New Hampshire

2022 Best of New England | New Hampshire

With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top New Hampshire travel destinations, including Portsmouth and the seacoast, the White Mountains, and the Lakes Region.

By Yankee Editors

May 05 2022


New Hampshire

Photo Credit : Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy (Swift River, White Mountain National Forest)
With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top New Hampshire travel destinations, including Portsmouth and the seacoast, the White Mountains, and the Lakes Region.
New Hampshire
Photo Credit : Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy (Swift River, White Mountain National Forest)


Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Portsmouth

Expert guides showcase the state’s rich Black history on 90-minute walking tours that cover an impressive amount of ground. From the early days of slave trade to the civil rights era to the resurrected story of Ona Marie Judge, who escaped George Washington’s household and settled in Portsmouth, these tours shed new light on a history that for too long has gone unrecognized.

Botanica Portsmouth

Unabashedly French but delightfully chill, Botanica opened in 2019 as an elegant bistro/gin bar in a converted mill space in Portsmouth’s West End. Despite everything the next two years threw at him, chef-owner Brendan Vesey never lost his stride, serving up classic steak frites and hyperlocal seafood like monkfish with oyster mushrooms in saffron beurre blanc. Naturally, the gin cocktails are a must.

Elephantine Bakery Portsmouth

Hidden down a winding brick alleyway, this four-year-old café feels like something you’d stumble upon in a European city, not the New Hampshire Seacoast. Petite sidewalk tables draw a laid-back crowd, who savor the cappuccinos and flaky croissants as well as breakfast and lunch dishes influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern traditions. With Elephantine, married owners Sherif and Nadine Farag have introduced a deliciously different dining experience to Portsmouth. Don’t dare leave without picking one of the fresh-baked baguettes for later. ​​

The Inn Downtown Portsmouth

Hospitality entrepreneur and native New Englander Doug Palardy specializes in creating “apart-hotels,” hybrids that meld the independence of apartment living with the style and amenities of chic boutique hotels. But especially given the Inn Downtown’s location, in a historic pocket neighborhood close by the beating heart of Market Square, and its photogenic early-19th-century façade enclosing eight modern rooms and two spacious suites, this 2019 debut is more like a pied-à-terre fantasy—complete with your own downtown parking space. (Beach lovers, take note: Palardy’s retro-inspired Rye Motor Inn, opened last summer 10 minutes north of Hampton Beach, has upped the game on grownup seaside escapes.)

Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club Portsmouth

When the music onstage is smooth, the rich, buttery entrées are too; when the bass slaps and horns wail, expect a zestier menu. A Moulin Rouge–inspired dream made real by sibling restaurateurs Michael and Peter Labrie, this brunch and supper club has hosted Grammy-celebrated and up-and-coming artists almost daily since it roared onto the scene last fall. They’re lining up to play this acoustically superb hall, risen from the dust of a 1905 YMCA whose upper floors have lain silent for 60 years.

La Mulita Coffee Rye

The happiest and most wide-awake coffee drinkers on the Seacoast just might be the residents of Rye. That’s where Colombian native Max Pruna and his wife, Andrea, roast and serve coffee sourced from small Colombian coffee farms, an enterprise he compares with craft breweries that make unique small batches for their devoted fans. (Pruna says his highly caffeinated dark roast will give you a “smack in the face”—in a good way.) The café/roastery’s name honors the steadfastness of mules, used for centuries by farmers in the rugged Andes.

Strawbery Banke MuseumPortsmouth

Of all the places to stroll in one of the best walking towns in the country, the 10 acres of Strawbery Banke Museum deserve top billing. Here, Portsmouth’s earliest settlers built houses and businesses, and the more than 30 preserved structures now tell local stories across different eras. But Strawbery Banke isn’t all about the past. The new exhibit “Water Has a Memory” gives an enlightening look at how rising seas threaten the future of this local treasure. The message: Preserving history demands commitment to solving the issues of today.

The Surf House Hampton

A beach landmark since 1930, the former Colony Motel was stripped down to its studs and given a top-to-bottom makeover before being relaunched as the Surf House in 2019. Everything was reimagined, from the tile in the bathrooms to the local artwork that adorns the stairwells. This 47-room hotel maintains some of its predecessor’s midcentury vibe while adding modern amenities and a dose of laid-back, West Coast attitude.

Vida Cantina Portsmouth

When David Vargas moved to southern Maine from his native California, he took his classic French training and Mexican heritage and stirred it up with the ingredients he sourced from local farms. His homemade tortillas turn carnitas tacos into works of art, the margarita menu runs deep, and the gluten-free and vegan options make this cantina a home for all.


Bretton Woods Adventure Center Bretton Woods

Complete a bucket list of excitement in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. Ziplining? A three-hour tour lets you soar from the top of Rosebrook Canyon and take in stunning views of New England’s tallest mountain. Climbing? Guides will lead you up rock faces that’ll get your heart pounding even while safely on belay. Mountain biking? Explore miles of trails for all abilities. When you’re ready to unwind, a mountain gondola lifts you to the new Rosebrook Lodge overlooking the Presidentials, with its amphitheater for music events and talks about the wilderness that’s spread out below.

Crumb Bum Bakery Littleton

Three words: duck fat biscuits. At breakfast, Southern transplant and pastry chef Kaylee Klein stuffs these rich, fluffy creations with eggs, cheese, and either chorizo or maple-sage sausage at the hip Littleton bakery and café she owns with her husband, Chris Sweeney. Klein makes swell sweets, too, including chocolate croissants, monkey bread, and cookie pops—and this summer, expect frozen treats and hot dogs from the couple’s new side project, Uncle Custard.

REI Co-op North Conway

A call to the great outdoors rings out from every square inch of REI’s expansive entry into New Hampshire. Gander at the rows of bikes that hang from the walls. Meander among the long stretches of tents and other camping equipment. Get expert advice on the shop’s extensive rental options. Or, put your feet up in the sitting area and choose your next adventure from the lineup of employee-recommended hikes.

Rek’-Lis Brewing Company Bethlehem

The best place to hang after a long day of hiking in the White Mountains? On this Bethlehem brewpub’s multilevel patio, of course, with a hazy Wik-id IPA in one hand, and a honey mustard–slathered fried chicken sandwich in the other. The live music and good vibes spill into the adjacent field, scattered with cornhole boards and Adirondack chairs. It is truly hops heaven.

Thompson House Eatery Jackson

Jeff and Kate Fournier first earned acclaim as Boston restaurateurs, but when they pulled up stakes for a 200-year-old property in the White Mountains, their talents came into full bloom. In the past couple of years, they’ve added greenhouses to extend their growing season and expanded their farm stand into a well-stocked year-round market featuring local meats, cheeses, produce, and sweets. Best of all: the house-made pasta Bolognese and grilled Mexican-style corn alone are worth the drive.

White Mountain Hotel & Resort North Conway

The view from this 80-room golf, spa, and year-round pool resort—looking straight up at White Horse Ledge and all around at undulating peaks—would be impossible to upgrade. But when 2020’s shutdown shelved a planned addition, the Sullivan family instead invested $3.5 million in an extreme refresh. Out went fixtures, furnishings, carpets, walls: in came an all-new aesthetic rooted in the tranquility of this place and achieved with nature’s palette, native materials, and art by regional talents.


Colonial Theatre of Laconia Laconia

In 2002, it seemed as though the curtain had dropped for good when the Colonial Theatre closed after nearly 88 years. Last year, however, the venue reemerged with fitting dramatic flair, as the beneficiary of one of the grandest preservation projects in New Hampshire history. The multimillion-dollar remake proved worth the wait, and the new 761-seat theater has reclaimed its rightful distinction as the place in the Lakes Region to catch a wide-ranging lineup of music, theater, comedy, and more.

Moulton Farm Meredith

It may be sacrilege to say this, but the best whoopie pie in New England is found notin Maine, but at this delightful farm stand and garden near Lake Winnipesaukee. Wander past the floral displays and stacks of ripe tomatoes and fresh greens and head inside to the bakery where the whoopie pies (made with Ghirardelli chocolate) await. Everything here is terrific, including the freshly made cider doughnuts.

Mount Washington Cruises Laconia

It’s been 150 years since the wooden side-wheeler Mount Washington first began carrying sightseers on New Hampshire’s largest lake, Winnipesaukee. Today the scenery of mountains, islands, forests, and sparkling water still draws passengers to the Mount Washington, now a motorized steel-hulled four-decker that holds up to 1,000. Last year saw the debut of a second cruise vessel—the more intimate, 100-passenger Winnipesaukee Spirit—and the return of a refurbished icon, the mailboat Sophie C., which makes deliveries to lake residents as passengers ride along for this unique summer ritual.

Pickering House Inn Wolfeboro

A historic home in downtown Wolfeboro reinvented as a boutique hotel, Pickering House Inn offers 10 beautifully appointed rooms, a “rustic luxury” event space, and a buzzy new restaurant, Pavilion. Since opening in 2018, the inn has come out of the gates strong—so strong, in fact, that it was recently tabbed by Travel & Leisure as New England’s top resort hotel (and #3 in the whole country).

Rail Bike Adventures Laconia

Hit the ground pedaling at the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad’s newest attraction: a fleet of three-season rail bikes that bring visitors up close to the beauty of the Lakes Region. Woods and waters and even a trestle bridge are the photo-friendly highlights on the five-mile, easy-going guided tour, which runs out to the shores of Lake Winnisquam and back along one of the state’s oldest rail lines. When you’re back on your feet, hit the Laconia Railroad Station gift shop for a souvenir to keep the memories going.

Tamworth Distilling Tamworth

Old Hampshire Applejack. White Mountain Vodka. The Mellow Fellow Corn Whiskey. As its product lineup indicates, Tamworth Distilling draws both inspiration and ingredients from its surroundings. Starting with house-milled grains and carrying right through to the fruits, herbs, and botanicals that layer in big flavors and little surprises, its 250-gallon copper still has hosted a cornucopia of local ingredients. (There’s even a roasted turkey–flavored whiskey!) Browse spirits and supplies at the distillery, which also does tastings, and watch for workshops and special events at the nearby Tamworth Lyceum.


Bookery Manchester Manchester

A one-stop shop for books and coffee is many people’s idea of a happy place, and ever since its 2018 debut, Bookery Manchester has become a bona fide downtown Queen City haven, with curated reading displays, a whimsical selection of cards and gifts, and house-made pastries. Grab a latte, browse the latest releases, sip, and let yourself (if only for a while) slip away.

Frank Lloyd Wright Houses Manchester

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950, the Zimmerman House has long ranked among the most popular attractions of the Currier Museum of Art. So when the opportunity presented itself in 2019 to add a second Wright gem—built on the same street just five years later—the Currier folks jumped at the chance. While the Zimmerman House has long been praised as an example of Wright’s Prairie House style, the 1955 Kalil House is a true rarity: one of only seven ever built (and the only one in New England) using Wright’s modular Usonian Automatic building system.

Greenleaf Milford

The short drive from Manchester is worth it when the destination is Greenleaf, a farm-to-table restaurant from acclaimed chef Chris Viaud, who put Milford on the map when he made it through an impressive nine rounds of Top Chef. Housed in a 150-year-old former bank, Greenleaf offers an upscale-rustic menu featuring more than a dozen local farms and producers, and each plate is an artful, seasonal celebration. (Tip: Make time to sample another side of Viaud’s talents at his most recent venture, Culture, a temple of bread and pastries just a few minutes away.)

The Hotel Concord Concord

The New Hampshire State House is famed as one of the most accessible in the nation, allowing visitors to get right up close to democracy in action. That makes this upscale boutique hotel, which expanded to 38 rooms in 2019, a fitting stay: From its windows, the State House’s gold dome seems close enough to touch. You’ll find nods to the political backdrop throughout—from framed photos of historic election moments to the lobby-adjacent bar named, of course, The Lobbyist—as well as bright, individually decorated rooms equipped with Alexa smart speakers and offering capitol, city, or river views. Add in next-door access to the art-house cinema Red River Theatres and the tony O Steaks & Seafood, and you’ve got an unfailing top vote-getter.

Red River Theatres Concord

This three-screen downtown theater is a delightful reminder that not all new movies are megawatt Marvel blasts. First-run art-house releases and locally produced films have a home at this state-of-the-art venue, and over the years cinephiles have flocked to its hosted workshops and director Q&As. And with its cut-above refreshments (wine, beer, sandwiches, local chocolates, etc.), the Indie Café plays a delicious co-starring role.

Smokehaus Barbecue Amherst

If you needed proof that southern New Hampshire is hungry for Southern-style barbecue, know that in the summer, this roadside joint in the Manchester suburbs regularly sells out of the 1,000 pounds of meat it smokes each day (the oh-so-tender brisket is the first to go). Co-owner and military veteran Dave Mielke perfected his pitmaster chops years ago while stationed in Virginia, and he takes pride in barbecue done right, from his six homemade sauces—including an off-menu eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce—to the hyperlocal brews on tap to wash it all down.

See More: Best of New England 2022