During summer 2022, Michael Kennedy ’23 and Britney Savage ’23 embarked on a road trip from Massachusetts to Montana. Their mission was to drive the car of a good friend, Elizabeth Cronin ’20, who had moved across the country to work on a horse ranch.

Kennedy and Savage had become fast friends on move-in day during their first year at Stonehill and were later introduced to Cronin by mutual acquaintances.

It was the type of friendship where all three immediately connected, as though they had known each other for years. The trio made a pact to stay close after Cronin’s 2020 graduation.

So when Cronin took the job—and drove to Big Sky Country with her boyfriend, John, in his car—she asked Kennedy if he would help her with the move by driving her car and some of her belongings to Montana. Enthusiastic about the opportunity, Kennedy said yes and invited Savage to be his copilot. This once-in-a-lifetime trip was one of adventure, connection and enduring friendship.

Starting Where It All Began: Stonehill

Fittingly, the trip started in a Stonehill parking lot. Cronin’s father dropped off her Subaru Crosstrek, which she had packed so tightly that Kennedy’s 6’1” frame could not fit in the car. “Beth’s dad starts shoving the seat back, and he finally got it far enough for my feet to fit and said, ‘Montana or bust!’” recalls Kennedy. With a car full of Cronin’s belongings and a basket of snacks packed by her mom, Kennedy and Savage set out on their 2,500+ mile journey across the U.S.


Wildlife Encounters

During the week-long trip, Kennedy and Savage encountered bison, deer, horses and a few other creatures they’d never seen before. Prior to heading to Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Kennedy spotted what he thought was a large squirrel, but it turned out to be a prairie dog. “I took out my camera and laid in the dirt to take silly pictures of the prairie dogs kissing,” recalls Kennedy, a gifted photographer.

Going Old School

While Kennedy and Savage planned to use GPS for directions throughout their trek, an unexpected lack of cell phone service meant one thing: “It was time to get the map out,” says Savage.

Taking in the Sights

Thanks to their preparation, teamwork and navigation skills, the duo was able to take in the beautiful scenery on several excursions, including one to see Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

Mission Missoula: Move-In Day 

Upon hearing the Subaru engine, Cronin ran outside to greet Kennedy and Savage. “I was so excited to have people there,” says Cronin. The friends got to work—unpacking boxes, moving furniture and setting up the kitchen. The three, along with John, were back together. “It was like our little family in Montana,” says Kennedy.

Farm Beginnings

Visiting Cronin at her work wasn’t entirely new for Kennedy and Savage. After Cronin graduated, she worked as a garden apprentice at Round the Bend Farm in Dartmouth. Looking for outdoor-friendly activities due to the pandemic, Kennedy and Savage would often drive to the farm to spend time with Cronin. The three would visit the animals and pick fruit. “That’s when I think we got closer,” says Kennedy.

Hanging Out

The group took a break from unpacking to spend some quality time together. For two and a half days, they visited Missoula’s downtown, surfed one of the rivers there and did some more sightseeing. “Our friendship just feels very easy—one where you don’t need a social battery,” says Kennedy.

Final Adventure

“We were already here making memories, so we thought we might as well do one more national park,” recalls Cronin of the decision to visit Glacier National Park before Kennedy and Savage caught their flight home. Wanting to savor their last hours together and the trip as a whole, Savage picked up a car freshener souvenir. “I haven’t purchased a car yet, but when I do, I’m going to hang it around my rearview mirror,” she says. “It smells like huckleberry—it’s a good memory.”

Beyond Campus

Not only did the trip give Kennedy and Savage the opportunity to see the country and reunite with Cronin, but it also taught them about life after graduation—something that is top of mind for both of them. “It’s scary to think of moving away from your friends once you graduate,” says Kennedy. “But knowing how we’ve stayed connected to Beth, I realize it doesn’t matter where everyone is. Those relationships don’t go away.”

It’s scary to think of moving away from your friends once you graduate. But knowing how we’ve stayed connected to Beth, I realize it doesn’t matter where everyone is. Those relationships don’t go away.

Road Tripping Tunes

Kennedy and Savage listened to several playlists as they drove across the country, with these five songs often on repeat:

1. “Where We Are” (acoustic) by The Lumineers
2. “Mess is Mine” by Vance Joy
3. “Burning” by Maggie Rogers
4. “Road Trippin’” by Dan + Shay
5. “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons