New Hampshire

Best of New Hampshire | 2019 Editors’ Choice Awards

Looking for top-notch dining, lodging, and attractions in the Granite State? Here are 30 picks from our editors for the best of New Hampshire.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 22 2019


Best of New Hampshire 2019 | Wentworth by the Sea

Photo Credit : Annie Graves

Need a reason to travel this summer? From dining and lodging to attractions that are well worth the drive, here are 30 picks from our editors for the best of New Hampshire.


Best of New Hampshire 2019 | Laney & Lu Café
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Fire Dog Breads, Keene

Since relocating from Oklahoma two years ago, husband-and-wife team Sam Temple and Bridget Love have been wowing Cheshire County carb seekers with their French- and German-inspired breads and pastries—first as regular vendors at the Keene farmers’ market and now from their new downtown storefront. Fans of savory treats will delight in the sourdough and rye loaves (many made with local heirloom grains), while those with a sweet tooth will prize the chocolate babka and that sugary, buttery Breton favorite, kouign-amann. 603-903-3205

Yum Yum Shop, Wolfeboro

When this lakeside institution didn’t open for the summer of 2017, locals and vacationers alike mourned. Thankfully, Spencer and Ashley Samuelian brought the Yum Yum Shop back from the brink, retaining the famed Kelly family recipes—doughnuts, pastries, and cookies galore—but modernizing the space with fresh branding and a blue and white motif. We’re happy to report that the frosted ginger­bread men are as snappy and spicy as ever. (The best way to order them when the mercury climbs? As the bread in an ice cream sandwich festooned with sprinkles, bien sûr.) 603-539-1919

Goody Cole’s Smokehouse, Brentwood

Heralded by a sign claiming it has the “Best Butts in Town” (true), this roadside barbecue joint helmed by Southern expats dishes out succulent ribs and melting, thick-cut brisket flanked by slabs of buttery cornbread and sides that hold their own. The owners care about their sauces, too, offering everything from mustard and vinegar barbecue to sweet-and-spicy and extra-hot. Count on a line when you arrive, and head straight to the barrel of complimentary shell-on peanuts to keep hunger pangs at bay. 603-679-8898

Pine Restaurant, Hanover

Given the steady stream of parents and prospective students that come to stay at the Dartmouth-owned Hanover Inn, on-site restaurant Pine could certainly rest on its laurels. Yet chef Justin Dain continues to dazzle with his creative raw bar, fresh pasta, and flair for vegetables. Brunch is an elevated affair: Consider the grilled toasts topped with short ribs, poached eggs, kale, squash, and poblano vinaigrette or—for something a little lighter—homemade granola with berries, local Greek yogurt, and lavender honey. Plus, everything tastes better with views of the oh-so-pastoral Dartmouth Green. 603-646-8000

The Hungry Diner, Walpole

This is no down-and-dirty greasy spoon. The dishes here are literally pasture-to-table, as the meat used in the stellar tacos, hot wings, and burgers is sourced from the Hungry Diner’s sister business, Walpole Family Farms, located a mere five miles down the road. Take your plate outside to a dog-friendly front yard where you can play a round of cornhole or hang at a picnic table, sipping one of more than a dozen craft beers on tap (from of-the-moment breweries such as Kelsen, Banded Brewing, and Springdale) or a maple milkshake. 603-756-3444

Derry Homegrown Farm and Artisan Market, Derry

After the long-running Derry farmers’ market disbanded in 2015, members of the community worked together to launch the Derry Homegrown Farm and Artisan Market for the 2017 growing season. Held in downtown Derry (specifically, 1 W. Broadway) on Wednesday evenings from June to September, the market features more than 20 vendors from across the Merrimack Valley (Abbot Hill Creamery, Valencenti Pasta Farm, and Farmer Palmer Garlic, to name a few), as well as children’s activities, live music, and artist demos—all befitting of the Granite State’s fourth-largest municipality. 603-548-3935

Petey’s Summertime Seafood and BarRye

The only way to end a perfect New Hampshire beach day is with a box of fried whole clams at Petey’s, where the light, crispy breading lets the creamy bellies shine. Tangy tartar sauce is a fine accompaniment, but a squirt of lemon is really all you need. And while the upstairs deck with its ocean glimpses is always bustling, we prefer to grab no-fuss takeout and park our sandy feet in the buoy-strewn picnic area overlooking the marsh. Ah, summer. 603-433-1937

Kimball Farm, Jaffrey

The first annual pilgrimage to the Jaffrey outpost of this regional scoop-shop chain is a harbinger of summer for devotees across the Granite State. The recipe for good old-fashioned fun starts with a comically large serving of farm-fresh ice cream that comes in flavors you may have forgotten or believed extinct: buttercrunch, grape-nut, maple walnut, rum raisin. A visit here also includes dashes of purist-approved fried seafood, an idyllic rural setting next to the small Silver Ranch Airpark, and the Cruise Night auto show, which runs Wednesdays from June to September. 603-532-5765

Geno’s Chowder & Sandwich Shop, Portsmouth

From the cheery yellow gingham tablecloths to the open-air patio perched above the Piscataqua River, seasonal Geno’s Chowder & Sandwich Shop might just be the platonic ideal of a New England seafood shack. Don’t dither, just ask for the house special: one of the excellent chowders and a regular lobster roll. Tender lobster is tossed with butter or mayonnaise to order—a request for little mayo yielded more than two tails’ worth of lightly dressed meat on a toasted, utilitarian hot dog bun with no filler (celery, onion, spices, whatever). Simple, and simply good. 603-427-2070

Laney & Lu Café, Exeter

Jennifer Desrosier’s sweet Laney & Lu Café in downtown Exeter serves up the casual veggie-forward food that America is craving right now, such as vibrant smoothie bowls, “big-a**” salads (their term, our edit), avocado toasts, and heavy-on-the-greens grain bowls and egg sandwiches—otherwise known as Insta­gram catnip (get a taste: @laneyandlucafe). But it’s not all shoots and leaves. May we suggest a vegan blueberry doughnut, sweet potato brownie, or almond cookie to go with your nitro cold brew or maca matcha latte? 603-580-4952


Best of New Hampshire 2019 | Wentworth by the Sea
Photo Credit : Annie Graves

Pickering House Inn, Wolfeboro

Wolfeboro residents Peter and Patty Cooke spent two years lovingly rehabbing the c. 1813 Yellow House, a crumbling local landmark across from Brewster Academy, thus saving it from almost-certain demolition. Restored to its former glory and renamed the Pickering House Inn, this 10-room bed-and-breakfast now features heated bathroom floors, Frette robes, and rain showers, as well as the Barn, a rustic-chic event space. 603-569-6948

Dolly Copp Campground, Gorham

Named after backwoods folk hero Dolly Copp and partly situated on the farmstead that she ran with her husband, Hayes, in the mid-to-late-1800s, this hallowed 177-site campground—the largest in the White Mountain National Forest—puts visitors at the doorstep of the Presidential and Carter-Moriah ranges, while the nearby Daniel Webster Scout Trail leads hikers straight to the northeast base of Mount Washington. For first-time visitors to the Whites, there’s no better outdoor stay. 603-536-6100

Hancock Inn, Hancock

An anchor of the nationally recognized Hancock Village Historic District, the homey Hancock Inn has been welcoming guests since George Washington’s first term. Though that particular founding father didn’t lodge there, Franklin Pierce, the only president hailing from New Hampshire, was a frequent guest. There are rooms named for both men, as well as for primitive artist Rufus Porter (his c. 1865 murals line the walls, so you can sleep literally ensconced in history). Daydream while rocking in one of the chairs on the inn’s front porch, or lose yourself in nature: The nearby Harris Center for Conservation Education offers mellow hikes, which are all but required when foliage season rolls around. 603-525-3318

Rockywold Deephaven Camps, Holderness

There’s never a dull moment at this century-old Squam Lake retreat, where the days brim with hiking, yoga, kayaking, nature walks, and other screen-free diversions. Participate as a family, or savor a little adult R&R by signing your kids up for age-appropriate activities, such as the Wee Campers play group for ages 3 through 6, island picnics for middle schoolers, and scavenger hunts and boat trips for teens. And leave the coolers and tents at home: The cabins, cottages, and lodges come equipped with bucolic charm and just about everything you and yours could need for a week (or weekend) in the woods. 603-968-3313

Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle

With almost 360 degrees of ocean and river vistas from its perch on New Castle’s Great Island, Wentworth by the Sea is a grand hotel in every sense of the word. A longtime summer stopover for East Coast socialites and high-level politicos, Wentworth’s guest rooms are awash in light and water views. The hotel spa offers full-body makeovers (will it be the couples’ massage, the chocolate peppermint body scrub, or both?), its two restaurants make for delectable dine-in options, and, for those who really want to splurge, the expansive Marina Suite ups the fancy ante with access to a private pool. 603-422-7322

Highland Center Lodge, Crawford Notch

Attention, outdoorsy types: This lodge nestled in idyllic Crawford Notch is the perfect jumping-off point for all your White Mountain adventures. Choose from a private room—with or without en suite bathroom—or a bunk room, and enjoy the included meal service as well as free guided hikes and ranger programs. And before you hit the trail, stop by the L.L. Bean Gear Room, which is stocked with rental equipment and clothing (daypacks, rain pants, gaiters, etc.) that would make your most diehard thru-hiking pals envious. 603-466-2727

The Glen House, Green’s Grant

Come for the view—a wall of windows in the lounge offers a Presidential Range panorama—and stay for the creature comforts at this new 68-room hotel at the base of Mount Washington. The fifth iteration of the Glen House and the first property on the site in more than 50 years, it features an outdoor deck with a fire pit perfect for aprés-ski lounging, an indoor saltwater pool, and the Notch Grille. Add in thoughtful design touches evoking the area’s history, such as clean Shaker lines, artifacts from the local Abenaki tribe, and granite accents, and there’s a new must-visit destination in the Whites. 603-466-3420

The Sailmaker’s House, Portsmouth

In 2017, local restaurateurs Jay and Amanda McSharry transformed the Inn at Strawbery Banke into the Sailmaker’s House. The painstaking renovation breathed new life into the inn’s original pine floors, quirky layout, and other period details of the c. 1800 Greek Revival South End building, which sits smack-dab downtown and within easy walking distance of Prescott Park, the scene at Market Square, and the city’s thriving (and growing) restaurant scene. 603-380-3447

Inn at Pleasant Lake, New London

Steep sides, narrow flat / patch on top— / you are clear to me / like the memory of one day, the late U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall once rhapsodized about Mount Kearsarge. Get an eyeful of the majestic peak just beyond Pleasant Lake at this inn, which marked its 150th birthday in 2018. You almost can’t escape the view: Seven of the 10 rooms, the patio, and the refurbished Oak & Grain dining room all overlook the namesake lake. After a hearty breakfast, cross a country lane to access the private community beach, where kayaks, rowboats, and canoes promise adventure. Also on offer? Beach chairs—snag one, and you and a good book can eschew activity altogether until cocktail hour. 603-873-4833

Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods

With golf and tennis in the summer, hiking in the spring and fall, and skiing in the winter, this is indeed a resort for all seasons. 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—including the intriguing Mountain Mu-xing Therapy, a deep-tissue massage administered with warm bamboo and rosewood tools. 603-278-1000


Best of New Hampshire 2019 | Alyson’s Orchard
Photo Credit : Annie Graves

Wilton Town Hall Theatre, Wilton

Don’t let the throwback vibe at this beloved c. 1886 movie house ($7 tickets, real buttered popcorn, cash only) fool you. It has a real focus on challenging, cutting-edge indie fare that you don’t often see outside the big city. Consider the special events, such as the donation-based Silent Sundays film series and the annual showing of It’s a Wonderful Life, and you have a true cinematic gem in this cozy little corner of the world. 603-654-3456

Wallis Sands State Beach, Rye

As you drive along coastal Route 1A, buzzing Hampton Beach and its boardwalk give way to North Hampton’s and Rye’s handsome estates overlooking the ocean. You’ve arrived—to Wallis Sands State Beach, that is. A family favorite that on clear days provides views of the Isles of Shoals, this sandy strip boasts a large bathhouse, a snack bar, a grassy picnic area, tide pools, and a rare commodity this close to the sea: plentiful parking (one of 500 spots can be yours for $15 a day). 603-436-9404

Portsmouth Book & Bar, Portsmouth

Embrace your inner Charles Bukowski at this used-book store and watering hole opened by three retail pros—John Petrovato, owner of Raven Used Books; Jon Strymish, former manager of the New England Mobile Bookfair; and David Lovelace, onetime co-owner of the Montague Bookmill—in Portsmouth’s rehabbed historic Custom House. Sip a Smuttynose Shoals pale ale and browse the eclectic fiction and nonfiction selection sandwiched into every nook and cranny, or share small plates and settle in for live music or a reading—this place is made for lingering. 603-427-9197

Schilling Beer Co., Littleton

When this northern New Hampshire brewery first opened in 2013 on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River, its continental European taps blew us away. And when it started pouring delicious American pale ales and double IPAs as part of a New World–focused side project, we wondered: Is there anything this brewery can’t do? As a testament to its success, Schilling unveiled a 7,500-square-foot expansion last summer housing a 20-barrel brewhouse, cellaring areas, and a shop, just steps away from the original gristmill brewpub. We can only hope this means more second-to-none Schilling suds out in the world. 603-444-4800

New Hampshire Farm Museum, Milton

Encompassing two adjoining farmsteads on 50 acres, this Milton museum has something for everyone: history, heritage-breed animals, even hiking (more of a short ramble to an old family cemetery, but still). The mission here is to educate visitors about three centuries of agrarian tradition through guided tours, demos, and events such as sheepshearing, butter churning, and barn scavenger hunts. Leave feeling connected to the land—or at least toting cheese and other products from the land, procured at the country store. 603-652-7840

Carter Dome Loop, Pinkham Notch

This 10-mile loop brings you up two high summits—Mount Hight and Carter Dome, which each approach 5,000 feet—and through Carter Notch, an impossibly beautiful mountain pass that’s home to two mirrored lakes and a secluded Appalachian Mountain Club hut serving up tasty soups and snacks. To be sure, the hike via the Nineteen-Mile Brook, Carter-Moriah, and Carter Dome trails is a rigorous one, but the varied terrain and breathtaking scenery are, as the kids say, #worthit.

SEE Science Center, Manchester

Calling all budding scientists, doctors, and biotech moguls: This Manchester museum recently launched “BiologYOU,” a permanent exhibit focused on the human genome, made possible by a $50,000 grant that SEE won from the Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire. Its interactive stations on hereditary traits and secrets of the genetic code join the museum’s “Moonwalk” experience, as well as the Lego Millyard Project, a minifigure-scale installation depicting the city’s Amoskeag Millyard as it might have looked circa 1900. For the 21-and-over crowd, there’s “Science on Tap,” a regular lecture series at nearby Stark Brewing Company. 603-669-0400

Chuckster’s, Hooksett

While the Chichester outpost of this fun-park chain has 15 attractions—including something called Chuckcycles—serious swingers should head straight to the Hooksett location, which has two 18-hole mini golf courses sans distractions. Both the Cave and the Fire Tower courses feature challenging, choose-your-own-adventure holes with multiple routes to the cup, but only the latter boasts the “World’s Longest Hole,” which starts atop a fire tower and goes 200 feet down from there. Post-links, treat yourself to a few Blake’s scoops in the ice cream barn, where the gross-out “Upchuck” flavor (a bilious-green cake batter base with cookie dough, white chocolate chips, and marshmallows) is a hit with the middle school set. 603-210-1415

ELC Outdoors Lake Umbagog Wildlife Tour, Errol

There aren’t many regions as authentically New Hampshire as the Great North Woods. ELC Outdoors now offers visitors a family-friendly wildlife cruise aboard a 24-foot pontoon boat on Lake Umbagog, one of the most pristine (and fun-to-say) natural features in this wild and woolly place. So polish those binoculars and kick back: Your only job on this three-hour tour is to spot the local fauna, including bald eagles, black bears, loons, and perhaps an elusive moose or two. 603-215-0002

Alyson’s Orchard, Walpole

There’s no better place to get your autumn on than Alyson’s Orchard: Situated atop a drumlin, it has incredible big-sky views across verdant hills (no wonder it’s a sought-after wedding venue) and a sweet store hawking fresh-baked pies and more. There are 50 types of apples on offer—including the prized Honeycrisp variety—spread across 450 acres, plus lawn games, wagon rides, and goats. The pick-your-own fun extends to peaches, berries, plums, and pears, too, which are ripe for plucking at various times in the summer and fall. 603-756-9800

Top 10 New Hampshire Summer Events in 2019
Best of New England | 2019 Editors’ Choice Awards