Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Day Five:  Smith College and Amherst College

The Ladies of Groton got up extra early to check out Northampton's premier Women's College, Smith.  Julia Child, Gloria Steinem, and Betty Friedan are alumnae.  However, you might not guess, but both Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan went there.

The day was beautiful, the facilities were amazing.  The networking is incredible, and the science and engineering building is as impressive as any facility in America.  The experience of a Women's college is unique, and is a worthy place to drop by, even if you've never considered one as part of your college search.

Out on tour with our Honduran tour guide.  23% international and among the top five elite institutions for promoting and enrolling students from economically diverse backgrounds in America.

...and the entire campus is an arboretum.  This is the Lyman Plant house.  Much greener than the Plants at Lyman House.

The boys showed up to Smith College in order to buy some t-shirts to show their support.

Then off we went to Amherst, where the campus, the tour guide, the info session and the wooly mammoth were all impressive.

Not to mention the view...

Back at Groton with no new dents to the Big Red Toaster Bus!

One last wait for families to arrive, and then summer vacation could officially begin.  For those of you future VI Formers who did not get an opportunity to come along with us, remember...

- Fill out your Common Application before the end of summer.
- Churn out a couple attempts, and at least one completed essay this summer.
(Secret hint from our info session today about your essay...  Don't make the mistake of not having your essay show your ability to intellectualize your experiences.  An essay about the most unique experience will not be useful unless it shows your intellectual interest, excitement, and academic abilities as connected to that experience.  It can be an essay that shows "who you really are," but mostly, the elite institutions of higher education want to know that "who you really are" is someone who is academically engaged with the world, and consistently viewing the world in an intellectually curious way.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Day Four:  Middlebury College and Williams College

Today saw more rain, but also more sunshine.  More importantly it introduced a herd of zebras to the NESCAC.  Without surprise, Groton students overwhelmingly found the combination of small size, and incredible resources of these two fantastic examples of New England Small Liberal Arts Colleges familiar, comforting, and inspiring.

The tour guides were smart, the buildings were full of unique and interesting spaces, the staff and faculty were warm and inviting.  The admissions requirements were daunting.  This was familiar territory.

If you like libraries, (and I like libraries) this one really sets a standard that is hard to match.  Plus, it is full of Panthers.  Nothing makes you less likely to leave your study carroll than knowing that there are panthers on the loose.

 Ah, a couple happy chaperones.  Craig's sister was Midd '99, and it was nice to be back on a familiar campus.

 Vermont appears to be overfilled with rocks.  Middlebury has attempted, with great success, to build every structure out of as much rock as possible.   The effect is one of epic beauty.  This particular pile of rocks looked better with a few Grotonians on it.

Ah, one of the benefits of a small liberal arts college is personalized interaction.  Groton's Middlebury rep made space to meet with the group twice, and have a personalized session with Ms. Lyman to talk shop.  The Groton bus reminded her of her time in Sri Lanka, where all the busses are red.

Drive-up service at the ole A&W Rootbeer Shoppe?  Well, kinda.  The Toaster was a little too big to fit under the roof.  But our waitstaff came on the bus to take our order.

That giant blank space you see, might be the result of Williams being SOOOOO exciting that Ms. Lyman was unable to find a moment to take the camera out of her pocket to capture what was another amazing campus, filled with more amazing people.

Vietnamese dinner!  The XC and Track Coach from Amherst College took some time out of his busy evening schedule to stop in and enjoy some spring rolls and bubble Tea.  Thanks Coach Nedeau!

Downtown Amherst, as night falls.  Only one more day of touring to go!  Next up, a premier Women's College, and then the home of the Lord Jeff's.  

Celebrating the last remaining light of a Flag Day spent with good friends.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Day Three:  A contrast of Burlington experiences.

University of Vermont and St. Michael's College

Students took the opportunity of the first glimpse of sunshine to tour and explore a Land Grant, Flagship University of 10,000 Undergraduate Students in Northern Vermont, and follow up that experience with a trip to a small, Catholic Liberal Arts College just down the road.  Both institutions feature amazing winter opportunities, the assets of a beautiful and interesting host metropolitan region, and an amazing lake as a backyard.

After a few days in the rain, the students were literally climbing the walls with energy.

 Tourist pic at Gutterson Arena-- UVM has pretty good hockey. Go Bruins!
There is nothing like a tour with an energetic tour-guide.  Thank you Debbie.
The St. Michael's tour was beautiful AND informative.
Naturally, the Purple Knight reminded Groton students of their own Purple Knight, Mr. Millikin.
After heading south, dinner at a local restaurant in Middlebury resulted in a discovery of local Groton hero, Mr. Westman.
Dinner on the waterfront of Otter Creek?  Yes, please.  And you cannot really go wrong with nachos, no matter where you go.


DAY TWO:  Although all the admissions offices were closed, and there were no tours to be had, the rain chose not to cease.  Thankfully the Zebras were swift on their hooves and found alternative places to tour as a herd.

It is a bit of a cliche, but there is nothing wrong with a tasty VT cliche.

Another great thing about being out tour with your fellow Zebras, is having them there with you during even the more mundane details of the trip.
Thank you Mrs. Pyne for your contribution of some of the tastiest cookies in recent memory.  They have made the bus rides so much more tolerable.

Saturday, June 11, 2011



Day one of our inaugural New England, Pre-VI Form, College Tour was wet.  From start to finish, rain and clouds accompanied a posse of eager Zebras to the home of the Big Green.  Mr. Hagerman, father of esteemed Groton Faculty member, Jamie Hagerman, led a personalized tour for the Zebra's of Northern New England's only Ivy.

Ms. Lyman came across a wee little gnome, and requested his assistance in clearing the weather, to no avail.  In fact he seemed a smidge insulted.  I guess trolls control the weather.

Dartmouth takes its football seriously, having built an impressive and rather expansive suite above the 50 yard line to entertain prospective athletes and alumni.

The students were understandably impressed by the facility.  Craig was more impressed by the moose antlers in the room.  You can take the Craig out of VT, but you can't take the VT out of Craig.

Friday, June 10, 2011

PRE-TRIP: A prep for things to come

PRE-TRIP:  Last Day of Class

On the last day of exams, in June 2011, the troops assembled on the roof top "deck" on the backside of Ms. Lyman's apartment to prepare for the inaugural voyage of Zebras on Tour.

Over five pounds of bbq meat-product later, an hour or two, spent exercising the dogs on the circle, and a few quality films partaken in, the travelers settled in for a night of rest.