Sponsored by NH Division of Travel and Tourism
From mountaintop vistas to roaring waterfalls, sun-warmed beaches to glowing fall foliage, New Hampshire is a feast for the senses at any time of year. And just as vacationers and road-trippers love experiencing its unique sights and sounds, they also revel in its flavors. As you’ll discover below, every region of the state has not only plenty of attractions and activities to inspire a Granite State getaway, but also terrific farm-to-table restaurants, seafood meccas, ice cream shops, modern cocktail dens, and more — all perfect for refueling your spirit of exploration.
In North Conway, the breakfast sandwiches and coffee at Frontside Coffee Roasters are an excellent way to start the day; for lunch, the locally sourced burgers at Wicked Fresh Craft Burgers can be customized to your heart’s content. Just a few miles west on Route 302, the nachos and brews are always good at Moat Mountain, and grabbing a cocktail at The Cave, a Prohibition-era speakeasy in the Omni Mount Washington Resort, lets you enjoy the “grand hotel” experience without having to check in. In Littleton, dive into the craft-brewed saisons, German ales, and Belgians at Schilling Beer Co. and bring your appetite to nearby Tim-Bir Alley, where chef-owner Val Fortin is a wizard with farm-to-table fare.
Where to Go
Drink in the beauty of the Seacoast with a scenic cruise from the region’s hub, Portsmouth, to the Isles of Shoals. Back on land, admire the blooms and fountains in Prescott Park, or check out cutting-edge films and performances at The Music Hall, a fully restored historic jewel of a venue (c. 1878). Prefer a classic summer day in the sun? Spread out a towel at Rye’s Wallis SandsState Beach, or motor on down to Hampton Beach for swimming, surfing, concerts, and a lively boardwalk scene.
Where to Eat
In Portsmouth, start the day off right with overstuffed breakfast burritos or caramel apple waffles at über-funky diner The Friendly Toast. From there you can feast on just-caught seafood at chic Row 34 or The Franklin (opened by three-time James Beard Award nominee Matt Louis, owner of modern tapas hot spot Moxy); go intimate and upscale at wine bar/bistro Black Trumpet; or chow down on gourmet burgers and grown-up milkshakes at BRGR Bar. Elsewhere on the Seacoast, foodies are flocking to the ultramodern New England cooking at Otis, in Exeter, and Stages at One Washington, in Dover.
Where to Go
As if the top-notch swimming and boating on Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s largest lake, weren’t enough, the nearby towns also offer unlimited ways to keep busy. Browse for antiques in Laconia, take in a show at Interlakes Summer Theatre in Meredith, soak up mountaintop views at Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, or hop aboard the M/S Mount Washington for a daytime or dinner cruise.
Rent an off-road machine from Berlin’s Jericho Outdoors to explore the endless trails of the Ride the Wilds network. For a different wilderness experience (and the chance to knock out a 4,000-footer), hike Mount Madison in Gorham, then catch your breath at the peak at the AMC’s Madison Spring Hut. And mark your calendar: The annual North Country Moose Festivalcelebrates one of New Hampshire’s iconic animals with moose stews, a moose-calling contest, and tours of the famed Moose Alley (Colebrook, August 23–24, 2019).
In the former mill city of Manchester, admire the portraits at the world-class Currier Museum of Art or tour its Frank Lloyd Wright–designed dwelling, Zimmerman House; in the evening you might catch a baseball game and fireworks show at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home of the Double-A Fisher Cats. A short drive north is the capital city of Concord, where you’ll find a revitalized downtown with a bustling summer Saturday farmers’ market and independent gems Gibson’s Bookstore and Red River Theatres, featuring great reads and the latest art-house flicks, respectively.
Where to Eat
In Manchester, sip a gourmet “drinking chocolate” and sample artisanal bonbons at Dancing Lion Chocolate, or opt for cocktails and contemporary in-season tapas at The Birch on Elm, followed by a nightcap at Cheddar and Rye, the state’s largest whiskey bar. In Concord, True Brew offers a Euro-style café experience, Live Juice serves a heavenly selection of grain bowls and smoothies, and at Chuck’s BARbershop, a password (found on social media) reveals a Prohibition-inspired speakeasy that’s the perfect spot for enjoying an Old-Fashioned or French 75.
No surprise that college-town Hanover has lots of hip dining options: Go Nepali at the Base Camp Café, try sophisticated farm-to-table at Pine, and definitely do not miss the addictive scoops at Morano Gelato(where the dark chocolate is a Yankee favorite). Diner diehards will fall for the 4 Aces in nearby Lebanon, which is also home to Poverty Lane Orchards and its cult-favorite Farnum Hill Ciders.
Where to Go
Hit the trail at Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey to trek up the region’s namesake mountain, one of the world’s most climbed peaks. In nearby Peterborough, stop in at downtown’s Depot Square to peruse potted succulents and midcentury treasures at Bowerbird & Friends Antiques, and look through new and used titles at The Toadstool Bookshop, one of the state’s best indie bookstores. A short drive west leads to Keene, whose thriving Main Street is home to TheColonial Theatre and its star-studded lineup of live music and films.
Where to Eat
Don’t miss Wilton’s Hilltop Café, where the superlative croissants are, according to Yankee, “buttery, yeasty, and so crisp on the outside that they seem to shatter with each bite.” In Peterborough, you’ll find comfort food such as house-made sausage and schnitzel at Harlow’s Pub, sweet treats at the award-winning bean-to-bar confectioner Vicuña Chocolate, and a killer selection of IPAs at Post & Beam Brewing. A bit farther west, the Harrisville General Store(a Yankee staff lunch favorite) pairs fill-you-up homemade sandwiches with a historic brick-mill view, and in Keene, Fritz serves up Belgian beers and hand-cut fries with a mouthwatering array of dipping sauces.