Historic homes and sites reveal layers of New Hampshire's past
Visiting historic homes and sites is a wonderful way to explore the many corners of New Hampshire and to learn about the state's past, including its Native American cultures, wars of independence, industrial and social developments, and more. Living history museums
like Canterbury Shaker Village, with live demonstrators, are especially fun for children and families. End your day of exploration by staying at a historic hotel or inn
105 Haverhill Road
Salem, NH, 03079
Discover one of America’s oldest historic sites
Here in the pine forests on New Hampshire’s seacoast may be one of the oldest historic sites in the country. The maze of rocks, stone chambers, megaliths, and other strange artifacts represents the largest such collection anywhere. Constructed possibly by visitors predating Columbus by several thousand years, it has the experts stymied. Was it Native Americans? Colonial farmers? Old World voyagers from across the seas? What is know is that it was built by people with knowledge of astronomy and stone construction. The megaliths are similar to those built throughout Great Britain by Druid priests with many more found throughout NE Explore the property and museum, watch an orientation film, and browse the gift shop. In winter months the one-hundred-plus acres are great for snowshoeing.
288 Shaker Road
Canterbury, NH, 03224
Discover the two century history of a unique culture and people
Canterbury Shaker Village is a National Historic Landmark and museum nestled among the rolling hills of wooded central New Hampshire. Less than an hour and a half from Boston, twenty minutes from Concord, NH, and just south of the New Hampshire Lakes Region, the Village provides a place for learning, reflection, and renewal of the human spirit through tours, programs, exhibits, research, and publications. With nearly 700 acres of forests, nature trails, gardens and ponds, as well as 25 original and 4 reconstructed Shaker buildings, Canterbury Shaker Village is a must see for any visitor to New England.
Off Route 302
Bretton Woods, NH, 03589
Board historic Cog Railway and explore a mountain summit
For nearly a century and a half, those traveling to New Hampshire's White Mountains have been stepping aboard the Cog Railway and journeying to the top of Mount Washington, the highest summit in the Northeast. It's both exciting and educational, a great experience for the whole family. Our train climbs 6,288 feet up the steepest railroad tracks in North America, passing through several climate zones on the way. Get out and explore the unique environment of a mountain summit. Visit the Weather Observatory, where meteorologists study wild winter weather. Ride a train pulled by an old-fashioned steam engine, or an new eco-friendly biodiesel locomotive. Before the trip enjoy breakfast or lunch at our Base Station restaurant. Trains run late April through November.
Route 171 - 455 Old Mountain Road
Moultonborough, NH, 03254
Arts and Crafts Home in a Glorious Setting
Even if you’re not an expert in architecture, you will be charmed by this delightful mansion of the Arts and Crafts style tucked into a shelf in the Ossipee Mountains, overlooking New Hampshire’s most stunning lakes. Castle in the Clouds was built in 1914 by a wealthy show manufacturer, who retired at age 51, married, and built the house, originally called Lucknow, with his new wife. The style incorporates forms of nature in its curvaceous lines and handcrafted details. Views from the house, and along the mountainous road leading to it, are enchanting. Children are welcome. The Carriage Barn contains an Art Gallery and a restaurant, serving fresh meals from local food producers. The property has access to many hiking trails. Open weekends through May and daily from June to October.
Melville Academy Museum
Blackberry Lane & Thorndike Pond Road
Jaffrey Center, NH, 03452
Melville Academy has an excellent collection of Hannah Davis Bandboxes, scrapbooks documenting VIS activities, 19th century kitchen and agricultural tools, samplers made by local residents in the early 19th century, the old mailboxes of the Jaffrey Center Post Office (which closed in 1991), and other artifacts relating to life in 19th century Jaffrey Center. The upstairs has been maintained as a schoolroom, with information on Melville Academy.
Hours: July-August, Saturday-Sunday, 2-4 p.m. and by special request
American Independence Museum
1 Governor's Lane
Exeter, NH, 03833
Housed in the Ladd-Gilman House, built in the first decades of the 18th century. During the American Revolution, this building stored the state's treasury. Among the museum’s permanent collection of documents chronicling the nation’s founding are an original Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence and early drafts of the U.S. Constitution. Permanent collections include American furnishings, ceramics, silver, textiles and military ephemera. Exhibits detail the history of Portsmouth and the structure itself.
Hours: Mid-May to October, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; students, $3.
The Frost Place
158 Ridge Road
Franconia, NH, 03580
The former home and farmer of famed poet Robert Frost, this museum offers exhibits about his life and works. Poetry readings are scheduled throughout the season, and there is a nature trail available.
Hours: Memorial Day-July 2, Saturdays and Sundays, 1–5 p.m.; July 3-October 8, daily except Tuesdays, 1–5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $4, seniors, $3, students age 6–18, $2.
600 Market Street
Portsmouth, NH, 03801
The focal point of this park is an exhibit of life on a modern submarine. Visitors will tour the sub and view all its compartments.
Hours: Memorial Day to Columbus Day, daily, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Columbus Day to Memorial Day, Thursday through Monday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call ahead for seasonal changes.
Cost: Adults, $5; children age 7-17, $3; Military, $4; family, $10.
Strawbery Banke Museum
14 Hancock Street
Strawbery Banke Museum, adjacent to the city’s riverside Prescott Park, is a 10-acre outdoor history museum that preserves 32 domestic and commercial buildings that were lived in and used on this land during 300 years of the town’s history. People of all ages may explore eight gardens, buildings, traditional crafts, and preservation programs. Stories of the neighborhood are told by costumed role-players. Lots of educational and seasonal special events, year-round. A visit of 2 hours is recommended. Open year-round, but only on weekends, for guided tours, November to April. Information: http://www.strawberybanke.org/
New Hampshire Farm Museum
Route 125, Plummer’s Ridge
Milton, NH, 03851
The Farm Museum consists of the historic Jones Farm and the Plummer Homestead. The properties consist of 50 acres of field and forest, a working farm, historic houses and barns, a blacksmith shop, a shoe shop and exhibits on agriculture and rural life. The museum hosts special events, programs, and workshops.
Hours:Mid-June to mid-October, Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; May 20-June 16, open weekends,10 a.m.-5 p.m.; October 13-November 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wolfeboro Historical Museum Complex
337 South Main Street
Wolfeboro, NH, 03894
A collection of historic exhibits and structures includes the Clark House (built in the 18th century), an 1805 schoolhouse, and a firehouse museum featuring antique machinery.
July-August, Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; tours by appointment spring and fall.
Peterborough Historical Society & Museum
19 Grove Street
Peterborough, NH, 03458
This museum focuses on local history. Of particular interest are the early American kitchen display, the country store and the 19th-century mill worker's home.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $3, children under 12, free.
Governor John Langdon Mansion
143 Pleasant Street
From the vast central hall to the reception rooms, everything in this mansion was designed to reflect Langdon’s status as the town’s leading citizen. Langdon became a sea captain, merchant, shipbuilder, Revolutionary leader, signer of the United States Constitution, and three-term governor of New Hampshire. There is a large garden with perennial beds, rose and grape arbor, and pavilion.
Hours: June 1-October 15, Friday-Sunday. Tours on the hour, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors, $5; students and children, $3.
Robert Frost Farm Historic Site
This National Historic Landmark was the home of poet Robert Frost from 1901 to 1909.
Season: May 5-June 27 and September 8-October 11, Wednesdays-Sunday only; June 28 - September 6, daily.
Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site
375 Little Harbor Road
This large house was the residence of New Hampshire's first royal governor, Benning Wentworth, who served in office from 1741 to 1767. The 40-room mansion is a superb example of homes from Colonial times. It is typical of the aristocratic life in Portsmouth in the 1700s.
Season: daily from late June to Labor Day; Saturdays and Sundays from late May to mid-June and from Labor Day to mid-October
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fells Historic Estate and Gardens
Route 103A / P.O. Box 276
Newbury, NH, 03255
The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens is one of New England's finest examples of an early 20th-century summer estate. Come and discover 84 conserved acres of beauty and tranquility; learn the legacy of its founder, diplomat John Milton Hay, during historic guided tours of the 22-room Colonial Revival home; explore forest succession and nature's diversity while walking woodland trails; and enjoy the renowned gardens.
Hours: The gardens and trails are open daily, year-round. The Shop and Main House are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the following seasons: Starting May 25, weekends and Monday holidays; June 19 to Labor Day, Wednesdays through Sundays; week of July 4th, daily; September 7 through Columbus Day, weekends and Monday holidays.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and students, $8; children ages 6-17, $4.
Jefferson Historical Museum
900 Presidential Highway (Route 2)
Jefferson, NH, 03584
Located in a church built in 1869, this museum features a look at the history of the town of Jefferson and the surrounding area. Of particular interest is the focus on the Waumbek Hotel, an important structure in Jefferson's history.
Season: June-Columbus Day.
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Franklin Pierce Homestead Historic Site
Routes 31 and 9
Built in 1804, this mansion was the childhood home of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States.
Season: Season opens Memorial Day weekend; June, Saturdays and Sundays; July and August, Fridays-Tuesdays through Labor Day; September to October 27, Saturdays and Sundays; closed November through Memorial Day.
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $4.
Wyman Tavern Museum
339 Main Street
Keene, NH, 03431
Built in 1762, this museum is now furnished as a tavern and residence from that period. Historically, the first meeting of the Dartmouth College Trustees took place on the site in the 18th century.
Hours: May-Labor Day, Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and by appointment.
Admission: $3 per person.
Fort Stark Historic Site
Off Wild Rose Lane
New Castle, NH
This fort was first put into use in 1746, and remained active through World War II. Visitors can tour the information center and the fort, which give a sense of how forts have changed over the centuries.
Canaan Historical Museum
Canaan, NH, 03741
This museum houses historic items from the 18th and 19th centuries. Of particular interest is a collection of Shaker items.
Hours: July-October, Saturday, 1-4 p.m.
Webster Cottage Museum
32 North Main Street
Hanover, NH, 03755
Eighteenth-century farm house and residence of Daniel Webster as a student at Dartmouth College. The exhibits feature Webster's life and Shaker furniture as well as typical furnishings of the time.
Hours: Memorial Day-Columbus Day, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free.
Peirce Island Road and Mechanic Street
Point of Graves Burial Ground is a historic cemetery dating to 1671. It is the burial place of many prominent figures in Portsmouth's history. The oldest readable gravestone is dated to 1684. This old graveyard is the source and setting of many strange tales.
Amos Blanchard House and Barn Museum
97 Main Street
Andover, MA, 01810
Interiors restored to the 1820 to 1840s period. A highlight of the tour is a restored faux marble floor in the entrance hall. The original English style barn contains 19th-century farm tools, 18th-century cobbler's bench, and an 1829 hand-pulled fire pumper. Guides discuss 19th-century politics, religion, women's roles, economics, banking, youth, education, household management, and agriculture.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m.; closed in August
Cost: No admission charge; donations are accepted.
Horatio Colony House Museum and Nature Preserve
199 Main Street
Keene, NH, 03431
Built in 1806, Horatio Colony decorated his home with outstanding collections of furniture, artwork, books and silver. Admission is free. Nature Preserve, located on Daniel’s Hill Road, is three and one half miles of well-marked trails with numbered stops that point out dramatic geological features, historical ruins, and plant communities are located across the preserve.
Hours: Museum tours offered May 1-October 15, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 pm.; winter hours by appointment.
Daniel Webster Birthplace
This home, built in 1782, was the birthplace of Daniel Webster, one of the best-known and most important statesman of the 19th century. This house offers exhibits on Webster's life, as well as objects from the period.
Hours: June 21 through September 1, Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $7; children ages 6-11, $3.
Chester Village Cemetery
Routes 102 and 121
This cemetery is full of interesting and unusual monuments, most of which date from the 18th century. It is one of only two New Hampshire cemetaries that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Frye's Measure Mill
12 Frye Mill Road
The last authentic, water-powered measure mill remaining in the United States, listed on the national Register of Historic Places. Some of the Mill's first products - including round and oval pantry boxes, measures, and piggins - are still being produced on much of the original machinery. Company produces and sells Shaker boxes. A 7-room shop sells high-quality crafts, folk art, hand-blown glass, pottery, pewter, hand-forged ironware, antiques and collectibles. Mill tours are held June through October, Saturdays at 2 p.m.
John Paul Jones House and Museum
43 Middle Street
This National Historic Landmark was built in 1758, and was home for a time during the Revolutionary War to national hero John Paul Jones while he supervised the building of the Navy’s ship America. Visitors will enjoy the collections of 18th and 19th century clothing, guns, furnishings and china.
Hours: Memorial Day - October 31, daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: $6; children under age 12, free
Enfield Shaker Museum
24 Caleb Dyer Lane / 447 Route 4A
Enfield, NH, 03748
Between Mascoma Lake and Mount Assurance, the Shaker community has existed for 200 years, reaching its peak of activity in the mid-1800s. Shakers practiced equality, celibacy, pacifism and joint land ownership. Today, visitors may tour the Great Stone Dwelling, the largest Shaker dwelling house ever constructed; examine exhibits of furniture, tools, clothing, and photographs; explore the herb and flower gardens; and enjoy concerts, guided tours and craft demonstrations. Some visitors hike to the Shaker Feast Ground for views of the Shaker Village and Mascoma Lake. The Museum Store sells Shaker-inspired reproductions, books, and farm products, along with produce from the herb garden.
Hours: Open year-round; the museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Admission: Adult, $8.50; senior over age 61, $7.50; college students, $6; youth age 10-17, $4.
Sandwich Historical Society Museum
4 Maple Street
Center Sandwich, NH, 03227
This museum offers a barn and home built in 1850. Inside, exhibits trace the history of Sandwich from the 18th century. Of particular interest is the transportation exhibit.
Hours: Tours are held late June 24-early October 6, Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
200 Bedford Street
Manchester, NH, 03101
The Millyard Museum is housed in the historic Amoskeag Millyard. The permanent exhibit "Woven in Time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls," describes Manchester and the people who have lived and worked here, starign with the Native people. It continues with displays on the area's early farmers and lumbermen, and the beginnings of industry in the area.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Admission: Adults, $8; seniors over age 61 and college students, $6; children age 12-18,
150 Daniel Street
This brick Georgian mansion was built in 1716 for Archibald McPhaedris, a sea captain. Inside, visitors will find 18th-century household items and furnishings, including wall murals that are among the oldest in the United States.
Season: Mid-June through mid-October.
Hours: Wednesday-Monday; noon-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; seniors and students, $4; children age 7-12, $2.50.
Woodman Institute Museum
182 Central Avenue
Dover, NH, 03820
This four-building complex includes the Woodman House (1818), former home to lawyer Daniel Christie; Hale House (1813), home of U.S.Senator John Parker Hale; Keefe House (1827) and the William Damm Garrison home (1675). Collections of natural science to include the largest mineral exhibit north of Boston, items of local history from the 1600s to present, and a fine collection of paintings and early furniture. Cost: There is an admission charge.
Hours: April-November, Wednesday-Sunday, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $8; students and seniors age 65 and older, $6; children age 6-15, $3.
Fort Constitution Historic Site
Off NH Route 1B at US Coast Guard Station (25 Wentworth Road)
New Castle, NH
Originally constructed in the 1600's, this site was known as Fort William and Mary. A British stronghold that sat on Portsmouth Harbor, it was captured by colonists in 1774, 2 years before the American Revolution. Only ruins of the fort now remain, and visitors can glean information from the panels located at the site. This site is a National Historic Landmark.
Hours: Open year-round for recreation.
Belknap Mill Society
The Mill Plaza
Built in 1823 as a textile mill, the Belknap Mill offers a permanent exhibit on industrial history, changing exhibits on art and history, workshops, lectures, festivals and other events, year-round. The oldest brick textile mill in the country, the Belknap is now home to exhibits on knitting and mill history. Live demonstrations are offered. Visitors may tour the art gallery and permanent exhibit on their own or schedule a guided tour.
Hours: Open year-round.
961 Main Street
Berlin, NH, 03570
Park includes a three-acre site with waterfront; an outdoor amphitheater; a full-size logging camp museum; interactive exhibits; the Brown Co. House Museum; and the Artisans Gift Shop. The park hosts forest, river and art exhibits, lectures, seminars, concerts, ethnic festivals, Summer Heritage Mill Tours, lumberjack competitions, and special blacksmith demonstrations and events.
Mary Baker Eddy Historic House
62 North State Street
The founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy lived at this site from 1889 to 1892.
Hours: May 1-October 31, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, 1-4 p.m. and by appointment; November 1-April 30, open by appointment.
Admission: Suggested donation of $5. Children age 12 and younger admitted for free.
Moffatt-Ladd House and Gardens
154 Market Street
This Georgian mansion was the home of General Whipple. The building was constructed in 1763, and it has an authentic underground passage. A classic garden, designed in the 19th century, has a 300-foot axis path flanked by formal gardens that lead from the house up several terraces to an iron gate at the rear edge of the property, and many lovely flower beds.
Season: Early June to late October.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $6; children, $2.50; garden only, $2.
New London Historical Society
179 Little Sunapee Road
New London, NH, 03257
The museum includes a village of 19th century buildings, 25 horse-drawn vehicles, and many artifacts of life in rural New England. Activities include socials, school visits, a holiday open house in December, and other special events and exhibits.
Hours: Memorial Day -Columbus Day, Sunday, 12:30-3:30 p.m.; July-August, Tuesday, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Admission: Free; donations are welcome.
Eastman Lord House
100 Main Street
Conway, NH, 03818
This is the residence of Conway mill owner, William Kimball Eastman. Built in 1818, the house's 17 rooms are open to the public and are furnished in periods from 1818 through 1945. Eastman Lord House Museum has recently been named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Season: Memorial Day through Labor Day
Hours: Wednesday, 2-4 p.m.; Thursday, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: $3 per person; $6 per family.
John Wingate Weeks Historic Site
Off Route 3
The Mount Prospect estate was built by John Wingate Weeks, conservationist, congressman, senator, and Secretary of War. Set at the top of Mount Prospect, the house and grounds on this 420-acre estate provide a 360-degree panorama of mountain splendor, including the Presidential Range, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the upper Connecticut River Valley.
Hours: Late June to early September, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m.; mid-September to mid-October, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: New Hampshire residents admitted free of charge; non-resident adults, $7; children ages 6-11, $3. Information:
76 Northwest Street
Jackson House is the oldest surviving house in New Hampshire and Maine. It was built by Richard Jackson, a woodworker, farmer, and mariner, when timber from the region’s abundant forests formed the basis of the economy. To highlight its interesting construction methods, the house is shown unfurnished.
Hours: June 1 – October 15, first and third Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours on the hour. Closed July 4.
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors, $5; students, $3.
Mary Baker Eddy Historic Houses
Stinson Lake Road, Rumney; and Hall's Brook Road, North Groton
Rumney and North Groton, NH
Houses of Christian Science Church founder, Mary Baker Eddy, from 1855-1862.
Hours: May 1-October 31; Thursday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appointment.
Admission: Suggested donation of $5; children under age 12 admitted for free.
The Fort at No.4 Living History Museum
267 Springfield Road (Route 11)
Charlestown, NH, 03603
Travel back in time to Charlestown, New Hampshire in the 1740's to visit an authentically reconstructed settlement. Tour with guides dressed as original settlers of No. 4. Demonstrations of hearth cooking, musket firings, military drills and much more are conducted daily.
Hours: June-October, Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Admission: Seniors age 55 and older, $7; adults, $10; youths age 13-17, $7; Children age 6-12, $5.
Rundlet - May House
364 Middle Street
Merchant James Rundlet furnished his mansion with fine Portsmouth-made furniture and imported wallpapers, and installed the latest technology for cooking and heating. The beautiful gardens behind the house, with roses, peonies, pet cemetery, and orchard, still follow Rundlet’s original layout.
Hours: June 1-October 15, first and third Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours on the hour. Closed July 4
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors, $5; students, $3
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
139 Saint Gaudens Road
Cornish, NH, 03745
Discover the beautiful home, studios, and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, American sculptor. Over 100 of his artworks can be seen in the galleries, from heroic public monuments to gold coins. The property includes gardens and nature trails.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), created over 150 works of art, from exquisitely carved cameos to monuments. Works such as the Standing Lincoln monument and the Shaw Memorial continue to inspire people.
Hours: Memorial Day weekend to October 31, ground are open daylight hours and exhibit buildings open daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; November through late May, the exhibit buildings are closed, but the park visitor center is open most weekdays, 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Admission: Adults age 16 and older, $5.