70 Great Things to Do in New Hampshire
From mountains to seacoast to its delightful small cities, New Hampshire has a multitude of wonderful things to do, all years. Interesting places to explore like America’s Stonehenge
or the shops and theaters and Strawbery Banke Museum
in Portsmouth are among many of the attractions
that bring loyal visitors to the Granite State year after year, in all seasons.
A popular form of accommodations is resorts
– some in the mountains, some on the seacoast – because they typically welcome families and offer a wide assortment of entertainments and access to the tools (rented kayaks, canoes, snowshoes, for instance) for outdoor adventure.
Off Route 302
Bretton Woods, NH, 03589
Climb to the clouds on New Hampshire's Cog Railway
Step aboard the Cog Railway and get ready to climb to the Northeast's highest summit, New Hampshire's Mount Washington. The three-hour trip is always an adventure. The train travels the steepest railroad tracks in North America, passing through several climate zones before reaching the top. There, on a clear day, you'll see New England spread out before you. On other days you may be above the clouds, as if you're walking about in a fairyland. There's history on the train, too. Construction of the railway was a 19th-century engineering marvel. And you won't find engines like ours anywhere else east of the Rockies. Learn all about it at our Base Station museum, where you'll also find a restaurant and gift shop. Trains run late April through November.
357 Morningside Lane
Charlestown, NH, 03603
Find aerial adventure at Morningside Flight Park
Seeking adventure? Morningside Flight Park is the place. Learn hang gliding, paragliding or powered paragliding at the most complete flight park in the country. We've been teaching students of all ages and skill levels for over 40 years. In addition to lessons we offer tandem flights, zip-line canopy tours, kayaking and outdoor laser tag. We're located in Charlestown, NH, an easy drive from Boston, Hartford, Portland, Burlington, Montreal and New York. Come for the day or stay all weekend at our expansive campground surrounded by old-growth forest. Pitch your own tent or enjoy more comfort in a platform tent or our hilltop cabin. Morningside's campground is complete with fire pits, swimming ponds, playing fields, picnic areas, kitchen, bathhouse and breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley.
85 North Policy Street
Salem, NH, 03079
Great expectations are met at this historic family fun park
With a century’s old history and an exciting approach to fun, Canobie Lake Park offers one of New England’s best family values. 85 thrill rides, family rides, water rides, and kids rides, plus indoor-outdoor games and an arcade await just 30 miles north of Boston. There’s live entertainment on two stages and the Dance Hall Theater, special events and attractions, and a dedicated Kiddieland area. More than 20 great places to eat will keep you well fed and there’s tax free shopping for souvenirs, everyday items and keepsakes. You’ll find discounts for school or company outings and summer lodging packages that include 2 tickets to the Park plus options for additional tickets at a discounted rate. Parking is always free.
61 Laconia Road
Tilton, NH, 03276
A splashing good time, fun from beaches to mountains to tax-free shopping
The Lakes Region of New Hampshire and its iconic town names –Weirs Beach, Meredith, Laconia, Moultonborough – have lured families for relaxation and outdoor fun for many generations. The year-round activities of the region revolve around the majestic Winnipesaukee, Squam, and Newfound lakes, where dreamy cruises and every water sport attract people to soak up the outdoor beauty. Beaches are welcoming, and traditional beach food and entertainments like fireworks are plentiful. For families with active kids, zip lines, mountain train rides, and boulder caves furnish a menu of thrills. Arcades and indoor play spaces are great fun. Adults like exploring historic mansions, museums, vineyards, and craft festivals. Skiers and snowboarders have easy access to ski areas. Shoppers can find outlet centers, quaint gift shops, antique centers and plenty of work by art-caliber craft makers.
Route 16, Pinkham Notch
Gorham, NH, 03581
So much to explore on the Highest Peak in the Northeast
Due to its remarkable location, weather and history, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is unlike any other driving experience in the Eastern United States. A trip on Mt. Washington Auto Road is a one-of-a-kind experience offering ever-changing weather extremes, panoramic views and the opportunity to pass through four distinct climate zones as you climb to the highest peak in the Northeast. The constantly-changing weather adds to the allure and mystique of the famous peak, often allowing visitors to experience high winds and dramatic cloud formations. No matter the weather, the entire family will love all there is to do on the legendary Auto Road.
153 Main Street
Jackson, NH, 03846
Discover the best cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the northeast.
Ski the finest cross country ski trails in the eastern United States in and around the charming village of Jackson, NH. Glide though old growth forest, skate ski all out on an international race course, and stop at the on-trail warming cabin and Cocoa Café. You can also walk 25 miles (40km) of self-guided snow shoe trails or take guided snowshoe tours with knowledgeable and entertaining local guides. Trail passes are available for the day, late-Day, multi-day or the season. The Jackson X-C Ski School offers beginner, private and group lessons with PSIA certified instructors. Rent top of the line equipment , stay in cozy and hospitable lodgings , and enjoy great food in establishments on and near the trails.
527 US Route 3
Lincoln, NH, 03251
Activities and adventures start at the resort and cover the mountains
In the realm of great things to do in the mountains of New England, almost nothing is left out when you stay at Woodwinds Resort & Inn in Lincoln. The immediate area brims with mountain adventures, starting with two major ski areas and at least two golf courses. Moving on, adults or families with kids can ride zip lines and walk suspension bridges at Alpine Adventures, play in the pools of the Whale’s Tale water park, and ride the old trains of the Hobo Railroad. Adults will enjoy nearby outlet shopping and live theater. There is plenty of sport on the resort property itself: two pools, Jacuzzi and sauna, tennis and racquetball, and ice skating. Fuel yourself before and after your day at the casual dining venue, The Grille.
3 Crossing at Riverplace
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
A unique White Mountain culinary attraction
Plan a memorable event aboard the family owned and operated Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train. Rolling along the western slopes of the White Mountains, you’ll experience one of the region’s premier destinations majestic scenery and beautifully restored railcars, while sharing in a distinctive culinary experience. You’ll travel at a leisurely pace down and along the Pemigewasset River, through the woods, and return on the same track. Enjoy great service and plated fare highlighting quality seasonal and farm fresh ingredients from an inspired menu that offers an exceptional dining experience for you and your guests. Depart on your two-hour, 20 mile round trip in a convivial ambiance with classic cocktail offerings or one of the fine domestic or international wine selections.
9 Bailey Road - Route 4
Chichester, NH, 03258
Friends, families, and groups love this great fun park
When your park is home to the world’s longest mini golf hole, there’s some serious fun going on here. Enjoy a combination plate of great things to do - there's 13 great attractions including miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, a climbing wall and an unforgettable aerial adventure. Chow down on hot dogs, pretzels, mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, fries, chicken wings, personal pizzas and 36 flavors of Blake's ice cream. Hold a basic, deluxe or aerial adventure birthday party for any age or a group outing for your company, school, church, or team from 10 to 250 people at a time – or rent exclusive use of the entire facility. Visit the On-Line store and get gift certificates, day and mega passes, and more.
23 Londonderry Road, Unit 17
Londonderry, NH, 03053
Romance by the Glass
In days of old, when knights were bold, they slaked their thirst with mead. Come take a trip, and have a sip, and you'll say "Yes, indeed!" You can step back to the Age of Chivalry with a visit to Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, NH, where we've been producing a dazzling array of meads and ciders since 2010. Mead, if you don't know, is one of the oldest fermented beverages, and in our age, one of the least known. Its made with honey, water, and yeast, and ranges from dry to sweet. We make still meads, and sparkling meads - something for every mood. We offer tours of our facility every day of the week. You'll learn how mead is made, and enjoy some of our beverages, too.
60 Loon Mountain Road
Lincoln, NH, 03251
Instructions for a great mountain adventure any time of year
Pack the car with season appropriate gear and clothing – hiking shoes, snow shoes, skis, tee shirts, shorts and/or sweaters and long johns. Drive two hours north from Boston and set your GPS for the White Mountains, Loon Mountain to be exact, New England’s most-accessible mountain resort destination. Ride New Hampshire’s longest gondola skyride to the 2,733-foot summit. Enjoy breathtaking views of the White Mountains and great food at the Summit Café. During the summer and fall, explore glacial caves, walk a scenic nature trail, ride a zipline at the base across a river, rent a bike, scale a rock wall, navigate the LogJam Maze, or climb a 30-foot-tall spider web. Bunyan’s Bouncin’ Backyard offers young kids a bounce house and inflatable games. In the winter, ski and/or snowboard 2,100 feet of vertical with three peaks of terrain for all abilities – including an award-winning progression of terrain parks and New Hampshire’s only Superpipe. There’s also snow tubing, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Kick back, gaze at the scenery, repeat!
211 Lakeside Avenue
Weirs Beach, NH, 03246
Lake Wiinnipesaukee Cruise Magic Aboard the M/S Mount Washington!
Bring your loved one, family and friends and cruise the beautiful waters of New Hampshire's largest, glacier formed and spring fed Lake Winnipesaukee. Since 1872 only two vessels named Mount Washington have plied these waters with its wooded shoreline, 240 habitable islands and a landscape surrounded by 3 mountain ranges. Now operating from May through October, the Mount and its two smaller sister vessels, the US Mail Boat, Sophie C. and M/V Doris E. offers Daytime Scenic, Evening Dinner/Dance and Special Theme cruises. In addition to hosting thousands of visitors to New Hampshire each year, the Mount with its 3 private banquet rooms can be chartered and is a popular venue for school proms, college gatherings, corporate celebrations and weddings.
200 Daniel Webster Highway
Nashua, NH, 03060
A Day of Play for the Whole Family
Time to PLAY! Fun World resembles a castle outside, but inside it’s a gigantic play space with tons of games and activities for kids from tots to the teens. More than 250 video and redemption games range in style from classic arcade favorites up to newer multiple-player games. Your kids are sure to end up happily tired after rumbling about in the three-story play space with lots of climbing structures and really long slides. Whew! Elsewhere, the Himalaya, roller coaster, and elegant Italian-built carousel will keep them fascinated and engaged. Games for older kids include Aliens, Terminator, Fast & Furious, Transformers, Ghost Squad, old-school air hockey tables and pinball games, and dance and sports games. The staff members are helpful; the cost is very reasonable.
60 Loon Mountain Road
Lincoln, NH, 03251
Discover the rich culture of Scotland – no passport required.
The rich culture, traditions, and history of Scotland are on full display at the 41st New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival at the scenic Loon Mountain Resort, in Lincoln, NH. You don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy the pageantry and excitement of piping & drumming, pipe band, highland dancing, fiddle, harp, sheep dog, and heavy Scottish athletic competitions. Scotland’s cultural history comes to life in living history encampments. Explore the clan village and admire the tartans and crafts. Scottish and Celtic performers will be playing traditional and modern music, ranging from traditional ballads to tribal beats and bagpipe rock. Children can participate in the Festival Youth Program, which features games (including children’s caber tossing), crafts, storytelling, and more.
Event Dates & Times: September 15-17, 2017 - 8am - 5pm Daily. A full schedule including off-site events will be available in August.
105 Haverhill Road
Salem, NH, 03079
Explore America's Oldest Known Structure
In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But was he really the first European to reach North America? At America's Stonehenge in Salem, New Hampshire, some say there's evidence others got here first, perhaps by a thousand years. The pine woods here are full of stone megaliths like those built throughout Great Britain by Druid priests. Were they the first arrivals? Or maybe some other group with knowledge of astronomy and stone construction? Wander our woodland trails with your family, and let your kids see for themselves. We're near the New Hampshire seacoast, which makes America's Stonehenge a great destination for days when clouds keep you off the beach. We're got a picnic area, a museum, and a herd of friendly alpacas to greet you.
196 Main Street
Gorham, NH, 03581
The seasons change the fun remains
Enjoy rolling dog sleds and exciting raft trips on Class II to Class 4 rapids. Muddy Paw sled tours allow you to meet the sled dogs, help the musher harness and hitch the team, enjoy the dog sled ride, and reward the sled dogs for a job well done. You’ll soak in the views and have plenty of photo opportunities. Raft NH is a family-friendly, rafting outfitter offering whitewater trips for ages 6 and up with or without experience. Trips from mild to wild offer an unforgettable adventure for everyone. The “Paws & Paddles” package combines daytime whitewater rafting and evening rolling dog sledding for a great day outdoors.
38 Norcross Circle
North Conway, NH, 03860
All aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire's White Mountains
At Conway Scenic Railroad, you’ll enjoy old-fashioned train rides, all departing from a beautiful 1874 Victorian Station in North Conway Village. Whether you choose a Valley route to Conway or Bartlett, or the legendary Crawford Notch excursion, you'll experience the fun of rail travel in the comfort of open or enclosed, restored passenger cars. Coach, First Class and elegant Dining Car seating are available on all routes. Trains run rain or shine, and round-trip excursions are from 1 to 5½ hours. Schedules vary, so be sure to call 1-800-232-5251 for details, or visit our website by clicking above. Valley Trains run April 15 through December 31. The Notch Train operates June 13 through October 28. The Railroad hosts family events throughout the season, including Day Out With Thomas™ in July, Pumpkin Patch Express in October, and Santa’s Holiday Express. This is a journey back in time the whole family will enjoy!
Mountain View Road
Whitefield, NH, 03598
An historic resort offers endless White Mountain activities.
Offering great thing to do since 1865, this magnificent resort features elegant and relaxed lodging and an award winning Spa, state of the art Health and Wellness Center, a yoga studio, indoor pool, and a large dry sauna and hot tub. There are all day kid’s activity programs and a complimentary kids’ camp called the Mountaineering club. Dine all day at any of four restaurants with a 6300 bottle slate-lined wine cellar to peruse. Slip away for a romantic getaway or bring the whole family and enjoy four-season fun on the property including golf, tennis, indoor/outdoor heated pools, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and more. Located nearby are fishing, boating, hiking and Santa’s Village. Fall foliage tours await, too.
312 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith, NH, 03253
Lakes region activities in a vibrant New Hampshire community
Discover great food, culture and the many pleasures of the Lake’s Region at this unique lodging on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Four distinct Inns, each with views of the lake and surrounding mountains, offer smoke free rooms, coffee makers, refrigerators and Wi-Fi. Relax in indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, on sandy beach areas and there are docks for your boat. The Mills Falls Marketplace features 11 unique shops and 8 eateries serving tasty regional cuisine from morning til night. Savor the world class Cascade Day Spa and stop in at the EKAL Lake Activity Center for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and chartered boat cruises. Be sure to walk Meredith’s vibrant Main Street Community adjacent to Mill Falls.
545 Beach Road
Pittsburg, NH, 03592
Pick your own ATV adventure in the Great North Woods with Bear Rock Adventures
Embrace your inner trailblazer with New Hampshire’s premium Polaris outfitter, Bear Rock Adventures. As “Your Guide to the Wilds,” Bear Rock Adventures offers fully-equipped top-of-the-line ATVs and side-by-sides (2, 4 and 6-seat options) with electric start, reverse, 4-wheel drive, automatic transmissions and power steering for smooth, effortless maneuvering. Whether you're a single rider or a family of six, get ready to experience over 1,000 miles of Ride the Wilds interconnected trails throughout Northern New Hampshire where you are free to explore the Great North Woods on half, full, or multi-day excursions. Pick your own adventure with customized itineraries, perfect for families and thrill-seekers alike. Bear Rock Adventures is open May 26 through September 30, 2017. Book online today and receive 15% off with code Visit17 - just click our link or photo above.
135 Main Street
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
Join us for one of our famous Brew Tours!
Learn about the history of the Woodstock Inn Brewery while you tour this 30-barrel, state-of-the-art solar fed brewery and production facility. Learn how we craft and bottle our delicious award-winning ales—each inspired by the characteristics of the area’s stunning scenery and clear mountain streams.
The Woodstock Inn Brewery is located in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Brewery Tours are offered daily, reserve online. After your tour, take a refreshing dip in adjacent Cascade Park, browse North Woodstock’s charming Main Street and our company store, or visit one of the many nearby attractions.
Experience the grand north land and be amazed!
Visitors to New Hampshire’s Grand North will find traditional outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, cross-country and alpine skiing, canoeing, biking, moose viewing, golfing, camping, and much more. Those seeking more extreme adventures can zip through tree lines on a canopy tour, go white water rafting, explore 1,000+ interconnected miles of ATV trails, and more. Families can enjoy amusement parks that are among the United States’ Top 25 according to TripAdvisor. New Hampshire’s Grand North is home to historic grand hotels, tax-free shopping and more. The highest peak in New England, Mt. Washington, offers multiple ways to reach the summit including driving your own personal vehicle or ascending via The Cog Railway's historic steam locomotive. Follow our link above for additional lodging and attraction information!
528 Presidential Highway
Jefferson, NH, 03583
Pure Joy. Family Style. Every Summer & Christmastime, too.
Enjoy the only New England park named one of the Top 25 Amusement Parks in the USA by TripAdvisor 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards: Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH. It’s home to Santa and his reindeer, and dozens of amusement rides and shows and other attractions for families with young children. It’s the joy and excitement of Christmas morning, and every bit as memorable for the entire family. One low admission price covers an entire day of memory-making. For over 60 years and three generations, from our family to yours – oh, what fun it is! Seasons: Open Memorial Day weekend to Christmas.
Visitor’s Center at Exit 32 Off I-93
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
Everything for a memorable vacation is here to enjoy!
Families, friends and the intrepid loner will love the White Mountains, a majestic and activity-filled area of northern New Hampshire. Pleasures and fun abound year-round in cozy hotels and resorts, great food, snowy mountain trails and pristine lakes. The best skiing, hiking and biking make any vacation memorable and so will amusement & water parks and nature walks. Explore the forests & caves along the mountainside and strap yourself in for zip lines and canopy tours. The vistas from aerial tramways, valley & mountain railroads and the famous Mt. Washington Auto Road will take you to the top of the world. And for shopping enthusiasts there's quaint family-run shops, traditional country & general stores, and modern discount outlets. The variety of attractions here is stunning and will call you and your family back again and again.
Route 171 - 455 Old Mountain Road
Moultonborough, NH, 03254
Inspiring Arts & Crafts House in the Mountains Transports Your Senses
Castle in the Clouds is an inspired name for this Arts & Crafts-style mansion in the Ossipee Mountain Range, overlooking New Hampshire’s gorgeous Lakes region. Built in 1914 by a wealthy shoe manufacturer and originally named Lucknow, the architecture displays hand-crafted details that honor natural forms. You will take a winding road up to the property, passing vistas and a waterfall, and finish with a trolley ride from the parking area to the house. You can explore the period furnishings and even the mistress’s wardrobe, find mementos in the gift shop, enjoy lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant, and browse a revolving display of artwork in the Art Gallery. Children are welcome. Hiking trails beckon you into the mountains and horseback riding is allowed. Open weekends through May and daily from June to October.
983 Upton Road
Errol, NH, 03579
Go down rivers and up the trees with ELC Outdoors
ELC Outdoors in Errol, NH, offers you the opportunity to explore the Great North Woods. For seven years now we've provided quality outdoor activities and adventures for families, school groups, summer camps, and everyone else. We'll take out down the rivers and up to the treetops. Our rafting and kayaking trips over thrilling rides on the rapids. Our high ropes and zip line tours take you high above the ground. Catch the big ones on a guided fishing trip. Spend a wilderness night in one of our yurts. Hear the loons cry on moonlit water. And if you're lucky, glimpse a moose. We've got a wilderness adventure that will remind you of your primal humanity. And we've got activities for all ages. The roaring rapids are calling!
288 Shaker Road
Canterbury, NH, 03224
The simple life made extraordinary by the Shakers
The Shaker religious sect is considered by many historians to be the most successful communitarian society in American history. Throughout the 1800s some 300 members of the Shaker sect lived at the Canterbury Shaker Village site in Canterbury, NH growing their own food and supporting the community through their crafts and trades. Come see how the community thrived. Step inside 25 restored original Shaker buildings. Discover Shaker artifacts and photographs amidst 700 beautiful acres of forest, fields, gardens and mill ponds. The site offers workshops on rug braiding, woodworking, tin-smithing, letterpress printing, cooking, and more. Three days a week at the Shaker Table, you can sit down for a hearty meal or enjoy a simple lunch at the farm stand.
Colonial Theatre is a Class Act
The Colonial Theatre
is a classy, restored entertainment palace that brightens Main Street, Keene
with a bit of historic swagger. The theater opened in early 1924 and hosted movies, vaudeville, opera and live theater. Guests included opera stars, novelists, and even Amelia Earhart. Since its restorate in 1995, audiences have enjoyed more than 350 live performances. have entertained audiences. 603-352-2033.
Civil War-era Barn Houses Thousands of Prints
As you approach the grounds on the Winona Road from Route 104, in the distance across a field you will see a large 1790 farm with many buildings under the trees of nicely landscaped grounds. You are at the Old Print Barn
, 343 Winona Road in Meredith
, a Civil War period barn that has been re-created as a 21st century art gallery. Inside, you will find more than 2,000 original works of art on display, in all forms of printmaking from etchings to mezzotints. In addition to having an extremely large stock of original art. Open year-round, daily. 603-279-6479.
Eat, Drink and Stay at Moat Mountain
This beautiful combined inn, restaurant, and brewery truly has it all. Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brewery
in North Conway
has only five rooms located on the second floor of the Smoke House, offering a cozy alternative to large hotels. Although the brewery itself is a work in progress right now, the ales that come from Moat Mountain are fresh and local. The professional chefs at the restaurant make everything on site, using fresh produce from local farms. Around the area are plenty of interesting spots, including the Mount Washington Observatory, Young Maple Ridge Sugarhouse and Sherman Farm. 603-356-6381
Good Cheese in the Mountains
We may want
cheese all year long, but we need
cheese in winter. Harman’s Cheese and Country Store
, at 1400 Route 117 in Sugar Hill
, has been arming its customers against hunger since 1955, serving a snappy, well-aged cheddar that is good for the soul. Visit the store in the sweet mountain community of Sugar Hill – near beautiful Franconia -- and browse for other delights and necessities: moose humor and mementos, crackers, jams, local crafts, totes and t-shirts. 603-823-8000.
Unique Beer & Mead Tastings Just Off the Highway
The towns of Derry
off I-93 in southern New Hampshire are home to no fewer than four craft breweries and an internationally recognized meadery. Travelers driving between the state’s beautiful lakes region and White Mountains can take a short hop off the highway for a tour or tasting at these small places of large expertise. Rack cards describing the Beer and Mead Tour
at nearby welcome centers give locations and more details.
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.
Haunted Pubs of Portsmouth Tour
It’s hard to think of Portsmouth
– a bright, cheery historic town on a bustling river – as scary, but the people at New England Curiosities do their best to spook guests on the Haunted Pubs of Portsmouth Tours
, which serve up an eerie brew of Portsmouth's fascinating tavern history and ghost stories. The two-hour walking tour includes stories about a mischievous ghosts all varieties, Portsmouth was home to the largest brewery in the United States in the 19th century and the city still retains a vibrant pub atmosphere. Make a reservation! 603-343-7977.
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.
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.
Point Your Bumper at the Clouds
If you have spent much time in New England, you have seen the bumper stickers: “This car climbed Mount Washington.” Is your car gonna let that other car get away with such bald boasting? Hmmm? The only solution is to take your care onto the Mount Washington Auto Road
. Off Route 16 in Pinkham Notch
, the Mount Washington Auto Road stretches eight miles to the summit. Views around Pinkham Notch are stunning. The road opens in mid-May depending on the weather. Gas up!
Performing Arts in a Historic Setting
Claremont Opera House
, located in the city hall at Opera House Square in Claremont, is in full swing, presenting acoustic singers and instrumentalists, chamber music, dance, comedy, and children’s theater year-round. The theater, above the city offices, has a frescoed ceiling and a decorative wall frieze culminating with a proscenium arch adorned with gold-leaf molded plaster-work in high relief--sounds fancy, right? Coming up in 2013: Recycled Percussion Band, The Spirit of Johnny Cash, Peter Yarrow, and more. Phone: 603-542-4433.
Craggy Beauty, 90 Feet Tall
The Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park
off Daniel Webster Highway near Lincoln
in the White Mountains National Forest is a natural granite gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The towering granite walls on each side of the gorge rise to a spectacular height of about 90 feet. Footpaths and bridges allow walkers to move among towering moss-covered granite walls, past cascading waterfalls, historic covered bridges, glacial boulders and much more.
Hold on to Your Helmet
Descending over 1000 feet of elevation, the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour
on Route 302 in Bretton Woods
takes nature-lovers and thrill-seekers across a series of treetop zip lines, and is one of the longest canopy tours in the continental United States. High-flying suspension bridges and hiking trails connect the zip lines, and the tour concludes with the Williwaw Racing Zip, a dual, side-by-side zip line leading right into the Bretton Woods base area. Designed and constructed by Bonsai Design Inc., this unique canopy tour features a dual-cable construction and coated cables to reduce noise. On the tour, guides describe the local flora and fauna, the natural history and White Mountain lore. Wow! Information: 603-278-4947.
Little Harbor Loop Trail Wanders Shoreline & Gardens
A really easy and pleasant 1.5-mile Little Harbor Trail now wanders through the the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion grounds, Creek Farm, and Portsmouth Conservation Land. The trail is flat and fine for little ones or elderly people. Views of the Piscataqua River just south of Portsmouth
and tidal pools and gardens are delightful. There is free parking & trail access at the
at Little Harbor Road,
Come See the Birth Place of Pig’s Ear Brown
Warm up your visit to the White Mountains with a pop-in visit to the Woodstock Inn Brewery
at 135 Main Street in Woodstock
. Brews with names like Red Rack, Pig's Ear, and Loon Golden Ale are produced through a traditional seven-barrel system using premium hops and English grains. The prize-winning brews are on display during a free tour of the brewery every day at noon. Woodstock Inn Brewery has won several national awards for its ales; Pig's Ear Brown that has won the National Beer Tasting Championships two years in a row. Come by and get acquainted. Phone: 800-321-3985.
Cottage in the Forest
The sweet little cottage at Pickity Place
on Nutting Hill Road in the town of Mason
has stood for more than 200 years (historic note: Pickity is the setting for Little Golden Books’s 1948 version of “Little Red Riding Hood”). These days, the cottage is a place to enjoy peaceful gardens, a greenhouse shop, and elegant gourmet luncheons accented with herbs and edible flowers. Open daily, year-round. 603-878-1151.
A Haven for Weavers and Knitters
This place is a gold mine for weaves and knitters. Harrisville Designs
on Main Street in Harrisville
is a family-owned and -operated business founded in 1971 to preserve and re-establish the economic vitality of the historic 18th century textile village of Harrisville. Woolen yarn has been spun in the water-powered, mill town of Harrisville since 1794. This village in the Monadnock Highlands is the only industrial community of the early 19th century that still survives in America in its original form. 603-827-3996.
Robie's Country Store & Deli
Robie's Country Store & Deli
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
Get yourself and your family out of electronic isolation and go out to play games. Actually, to play these games, you go out and go back indoors, at Diversions Puzzles & Games
at 123 Congress Street in Portsmouth
. The store stocks new and classic games and high-quality puzzles for every age and interest. And,
it has lots and lots of open game days and nights, like family game times on Sundays, weekly board games on Thursdays, and more. Learn or introduce your family to games like Wits & Wagers, Dixit or Qwirkle. Try Rush Hour or Scrambled States of America. Or stick with the classics, like chess, backgammon, checkers and cribbage. Staff members can teach you how to play one of our many demo games. Open daily.
Walk to a Waterfall
Visit a stunning waterfall
in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Many have parking near trailheads and easily accessible paths. Some allow swimming and picnicking near the falls is always a pleasure. Best in spring, when flow of water is heavy!
near Conway: There are three drops in the falls and lovely pools. Picnicking; no swimming. Handicapped accessible path to the falls. To get here: Take the Kancamagus Highway from Conway. The falls picnic area is 3.5 miles west of the intersection with Bear Notch Road. Walk to the falls is 0.3 mile.
Glen Ellis Falls
near Pinkham Notch: The deep green pool of water below is off limits to swimmers. Read signs that describe the geology. To get here: The path to the falls is off Route 16, 0.7 miles south of Pinkham Notch. Walk to the falls is an easy 0.2 mile.
near Wildcat Ski Area: This is a series of falls along Thompson Brook at Wildcat Ski Area. Views to Mount Washington are beautiful. To get here: Take Route 16 to Wildcat Ski Area. To reach the falls, take the nature trail from the ski area parking lot. At the far end of the trail loop, see the path to the falls. It's an easy 0.7-mile trek to the falls.
near Bretton Woods: This multi-tiered plunge appears to fall from the sky. Powerful in spring; more of a trickle in summer. To get here: Take Route 302 toward Bretton Woods and look for Crawford Notch State Park entrance. Turn onto a paved road just beyond the park and park below the railroad tracks. The trail starts to the left of the private road. Walk to the falls is 1.3 miles.
Flume Cascade & Silver Cascade
near Crawford Notch: Silver Cascade is a blend of plunges and cascades down Mount Jackson. Rush in May; ribbon in the summer. At Flume Cascade nearby, small falls and plunges end up in the Saco River below the highway. To get here: Off Route 302, just below Crawford Notch Depot.
near Jackson: These are one of the popular watering and swimming holes on a summer day. Easily accessible, they offer wonderful pools and small falls to cool off under. To get here: Take Carter Notch Road about 3/10 mile from Route 16A in Jackson. There are a few easy car pull-offs alongside the falls.
near Conway: Perfect for a little moonlit skinny dip in the warmer months! You need to hike about a half mile in, following a well-marked trail to find them. To get here: Trailhead is off West Side Rd. about one-half mile beyond the point where West Side Road turns toward Conway. Note: parking is allowed only in the parking area and the lot fills quickly.
Currier Fills an Afternoon With Interesting and Varied Art
The Currier Museum of Art
at 150 Ash Street in Manchester
is an art museum and dynamic member of the community, hosting classes, events, and ways to welcome people into fine art. The museum has a permanent collection of European and American artists, decorative arts, photographs and sculpture by Wyeth, Monet, Picasso, and Georgia O’Keefe. The building itself was unique, interesting architecture and easy to navigate. There’s a café for refreshment for browsers. From April through December, the museum offers tours of the nearby Zimmerman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Many changing exhibits run throughout the year. 603-669-6144.
Think Outside the Room
Test your group’s communication, planning and leadership skills at Portsmouth Escape Rooms
These scenarios require different types of skills and are suited to cater to all types of personalities. Bring your coworkers, friends or family to this immersive setting to solve word riddles, logic puzzles and scavenger hunts. The only way out is to think outside the box, so get creative! Ages 10 and up, under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Phone: 603-610-2441
Here’s a chance to get the fun of flying without the fear of flying. SkyVenture
, located on Poisson Road in Nashua, is a vertical wind tunnel where visitors can experience the freedom of flight. There is no falling sensation. You just float above the trampoline floor with ease. The indoor vertical wind tunnel is not only used by the world’s best skydivers to train in but it was also designed for the general public to experience the sport of body flight. No experience necessary! Also: indoor rock climbing and water slides.. Open daily. Phone: 603-897-0002.
Lost River Gorge Lantern Tours
Spend a summer night at Lost River Gorge
in North Woodstock
, exploring the natural wonder of this scenic site by the light of many lanterns and your own headlamp. For an hour and a half, your family or tour group will discover a variety of rock formations and underground landscapes within the gorge’s illuminated paths and walls. See the side of the gorge that only shows itself at night! Join up for s’mores by the fire afterward. Make reservations the Friday before visiting. Tours run from mid-June through early September. 603-745-8031
Get a Case of the Chills at Madame Sherri Forest and Castle Ruins
You can hike in a beautiful forest and also explore the ruins of a notorious Jazz Age doyenne at the Madam Sherri Forest
and Castle off of Gulf Road in Chesterfield
. The forest is named for Madame Antoinette Sherri, who worked as a costume designer for the Zigfield Follies in the 1920s and built a stone-walled estate in the woods of Chesterfield. She threw lavish parties and horrified locals by driving about in a fur coat with none of the trimmings. Much of the rubble of her “castle” is in the woods and is an eerie exploration.
The Madame Sherri Forest is the jumping off point for the Ann Stokes Loop Trail and several other local hiking trails: The Indian Pond Trail, the The Daniels Mountain Loop, and the Daniels Mountain Trail. To get to the Madame Sherri Forest is located on the Gulf Road, take Route 63 south through Chesterfield Village past the town hall. At 1.6 miles from Route 9 take a right on Stage Road and then shortly after bear left onto Castle Road. Castle Road will join Gulf Road and continues to the Madame Sherri Forest 2.6 miles from Route 63.
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. 603-352-6862.
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.
Books With Depth, From Deep in the Past
Bequaert Old Books
at 37 Route119 West in the town of Fitzwilliam
is a treasure house for people who love old books on abstruse topics. The store has a stock of more than 40,000 books and paper items, with particularly strong collections of children's, European monarchy, and technical books. There is also an extensive stock of books on American history, the Civil War, cooking, travel and adventure, polar and mountaineering, hiking and the outdoors and transportation. 603- 585-3448.
Follow the Beasts of New Hampshire
It can be hard to see wildlife – like moose, raptors and other birds – because they know how to hide in their habitat better than you know how to find them. Good news: New Hampshire publishes an excellent
New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing and Birding Trails
guide that takes you to magnificent public-access properties where you can see and photograph animals at home. The guide ranges from remote places near in the Great North Woods
near the Canadian border to easily accessible state parks in every part of the Granite State. The guide includes a great map and many viewing tips. Fine activity for families and kids.
Behind the Scenes of High-Volume Beer Making
Whether or not you are a beer aficionado, a visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery
at 221 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack
is a fun and interesting behind-the-scenes exploration into the brewing industry at it best. Free tours of the brewery include a visit to the Clydesdale Hamlet, home to the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. At the Brew Hall, guests discover how the world's greatest beers are carefully crafted using the highest quality ingredients and packaged in a state-of-the-art facility. If you are 21 years of age or older, sample our products in the Hospitality Room. Choose from a variety of brews including our seasonal brands and new products. Phone: 603-595-1202.
Beautiful Lakes; Beautiful Shopping
The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is a place of great natural beauty year-round. For people who want to or need to shop
, the interior sights are grand, also. Visitors find excellent (and sales-tax-free) shopping at places like Tanger Outlets in Tilton, with 50 designer outlet stores, and, at the other end of the spectrum, antique shops in almost every town. A vast quilting store is Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, with its adjacent knitting supply store, Patternworks. Mill Falls Marketplace in Meredith, right at hand, has 14 shops (including a candy store, clothing stores, and a bookstore) in a historic mill. The Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach, is one of the few candy makers still making ribbon candy and candy canes onsite. Drop in to taste the homemade ice cream and make-your-own sundae.
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.
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.Glassware, lamps, home décor, shawls and scarves and more make gifts with staying power in your home.
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.
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 to March 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
Handmade Pottery and Chocolate in One Neat Stop
The handiworks of Winnipesaukee Chocolates and SkySong Pottery
are on display and for sale at Winnipesaukee Chocolates at 53A North Main Street in Wolfeboro
. Toffees, caramels, and hand-rolled, fresh cream truffles by Jonathan Walpole and unique, nature-inspired pottery from Sally Cornwell ideal gifts for yourself for friends back home. Open Tuesday through Saturday in July and August, and more limited hours during the rest of the year. 603-569-4831.
Close-Up View of New England Farm Life
If you are curious about New England farming and would love to see farming up close, plan a day-long or overnight visit to D Acres of New Hampshire
, a farm and educational homestead at 218 Streeter Woods Road in Dorchester
. The farm’s mission is to teach skills of sustainable living and small-scale farming. Its grounds include forests, walking trails, and gardens. Workshops are plentiful, but many visitors come just to hike, tour the gardens, visit the farm animals, paint landscapes, and take nature photography. The farm offers lodging, accommodations, and camping. The farm hosts Farm Feast Breakfasts, Soup Nights, Pizza Nights, Potlucks and other monthly community dining events. Phone: 603-786-2366.
The Light of Portsmouth
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse
in New Castle
guards Portsmouth Harbor and the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Views from the top, out toward the sea, up the river, and across the towns of Portsmouth, and Kittery, Maine, are some of the most glorious inn all New England. Tours of the lighthouse are offered Sundays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. No reservations are needed. There are 44 stairs to the watch room and a 7-rung ladder to the lantern room. Feel the thrill of New England seafaring tradition as you rise. Lighthouse boat cruises are offered periodically during the summer and fall. Consult website.
Pamper That Mailman
A wonderful opportunity to see a dynamic example of modernist design -- via the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright -- is available through the Currier Museum for the Arts in Manchester
, where people can tour Wright’s 1950 Zimmerman House
. Enjoy the built-in and freestanding furniture, its textiles, and gardens. Dig this: Wright even designed the mailbox. Tours departs from the Currier from April through December, and private group tours are available by reservation. 603-669-6144.
Plenty to Entertain You at the Hop
Whether you attend Dartmouth College, send a child there, or just find yourself in Hanover
with a yen to enjoy some performance art, you should know about the Hopkins Center for the Arts
at 2 East Wheelock Street. This elegant building, designed by the architect of Lincoln Center and the United Nations Building in New York, is the cultural hub of the Dartmouth campus and the entire Upper Valley region. Each year the Hop hosts 100 or more live performances in music, theater and dance, along with film screenings and other events. The Hop brings in lots of great acts of all genres and has good comfort food. Also at the Hop are jewelry studio, woodshop, pottery studio, and library. If you just want some quiet while people-watching, relax at the Top of the Hop. 603-646-2422
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.
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
It’s a Truly Great Bay
The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve celebrates the Great Bay estuary. This is a research facility, but everyone is welcome to use the property for hiking, kayaking, bird watching, geocaching, and simply enjoying the outdoors. Great Bay Discovery Center is at 89 Depot Road in Greenland
. It is open May to September and weekends only in October. The grounds are open year round. Lots of places to hike or to put in a canoe or kayak. See Passport to Great Bay
Escape to Laconia; Escape In Laconia
In summer, especially, we escape to Laconia
because, well, it’s on Lake Winnipesaukee… and need we say more? For a deeper adventure (it’s indoors, so good for a rainy day) try the Escape Room Experience
at 555 Main Street. You’re heard of escape rooms: they present a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room where they receive clues to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. Great fun for families, couples, and groups. The Laconia escape room offers various themes, like solving a puzzle initiated by the mysterious Leonard DaVinci or unraveling the escapades of a lost night in Vegas. Get some pals together and find your inner Indiana Jones. 603-366-6296.