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Fun Fall and Winter Weekend Trip Ideas for Every Kind of HBS Voyager

Abhiram Karuppur (MBA ’25) shares some day-trip ideas for those looking for fun getaways.

As midterm season wraps up and the leaves finish changing colors and start to fall off the trees, HBS students start looking forward to trips and getaways with their newfound friends. While there are many popular destinations to visit for a weekend (e.g. NYC), there are also several exciting attractions in the Northeast / New England for every kind of person. Below we highlight some of the off-the-beaten-path ideas for those looking to enjoy unique experiences

For the Adventurous / Offroad Student – Maine’s Unorganized Territory

Around 4-5 hours drive from HBS

It might come as a shock to many Americans, but there are wide swaths of the U.S. that are considered “unorganized,” meaning that there are towns and villages that don’t have any formal government structure or authority. Maine’s Unorganized Territory (UT) is one of these unique regions. Maine’s UT comprises 41 different towns and settlements, and represents over half of the land area in the state. It’s a region with little to no cell service and miles of dirt roads, but represents a fantastic opportunity for those looking to experience a real “no-man’s land.” Before snow blankets the ground, I recommend visiting the 100 Mile Wilderness Conservation Area, encompassing a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Visitors can hike the Gulf Hagas Trail and get unobstructed views of the remote mountains, streams, and waterfalls. Nearby is Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, home to Maine’s highest mountain and the start of the Appalachian Trail. Once snow season arrives, embrace your inner backcountry explorer and roam the hundreds of miles of trails in the area. The Pittston Farm, a historic lodge in Rockwood, ME, serves as a base for those looking to rent snowmobiles and traverse their well-maintained 100 miles of trails. On the opposite end, the West Branch Pond Camps offer simple accommodations for those looking to truly “rough-it” on a multi-day backcountry expedition. Consider this region for traveling where few have gone before!

For the Festive Student – New England Holiday Lights

Around 2-3 hours drive from HBS

New England is one of the best places in the country to see elaborate holiday displays. Luckily, there are several iconic spots to check out within a short drive of HBS. For example, The New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH hosts the annual Gift of Lights drive-through light show, where visitors can see 2.5 million individual lights while driving directly on the speedway course. Also close by is the Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield, MA. This location has three miles of holiday lights spread across multiple themed locations, such as Jurassic Park, along with fun activities such as Dinner with Dickens. Another iconic event is Gardens Aglow, at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, where 500,000 lights are strung up around the garden at night. Those interested in trees and tinsel can head to Methuen, MA, for the Festival of Trees, which is home to more than 240 trees and wreaths. Finally, if you haven’t had the chance to experience a holiday event at your local zoo before, I highly recommend trying ZooLights at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA. This after-hours event treats attendees to a great display of sound and lights, along with up-close interactions with the zoo’s reindeer.

For the Open-to-Trying-New-Things Student – Unique Sports

Around 1-4 hours drive from HBS

When people are asked to name typical winter outdoor activities in New England, skiing and snowboarding are the first that come to mind. It’s so popular that some people (such as this author) even wonder if there are other outdoor activities that don’t involve waiting hours in line or buying customized equipment. Luckily for you - there are several unique sports activities in the area. First up is dogsledding, which is a fun activity for those who love animals. Peace Pups Dog Sledding in Lake Elmore, VT offers dogsledding weekend packages, where guests can learn the basics and how the dogs are trained and cared for. Additionally, New England Dogsledding in Bethel, ME teaches visitors how to solo-captain a pack of dogs over the course of a weekend, while simultaneously showcasing the beauty of the natural forested landscape. Another related activity is “skijoring”, where a cross-country skier harnesses themselves to one or two dogs and traverses through the snow. Biking enthusiasts can also get in on the action, as snow / ice biking is becoming a popular activity. Avid mountain bikers can swap out their tires for ones with 4” rims (twice a normal bike tire), and ride on pre-marked snowmobile trails. Water sports fans can try out ice sailing or snow kiting, which are analogs to regular sailing and kitesurfing, just on icy lakes. Hardwater Kiting, in North Conway, NH, offers rentals and lessons to those looking to try snow kiting across 40 lake sites in New England. Additionally, anyone familiar with the Olympics knows about the sport of curling, and New England is one of the premier places to try your skills. The North End Curling Club and Broomstones Curling Club in the Boston area offer a fun way to practice your skills as part of a league and take lessons. Finally, don’t hang up your golf clubs just yet. Snow Golfing, popular in Canada, is making its way down here. Players used brightly colored balls and tees and play on snow and ice just as in regular golf. The Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, NH hosts an annual tournament in February.

There are so many more things to do this winter in New England, for all kinds of interests. Have fun!

Prior to joining HBS, Abhiram worked in Houston, TX at Ara Partners, a private equity fund focused on energy transition and decarbonization technologies. A New Jersey native, he graduated with a B.S.E. in Chemical & Biological Engineering from Princeton University in 2019. Outside of class, you can find him biking around Boston’s many trails, dominating (sometimes) at pub trivia, or trying out the local food scene.

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