Students have been having a blast at Exeter Summer, whether it’s during Harkness Discussions, sport sessions or fun activities.
The vast campus of Phillips Exeter Academy allows plenty of space for students to explore, but the summer experience isn’t just limited to what’s on-campus. Being in close proximity to the downtown area of Exeter, NH, which is filled with shops, restaurants and points of interest, the Academy allows students to fully embrace the beauty of this small but intricate town.
As one walks eastbound along Main. St. towards Water St., the view of red-brick houses and the colorful storefronts of shops and cafes instantly greets the eye. These streets are probably one of the most visited places in town, as rows of neatly aligned cars are often seen along the sidewalk. The William G. Saltonstall boathouse, a prominent building dressed in white, red and brown, can be seen next to the bordering Swasey Parkway.
Once past the boathouse, one can hardly ignore a small shop with the prominent sign “Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream” on its white facade. There always seems to be a line of ice-cream cravers lined up in front of the shop and on the sidewalk. This little shop has also attracted many Exeter Summer students and is one of the most, if not the most, popular destinations downtown.
“I go to the ice-cream store [often], it’s really famous,” remarked Eric Amyot, an Upper School student who likes to visit downtown Exeter. He also referred to the serving portions at this ice-cream shop, which seem to be comically huge: A “small” serving here will get you three scoops of ice cream, which is pretty much a “large” serving at a typical ice cream shop.
Walk past the ice-cream store and you immediately realize that there is still so much to explore. Both sides of Water Street and High Street are lined with stores of all different sizes and functions. Among them are some standout restaurants and cafes: D squared Java, a coffee shop; The Green Bean, a sandwich shop that also specializes in soup; and Asian- inspired restaurants such as Penang & Tokyo and Szechuan Taste. These restaurants have been popular spots for students to hang out, eat or just chill during their free time. If you’re not looking to grab a bite to eat, there are also plenty of boutiques, music stores and even a bookstore along the same street.
Keep walking along Water Street to High Street, then turning northbound onto Portsmouth Ave., and you will arrive at Walgreens Pharmacy in a few minutes. The convenient location of the store provides Exeter students a place to shop for daily needs such as beauty products and stationery.
Even a short walk downtown will introduce you to the small-town charm of Exeter that is certainly hard to resist.
The red-bricked New England style buildings manage to give a welcoming and intimate feel to even the most bustling streets of the town. A perfect example of such building is the Exeter Town Hall, which is visible from Water Street thanks to its delicately-shaped dome, perched atop the building. Trees and beautiful shrubbery dotted among the neighborhood adds to the overall aesthetics of the town.
And of course, the town is enlivened by the Squamscott River, which flows directly parallel to Water Street in downtown Exeter. The riverside is easily accessible to the public, and you can walk along the docks or sit on a bench as you admire the view of the river. If you thought eating ice-cream was good, then eating ice-cream WHILE watching the sunset by the river is definitely an experience like no other.
If you decide to explore the West side of town, just walk westbound along Main St. and turn southbound on Lincoln St. You will be able to find a Laundromat, a couple of cafes and restaurants, and the Exeter Train Station. Despite being modest in appearance, the station is directly serviced by Amtrak’s Downeaster line, which runs directly to Boston’s North Station. This is yet another opportunity for Exeter Students, allowing them to visit and explore Boston over the weekends at their own will (but you will need an out-of-town, of course).
The town of Exeter, NH is not only the location of Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the best private high schools in the states, but is also a great place to dine, hang out and just have fun. As Exeter Summer quickly nears its final week, the students will hopefully seize the varied opportunities offered by this small town, and use these opportunities to cultivate memorable experiences.