisanal butcher shop, round out the shopping in this quiet nook of Kittery, which sits juxtaposed against one the nation’s oldest naval shipyards.
3. Turners Falls, Massachusetts
2 hours from HBS
Visiting Turners Falls, a village tucked in the mill town of Montague, feels like stepping back in time. From the Avenue A bridge, sweeping views of smokestacks, mountains, and waterfalls evoke the opening credits of an old-timey movie. Walk Avenue A for antique shops and thrift stores; peruse the collection of knick-knacks satisfyingly sorted in tens of bins at LOOT Found + Made. The farm-to-table offerings at Five Eyed Fox, an eatery with exceptional atmosphere and an all-female kitchen, are not to be missed for any meal, where the beer list features drafts from locals Brick & Feather and Honest Weight. Unique stops worth visiting nearby: The Button Box in Sunderland, for an inimitable collection of handmade accordions and concertinas; The Seymour in neighboring Greenfield for drinks in the atmosphere of a cozy library; and the town of Brattleboro, Vermont, 30 minutes north, for a strollable, artsy haven.
4. Ascutney, Vermont
2.5 hours from HBS
A village in Weathersfield, Vermont, Ascutney is situated in the shadow of its eponymous mountain. Mount Ascutney offers an easy day hike, or alternatively, the roads around the hill are great for cycling. There are several suggested loops of different distances, and any can finish at Ascutney’s Harpoon Brewery, which, unlike its Boston counterpart, offers tours on the brewery floor and an expansive outdoor space with lawn games. Lest you forget you’re in New England, the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, the longest in the world, is just four miles away.
5. The Berkshires
2.5 hours from HBS
In the summer, the Berkshires boast an unrivaled collection of arts festivals: Jacob’s Pillow for world-renowned dance, Tanglewood for the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and visiting musicians, the Berkshire Theater Festival for summer-stock plays and musicals, Shakespeare & Company for revered renditions of the Bard’s classics, and Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival for a weekend of indie music and comedy. But before the summer season kicks off, the Berkshires remain worth visiting for their inspiring combination of culture and nature. Before visiting its halls of art, roam the grounds of the Clark museum for stunning landscape designed by Boston firm Reed Hildebrand. Stroll the Mount, Edith Wharton’s former home, for manicured gardens and stately architecture; visit the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio for Bauhaus-era décor and art in and out; tour Naumkeag hall, the purportedly haunted estate of Joseph Hodges Choate, for Gilded Age glamour. October Mountain State Forest and Mt. Greylock offer day hiking with peaceful views, and the grounds at Savoy Mountain State Forest are great for exploring or camping. Eat at Table Six at the Kemble Inn in Lenox, and request to dine on the back porch, where you will overlook its expansive lawn. Stock up on coffee beans and stop for lunch at No. Six Depot Roastery in Stockbridge. While in town, visit the Stockbridge Café to peep the chorus setting of Arlo Guthrie’s preeminent song, Alice’s Restaurant.
Emily Batt (MS/MBA ’20) is a joint MS/MBA student with the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She was previously a design engineer and product manager in hardware and software technology companies. She was trained as a physicist, loves the arts, and always has too many tabs open.