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New England by Heart


Spotlight map of Dartmouth-Sunapee region New Hampshire

Tichnor Brothers postcard of sailing races on Lake Sunapee

The Dartmouth-Sunapee Region, part of the White Mountains and Appalachians mountain range, is unsurprisingly known for its two notable, if unrelated, points of interest: Ivy League Dartmouth College and Lake Sunapee. The region, bordered on the west by the Connecticut River and the Vermont border, is bisected by Interstate 89, which speeds travelers from Boston and southern New Hampshire to this region and on to Vermont. 

Hanover, home to Dartmouth, nestles against the Connecticut River just north of the commercial center of Lebanon. If you adore the vibrancy and culture of a college town and pine for the great outdoors, Hanover is where you should be. The picturesque town, chartered in 1761, and the equally lovely college, founded in 1769, have a long symbiotic and integrated relationship – it’s hard to see where one ends and the other begins. President Eisenhower even commented that Dartmouth “is what a college should look like.”

There’s plenty to do here, paddling and boating on the Connecticut River, hiking the surrounding mountains (the Appalachian Trail runs right through town), Nordic and alpine skiing, and more. Stroll through the town and campus, visit the many museums and galleries. Soak in the fall colors that make this place so beautiful it hurts.

Lake Sunapee at the southern part of the region, is the third largest lake in New Hampshire, tucked well away from the busier Lakes Region to the east, offering a slower pace. Those who choose this as their summer destination (or permanent home), settle in and enjoy swimming, boating or paddling, hiking the surrounding mountains, or simply relaxing with the beauty of the mountains rising beyond the clear waters of the lake.

There are three towns surrounding the lake. Sunapee is the primary resort area, and beyond its attraction in summer, winter also provides fun with skiing on Mount Sunapee, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and the like. Newbury is a smaller town on the southeast side of the lake. New London, while enjoying a shoreline on the lake, centers on itself on the pretty campus of Colby-Sawyer College.

Beyond the two stars of the region there are plenty of country roads and pretty little towns, mountains and smaller lakes. Jump off Interstate 89 and linger awhile.

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