Garnet Hill Firsts and Seconds Store: Discounted Women's Clothing and Home Design Items
In an unexpected location (some might call it the middle of nowhere), the Garnet Hill Firsts and Seconds Store in Franconia is worth a side trip. They have overstocked and discontinued bedding, women's clothing, footwear and accessories, all on offer at often very impressive savings off the original catalog prices.
What to buy: The bedding (sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers, and even towels) tend to be particularly good buys; clothing can be more hit or miss. The selection is generally very good and the discounts are unbelievable!
What to pay: Even discounted, a lot of the items can still be quite expensive. However, everything we have purchased has been worth every penny!
Sugar Hill Sampler: A Little Bit of Everything, Including Some History
The Sugar Hill Sampler is just a short distance from Polly's Pancakes, and is located in a huge old barn. The front section is full of crafts and trinkets from near and far - if you want local souvenirs, look carefully, since many things are made elsewhere - and they also have a large section of condiments and foods, mostly from New England. If you're lucky, there'll be a good selection available to sample - with bowls of pretzels to load with mustards and relishes.
The back of the store has a detailed local history section, compiled by a member of the family that owns the establishment, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the past of the Sugar Hill area, which had its share of well-known summer residents (including Bette Davis at the height of her fame in the 1930s). The family historian has assembled a wonderful array of pictures and other documentation, providing a window into another era, while there is a moving tribute to a cousin who died in action during World War II.
What to buy: There are new and second-hand items here, and if you enjoy trinkets and ornaments you'll find much to choose from; we enjoyed all of the different mustards!
The Rocks Estate: Christmas Trees and Hiking Trails!
At the Rocks Estate it is Christmas all year long with Christams trees growing nearly as far as the eye can see!
In the winter, you can choose from any of the pre-cut trees or you can journey out into the fields and choose your own tree. There is is also a Christmas fair with wreaths and other Christmas goodies. Many of these items can also be ordered online and shipped directly to you.
In the summer, when you may not be in the market for Christmas supplies, the Rocks Estate is still worth visiting for the trails that wander through the estate. For descriptions and exact distances of the different trails, see the website.
What to pay: Depending on the size and type of tree you choose, costs can range from as low as $30 to as much as you are willing to pay (not to mention more than tree than you can probably figure out how to transport)!
Ragged Mountain Equipment: Sporting Goods Galore
You name it and, if it's a sporting good, Ragged Mountain sells it! In addition to all the regular items you would expect to see in a sporting good store (hiking boots, NorthFace gear, guide books, sleeping bags, etc.), Ragged Mountain also makes its own brand of clothing. Well made and reasonably priced, we find Ragged Mountain gear to be a good alternative to fancy (expensive) name brands.
Also, don't forget to go into the basement where there is always a fun selection of second and consignment articles.