New Hampshire

Best of New Hampshire 2020 | Hall of Fame

Yankee editors pick the top dining, lodging, and attractions in New Hampshire in our first-ever Hall of Fame list.

By Yankee Editors

Apr 06 2020

NH-Opener

AMC Lodges & High Huts, White Mountains

Photo Credit : Jarrod McCabe

A note from the editors: After Yankee published its summer travel guide, many of the terrific destinations that it showcases have changed their operations in light of COVID-19. But while you may not be able to dine out, book a stay, or go explore shops, museums, and other attractions right now, you can help ensure they are ready to go when the current crisis recedes. Just contact your favorite New England small business or nonprofit attraction, and they’ll be happy to tell you how. 


AMC Lodges & High Huts in the White Mountains
Photo Credit : Jarrod McCabe
For almost half a century, Yankee’s summer travel guide has showcased New England’s must-visit destinations and diversions. This year, our first-ever Hall of Fame salutes 230 past winners that continue to wow us today.

Best of New Hampshire | Hall of Fame

DINING

Black Trumpet Portsmouth

Brick-warm ambience and artful cuisine make this Ceres Street eatery a can’t-miss. Nibble on sustainable seafood and seasonal fare with Latin and Mediterranean accents by chef Evan Mallett. We recommend anything with mushrooms or other wild-harvested treats, such as dandelion greens and balsam (Mallett is a lifelong forager). 603-431-0887; blacktrumpetbistro.com

Cava Portsmouth

Cava makes Spanish food from terrific New England fish, meat, and produce, and serves tapas as well as hearty small plates. Some dishes (grilled octopus, chicken-sausage paella) are Spanish classics, while others are inspired by a wider Mediterranean influence. Wine selections are among the state’s best. Even the back-alley setting seems fittingly Old World Spanish. 603-319-1575; cavatapasandwinebar.com

Cotton Manchester

This upscale American bistro is overseen by chef-owner Jeffrey Paige, a New Hampshire native who’s cooked for presidents and worked for years at Canterbury Shaker Village’s award-winning restaurant. Here, his dynamic cuisine is complemented by an equally creative cocktail list, including an ambitious martini lineup. 603-622-5488; cottonfood.com

The Franklin Portsmouth

Opened by Moxy chef-owner Matt Louis—a four-time James Beard Award semi­finalist—this inviting seafood-leaning joint puts the emphasis on local sourcing (its raw bar often showcases oysters from nearby Great Bay). The house-made charcuterie and wide-ranging small- and large-plate options are further reasons to pull up a chair. 603-373-8500; franklinrestaurant.com

Jumpin’ Jay’s Portsmouth

Jay’s cooks up some great fish dishes, including its signature dish, haddock piccata. But the raw seafood is, if possible, even better. In season, you can taste several different New Hampshire oysters, alongside bivalves from Cape Cod, Damariscotta, Long Island Sound, and Chesapeake Bay. 603-766-3474; jumpinjays.com

Le Rendez Vous Colebrook

Fine French bread and assorted Parisian delicacies might not be what you expect in the Great North Woods, but that’s what you’ll find at this cozy bakery—along with almond croissants, madeleines, macaroons, and fresh breads. 603-237-5150; lerendezvousbakerynh.com

Libby’s Bistro & Saalt Pub Gorham

Chef-owner Liz Jackson cuts a wide swath at her two downtown restaurants, both housed in a converted bank building (“Same menu, different vibe,” says Jackson). French mussels, Turkish eggplant, and Faroe Island salmon are a small sampling of Jackson’s lively cooking. Desserts border on decadent, and there’s a modest but thoughtful beer and wine selection. 603-466-5330; libbysbistro.org

Morano Gelato Hanover

The freshly-made-each-morning Sicilian gelato here comes in bright flavors that are shockingly delicious: Florentine cream, hazelnut, pistachio, and dark chocolate, with sorbettos like mixed fruit and kiwi that startle the tongue. Our professional opinion? Sample many and often. 603-643-4233; moranogelatohanover.com

Parker’s Maple Barn Mason

Out in the New Hampshire sticks, maple lovers queue up at Parker’s like hopeful lottery winners. The lineup of pancakes and waffles to sop up the house-made maple syrup is impressive, as are the side dishes (ribs and baked beans) that are infused with it. Then there’s that impossible-to-say-no-to maple frappe…. 603-878-2308; parkersmaplebarn.com

The Restaurant at Burdick’s Walpole

The Restaurant at Burdick’s is a cozy 25-table space overlooking one of the prettiest small-town centers in New England, while its dinner menu is flavored with French favorites, from mussels meuniere and duck à l’orange to steak frites and fondue. Brunch fans know that Sunday’s offering is among the best in New England. 603-756-9058; 47mainwalpole.com

Schilling Beer Company Littleton

“Bready,” “toffee”—just a few notes that have beer nerds toasting this cozy, urbane brewery overhanging the Ammonoosuc River. The converted mill building is punctuated with bright umbrellas that dot the balcony like mixed-drink decorations, and the wood-burning oven releases a happy procession of Neapolitan flatbread pizzas. But it’s the artisanal brews—smoked-wheat beer or Foy IPA—that keep the fans hoppy. 603-444-4800; schillingbeer.com

LODGING

AMC Lodges & High Huts White Mountains

Nothing beats the camaraderie, generous meals, and deep sleep earned by tramping the trails to one of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s eight “High Huts,” sited between 2,700 and 5,050 feet in the Presidential Range. Go for a single night or try all of them; each hut is a day’s hike from the next. Still building up your hiking legs? Stay grounded in the comforts of the two AMC lodges accessible by car. 603-466-2727; outdoors.org

Darby Field Inn & Restaurant Albany

Eight miles from North Conway’s brand names and outlets, this family-owned inn is a port in the storm for weary shoppers—one that includes 13 cozy guest rooms, a fully stocked tavern, a heated swimming pool, and spa services. And the name? Darby Field was the first European to scale Mount Washington—New England’s tallest summit—which sits in grand view across the Saco Valley. 603-447-2181; darbyfield.com

Hanover Inn Hanover

In addition to its bragging rights as the only inn on the Appalachian Trail, the Dartmouth-owned Hanover Inn offers 108 rooms and suites outfitted with Gilchrist & Soames bath products, wide-screen televisions, and plush bed linens; an excellent on-site restaurant, Pine; and a terrace that makes for some terrific people-watching on a nice day. 603-643-4300; hanoverinn.com

The Hotel Portsmouth Portsmouth

Formerly the Sise Inn, this 32-room 1881 mansion was impressively rehabbed and reopened in April 2014. Dulcet tones of taupe and gray, the clean lines of modern furniture, and a luxuriously stress-free B&B vibe—all just a few blocks from Market Square and the breezy waterfront—make this an irresistible city stay. 603-433-1200; thehotelportsmouth.com

Inn at Valley Farms Walpole

Here’s a 105-acre family-friendly organic farm with guest rooms, cottages, and even a rental farmhouse. Get a taste of the farm experience (gather eggs! pet cashmere goats!) and then retire to your pretty, antiques-filled bedroom. In the morning, get fortified with a three-course, farm-to-table breakfast. 603-756-2855; innatvalleyfarms.com

The Manor on Golden Pond Holderness

Lovely Squam Lake—the “Golden Pond” of Hepburn-Fonda fame—ripples below this stately manor house set on a hillside of tall pines. The interior is filled with turn-of-the-20th-century details: carved balusters on the grand staircase, original Grueby fireplace tiles. Savor the ambience during afternoon tea in the library, or at dinner in the paneled dining room over hickory-smoked duck breast or lobster and shrimp thermidor. 603-968-3348; manorongoldenpond.com

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa Whitefield

Relax in the infinity tub while soaking up White Mountain views, surrender to a hot-stone massage in the “tower spa,” or chip away at that handicap on the golf course. However you choose to amuse yourself during the day, when evening comes be sure to grab a well-deserved drink on the sprawling veranda. You’ll feel like so many of the A-listers before you who found refuge and relaxation here.603-837-2100; mountainviewgrand.com

The Notchland Inn Hart’s Location

Long gone is Abel Crawford’s hostelry, the first in the White Mountains, but the refurbished old tavern still does duty as an elegant dining room in this granite manse. Decks, skylights, Jacuzzis, wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked music room and library—all are welcome additions in this once-remote outpost. 603-374-6131; notchland.com

Omni Mount Washington Resort Bretton Woods

From the moment you breathe in the fresh mountain air and enter the historic Great Hall, replete with soaring ceilings and stone fireplace, you’ll fall under the Omni Mount Washington’s spell. Especially magical is the 25,000-square-foot spa, featuring rooms with views of the surrounding peaks and a long menu of facials, wraps, and seasonal treatments. 603-278-1000; mountwashingtonresort.com

Snowvillage Inn Eaton Center

Check your heart at the door: The view of Mount Washington and the Presidentials, with a hillside of rolling lawns in the foreground, is to die for. Built at the turn of the 20th century, this former private home was converted to an inn years ago by a Swiss émigré. The Alpine flavor remains, especially in the ravishingly wood-paneled dining room. 603-447-2818; snowvillageinn.com

Tall Timber Lodge Pittsburg

Founded in 1946, Tall Timber remains one of the most popular sporting lodges in New England. Gas fireplaces, Jacuzzis, and full kitchens are standard here, and just what you want after hiking, fishing, moose watching, or swimming in the Great North Woods. 800-835-6343; talltimber.com

Wentworth by the Sea New Castle

With almost 360 degrees of ocean and river vistas from its perch on New Castle’s Great Island, this is a grand hotel in every sense of the word. The hotel’s spa offers full-body makeovers, its two restaurants make for delectable dine-in options, and, for those who really want to splurge, you can up the fancy ante by booking one of the expansive marina suites, which have access to a private pool. 603-422-7322; wentworth.com

The Wentworth Inn Jackson

Built in 1869, the Wentworth sits in the heart of Jackson Village, just a short drive from Wildcat and Cranmore ski resorts. Its rooms are divided among the elegant main building and cottages that offer sleigh beds, hot tubs, and fireplaces. Guests can dip into the hotel’s heated outdoor pool or sign up for a spa treatment; golfers can tee up next door at the 18-hole Wentworth Golf Club. The award-winning dining room is the icing on the cake. 603-383-9700; thewentworth.com

ATTRACTIONS

Andres Institute of Art Brookline

Art and nature cohabitate beautifully on Big Bear Mountain at this outdoor sculpture garden featuring more than 80 stone and metal artworks from around the world. A dozen trails lead visitors past sculptures such as Contempo Rustic, a couch fashioned from slabs of rock and metal, or Mbari House, a house-shaped granite and metal totem to peace and friendship. 603-673-8441; andresinstitute.org

Canobie Lake Park Salem

From its early days as a “pleasure resort” in 1902, with canoeing and a botanical garden, Canobie Lake has evolved into a classic New England amusement park with 85 rides, games and attractions, and actual fear-factor ratings. Thrill rides, such as the Corkscrew Coaster and the Starblaster (shuttle lift-off meets bungee jumping) demand intrepid commitment; family rides like Crazy Cups and Dodgem bumper cars let your pulse rate recover. 603-893-3506; canobie.com

Canterbury Shaker Village Canterbury

This splendid rural setting was home to the longest-lived Shaker community in New England. All 25 buildings here are original to this site, most dating to the late 1700s and 1800s. Take a guided tour of this National Historic Landmark for an up-close look at the craft demonstrations and the laundry building, which highlights examples of Shaker innovation, including clothespins, a unique drying system, and more. 603-783-9511; shakers.org

Castle in the Clouds Moultonborough

This former home of a manufacturing tycoon is maintained along with more than 5,200 acres and 28 miles of trails by the Castle Preservation Society and the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. The Tiffany glass, the well-stocked library, the big billiard table, the guest room Teddy Roosevelt slept in—it’s all still there, along with what just might be the finest views from any house in New Hampshire. 603-476-5900, castleintheclouds.org

Currier Museum of Art Manchester

Here you’ll find works by Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe, Wyeth, and more, plus decorative arts and fine examples of New Hampshire’s historic craft tradition, as well as tours of the only Frank Lloyd Wright houses in New England that are open to the public. 603-669-6144; currier.org

Franconia Notch State Park Franconia/Lincoln

A perennial favorite for New Englanders and Canadians alike, the campground is packed on most summer weekends, as it’s the perfect home base for White Mountain hikes as well as swimming, fishing, biking, and rock climbing. The list of attractions here is long: the Basin, Flume Gorge, the Old Man of the Mountain, Cannon Mountain Aerial Tram, and the Falling Waters/Greenleaf/Old Bridle Path trails loop. nhstateparks.org

Gorham Moose Tours Gorham

Although moose-spotting is a notoriously unpredictable pastime, the odds of seeing one of these magnificent beasts are heavily in your favor when you join one of these town-sponsored tours. With special permission from the state, Gorham Moose Tours’ buses are outfitted with lights that not only make moose easier to spot but also easier to photograph. The reported success rate is better than 90 percent, which offers a much more attractive prospect than prowling the roads in your car at dusk. 603-466-3103; gorhamnh.org/moose-tours

Harrisville General Store Harrisville

Overlooking a picture-perfect red-brick mill complex, Harrisville General Store has been its town’s gathering point for nearly two centuries. Saved from closing by the nonprofit group Historic Harrisville, the store has all the right ingredients for a local grocery but serves them up with a uniquely Harrisville flavor. Premium brands prevail, and area products get first dibs: The bacon and sausages are from Mayfair Farm; the free-range eggs, fresh vegetables, honey, and jams from other nearby producers. Order a fresh-baked muffin or custom-made sandwich, and join locals at a table. They’ll advise you not to miss the cider doughnuts. 603-827-3138; harrisvillegeneralstore.com

Hood Museum of Art Hanover

Reopened in 2019 after a $50 million expansion, the Hood has one of the largest college art collections in the U.S.—everything from ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts to Italian Renaissance sculpture to paintings by Picasso. Plus, just across the green is the landmark Epic of American Civilization mural series by Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco. 603-646-2808; hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu

Mount Washington Cog Railway Bretton Woods

While options for scaling Mount Washington’s dizzying 6,288 feet include hiking and driving, thankfully there’s also this 19th-century feat of engineering that’s been clinging to the steep slopes for more than 150 years. A three-hour round trip affords plenty of time to ogle views of the classic Omni Mount Washington Hotel, Vermont’s Green Mountains, and New Hampshire’s Presidentials. 603-278-5404; thecog.com

The Music Hall Portsmouth

The outrageous scope of this performing-arts venue—from Trevor Noah to Ray LaMontagne—seems right at home in this elegantly rehabbed 1878 Victorian theatre, which once hosted vaudevillians. Its acclaimed “Writers on a New England Stage” series has seen the kind of celebrity cross-pollination that would thrill any reader, spanning Salman Rushdie to Patti Smith, while down the street, “Writers in the Loft” hosts more intimate programs and signings. 603-436-2400; themusichall.org

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site Cornish

The great American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the pole star of Cornish, New Hampshire’s art community from 1885 until his death in 1907. His regal home, Aspet, and its art-filled gardens evoke the man who made public monuments, such as the Robert Shaw Memorial on Boston Common, and crafted small things of great beauty, like the $20 gold coin for the U.S. Treasury. 603-675-2175; nps.gov/saga

See More: Best of New England 2020 | Hall of Fame