New Hampshire

Best of New Hampshire | 2018 Editors’ Choice Awards

Looking for dining, lodging, and top-notch attractions in the Granite State? Here are more than 25 of our editors’ picks for the best of New Hampshire.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 16 2018

Morning_View

2018 Best of New Hampshire | Mountain View Grand

Photo Credit : Courtesy of Mountain View Grand
Need a reason to travel this summer? From dining and lodging to attractions that are well worth the drive, here are more than 25 of our editors’ picks for the best of New Hampshire.

BEST OF NEW HAMPSHIRE 2018: ATTRACTIONS

Best of New Hampshire | 2018 Editors' Choice Awards
2018 Best of New Hampshire | The Flume Gorge
Photo Credit : Bethany Bourgault

ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES: New Hampshire Antique Co-op Milford

Museum-quality pre-Columbian artifacts, art nouveau jewelry, art deco porcelain, rare American Indian art, Chippendale chests, historical maps—this emporium doesn’t have just a few rare pieces but rather entire cases and rooms full of them. Modest collectors shouldn’t be intimidated, though: Additional rooms are filled with budget-friendly collectibles ranging from teddy bears and crocheted doilies to tin cookie cutters and the books we loved as kids. For genuine antiques, fine art, and just everyday old-fashioned stuff, this 20,000-square-foot group shop is a candy store for collectors and browsers. 603-673-8499

FAMILY ADVENTURE:Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves North Woodstock

This giant natural funhouse in Kinsman Notch tells a dramatic tale: Mile-deep glaciers melted into streams that rushed through cracks in the bedrock, eroding them into a gorge. Stones and gravel washed through, scouring and carving potholes and chutes. Then wind and winter freezing took over, tearing huge slabs from the granite walls that fell and covered the river. Today you can climb through the gorge they created, following the brook through caves and narrow passages to see it burst out in waterfalls and swirl in huge potholes, as your kids learn about glaciers and geology and even, for a small fee, pan for gemstones and fossils in the Lost River mining sluice. 603-745-8031

GENERAL STORE: 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

HISTORICAL EXPERIENCE:Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm Tamworth

Medicine and farming share the spotlight at this 18th-century family farm, home to two generations of Remick doctors. The role the country doctor played in the community blends with an emphasis on how he grew vegetables and kept livestock just as his neighbors did. His wife churned butter and made bread, activities demonstrated in the big kitchen during seasonal events. The rest of the time, visitors can visit the two homes, barns, sugarhouse, dairy, icehouse, and gardens, where exhibits and hands-on experiences teach them the finer points of ice cutting, maple sugaring, preserving, sheepshearing, and more. 603-323-7591

NATURE EXPERIENCE: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 on 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: Yes, you can spend hours sitting by the roadside along Moose Alley and hope, but it’s a better bet—and safer—to go with the pros. 603-466-3103

SHORT HIKE:The Flume Lincoln

Into the steep-cut slopes of Franconia Notch, a mild-looking little stream carved an 80-foot-deep canyon into the rock. Now one of New Hampshire’s most beloved natural attractions, the Flume is the main feature of a two-mile walk through piney woods over moderately hilly terrain. Along with leading right through the base of the 800-foot gorge, the trail passes mammoth boulders left by the glaciers, a covered bridge, and two waterfalls: Avalanche Falls, above the Flume, and Liberty Gorge Cascade. 603-745-8391

SPECIALTY MUSEUM:American Arcade Classic Museum Laconia

No, you’re not a teenager again … it just feels that way. At this one-of-a-kind destination, more than 250 vintage arcade games blink hypnotically in a dimly lit room, all of them still costing just a quarter to play. Pong, Astro Invader, Q*bert, Punch-Out—they’re all here, ready to bring you back to a time when the ability to guide a frog safely through traffic was the criterion by which you were judged by your peers. 603-393-7903

WALKING TOUR:Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Portsmouth

While New England’s long African-American history is too often overlooked, Portsmouth has seized a unique opportunity to spotlight it. The trail, well marked with 27 detailed historical brass signs, leads from the waterfront auction block where slaves first arrived as ships’ “cargo” to sites related to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Personal stories—including that of Prince Whipple, one of 20 Portsmouth slaves who petitioned the state legislature in 1779 to abolish slavery—put human faces on the history. 603-318-5120

WILDERNESS EXPEDITION:Redline Guiding Intervale

Wondering how to cross a river when there’s no bridge? Preparing to embark on a hike across a glacier? Learn these and other wilderness secrets and skills on professionally guided outdoor adventures in the White Mountains. Mount Washington and other rugged terrains are the year-round classroom for teaching mountaineering essentials such as backcountry camping and navigating with a map and compass. And here’s a tip for free-spirited lovebirds looking to tie the knot: You furnish the license, and they’ll furnish a justice of the peace who’s also a licensed guide. 603-617-8788

BEST OF NEW HAMPSHIRE 2018: LODGING

Best of New Hampshire | 2018 Editors' Choice Awards
2018 Best of New Hampshire | Mountain View Grand
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Mountain View Grand

CAMPGROUND: Glen Ellis Family Campground Glen

Sandwiched between the Saco and Ellis rivers, Glen Ellis puts campers in the heart of the White Mountains while still offering seclusion from the North Conway scene. Yes, you’re just minutes from Storyland and the outlets, but it’s also more than OK to stay put at this family-owned facility, now in its 39th season. The riverside sites are some of the most prized car-camping spots in the state, while the pool, playgrounds, and game barn will keep the kiddos entertained all weekend long. 603-383-4567

FAMILY LODGING: Huttopia Albany

Traveling with kids gets a European twist at this, the first U.S. outpost of a French chain of upscale campgrounds. The menu at the on-site café includes crepes and espresso; wines are available in the small grocery. Yet the core appeal of this “glamping” spot—which includes spacious, fully equipped platform tents—is how it removes the logistics from families’ outdoor adventures. Whether learning to fish, canoeing in the lake, or enjoying a concert under the stars, they can simply revel in nature and each other—something that parents the world over can appreciate. 603-447-3131

FARM STAY: The Inn at East Hill Farm Troy

Part working farm, part destination resort, the Inn at East Hill Farm makes it easy to unplug and get back to the land. If you’ve never milked a cow or collected the eggs for your own breakfast, find out what you’ve been missing. Meals are served family-style, and when chores are done, there’s outdoor recreation aplenty, as well as perfect spaces for an afternoon of petting animals, playing games, or reading. 603-242-6495

LAKESIDE LODGING: 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, elegant mahogany paneling, and original Grueby tiles surrounding the fireplace. Savor the ambience and decor over salmon sandwiches at a genteel afternoon tea in the library, or at dinner in the paneled dining room over smoke-roasted duck or local beef braised in stout. 603-968-3348

LUXURY ESCAPE: Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa Whitefield

One of the grandest of the grand hotels that still dot the landscape of northern New England, this Victorian-era retreat has been generously updated for the 21st century. 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 hotel 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 at this special mountainside retreat. 603-837-2100

NEW LODGING: Great Island Inn New Castle

Crisp, uncluttered guest rooms overlook the harbor from a cluster of residences that might have seen Paul Revere on his 1774 midday ride—which happened more than four months before his more famous midnight excursion—to warn local patriots of British plans on nearby Fort William and Mary. Great Island Inn’s neighborhood may be historic, but its guest rooms are up-to-the-moment modern; even better, they’re equipped for longer stays with full kitchens, sitting areas, and washers and dryers. A pretty patio with a grill invites guests to gather outside in good weather, and a personal concierge service can help plan explorations of the Seacoast. The beach is a five-minute walk away. 603-436-2778

ROMANTIC GETAWAY: Adair Country Inn Bethlehem

For the full effect, arrive in the evening, when this stately home is aglow with lights, welcoming you and your significant other as warmly as its wealthy former owners once greeted their guests. Their antiques and collections still grace its rooms, which retain the intimacy of the original country home. The dining room offers some surprises, as the chef draws on occasional influences beyond New England for a sophisticated yet approachable dinner menu; breakfast begins with popovers fresh from the oven. Take a stroll in the romantic Olmsted gardens below the house, painstakingly restored by new owners. 603-444-2600

ROOMS WITH A VIEW: Snowvillage Inn Eaton Center

Rising above gardens in the summer and snowy meadows in the winter, the full-on view of the Presidential Range from Snowvillage Inn fills a spectacular 180 degrees. The three king suites at the front of the main inn—built in 1916 as a summer home for the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Frank Simonds—are the best bets for those seeking maximum panoramas, but most of the cozy, well-appointed rooms in the three buildings here provide more than a glimpse of mountain grandeur. None have TVs, but heck, who needs ’em? 603-447-2818

WILDERNESS RETREAT: AMC Cardigan Lodge Alexandria

On the slopes of Mount Cardigan, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s 1,200-acre forest is traversed by 50 miles of hiking trails. At the end of the access road is the Cardigan Lodge, where families can stay in either private rooms or private bunkrooms with shared bath, or camp at walk-in tent sites. Summer and fall, dinner and breakfast are served family-style; winter and spring, guests can prepare their own meals in the lodge kitchen. Hike the trails to the summit, join in guided family explorations, pick wild blueberries, snowshoe, ski, or just soak up the quiet. 603-466-2727

BEST OF NEW HAMPSHIRE 2018: DINING

Best of New Hampshire | 2018 Editors' Choice Awards
2018 Best of New Hampshire | Row 34
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

BREWPUB: Schilling Beer Company Littleton

Housed in a gristmill built on the Ammonoosuc more than 200 years ago, the Schilling brewery and its airy taproom have birthed many a modern beer nerd. The lineup of house brews borders on the overwhelming, from Belgians and Czech-inspired creations to German lagers and wild ales. Leave it to others, though, to wax rhapsodic about the subtle toffee notes or bready undertones they’re picking up: Your mission is simply to take a seat above the water and drink up the summer sights and the wicked good brews. Hungry? Take a look at the other tasty menu, of Neapolitan flatbread pizzas from the pub’s wood-fired oven. 603-444-4800

BURGERS: Brgr Bar Portsmouth

These burgers are piled high with fixings, so don’t expect to get your mouth around one, even with the lid off. (The most architectural come impaled with a steak knife to hold them upright.) Like to build your own? There’s an array of cheeses, house-made sauces, and “bling”—ranging from fried egg to bacon-onion jam—ready to go. So if you happen to have a hankering for duck with avocado, smoked Gouda, and sriracha aioli, it can be yours. 603-294-0902

DINER: Sunny Day Diner Lincoln

Sunny Day began life in 1958 as the shiny new Stoney’s Diner in Dover, where it was a local fixture into the 1980s. In 1988 it was moved to Lincoln, where it’s been serving breakfast and lunch ever since. Its red-and-gray-tile interior is filled with gleaming chrome, checked curtains, and lots of chatter from happy patrons. Eggs Benedict luxuriate in lemony house-made hollan­daise, and you can forget about lunch after a stack of fluffy pancakes with real maple syrup and a pair of oversize sausage patties. 603-745-4833

DOUGHNUTS: Harvey’s Bakery Dover

Glistening honey-dipped rounds, fat jelly doughnuts sparkling with sugar, big creamy maple bars—at least four generations have stood before this glass counter and tried to decide which to bite into first. There’s bread hot from the oven, and the case is filled with cinnamon buns dripping with frosting, muffins bursting with local blueberries, and whoopie pies. Harvey’s also has a lunchroom and a solid menu (which includes a standout pork pie), but it’s the jellies we’d stand in line for. 603-742-6029

HOT DOGS: Puppy Love Hot Dogs Concord

What’s not to love about a menu composed solely of hot dogs, perfectly steamed and dressed in condiments? From April through October, look for the red pickup with the “PUPLOV” plates in the alley next to Northway Bank; in the winter, look for the orange awning next to CVS. Service is fast, but on busy summer days you may have to wait in line. It’s worth it.

NEW RESTAURANT: Thompson House Eatery Jackson

When Jeff and Kate Fournier left the Boston restaurant scene for the White Mountains, they were looking for more farm-to-table bona fides than a city plot could offer. Now, with a restaurant and farm on a 200-year-old homestead, they’ve helped turned Jackson into a legit dining destination. There’s a coziness to the menu, with its roasted chicken and artisanal cheese board, but plenty of surprises, too, and the house-made breads, sambals, pickles, and pastas showcase a broad mastery of global techniques. 603-383-9341

OYSTER BAR: Row 34 Portsmouth

If you want the best oysters, go to the guys who grow them. Skip Bennett started farming his Island Creek oysters back in 1995, and today they’re known as some of New England’s finest. With partners Jeremy Sewall and Garrett Harker, Bennett now supplies his own restaurants, including Row 34 in Portsmouth. Here you’ll find a top-notch beer program, the best lobster roll in town, and oysters aplenty, from the house brand and beyond. 603-319-5011

SEAFOOD SHACK: Petey’s Summertime Seafood Rye

All those cars parked higgledy-piggledy around Petey’s should tell you the folks here are doing something right. Namely, fresh-from-the-water seafood. “We catch our own lobster,” Petey’s proudly proclaims, and it’s true. The shrimp, clams, haddock, and scallops are just as fresh, which may account for the wall filled with dining awards. You can get a cheeseburger here, but why would you? 603-433-1937

TASTING MENU: Stages at One Washington Dover

If the words “progressive New England cuisine” sound at all oxymoronic, let chef Evan Hennessey enlighten you. His tiny restaurant/food lab in a converted mill building near Portsmouth takes ultralocal ingredients—such as Irish moss, juniper, black walnuts, apples, and duck—and spins, sears, and swirls them into poetic, seasonal compositions in an ever-changing lineup. 603-842-4077

SEE MORE: Top 10 New Hampshire Summer Events in 2018Best of 2018 | 2018 Editors’ Choice Awards