Honestly, this is a Top 20 list of places I think Colby-Sawyer students should know about. The college provides numerous opportunities on campus, but there are also lots of activities and adventures to be had in town … and beyond. You’ll really make New London your home when you explore all the town and the area have to offer. These are just my personal favorites — get out there and find your own!

Wake Up

Coffee can be essential in students’ lives. Grounds is practically across the street from campus; the independent shop offers coffee, smoothies, baked goods and candies. Within its welcoming atmosphere, students love sitting down with a good book and enjoying the free wifi. For those who run on Dunkin', there’s a DD a little farther down Main Street.

Grab a Bite

Just down Main Street, I love Tucker’s for its homey, friendly atmosphere and tasty New England breakfasts and lunches that feature local ingredients. Bonus: There are several gluten-free options.

Another favorite is The Flying Goose at the intersection of Main Street and Route 11. Affectionately called The Goose, it serves lunch and dinner and is known for brewing its own beers. You won’t mind the stunning view of Mount Kearsarge, either.

Stash Your Fam

Right on Main Street, The New London Inn is a New England-style inn perfect for when your family comes to visit you. If they prefer a chain hotel, consider the Marriott right in the center of Concord to enjoy the state capital and all it has to offer.

Stretch Your Legs

If you enjoy hiking, New London offers a plethora of trails. The Knights Hill Nature Park right in town is my pick, with its three miles of easy and moderate trails that meander through meadows and woods. A little farther afield, there are trail options for summiting Mount Kearsarge, site of the college’s most beloved tradition, Mountain Day. Traverse the Warner or Wilmot paths, or pack extra water for the adventurous Lincoln Trail that starts in Sutton. Whichever way you choose, a stunning view will greet you at the top.

See Something

One of the best things about college is getting together with friends, making a huge bowl of popcorn and watching a movie. Going to the theater is fun, too, and there are options in every direction. I happen to like Claremont Cinema 6, about 30 minutes away. It has decent prices and several screens. If Imax is your thing, the Cinemagic Imax in Hooksett is 45 minutes away (and right across from a Target).

Make a Splash

Pleasant Lake is only a couple miles from campus. With a sandy and gradually sloping bottom, the beach in Elkins is the perfect place to cool off and relax. There are charcoal grills, too, so plan a picnic with friends. Just 20 minutes down the road is Mount Sunapee State Park with its beach; rent a boat or kayaks for the perfect afternoon adventure.

Get What You Need

In New London, the Colonial Pharmacy has just about everything a student could need, from snacks, office supplies and cosmetics to New Hampshire gear and the usual pharmacy offerings for when you’re under the weather. For big box stores and chain restaurants galore, plus retailers and specialty shops, I like to head 30 minutes north to West Lebanon.

Go Downhill Fast

New Hampshire is known for its ski resorts, and New London is a great base for hitting the slopes. Mount Sunapee Resort is the closest option and every Colby-Sawyer student gets a free season’s pass to fantastic skiing and boarding just 20 minutes from campus. Another local option? Ragged Mountain Resort is 30 minutes away with more glades and tubing.

Fill Your Closet

Clothes shopping can be rough for college students’ wallets. Instead of buying new, Go Lightly is a consignment shop right in New London that offers affordable and stylish clothes for men and women. Make room for your new acquisitions by trading in pieces you’re done with! If you’re feeling flush, the Tanger Outlets in Tilton include Coach, American Eagle, Nike, The LOFT and Under Armor. It’ll take you 45 minutes to get there, but you’ll stay long enough to make it worthwhile.

Hit the Road

If you don’t mind spending a little time on the road, head south to Manchester. An hour from campus, the Queen City is full of malls, restaurants and entertainment. Spend a day at the Currier Art Museum, see a show at the stadium, catch a Minor League baseball game or enjoy the nightlife.

Don’t want to drive? Take the coach to Boston for the day – you’ll be there in 90 minutes and return to New London feeling appreciative of its quiet beauty and the opportunities right outside your residence hall.