The Rassias Method WIP – Hanover, NH

October 2019

Hanover, New Hampshire

Like our town of Princeton, Hanover is a small town largely connect to Dartmouth College. Across the street from the campus is Main Street full of shops, restaurants, and stores that are frequented by the students and locals, some of which have quite a following.

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My brother is a Dartmouth alum so we have had the pleasure of visiting the town several times. In all seasons, there are plenty of outdoor activities including skiing/snowboarding and cross country skiing for winter time, and plenty of scenic hiking in warmer weather.

We were visiting Hanover in the fall for a very specific purpose – The Rassias Method. Dartmouth offers intensive workshops for language immersion.

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My brother took this program as a student before his study abroad in Italy and taught it during his remaining semesters. He always raved at the unique approach to cementing the language into memory and I knew that one day we wanted to try it. Kevin and I were visiting Emilia Romagna in a few weeks so this was the perfect opportunity to kick our Italian into high drive.

Friday

The program we were attending was the Weekend Immersion Program (WIP) for two intense days of learning. We arrived late on Friday night after battling some intense traffic to the most lovely Airbnb. The hosts were the sweetest people, their home was gorgeous and original to the time it was built (not to mention the sweetest dog). We easily could have spent the entire weekend lounging here, but we had a mission.

Saturday

What a view! Goodness we just adored this Airbnb.

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A late arrival meant sleeping in until the last minute. The Airbnb provided light breakfast which we were eternally grateful for as we made our way to class.

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As expected, the day was intense but I do not think I expected it to be as mentally exhausting as possible. No English at all, you are thrown into the deep end which is all a part of the process. With over dramatic expressions and and body language to help drive the new muscle memory of our tongues, it was obvious to us what made Rassias different. Experiencing drill was nerve wrecking! You sit with the group in a circle and the instructor Рthe instruction starts a phrase or a verb or whatever the lesson is and then snaps and points to a person in the group to perform the conjugation, gender agreement, or the action that is being tested. The instructor picks students are random so you never know what you are going to get. It requires such focus to every second of the lesson to pay attention to get through the drill correctly. We left the first day energized, exhausted, and with a headache.

Our dinner reservations were for Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for a family styled meal that is as close to Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue over at Disney World as we have experienced. We visited once visiting my brother and it was such a fun time. Unfortunately, the class went too long for us to make the hour journey out there. A bummer for sure but will have to return on a future trip to enjoy!

Mentally drained, we treated ourselves to a well earned gelato at Morano Gelato. But this is not just any gelato – this is the closest thing you can get to the real deal in Italy. Opening when my brother first started at Dartmouth, it has grown into a hallmark of Main Street. The owner apprenticed in Florence for several years learning the art of gelato making and the people of Hanover get reap the benefits. My brother would return home on break with cartons of gelato flavors that we would fight over! It is amazing to see hard work turn into such success. We each got our flavors and decompressed enjoying every bite.

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With no dinner plans, we took to Google to help identify a fun spot. We could not decide on anything in town and Kevin was in the mood for some New England IPA, so we ended up getting back in the car and driving to Worthy Kitchen a short drive away in Woodstock.

On the drive there, we passed over a bridge full of people on the walkway. Spotting a parking lot, I pulled in to investigate what everyone was looking at. A sign indicated this was Quechee Gorge Bridge – 165 feet over the Ottauquechee River. And the view was simply stunning.

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It was just the perfect still shot in time with the leaves just starting to change colors – I cannot image how beautiful this will be over the next few weeks. Sometimes a pit stop is worth it! I am so glad we took a few minutes to take a peek and see what all the commotion was about.

We arrived at Worthy Kitchen shortly after 6:30PM to quite a mob scene. The parking lot was jam packed and the line was out the door! Luckily, the ice cream held us over and we were not knocking the door down for food – we simply waited. If the line was any indicator, this was the right place to be.

Read our full review of our meal here!

Back at our cozy Airbnb, we look a walk to enjoy the picture perfect night sky – no cloud coverage! Testing out the Pixel’s night sight on the dipper was a fun experiment!

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Sunday

After a cozy night of sleep, we drove into town for a hearty breakfast, Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery. This staple of Hanover has us reminiscing all the time of breakfast here. Since we were on a time crunch, we arrived at open to a full case of pies, walls filled with jams and syrup, and also no problem grabbing a table.

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We were quickly seated and examined the menu – a tough call! Breakfast is such a great meal and there were so many options here. Class started in an hour so we couldn’t be indecisive for very long. After ordering, the food appeared what felt like only minutes later.

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  • I ordered the Classic Steel Cut Oatmeal with choice of milk, brown sugar, and bananas. I also grabbed a side of toast to enjoy the¬†delicious jam that I could never stop thinking about!
  • Kevin ordered the Corned Beef Hash and Free Range Eggs with corned beef brisket, potatoes, onions, and spices, served with homefries and toast.
  • My brother ordered The Little Green with eggs, bacon, homefries, toast and buttermilk pancake – pancake to share

Everything we ate was delicious, the perfect way to start our morning. I would eat here every morning if we could and definitely be here all the time if we lived here. Should have got a pie to go!

We continued on to another intense day at Rassias Method WIP. Knowing what to expected, the lessons were shorter and the drilling was longer. Our group definitely saw significant improvement from the day before as we picked it up much quicker.

It is so fun to get out of your comfort zone in different way – it is one of the reasons we love to travel! But participating in the Rassias Method was certainly all encompassing of being uncomfortable, frustrated, and annoyed but once you accept the discomfort it opens you up to completely new things. In this case, relaxing your mind and pride to break down constructs to learn something brand new, the learn something fulfilling! Did we walk about fluent in Italian? Of course not! I would love to have the time to do the Accelerated Language Programs (ALPs) week long classes as I think that is where you can have significant gains in fluency. This was about the process but I do feel like we walked away more equipped to keep up with our Italian.

After another long day, we get right in the car and started the drive home. What a jam packed weekend! We were grateful to have the opportunity to experience the Rassias Method and would definitely do it again – would highly recommend!

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