Fun things to do in New Hampshire

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Most Viewed Things to Do in New Hampshire

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    Stunning Beauty Found in the White Mountain Region

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    In the northern part of New Hampshine, the White Mountains rise up as part of the great Appalachian Range to cover the northern 1/3 of the state.

    Of these White Mountains, Mount Washington is the highest point in all of New Hampshire at 6,288 feet above sea level.

    The lovely Connecticut River starts in this northern part of the state & forms the border between New Hampshire & Vermont. Also, New Hampshire's richest farmland is in this Connecticut River Valley area where Dairy Cattle graze & vegetables & pine trees flourish.

    This northern region has short, cool summers & long, cold/snowy winters. Because this area is mostly mountains & forest, the fewest people live here.

    Allan & I loved this area the most..the natural beauty is just stunning. It's the heart of New Hampshire's tourism industry because it is truly a natural wonderland of clear streams, deep notches, & sharp peaks. Thus, it provides hikers with spectacular views & provides eight hostels for hikers.

    We learned (and could also tell) that 98% of all of New Hampshire's population has a European background--English, Scottish, Irish, German, Polish, Greek, Russian, & French Canadian. Would you believe that 40% of New Hamshirites have some Canadian background?

    I especially enjoyed the more than 20 covered bridges which crossed the rivers that flow through the mountains.

    In The Presidential Range, all of the mountain peaks are named for U.S. Presidents such as Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, & Madison, to name a few.

    The Mt. Washington Cog Railway climbs up Mount Washington, & did you know that it was the first railway in the nation that was built straight up a mountain?

    Yes, indeed, the White Mountains are appropriately named because of the snowcapped peaks, but mostly because of the way the sunlight reflects off the rocky bluffs near the tops, making them look white (even in the summer!)

    White Mountains National Forest ablaze With Color
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Adventure Travel

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    If You Love Covered Bridges...

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    Visitors flock to New Hampshire to tour its famous covered bridges, and some of these bridges are over 150 years old.

    More than sixty covered bridges still exist in New Hampshire. All of them have roofs and wooden sides; yet, no two bridges are exactly alike! A new fact that I learned about wooden bridges while in New Hampshire was that the earliest ones had openings based on the height and width of a load of hay!

    I also learned that Covered Bridges in New Hampshire are sometimes called "Courting bridges" or "kissing bridges". They are given these names because young people took advantage of the privacy of a covered bridge to court each other and to steal a kiss now and then!

    These covered-truss bridges and wooden-ark bridges are composed of a roadway, wooden sides, and a roof. The slanting roofs built over the bridges were there to protect them in winter by forcing snow to slide off; thus, no snow buildup that would weaken the structure. The roofs were protection from sudden showers or sleet, and the sides helped control a skittish horse.
    It's ironic that road workers at that time had to shovel snow inside the bridges to allow the passage of horse-drawn sleds!

    The many covered bridges in New Hampshire are numbered, and this numbering system is used on state tourist maps.

    The longest bridge is the one that joins Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont (It's also the longest one in the USA!)
    It spans the Connecticult River and is 460 feet long!

    The oldest covered bridge in the state is also the oldest in the nation and is called the Warner-Dalton Bridge near Warner Village, New Hampshire. It was built in 1800.

    A very pretty Covered Bridge that is painted White is in Stark, New Hampshire. It is perhaps the most often photographed of the bridges.

    I also enjoyed seeing the mostly red-stained bridge in Conway called the Swift River Bridge.

    One of Many Covered Bridges Found in New Hampshire
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    • Architecture

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    The Mount Washington Cog Railway

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    Just after completing The Mount Washington Hotel, Joseph Stickney gained fame when he said, "Look at me, gentlemen...for I am the poor fool who built all this." But, even before he gained fame as the fool who built the hotel, another man conquered an impossible dream, too.

    Sylvester Marsh, a Chicago meatpacking tycoon, proposed building a train that would go up to the summit of Mt. Washington. He was laughed at...it was said that he "might as well build a railway to the moon".

    He was undaunted and along with inventors Herrick and Walter Aiken (a father-and-son-team from Franklin, NH), they began the task of building his mountain-climbing railway. Not an easy task because supplies had to be hauled by oxen for 25 miles, some of it through thick forest.

    Now who is laughing? The first train was called "Old Peppersass" and was the first train to climb 6,288 feet up Mount Washington. Today, you can "ride to the moon" and to one of the wild places in New Hampshire because in 1866 the Mount Washington Cog Railway was specially built for the purpose of climbing Mount Washington, the highest peak in New Hampshire.

    It is the oldest cog railway in the world and still carries passengers today!

    Each trip to the summit on the Cog Railway uses one ton of coal and 1,000 gallons of water. I find this next fact disconcerting as I rode this train..."At Jacob's Ladder, the grade measures 37.4%". That means that there is a 14-foot height difference between passengers in the front and back of the coach!!!

    If you have the opportunity, by all means, ride this train. 3Just Think! This train ride is 136 years old!

    I say, "Thank God for dreamers such as Joseph Stickney and Sylvester Marsh!"

    The Mount Washington Cog Railway
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    Castle in the Clouds

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    Castle in the Clouds is a mountaintop estate overlooking beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee located in Moultonborough, New Hampshire.

    It's real name is Lucknow Mansion, and it was built by shoe manufacturer millionaire, Thomas Gustave Plants, who in 1911 hired 1,000 Italian masons who took 3 years and 7 million dollars to finish it.

    Way ahead of its time, it had such items as a centralized intercom system, self-cleaning oven, electricity (powered by his own water powered generator), & a central vacuum system.Plant also had the first fire truck in Moultonborough, &, would you believe it, fire hydrants IN the house!

    More amazingly, the kitchen floor is a jigsaw puzzle. No glue was used; instead, the pieces were made to fit together very tightly, and this floor still exists. The fairy-tale home has 16 rooms, 8 bathrooms, & a huge skylight. There's a secret room for reading that was not entered by another person until after Plant's death in 1941.

    Built of NH Granite stones from the mountain to create thick, sturdy walls, it featured a Spanish red slate roof with an Oriental slope. Yet, it also contained structures of English, Norwegian, Swiss Chalet, & Japanese design! I was amazed when I learned that no nails were used to build this fantastic structure! All the doors are made of lead.

    There was also a lavish stable, a personally designed golf links, & a 75-foot-long hothouse. After touring the house, explore the grounds. There are streams, cascading waterfalls, woodlands, & meadows. You can feed the giant trout.
    Today, it is part of a 5,000 acres, which is also the location of the Castle Springs Water Bottling Plant.

    Thomas Plant chose this location because there was a water spring. The spring is caged & covered: no light so no vegetables can grow, & no litter.

    The Plant bottles the water, & there is also a small brewery with free samples of both beer & water.
    Thank goodness I keep notes in my journal!
    This is really A MUST SEE PLACE!

    Castle in the Clouds
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    • Historical Travel

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    Strawbery Banke Museum

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    Strawbery Banke is a neighborhood of lovely, restored homes in Portsmouth (some are close to 300 years old!)

    The area was saved from urban developers in the 1950s. This area was named Strawbery Banke because settlers in the 1630s used to pick wild berries here.

    One famous home here is the home where John Paul Jones once lived. Jones is known as the Father of the American Navy. You are able to visit the Jones house, and guides are dressed as eighteenth-century sailors, and they will tell you about the house and about Jones.

    Strawbery Banke was the settlement name of what became Portsmouth, and it is New Hampshire's most significant visible legacy of colonial times.

    Only ten acres of the original settlement are preserved as an outdoor living-history museum, much like Williamsburg in Virginia.

    When you visit, you are able to have a glimpse of what life was like in earlier days; as you wander through 42 fbuildings dating from the 1600s to the 1900s. Most of the buildings have been completely restored. Most importantly, archaeological excavations of this area are ongoing. I especially loved the Period Gardens!

    I enjoyed the exhibits that explained the processes of restoration and the Artisans who demonstrate such crafts as cabinetmaking, boat building, and weaving. In the 1600s it was known as Strawbery Banke.

    There's a great Museum Shop/Information Center.

    In the1700s, it became a thriving waterfront neighborhood and an important seaport and was called Portsmouth.

    In the 1800s, it changed into an immigrant neighborhood named Puddle Dock.
    Latter half of the 20th century, it recaptured its original name as an outdoor history museum!

    Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH
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    Cathedral of the Pines

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    I asked myself when I heard about it, "Just what is this Cathedral of the Pines?"

    It's a beautiful place of spiritual nourishment for all denominations or even for those who do not have a faith. It's also a national memorial to patriotic sacrifice that says we will not forget those men and women who served the country.

    This outdoor, non-denominational Cathedral has a peaceful splendor that I found no where else. The location itself is perfect for thoughtful meditation or a place to commune with nature. It's located in Rindge, New Hampshire, with Mt. Monadnock as a backdrop. It has scenic walkways and impressive chapels as well as inspirational monuments.

    One of the prettiest spots is called Altar of the Nation, which is really an outdoor place of worship built in 1945. The Altar is comprised of stones donated as tributes from all the United States Presidents since Harry Truman. This national memorial for all American war dead also includes stones from each of the fifty states and four territories. New stones are placed at the Altar of the Nation on Memorial Day.

    Originally, Lt. Sanderson Sloane and his wife Peg had selected this location to build their home when he returned from World War II. Cathedral of the Pines was created by his parents, Dr. Douglas and Sibyl Sloane, when they learned their son had lost his life when the bomber he flew was shot down over Germany in 1944.

    There is also The Women's Memorial Bell Tower here that was dedicated in 1967. It houses a peal of Sheffield bells; the Schulmerich digitally assisted carillon; the Tree of Life Fountain, and four Norman Rockwell designed bas-reliefs honoring American Women. It was the first monument in the nation to honor American women who gave their lives for their country.

    The Women's Memorial Bell Tower
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    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    Southern Portion of New Hampshire

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    North Salem, with its 30-acre site of mysterious stone walls & large blocks of stone is just across the border from Massachusetts. This area is often called America's Stonehenge because it certainly resembles the huge ancient circle of stone found in southern England.

    No one knows who erected these strange formations of stone, but 20,000 visitors come to see it each year. Guess who owns this land? Would you believe, the Stone family!

    Recently, it has gone from a mill town to a mall town; people from Massachusetts love to shop here because there is no sales tax! There are many new & excellent restaurants as well as bargain shopping.

    I was most interested in the historic town of Derry where Robert Frost, the American poet, once lived. His homestead, the Robert Frost Farm has displays of his life and works.
    Manchester is now known as a Cultural Center.

    Many experts in the field of art consider the Currier Museum of Art as one of the best small art museums in the Northeast. There are paintings by Claude Money, Pablo Picasso, & Georgia O'Keefe. This art museum also has furniture & silver pieces from all over the world.

    Manchester also has an opera company, the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra & at least 50 lovely parks.

    The tiny town of Peterborough is where MacDowell Colony, a 400 acre retreat for artists, writers, and composers is located. The composer Leonard Bernstein wrote music in the Colony, & the playwright, Thorton Wilder, was also a MacDowell Colony guest, & in 1938 wrote his famous play Our Town, using Peterborough as his basis for the play's imaginary town of Grover's Corners!

    I did a whole tip on Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth.

    So, be sure to visit this southern portion of New Hampshire; its filled with diversity, history, & fun.

    The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester
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    • Architecture

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    Christa McAuliffe Planetarium

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    Christa McAuliffe was a high school teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, who was chosen to be the first private citizen to ride into space. In January of 1986, our nation watched as the Challenger exploded just 74 seconds after it lifted off.

    In 1990, the people of Concord, New Hampshire, opened a new planetarium which they dedicated to the memory of Christa McAuliffe.
    The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium has the most advanced planetarium projection system in the world! It can simulate space travel up to 600 light-years from Earth and a million years into the future or the past. Can you just imagine that?

    Photo taken from library photo

    We looked through the 40-foot dome telescope and checked out the tornado tubes as well as the magnetic marbles. There are many other hands-on exhibits; thus, this is a great place to take children.

    We also saw models of planets and stars projected onto a curved ceiling, which was quite realistic. Some children were participating in a rocket-building workshop.

    This is such a fun place to visit, but always lingering in the back of my mind was how sad it was that such a great human being had died so young.

    Christa McAuliffe
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    • Women's Travel

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    The Lakes Region of New Hampshire

    by deecat Updated Jun 5, 2005

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    CLICK on photo to see panorama

    New Hampshire's largest lake is called Lake Winnipesaukee and is located in the Lakes Region. There are many different spellings for this lake, but the locals call it "Lake Winni." The Native American word means "Smile of the Great Spirit."

    In this area, Weirs Beach is a lakeside beach town with a boardwalk, marina, amphitheater, and amusement park. It has several arcades and boat docks where boat trips can be taken.

    On the southeast corner of Lake Winnipesaukee is the town of Wolfeboro, which claims to be America's first resort town!There's a shore for swimming and picnicking at State Beach, and in downtown Wolfeboro, visitors may wish to walk the Russell C. Chase Bridge-Fall Path to see waterfalls. In the town, there is also a great World War II Museum filled with period clothing, military vehicles (like tanks), and various artifacts from 1939-1945.

    South of Weirs Beach is Laconia with its three lakes. We loved the Audubon Society's Paradise Point Nature Center located on Newfound Lake.

    Wolfeboro, a Great Town for Water-Related Activity
    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Birdwatching

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  • The Big Mountain!

    by ElaineCatherine Written Jan 20, 2005

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    Mount Washington at 6,288 feet is the highest peak in the East of the US. It is also said to have the worst weather! Low temperatures routinely reach well below zero, and the record is -47. Mount Washington also hold the record for fastest wind on the planet, at 231mph! Scary, huh? As you might imagine, many many people have died from exposure on the mountain, and there are lots of monuments to the unfortunate along the trails.

    Even so, thousands of people hike up every year, and there are several Appalacian Mountain Club huts along the trail for hikers to crash at overnight. For the less brave, there is a mountain road that allows drivers to take their car to the summit during the summer, there is also a cog railway that runs up the mountain. The view from the top is not to be missed, it is awe inspiring and breath taking.

    If you ever find yourself in the White Mountains, do give Mount Washington and the other Presidential mountains a look-see!

    Beautiful but Deadly!
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Family Travel

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    Check out the local artists' scene

    by Pawtuxet Updated Mar 23, 2005

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    This gallery on the main street in Ashland is run by a consortium of artists...30 in all. Each artist volunteers to be in the gallery one day a month and they all pay into the expense of the rent. This way each artist can retain all the profit from their work. You can find ceramics, wood crafts, jewelry, textile designs, oil and water paintings, and each item is of good quality. No silly 5 minute crafts included. The gallery is a pleasant stop with many lovely gift items to enjoy.

    Local artists' gallery
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    Visit Meredith

    by Pawtuxet Updated Sep 24, 2006

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    Ahhhh, now these little antique shops just grab me right off the street and yank me in to have a look at absolutely EVERYTHING in the store! We found a great old whirly-gig for our collection. We were delighted with that. Every imagineable thing was housed in this little shop on the hill. She also carried an extensive collection of hardware, which is a most important piece of information if you own an antique home and are in need of old door knobs, hinges, or other hard to find pieces. Her prices were extremely reasonable. Good find.
    Additional picture here is the Meredith Museum, which was closed when we were there, but it looks like a fun place to stop in and poke...by the looks of the window displays. The church steeple and the style of the old white buildings is a common scene throughout these little New Hampshire towns...and in fact, throughout all of New England.

    Meredith Historical Society
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    • Museum Visits

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  • Canobie Lake Park

    by ElaineCatherine Updated Jan 13, 2005

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    Canobie Lake Park has been open since 1902. People used to come from miles around just to enjoy the amusements there. They used to have shows, a beautiful carousel, a lake cruise, some amusements, and nice lawns for lounging around.

    Now they have a great old wooden rollercoaster, 2 different flume rides, A starblaster, and pretty much every thing else you can think of. Many of the rides are antiques. It's clean and the employees are friendly and it is just a great day out!

    I now take my children there every summer (Usually for my birthday) but I have so many fond memories of going there to ride the motor cars when I was a girl.

    Only note: Food is expensive, and you arent allowed to bring your own snacks inside. Some people bring a cooler and tail-gate it.

    Park Entrance
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    Climb Mount Washington

    by Myndo Updated Jul 17, 2004

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    Mount Washington is famous for its round view and for its bad weather sometimes - so try and choose a time when the weather is well, so you can see something. (in 60% of the time the peak is in the clouds)

    There are different ways how you can go up. (the 6288 ft)
    You can hike (the record is around 1hour - must have been running)
    You can take the steam driven train
    You can drive up by car.

    We took the car. I was wondering what a fuss these Americans (sorry) make about that - but I think most of them never drive up a mountain, well they should try and come to switzerland for a real experience of that !

    You have to pay a small entry fee, and you get a "testimony sheet", a bumper sticker ("this car climbed mount washington") and an audio cassette about how to drive and what you can see here.

    The road has two lanes and is not really that steep that it would justificate all the "look for your cooler-water" signs.

    The view from the peak is worth the trip, though (and don?t forget the great bumper-sticker).

    Mount Washington
    Related to:
    • Trains
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Shaker Village

    by Myndo Updated Oct 17, 2004

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    The Shakers were a religious christian "sect" . In worshipping god they got so ecstatic, that they began to shake, hence the name. Coming from the Protestants and later the Quakers they separated from them and went to then "new land", America, to have a place of their own.

    They were quite progressive, they had electricity and were very early with the telephones. They also took pride in handwork and what they did was as simple as it was perfect.

    You can still see their work (houses and furnishing and gardens etc),
    but you will not see a Shaker anymore.

    I suppose that their rules considering sex (abstinence and separation of the sexes) finally broke their neck. They had even two entrance doors for the common buildings etc
    A religion which says "no sex please" is apt to excinct quite soon, i believe. Not only that they don't have any descendants, but it is also not very attractive for newcomers.

    But the place they made themselves here is very nice. Serene and simple and quiet. A real "getaway" from the hectic around.

    shaker house, canterbury
    Related to:
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New Hampshire Things to Do

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