Ask a Native: Jodi Picoult

Where do you go for inspiration?
We have a lake house in Barnet—it’s the only place I really feel myself getting calm while I sit on the deck and watch the water or listen to the loons.

Where do you take your kids?
One of our favorite family haunts is Lou’s, a diner that’s been around since the 1950s. Its breakfasts are legendary (Danny’s Breakfast Sandwich is my personal favorite). Depending on the season, you might find my family skating on Occom Pond, which is the perfect place to drink hot chocolate by a roaring outdoor bonfire or to play pick-up hockey; tubing on the Connecticut River from the boat landing on Lyme Road; or catching the latest film at the Nugget Theater.

What would your ideal day look like?
I’d grab a latte from the Dirt Cowboy Cafe (7 South Main St., Hanover, 603-643-1323), and then read for a while on one of the park benches on Main Street or the Dartmouth Green. Then I’d browse at the Dartmouth Bookstore (33 South Main St., Hanover, 603-643-3616), and pop into Umpleby’s Bakery (3 South Street, Hanover, 603-643-3030) for lunch (the Howard Roarke sandwich) and one of their incredible chocolate chip cookies. I’d swing down to the river afterward and kayak down the Connecticut, and finish with a sushi dinner at Yama (96 Main St., West Lebanon, 603-298-5477).

Where’s the best local food?
If you’re looking for a quick takeaway meal, try the Tomato Basil soup from the Hanover Coop (45 South Park St., Hanover, 603-643-2667). For a dining experience unlike any other, you can’t miss Peyton Place (Route 10, Main St., Orford, 603-353-9100) on the Orford Road in Orford, two towns north of Hanover. Heidi and Jim Peyton have created a collection of the most amazing, mouthwatering creative meals I’ve ever seen. I have a fantasy of ordering one of everything on the menu one day!

How about your secret spots?
Don’t miss Brambles (15 S Main St., Hanover, 603-643-1635), the store that my 13-year-old daughter raves about for room furnishings, jewelry, cards, lamps, and funky accoutrements. If it’s winter, head to the golf course and the Dartmouth Outdoor Club to sled on the most wonderfully massive hill. If you’re lucky enough to visit in September, get tickets for Telluride at Dartmouth (Dartmouth College, 603-646-2422), where festival films are screened right prior to their big screen release.

What advice can you offer first-time tourists?
What shouldn’t you do in Hanover, ever: Wear high heels in mud season or expect good cell phone service—or easy parking.