70 Great Things to Do in New Hampshire

Find fun activities and all kinds of interesting things to do -- indoors and outdoors -- in all seasons to entertain you and your family on your New Hampshire vacation or getaway. It is smart to phone ahead or check the website of an attraction to confirm hours, especially for activities affected by weather.

2251 White Mountain Hwy (Route 16) North Conway, NH, 03860 Phone: 603-356-5411 Toll-Free: 800-RJACKET

No drought about it - cool and refreshing water fun

Let go, be excited and terrified (OK, a little scared) at this tropical indoor paradise. Year round it’s always 82 degrees and 102 degrees in the cozy hot tub and cool and refreshing everywhere else. Located at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway, NH, you’ll have much to choose from for a day of wet fun. The 3-story slide tower twists and turns into a 43,000-gallon pool while the Wiki Wave Pool features crossing waves and two waterfalls to negotiate. There are water cannons, rope bridges and a giant 175-gallon tipping bucket. When sufficiently waterlogged, shoot some hoops at Kahuna Court or try your luck in the Aloha Arcade. The Tiki Tide Café has great snacks and popular lunch and beverage items.

528 Presidential Highway Jefferson, NH, 03583 Phone: 603-586-4445

It’s Christmas Today!

For 60 years families have enjoyed the festive atmosphere, the great rides, live shows and Santa and his Reindeer in this wonderfully themed Christmas Park. Be thrilled on our newest ride, Santa’s Chimney Drop. And bring bathing suits so you can romp in our awesome water park Ho Ho H2O. One low admission includes unlimited use of all activities for the entire day. Two-day and Season Passes are available, as are Senior discounts and group rates. Come within 3 hours of closing and return another day for free. It’s Christmas Today at Santa’s Village and we can’t wait to see you! Seasons: Open from Memorial Day through Christmas including Halloween.

211 Lakeside Avenue Weirs Beach, NH, 03246 Phone: 603-366-5531 Toll-Free: 888-843-6686

Cruise Lake Winnipesaukee Aboard The M/S Mount Washington!

If you're looking for a truly great thing to do and a memorable experience, a cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee aboard the Mount Washington is for you.

The M/S Mount Washington offers one of New England’s most unique and dramatic venues for your family getaway, a romantic weekend or group event. You can enjoy the natural beauty of the lake and all its surroundings during the day, or enjoy a romantic sunset dinner & dancing cruise. Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruises from Weirs Beach and Alton Bay are also a regular event, and popular with couples.

The M/S Mount Washington has plenty of banquet & ballroom space, providing the perfect fit for your wedding party, family reunion or company outing. Late May - Late October.

Route 16, Pinkham Notch Gorham, NH, 03581 Phone: 603-466-3988

Drive to the top of New England

Before Europeans settled the mainland, Mt Washington was known as Agiocochook, or "Home of the Great Spirit.” The first trips up the mountain were made in horse-drawn wagons but now it’s your car or a tour van that makes the roundtrip to the 6,288’ summit of Northeast’s highest peak. Known for its striking dominance in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains and its dramatic history including the registering one of the highest wind speeds ever recorded on earth, the spectacular eight mile drive to the top of New Hampshire offers endless, breathtaking views of three states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean with nature at its most beautiful and raw. At the summit, indoor interactive Observatory try the hands on high- tech exhibit, the “Extreme Mount Washington” experience and learn more about the "World's Worst Weather."

New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is known for it is fishing, and that includes during the winter season. As the temperatures drop and the lakes freeze, fishermen and -women get ready to enjoy this unique winter sport. Friendly shantytowns start to form on the lakes with colorful and sometimes wacky fishing huts that provide cover for fisher people. But, be safe! It takes four to six inches of ice to support a person and eight to ten inches to support a vehicle. Learn more about ice fishing. Phone: 603-271-3129.

Coach Trip to the Snow Fields

Winter brings a whole new set of sights and sounds to the White Mountains. A winter tour above the tree line on Mount Washington is absolutely unforgettable, and now this tour is accessible to anyone by way of the SnowCoach operated by Great Glen Trails on Route 16 in Pinkham Notch, Gorham. An all-wheel drive system allows the SnowCoach to deliver you to the world above tree line on the Mount Washington Auto Road for a mountain top view that is out of this world. SnowCoach tours depart daily, weather permitting, December through March. Phone: 603-466-2333. [photo by Dan Houde]

Murals and Frescoes on Every Side

From outside, the South Solon Meeting House looks like many in New England. Inside, the 1842 Greek Revival building on south Main Street in Solonis unlike any other. It was restored in 1939 and during the 1950s students and faculty of the nearby Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture decorated every inch the interior walls and ceiling with fresco murals showing contemporary images from the Bible and the founders of the meeting house. The structure is open to visitors while it undergoes renovations. Just unlatch the front door (it's never been locked) and step inside to photograph the colorful scenes or reflect in solitude. Phone: 207-643-2541 or 207-643-2812

Explore the Snowy Woods at Prescott Farm

Outdoor Adventure

It is brisk; it is bright; it is beautiful. Get outside in the winter and enjoy snow sports with the help and guidance of experts at Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center in Laconia. This organization is dedicated to getting people outdoors for fun and health. It offers lots of group activities like guided snowshoe hikes (both easy and difficult); sledding parties and adventure walks on three miles of woodland, pond and field trails. Explore the three-story historic barn and an old-fashioned maple sugar operation (in March). Phone: 603-366-5695.

Currier & Ives Trail Is a Peaceful Meander

The 30-mile Currier and Ives Trail displays the beauties of small-town New England along its entire length, through or near the towns of Hopkinton, Warner, Henniker, and Webster. The trail follows Route 127 from Salisbury at its northern end down to Contoocook and Hopkinton, and from there along Routes 103 and 202 towards Hillsborough. Hopkinton has its historic covered bridges and grand colonial houses along Main Street. Downtown is split by the Contoocook River runs shimmering through the heart of Hopkinton. Henniker is rich in the arts and culture of the region. Warner is the home of Rollins State Park and Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum. Webster is filled with old farms and fields.

Robie's Country Store & Deli

Robie's Country Store & Deli in Hooksett is a historical building, inside and out. This beloved deli cafe and general store combination has charmed countless visitors since 1820 with its broad selection of New-Hampshire-made goods and gifts and New England gems like Cabot cheese. Political memorabilia lines the walls, decorating this country store with precious vintage memories of America's presidential past. The nostalgic, cozy atmosphere of Robie's can be tasted in the cafe's homemade menu of American cuisine. Enjoy a meal made with love at a cafe table and search the walls for photos of politicians who have visited here. Located at 9 Riverside Street, Hooksett. Phone: 603-485-7761

Cherry Pond Designs Makes Artwork of Furniture

Beautiful, artfully designed, high-quality furniture is something you shop for, but it also something to enjoy for its artistry. On a trip in the White Mountains, people who love furniture should visit Cherry Pond Designs on Meadows Road in Jefferson. Since 1990 Cherry Pond has been manufacturing solid wood bedroom, dining room, and occasional furniture that is designed and built to last for generations. Pay a visit; see and enjoy for yourself. Phone: 603-586-7795.

Candy, Candles, Collectibles

Wintry weather, family holidays, and candy. These three go together like two horses and a carriage. Since 1906, Kellerhaus on Endicott Street North in Weirs Beach has been delighting customers year-round with homemade candies, unique gifts, and awesome views, not to mention the candle and collectible showrooms. Visitors can watch the candy being made by hand in the candy shop. Bring your appetite to the ice cream sundae and waffle buffets. Your taste buds will thank you.

Small Engineering Gems

This region of New Hampshire is wealthy with covered bridges. We have a tender spot for the puckishly named Blow Me Down Bridge in Cornish. The most famous of the region’s bridges is the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States. Shutterbugs: try the interesting viewing challenges on both the New Hampshire and Vermont ends of the bridge.

Try the Bloody Mary Mix First

In the early days of The Common Man restaurant, an old jelly cabinet at the front desk offered an assortment of coffee mugs, comfy C apparel, white chocolate, and home-made foods. Customers always enjoyed taking home a taste of the Common Man, so The Common Man Company Store was opened at 59 Main Street near the flagship restaurant in Ashland. The store carries New England-made products, unique toys and gifts, and a 20-foot penny candy counter. You'll also find Common Man goodies such as wines, fudge, Bloody Mary mix, clothing, mugs and more. Open daily, hours vary. Phone: 603-968-3559.

Indoor Comfort Alongside Outdoor Adventure

For indoor and outdoor pleasures, the resource in East Conway on Route 113 is Town & Country, offering country gifts, wood and gas stoves as well as snowmobile sales, service, rentals for outdoor adventurers. The country store offers Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, country furniture, weathervanes, Warren Kimble Prints, candles and gifts. The outdoorsman can find Polaris and Yamaha recreational vehicles for sale or rent. Snowmobile renters can hit the trails immediately through the Snoward Bound Covered Bridge parking area located just behind the store. Cross the covered bridge and enter a groomed scenic trail connection to New Hampshire's Corridor 19 snowmobile trails. (While the indoor people stay put and shop.) The store is open daily through the winter. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 603-939-2698.

Kancamagus Scenery Is Breathtaking All Year

The Kancamagus Scenic Byway passes through the heart of the White Mountains National Forest while traversing the flank of Mount Kancamagus, filled with scenic areas and overlooks. The byway coincides with Route 112 from Conway to Lincoln. Visitors know this area as one of the world's most spectacular fall-foliage trips, but a stunning spectrum of color underscores the region's natural beauty year round. The road meanders through vast forests, old logging roads, and Indian hunting paths. An abundance of history and recreation lies here, so take the time to pull off the road and explore all that the byway offers.

IncrediBREW Knows Beer

IncrediBREW, at 112 Daniel Webster Hwy. in Nashua, wants you to enjoy beer and wine, and its is ready and able to give customers a how-to course on making it. At this brewery / winery / retail store, you can purchase these beverages and also get guidance, recipes, ingredients, and the use of professional equipment to make your own beer, wine, or sparkling soda. Come with friends and make a party of it. Literary folks in your circle can even make custom labels. Phone: 603-891-2477

Antiques From the Potato Barn

Yes, the 7,500-square-foot Potato Barn Antiques at 960 Lancaster Road in Northumberland was, indeed, a barn for potato farming back in the day. Now it houses antique glassware, tools, quilts and textiles, books, furniture, jewelry, prints and pictures, and vintage lamps and shades. An adjunct of the shop, Ladies Slipper Vintage, sells clothing and accessories. Voted Best Rural Antiques Shop in 2009 by New Hampshire Magazine, the shop has a wide collection of friends and fans. Owners Mark and Kellyann are happy to search out special requests. Phone: 603-636-2611

Four Centuries of Daily Life

Strawbery Banke Museum on Hancock Street in Portsmouth is a community composed of restored and furnished houses, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and costumed role players. Together, these elements bring to life the daily activities of New England people from European settlement in the 17th century to the mid-20th century. In addition to ongoing exhibits, lots of special events take place during warm weather. Phone: 603-433-1100.

Explore the Rocks

The Rocks Estate at 4 Christmas Lane in Bethlehem is famous for its Christmas trees, but this former summer home of the wealthy Glessner family also hosts lots of other seasonal outdoor activity for visitors. This site of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the 1,400-acre property offers guided and individual exploration and learning programs. Guests may hike and explore through the spring, summer, and fall. The property has short, easy strolls or longer hikes, past magnificent views of the Presidential Range. Northern wildlife abounds at the estate. Phone: 603-444-6228.

Mad for Mead

Mead is a wine made from honey, water and yeast. The sweetness ranges from dry to sweet, it can be still, lightly carbonated, or sparkling. Michael Fairbrother, founder and mead maker at Moonlight Meadery, 23 Londonderry Road in Londonderry, has a passion for mead, and he wants to convert you. "Everyone knows beer, wine, but mention mead and watch the blank looks. However once they try one of our special meads, they usually start to smile and ask, 'Why haven't I ever tried this before?' " Fairbrother says. His business is open daily at 11 a.m. and it offers tours and tastings. Fairbrother wants to make you mad for mead too. Phone: 603-216-2162.

Craftsmen in Merrimack

Founded in 1932, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen is one of the oldest craft organizations in the country. The League was formed during the Depression to help New Hampshire craftspeople make a living through difficult financial times by building an audience and market for fine handmade craft. The League operates seven retail galleries throughout New Hampshire. The galleries present the work of juried craftspeople, along with demonstrations, exhibits and educational programs.
Galleries in the Merrimack region are Concord Retail Gallery, 36 North Main Street, Concord, 603-228-8171.

Also Available in the Tropics

Apart from an airline ticket to Belize, there are few better ways to take a short break from winter’s cold than to visit a greenhouse full of orchids. Such as place exists, odd as it might seem, at Crozer & Crozer Orchids on Burpee Hill Road in New London. It is a place where you bring the joy and wonder of living orchids into your life. Visitors are welcome into the greenhouse every day except Monday and Tuesday. Personalized service includes arranging orchids in innovative dish gardens, which can either be purchased or rented for home use (spoil yourself or give a treasured hostess gift!) or for parties and weddings. The staff is happy to discuss orchid growing with interested hobbyists. Phone: 603-748-3010.

Textile History in Brick and Storytelling

For people who are enthralled by the rich history of New England’s textile mill, the Belknap Mill is an excellent day trip. Built in 1823, the Belknap Mill, located along the Winnipesaukee River on Beacon Street East in Laconia, is the oldest, unaltered brick textile mill in America and the Official Meeting House of New Hampshire. The Belknap Mill offers a permanent exhibit on industrial history, changing exhibits on art and history, education programs for adults and children, workshops, lectures, festivals and other events, year-round. Open weekdays, year-round. Phone: 603-524-8813.

Pewter in Process

Hillsborough Center retains the atmosphere of a 19th century New England town, with its central Common, surrounded by buildings that once housed taverns, a blacksmith shop, and a post office. This is the workplace of pewtersmith Jon Gibson, owner of Gibson Pewter on East Washington Road. Watch Gibson create pewter objects in the 200-year-old barn where he apprenticed as a boy. More than 100 traditional and contemporary pieces are for sale. Phone: 603-464-3410

Sam’s Will Clothe You for Outdoors or Indoors

Founded in Vermont in 1932 as an Army-Navy store, Sam's Outdoor Outfitters at 74 Monadnock Highway, North Swanzey is still owned by its founding family but it now offers a much wider range of goods. Sam’s can outfit you for hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping, but also dress women and kids in comfortable, colorful, high-quality and stylish clothing for just relaxing through all seasons. Sam’s is highly respected for its goods and also its helpful service. Phone: 603-352-6200

Hannah’s Here to Help With Creative Shopping

Hannah Grimes Marketplace on Main Street in Keene is a education center and incubator for New Hampshire products, crafts, and artwork. For visitors, the Marketplace is a great place to browse for local foods, including maple syrup, children’s books, and luxuries from fancy shampoos to original art. Think about your gift shopping for the next several months, and go explore what Hannah has to offer. Hours: Store Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 11a.m.- p.m. Phone: 603-352-6862.

Wild, Windy, & Super Frosty: Try It!

Guests can visit the new Mount Washington Observatory’s museum exhibit Extreme Mount Washington to get a taste of the wild weather at the summit of New England’s highest peak, known as the location of the most cold, windy, and dramatic weather in the world. The Observatory’s new interactive exhibits will offer visitors a real taste of how it feels to stand on Mount Washington in the most extreme climate conditions! Interactive exhibits and performances at the museum in Gorhamwill show you what it’s like to drive a Snowcat, record extreme weather data, and more. Phone: 603-356-2137 ext 225

Fine Crafts That Cross Over to Fine Art

Members of the Hanover Retail Gallery create crafts of such beauty and uniqueness they just about cross the line into fine art. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s retail gallery in Hanover, at 13 Lebanon Street, one of several in the state, offers a stunning collection of jewelry, pottery, baskets, photography, prints, furniture, glass and cloth arts. It is a fabulous way to find a gift that you cannot replicate anywhere else. The Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays in December. Phone: 603-643-5050.

Work for the Horses; Fun for You

Fireside Sleigh Rides in Conway offers horse-drawn rides at really affordable prices (kids under age 10 ride for free). This classic winter New England adventure is done on the Big Red the bobsled, pulled by two beautiful Percherons. The ride follows the Saco River, with views of distant mountains. After the ride, enjoy hot chocolate or apple cider and marshmallows around a bonfire. Also, guests can enjoy private sleigh rides on a 2-person sleigh, and nighttime group rides on Saturdays. Phone: 603-447-2737. [photo by Wise Guy Creative]

Antique Goods in an Antique Location

The Laconia Antique Center at 601 Main Street in Laconia is appropriately housed in a former Newberry’s Department Store built in the 1950s. What can you find here? Take a breath: vintage books (in a comfortable reading area); furniture, lamps, glass- and dishware, include Depression glass; primitives; estate jewelry; coins; ephemera, and on and on. One last enticement: the store has an ice cream and soda fountain and juke box. Open year round; hours vary by season. Phone: 603-524-9484.

All Is Tuberiffic at Pat's Peak

Snow tubing is a blast for people of all ages and those who prefer being close to the surface when sliding down a mountain. Many areas are adding carpet lifts that take you up the hill for the next run. Pat’s Peak, at Flanders Road (off Route 114) in Henniker, is a good place to do some family tubing (although tubers must be above age 5). Snow tubing is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and school vacation weeks. Phone ahead; hours of operation vary. Phone: 603-428-3245.

Barns Gave Their Best to These Reproductions

G.R.’s Trading Post at 108 Chester Road in Derry calls itself the number-one source of farmhouse chair and table reproductions. The company uses wood from dismantled barns throughout New England. “The boards are examined and manicured to perfection. We extract the original square head nails and take care to preserve the original knots and wood markings,” the Trading Post website explains. “The selected pieces then make their way to our woodshop where we apply the farm house table base. After the base is completed, the one-of-a-kind antique barn boards are applied to the top of each table.” Each finished piece is beautiful and unique. Phone: 603-434-0220.

Sunday is for Antique Shopping in Milford

Milford Antiques Shows will keep your antique shopping fever under control all through the house-bound winter. The show operates every Sunday from October 19, 2014, to March 29, 2015, at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, 50 Emerson Road in Milford. Over 80 dealers present a large variety of quality antiques and collectibles at reasonable prices, on indoor tennis courts. Hours are short and sweet: 8:30 to 11 a.m. Admission is $5 for the first hour and free thereafter. Free parking, no sales tax, cafe with baked goods, omelets and good coffee. Phone: 781-329-1192

Stop to Shop

The Seacoast region has wonderful shopping for beautiful and unusual items. The Fox Run Mall in Newington is a place to start for national names, followed by a trip to Boardwalk Strip at Hampton Beach. The cream of the shopping experience has to be Portsmouth's Market Street, crammed with art, toys, home decorations, clothing, hardware, jewelry, flowers, and more. Voted one of New England's Best Shopping Streets by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

Moose? Yeah, We Got Those

Many visitors to northern New Hampshire crave a viewing of the magnificent moose, perhaps the state’s favorite non-human representative. If you want to undertake a moose search of your own, drive the Moose Path Trail, considered to be Route 16 from Gorham to Errol or Route 26 to Dixville Notch to Route 3 to Pittsburg. Moose viewing tours by expert guides are offering in the Great North Woods region. The town of Gorham is host to a Scenic Moose & Wildlife Tour where there is a 95 percent guarantee of spotting some of the Granite State’s unique wildlife.

Catch That Updraft

The Franconia Soaring Association, located at Franconia Airport, Route 116 Easton Road in Franconia is essentially a club for owners and operators of gliders. But! The club offers glider rides to the general public as a way of introducing the general public to the sport of glider flying. Is your inner Indiana Jones starting to tingle at the very idea? Public flights are offered Saturday, Sundays, and holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. No reservations; flights are first come, first served. All introduction to soaring flights are preformed by FAA licensed commercial pilots or FAA certified flight instructors. Rides are $100 or $175. Phone: 603-823-5034.

1 World Traders Offer Products From Here to the Horizon

For Earth-conscious shoppers, a visit to the southern New Hampshire city of Nashua should include a stop at 1 World Trading Company on Main Street, which offers fair-trade, locally made, and environmentally friendly products in a beautiful and friendly setting. Items range from colorful handmade Guatemalan friendship bracelets to traditional Granite State body lotions, shampoo and recycled (used) bicycles. Talk about diversity! Open daily except Tuesdays. Phone: 603-881-9111.

Tanks A Lot

Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitor Center at 4 Fletcher Street in Manchester is an environmental education center on the Merrimack River. The exhibits focus on the Merrimack River watershed and river wildlife. Visitors can view live turtles, frogs and salmon; play a salmon migration game and generate electricity. In May and June, visitors can watch migrating shad, herring, and sea lamprey through underwater viewing windows that look into a 54-step fish ladder that allows migrating fish to swim around the Amoskeag Dam and up the river. Hours: Year-round, Monday-Friday. Phone: 603-626-FISH.

History, Horticulture, and Hiking in One

The Fells at the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge was the summer retreat for Secretary of State John M. Hay, archaeologist Clarence Hay, and nature writer John Hay. The 164-acre estate at 456 Route 103A in Newbury includes historic houses that are open for tours during the summer and hiking trails along Lake Sunapee that are open year-round. The big draw for visitors is the magnificent gardens: a 100-foot perennial border, a formal rose terrace, a Japanese water lily pool, and a walled secret garden. Phone: 603-763-4789.

Call Stonewall for a Sleigh Ride

Stonewall Farm, at 242 Chesterfield Road in Keene, is a working farm and educational center with a mission to connect people to the land and to the role of local agriculture in their lives. Set in a scenic valley, the farm consists of pastures, fields and woodlands and is open, free of charge, every day of the year. The farm offers a nostalgic 45-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride or hayride, followed by hot chocolate, cider and roasted marshmallows. (A fee is charged.) Call ahead to make arrangements for rides. Phone: 603-357-7278.

Awake Your Inner Shooter with Adventure Photography Tours

Professional photographer Ernie Mills and Adventure Photography Tours can inspire the landscape photographer in anyone. Mills offers tours up Mount Washington and other peaks during the day as well as crack-of-dawn sunrise and evening sunset trips. Marvel at the gorgeous vistas; Ernie will help you shoot uniquely beautiful photographs. Rent or bring a camera. This is a 3-hour, 3-mile hike in high altitude terrain; not for children! Be prepared for New England weather! Tours start from the bottom of the Mount Washington Auto Road in Gorham. Reservations: 317-691-7376 or 603-466-3988.

Skis? Snowshoes? Take Your Pick

For the beautiful sights and rugged workout of skiing without the high-speed downhill terrors, cross-country skiing is ideal. The Lakes Region offers plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing, along with its plodding cousin sport of showshoeing. To get started, check out these ski areas and resources: King Pine Ski Area on Route 153 in East Madison; with 20 kilometers of groomed trails; Gunstock Cross Country and Snowshoe Center in Gilford with 50 kilometers of groomed trails; or Nordic Skier Wolfeboro XC in Wolfeboro, on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee, with 30 kilometers of groomed trails.

Shaker Boxes from the Historic Mill

Frye's Measure Mill at 12 Frye Mill Road in Wilton is an authentic, water-powered measure mill, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Even more interesting: the mill's earliest products -- round and oval Shaker boxes -- are being produced today on original machinery. The boxes and other high-quality crafts and folk art are sold at the mill's gift store -- seven rooms of antiquated surroundings. In the summer, visitors can see the mill in operation. Beauty and industry in intriguing harmony. Open: April-December. Phone: 603-654-6581

Altar of the Nation

Cathedral of the Pines at 10 Hale Hill Road in Rindge is a simple, inspiring monument to patriotic sacrifice. Two hundred acres of pine forests and formal gardens give way to panoramic views of neighboring mountains. Sibyl and Douglas Sloane founded the Cathedral of the Pines in 1945 as a memorial to men and women who had sacrificed their lives in World War II. They envisioned that their cathedral without walls would welcome people of every faith in a spirit of unity and mutual respect. Within this property is the Altar of the Nation, built with stones from all 50 states, the Parthenon in Athens, the Coliseum in Rome, and some American battlefields. Open daily from May through October for tours and private meditation. Phone: 603-899-3300.

A Tisket, a Tasket

From knitting baskets to bicycle baskets to picnic and pie baskets – and other uses you have never imagined -- Peterborough Basket Company and its factory outlet store on Grove Street in Peterborough are ready to serve your basketry needs. Hand-made Peterborough baskets are made from Appalachian white ash, the same hardwood that baseball bats, snowshoes, and axe handles are made from. The wood is harvested from Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and the baskets’ solid brass nails prevent rusting. All of the baskets are made on site at the factory in Peterborough, and the factory store has great bargains and wonderful gift ideas. Factory outlet store hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Closed most holidays. Phone: 603-371-9020

Art in Pewter Evokes New Engand's History

Few artistic materials are more evocative of New England than pewter. New Hampshire Pewter Co. on Mill Street in the lovely town of Wolfeboro on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, practices the Colonial pewterer's craft in a modern environment. The company welcomes guests to tour its workshops and watch the creation of its pewter tableware and ornaments. Watch pewter artists mix pure tin with other fine metals and then cast this liquid pewter into shapes using bronze molds. Then, workers join these castings to create classically shaped goblets, tankards, and candlesticks. After joining, they cut away all of the rough gray metal and carve the fine details. After your tour, browse through the Gift Shop to choose a piece of Hampshire Pewter as a remembrance of your visit. Tours offered weekdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Phone: 800-639-7704

Beautiful and Unique Crafts From Experts

Three retail galleries in the towns of Center Sandwich, Meredith and Wolfeboro display and see the fine work of potters, woodworkers, fiber artists and more who have achieved the high standards of membership in the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. The work “crafts” can cover a lot of ground, and the work found in the places is way up o the high ground. Glassware, lamps, home décor, shawls and scarves and more make gifts with staying power in your home or that of family and friends.
Galleries in the Lakes region are the Center Sandwich Retail Gallery, 32 Main Street, Center Sandwich, 603-284-6831 (open May-October); Meredith Retail Gallery, 279 Daniel Webster Highway, Meredith, 603-279-7920; and Wolfeboro Retail Gallery , 15 North Main Street, Wolfeboro, 603-569-3309.

Axe Me About It

Have you ever felt like flinging a 3.5-pound, double-bladed axe? Maybe even not at a computer? Guests of Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa in Whitefield now can do just that, if they take a notion. Bobbi-Sue Baker, director of activities at the resort, will set you up with the axe and a target and even teach you a bit of axe-throwing technique before you let fly. Throwers are welcome to holler a slogan as they launch the thing. Big stress reliever, according to participants. You get a practice throw and three throws that count for points. For ages 15 and older. T-shirts and hats proclaiming “Get Axed!” in the gift shop can establish your bona fides.

Art in Wrought Iron, Celebrating Nature

Don’t come shopping at Earthly Treasures, on Lake Street in Bristol, for clichéd housewares and knick-knacks you could find elsewhere. The backbone of this family-owned business is Iron Horse Metal Works, producing nature-inspired wrought iron designs for the home. Iron Horse was founded by artists Vic & Elaine MacAdam and it is the foundation of the entire Earlty Treasures store (expanded over the years to a 4,000-square-foot showroom). Every Iron Horse work is a functional piece of art featuring designs in grapevine, cattail, wheat, tree, and scroll. The entire store offers original work by 350 American artisans. Now including upholstered furniture. Each piece is a gift to savor. Open daily. Phone: 800-480-0380

An Old Fashioned Night at the Movies

People who love movies: do yourselves a favor and get out of those multiplexes that look and feel like a walk through the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. New England has a healthy scattering of proudly small, independent movie theaters that show new releases along with independent films, shorts, and other cinematic art that doesn’t necessarily include exploding helicopter scenes. Among these is the Red River Theatres, at 11 South Main Street in Concord, a non-profit cinema showing current independent and foreign films, classics, documentaries, and cult favorites. With rocker-style, stadium seating, Dolby surround sound and unique concessions - including wine, beer, fresh sandwiches, and local pastries. Phone: 603-224-4697

Meadows, Stone Walls, and Songbirds

The Lower Shaker Wildlife Management Area in Enfield provides a beautiful place to walk through lovely fields and woodlands, sit for a picnic, and enjoy wonderful views. Situated on the east side of Route 4A, the property is 70 acres of meadowland that rises 1,100 feet in elevation. The upper fields provide spectacular views of Mascoma Lake and valley. An expansive network of trails extend through the forested portion of the property. Examples of Shaker stonework are found in many stone walls and canals that collected water for powering a stone mill. Resident animals include various songbirds. Phone: 603-271-3421.

Bargains, Yes; Guilt, Never

The nearly new Merrimack Premium Outlets at 80 Premium Outlets Blvd. in Merrimack makes a fun cold-weather or warm-weather diversion during your visit to southern New Hampshire. Likely guarantees of 25 to 65 percent a day at all the big name designers from Ann Taylor to White House Black Market. Phone: 603-424-0050.

Vintage Furniture Adds Soul to Your Home

There’s always a new, old treasure waiting to be found by you at Twin Elm Farm, located at 133 Wilton Road in Peterborough. Take in the old farmhouse barn atmosphere and let the vintage inspiration flow. Browse hundreds of antiques and vintage items, including furniture and home décor sold by dozens of vendors. Twin Elm Farm’s inventory changes frequently, and the Farm’s hours are every Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Phone: 603-784-5341

Good Wintry Food in Tilton

The Tilton Winter Farmers Marketwas founded to give Tilton residents and visitors easy access to fresh produce and other foods all winter long. It is open every Saturday and Sunday from January through March from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Tilton Winter Farmers Market is located at 67 East Main Street off Exit 20 of I-93 North (en route to the ski areas of the White Mountains). Stop on the way to ski country to pick up winter vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads, prepared soups and stews, jams and jellies, cheese, fruit and berry wines, vegan granola, teas, donuts, maple syrup, coffee, fudge, and more. Acoustic music gives the market a party atmosphere. Phone: 603-496-1718

Pennies Go a Long Way at This Candy Shop

Every vacation should make a little space for a bit of candy indulgence. In Wolfeboro , the Penny Candy Shop at 15 North Main Street is ready to help you and your kids at that moment. It has a huge selection of old-fashioned penny candy, an antique gumball machine, and plenty of excellent chocolate, fudge, maple candy, pretzels and peanut cups. Oof! Open daily during the summer. Hours change in the off-season. Phone: 603-569-9800.

Shopping at Salzburg

The Bavarian-style Village Shoppes at Salzburg Square on 292 Route 101 in Amherst is a great escape for people who love gift shopping but not the bustle at the mall. Roxie's Fashions and Zrinka Apparel offer with great brands in clothing and accessories. Enchanted Lace is a mecca of lace in the forms of curtains, nightwear, dresses and more. The Gift Shoppe and Antiques at Mayfair will produce winning gifts for formal occasions. When you and the budget are spent the bluAqua restaurant serves up New America cuisine.

Rounding Up the Horses for Winter Sleigh Rides

When snow blankets the ground in northern New England, October’s hay rides transform into winter sleigh rides. Farms all over New Hampshire offer this delightful outdoor adventure, sometimes in large groups, sometimes in sleighs for two or four people. These rides showcase New England in all its wintry beauty. Among the many farms offering the rides is Charmingfare Farm in Candia, where the sleighs travel along old logging trails. The one-and-a-half-hour ride includes a stopover with campfire and refreshments. Phone: 603-483-5623.

Come Shop With Me

There are over 100 factory outlet stores in Conway, most of them located at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village and Settlers’ Crossing, located adjacent to each other off Route 16. The original outlet destination resort, North Conway is home to Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, Banana Republic and many more. Antiques, specialty ski shops, art galleries, craft shops, boutiques and gourmet food shops abound. And…no sales tax is charged here. Both Settlers’ Green and Settlers’ Crossing offer a variety of dining options including Black Cap Grille, Starbucks, Brandli’s Pasta Grille, Wrapsody’s ‘N Greens, Kaity’s Big Chill and the Lodge Café. Phone: 888-667-9636.

Up in the Mountains, AMC’s Got Your Back

You don’t need a ton of equipment or know-how to get outdoors -- deep outdoors -- in the mountains of northern New Hampshire. The reason is: because you have the Appalachian Mountain Club in your corner. At two AMC lodgings in the mountains, the club offer shelter along with equipment and easy access to outdoor sports like hiking, climbing, snowshoeing, and skiing. From Highland Center Lodge at Crawford Notch you may nearby peaks or take a quiet stroll around a mountain lake. And at the Joe Dodge Lodge at Pinkham Notch you can get outfitted to hike the trails on foot or skis. In the evening, dinner and bed or bunk will get you fired up for the next day.

Warm and Colorful Artwork

The Sharon Arts Center on Grove Street in Peterborough offers fine art galleries, a fine craft store, and even a school of arts and crafts. The craft store is a warm and colorful excursion into beautiful, highbrow textiles, pottery, jewelry, glass art, wooden objects, and more from regional and national craftsmen. Phone: 603-924-2787.

Come Ride With Us, Says Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel

Crisp winter air, beautiful forest all around, and a harness full of big dogs who just want to pull. The town of Jefferson in the White Mountains is home to Muddy Paw Dog Sled Kennel. The kennel offers dogsled rides ranging from two to 50 miles, including dog sledding overnight trips. Guests of all ages and abilities can meet the rescue and second chance sled dogs, pet them, help to harness/hitch the teams and even help drive. The company will customize a unique dogsledding trip to fit your family or large group if you don't see a trip listed that is the perfect fit for you. Sgt. Preston, don’t you wish you were here? Phone: 603-545-4533.

Gift Shopping in Hanover

You can almost always rely on a college town for fun shopping for new or consigned items. In Hanover, for instance, fans love the the Pink Alligator consignment shop of South Main, where you can easily find top-shelf brands at reasonable prices. Color-obsessed shoppers will enjoy the store’s arrangement, by color. Gifts? Stop in at The Little Spot of Red, also on South Main, for nice stationery and cards, humorous gifts, and beautiful wall calendars. Also for gifts, be sure to visit Lemon Tree Gifts of Hanover on South Main. Again, there’s no way to characterize the stock: think of baby gifts, candles, lamps, cute serving ware.

Life on the Old Farm Wasn’t All Picnics and Barn-Raisings

How did farm people get through the demands of life during those chilly, pre-modern days? Many of us wonder. The Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth is a place to see, close-up, the homes and work places where people raised and cooked food, built and furnished their homes, and gave medical care to themselves and their stock as early as 1790 to the present. The museum and farm operate year-round, showing and teaching about wool spinning, bread making, turkey processing, sausage making and candle making in the old days. Seasonal celebrations are neat. When was the last time you got out with the whole town to chop and store ice aofr next summer? Phone: 603-323-7591.

This Marketplace Is Made for Choosy Gift Shoppers

Hand-made. Hand-grown. Hand-selected. These are the tenets of Hannah Grimes Marketplace at 42 Main Street in Keene. For local manufacturers, artists and craftsmen, the Marketplace is a stage for their intimately created works, from maple syrup to kids books to fine shampoos. For visitors, the Marketplace is a fun place to browse and shop for fripperies and fine small luxuries that you will soon not be able to go without. It’s a gift shopping adventure. Phone: 603-352-6862.

Cool to Spare

Women with plenty of chic taste but somewhat less money are plenty jazzed after their first visit to Off the Hanger, a trendy resale boutique at 103 Main Street in Plymouth. O.T.H. addicts return over and over, pulled in by the great prices, brand-name clothes, shoes, accessories, and hip new jewelry. The store was named Best Recycled Chic Boutique by NH Magazine in 2005. Phone: 603-536-9008.

Off-Road Adventures in High Mountains

Alpine Adventures on Main Street in Lincoln offers off-road trips in all seasons through fantastically beautiful wintry scenes through Franconia Notch, Twin Mountain, Bog Pond, and Mount Moosilauke. Buckle Up and Hold On, as the license plates dictate, because you're in for an off-road thrill like no other in New England. Winter displays the extreme off-road capabilities of 6-wheel-drive Swiss army transport vehicles called Pinzgauers. Pinzgauers have modified seating to accommodate 11 guests (one is shotgun) in blue bucket seats with lap belts. We padded the overhead cages and added a kickin' stereo system with mikes for the guides to entertain you on your journey. Phone: 603-745-9911.

Bird Watchers Paradise

The Great North Woods of New Hampshire contains five habitats for bird watching. The open lakes, ponds, and rivers of the northern waterways have nesting water birds like the loon. Freshwater marshland supports warblers, olive flycatchers, and rusty blackbirds. Grasslands kept clear by grazing animals or fires have the eastern meadowlark and bobolink. Mixed forestland supports warblers. The Great Northern Boreal Forest is a unique habitat and has rare birds like the spruce grouse and Canada jay. Experts at the North Country Chamber of Commerce in Colebrook are ready to offer advice, referrals, and assistance to bird watchers. Phone: 603- 237-8939.

Pollyanna Was Here

One of the last classic Main Streets in New England, downtown Littleton is a vibrant community on the bank of the Ammonoosuc River. Downtown offers a nice variety of restaurants, a historic inn, a 100-year old opera house, specialty shops, a majestic post office, a working gristmill, the world’s longest candy counter, and a sculpture of the original “glad girl” herself: Pollyanna.

Historic Tour of “Crown Jewel” Theater in Portsmouth

“The crown jewel of Portsmouth’s cultural scene” [says Yankee Magazine] is the beautiful and historic Music Hall, a Victorian-period theater with a pristine Beaux-Arts lobby and a long life story. The Music Hall in Portsmouth marks its 135th birthday in 2013 by launching new multimedia historic tours . The tour celebrates a journey through time that began in 1803 when a meeting house called The Temple was built on the Hall’s present site. Visitors will see stories of sea and of land; of ghosts and of myths; and of fiery destruction and rebirth. They can stand on the same stage used by performers from Buffalo Bill to Ethel Barrymore to Lily Tomlin to Al Green. The tour, about one hour, will be offered twice a week, year-round.

Do Your Tubing With Help From the King

King Pine ski area at 1251 Eaton Road, Route 153 Route 153 in East Madison offers snow tubing at its Pine Meadows Snow Tubing Park on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and daily during school vacation weeks, for only $15 per person. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere and affordability, Purity Spring and King Pine Ski Area have been a tradition for families throughout New England for decades. Phone: 800-373-3754.

Ice Castle Wonderland Near Loon

The fabulous Ice Castle returns for a second winter to Lincoln, at 64 Railroad Street, just down Route 112 from Loon Mountain. The acre-sized wonder, the work of ice architect Brent Christensen, is made using only icicles and water. It resembles natural organic formations of frozen waterfalls, glaciers or ice caves. Guests are to squeeze and crawl through parts of the stunning, Narnia-like display. People love taking photos in the throne room, in front of the waterfall and throughout the winding ice maze. Children will enjoy whizzing down the tubular ice slide and spelunking through small tunnels. Open to the public December 26, 2014, through March 2015, weather permitting. See website for hours and admission fees.

General Store Celebrates Inspired Nonsense

Zeb’s General Store in the mountain village of North Conway is the place to find New England products of all imaginable kinds – and some you might not easily imagine, like Nantucket Sea Clay Soap, Maine Maple Champagne Mustard, or Out on a Limb Blueberry Pie Filling. Some products are eccentric and all are worth a ride home in your shopping satchel. There are plenty of New England specialty foods and classic favorites like penny candy. You can even design your own gift basket from crates, baskets, or boxes (one of them a replica of the store itself), which you then fill with Zeb’s goodies. Phone: 800-676-9294.

Fun Shopping Is in Store in Jackson Village

Jackson Village is a great place to shop for gifts and mementos of your trip to the majestic White Mountains. Just behind the Jackson Fire Department, shoppers can find the intriguing Ravenwood Curio Shoppe, offering sculptures, statuary, pottery, handmade paper and reeds, funky garden ornaments, unique glass vases, artistic bird baths, and more. Then just down the road but before the Honeymoon Covered Bridge, look for Flossies's General Store, known for its country store feeling with a wonderful array of gifts and collectibles for all ages, and the White Mountain Photo Gallery.

Moose? Yeah, We Got Those

Many visitors to northern New Hampshire crave a viewing of the magnificent moose, perhaps the state’s favorite non-human representative. If you want to undertake a moose search of your own, drive the Moose Path Trail, considered to be Route 16 from Gorham to Errol or Route 26 to Dixville Notch to Route 3 to Pittsburg. Moose viewing tours by expert guides are offering in the Great North Woods region. The town of Gorham is host to a Scenic Moose & Wildlife Tour where there is a 95 percent guarantee of spotting some of the Granite State’s unique wildlife.

Some Spirits With Your Spirits?

The Windham Restaurant, 59 Range Road, in Windham is located in a farm house built and first occupied by the Dinsmore family in 1729. Today, guests can expect “fine dining in a casual, warm and welcoming environment” at Windham. The owners also say guests (and staff) may encounter paranormal activity. Three restaurants have occupied the house. In the past, ghosts have played with a waitress’s hair and unclasped her jewelry; moved chairs and table settings; and created playful arrangements of boxes wrapped like Christmas gifts. Voices and footsteps with no apparent source have been heard. The New England Ghost Project identified two of the ghosts as Jacob and William. Yum! Good food in a haunted house. Have you got a date for Halloween? Phone: 603-870-9270


Somnia in Portsmouth offers luxury home goods made with the finest fabrics and materials on Earth. Expert interior design services provide comfort, beauty and style tailored to individual taste. Somnia’s dedication to functional comfort is clear, from its designer organic bamboo clothing, to through-the-roof thread counts, to their luxury alternative to the bassinet. Whether you’re in the mood for handcrafted tiles, botanical candles, custom bedding, or one-of-a-kind precious stone jewelry, Somnia offers the highest quality and practicality – along with the world’s softest towel. Located at 107 Congress Street. Phone: 603-433-7600

Hanover Offers Outdoor Fun & Food for the Intellect

The town of Hanover – home to the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College – offers a mix of serene New England beauty and lots of interesting cultural activity and good food, as befits a top-drawer college town. Hanover is in the Upper Valley, a swath along the Connecticut River that includes Hanover and Lebanon in New Hampshire and Norwich and White River Junction in adjacent Vermont. Hanover’s downtown offers shopping, cool restaurants, and attractions like the Hood Museum of Art, a gallery of the formidable League of NH Craftsmen, Storrs Pond Recreation Centre, and for the book lover, Left Bank Books, among many other intellectual hot spots. Outdoor sports and activities are abundant in the region, in all seasons. Find plenty of day hikes and great bike riding.

Antiques from Near and Far Are Worth Exploring

New Hampshire Antique Co-op at 323 Elm Street in Milford has been family-owned since 1983, a testimony to its quality and professionalism. Two hundred antique dealers from the U.S., England and South America show their wares here. Whether you are an expert or simply passing through and you love beautiful old things, this is a fine place to burrow around for period furniture, fine art, silver, jewelry, books, coins, vintage & collectible wares. Appraisal, consignment and restoration services offered. And -- we like this -- New Hampshire charges no sales tax. Open daily, year-round from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Phone: 603-673-8499