Beat boredom and explore the region

Tips to keep you busy this summer around New England

By Greg Laudani
On May 6, 2014
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  • Soar above the trees at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, N.H. No experience needed -- only a sense of adventure. Courtesy Photo

After countless hours glued to flashcards and downing excessive amounts of caffeine, summer is finally here and students do not have to go far to enjoy themselves during their months outside of class. 

There is no way you can justify saying that there is nothing to do in New Hampshire. Hampton Beach has many events on tap for summer 2014. Beginning a full calendar of events, the first Special Fireworks Display is on Sunday, May 25 and takes place every Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m., starting June 18. 

Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom is set to host 80 major musical performances, including groups like Foster The People [May 8], Buckcherry [May 10] and Cheap Trick [June 5] among many others throughout the entire summer. 

Along with its live music, Hampton Beach's annual Catamaran Regatta has become a "highlight of the summer," according to the Hampton Beach website. New and competitive sailors race all weekend long and sail close to the shore to give spectators an up-close view of the action. The Catamaran Regatta goes from June 14-15. 

"It's a lot of fun every year," sophomore Christian Ryan said. "I look forward to it all year because it is such a cool experience." 

The 14th annual Sand Sculpting Competition will take place from June 19-21. Everyone is welcome to watch for free as 15 "Masters of the Sand Sculpting Universe" square off for a $15,000 cash prize. Both the current world champion for sand and the world's best snow sculptor will battle to see who can make the best sculpture out of the beachy grains. 

But hanging out seaside isn't everyone's activity of choice. For those who are ready for a different type of adventure, ascend thousands of feet into the summer air for a new perspective.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, N.H. will take you 6,288 feet in the air to the mountain's summit, the highest peak of the Northeast. After getting to the top of the mountain, you get an hour to look down on New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. Tickets are $66 for adults, $61 for seniors and $39 for children. 

If you are a fan of heights, try zip lining at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, N.H. It does not matter if you have tried zip lining before or not. Alpine Adventures offers three different tours that last about two and a half hours each: the Treetop Tour, the SkyRider Tour and SUPER SkyRider Tour. 

The Treetop Tour lets you zip from tree to tree and fly 60 feet above the ground. The SkyRider Tour cranks the intensity to another level with higher and faster adventure. It also includes a 60-foot high course with sky bridges and other challenges. And finally, SUPER SkyRider Tour is recommended as the most adventurous of all. It has longer and speedier ziplines and several tough bridges and obstacles to overcome. 

Although the course was challenging, junior Kendall Addison said that its difficulty made her experience at Alpine Adventures more rewarding.  

"It was really nice that my friends were able to encourage me as the obstacles got harder," Addison said. "It is a great way for people with a fear of heights to overcome their fears and to spend time with other people who love the outdoors."

Heights aren't for you? Well, UNH offers a chance to experience beautiful views without leaving the ground. The UNH Observatory gives students the opportunity to get an up-close look at the stars every first and third Saturday of each month from 9 p.m. - 11 p.m. 

Hosted by UNH physics graduates, undergraduates and volunteers, including current and former Wildcats and local amateur astronomers, the UNH Observatory offers a night of fun for couples, group hangouts and family outings. Whether you are interested in astronomy or just love looking up at the stars, this will definitely be worth your time. 

"Sessions are free and there's no need to show up at the start or stay for the whole time, you can just swing by as you'd like," observatory manager Ian Cohen said. "There's no prior experience or astronomy knowledge necessary."

Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H. is a great spot for food, music and movies. As the park celebrates its 40th anniversary, a variety of notable events are going on in Portsmouth this summer. 

Food festivals at Prescott Park, like the 30th annual WOKQ Chowder Festival at 11:30 a.m. on June 7 will bring in more than 4,000 people, according to the park's website. Over 500 gallons of chili are up for grabs for the public to taste. Tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for children and free for park members. 

And if you feel so inclined, feel free to visit the ducks, goats and deer at York's Wild Kingdom in York Beach, Maine. The zoo is home to 100 species of wild animals, according to its website. The exhibits give you the chance to see all kinds of animals from around the world, including Bengal tigers, African lions and red kangaroos. 

Once you have checked out the animals, you can experience many other fun activities at the zoo. It has an 18-hole mini golf course, batting cages, an arcade and is close to Short Sands Beach, Maine. The zoo also claims on their website to be home of the Seacoast's "Best Fried Dough." 

York's Wild Kingdom is one of many examples that there is a lot out there for students to enjoy once they depart from campus. 

"There are so many things to do over the summer," Ryan said. "Nobody should ever complain about being bored up here."

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