What Should We Do and Eat in New Hampshire?

My wife asked for a weekend to New Hampshire. Well, actually, ‘New Hamster,’ in the sometimes playful language of the bilingual couple.

We have been through the lobster shack coast between Massachusetts and Maine. This is a ‘Live Free or Die’ journey into the interior. So far the only confirmed stop is a pilgrimage to the home of the chicken tender.

We are driving up from Boston rather than Manchester (JetBlue PointsMatch), and only have the weekend. The big summer draws appear to be the White Mountains and the lakes region of Laconia/Gilford.

Accommodation in White Mountain gateways Conway and North Conway are eye-popping for peak summer travel, nor have we found a screaming deal by the lakes. We may base ourselves in Concord and day trip on Saturday up to the White Mountains. The Holiday Inn Concord is 15,000 points/night and looks ok if we get a renovated room.

Readers, what are your New Hampshire/Hamster recommendations? As always, food is key. Extra bonus if there is good seafood lurking inland.

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  • jay

    NH is expensive in the summer, but at least it’s crowded too. (My parents live on the north side of Lake Winnipesaukee now).

    If you’re driving up from Concord, a great breakfast place is the Heritage Farm Pancake House, in Sanbornton (closed Sundays).

    The lakes are full of powerboats on the weekends. You can cruise around on the big ship (the Mt. Washington), but it’s probably going to be what you expect.

    I like river tubing on the Saco River, which is over in the Conway region, but a bit of a drive if you are starting in Concord.

  • Matt

    You’ll love Main Street in Concord. Don’t miss the Granite State Candy shop on Warren St. or the Barley House restaurant. The lakes are all great at this time of year. Another good option is hiking: the White Mountain Presidential Range has tons of good options, and driving through Franconia Notch is almost a must. For a smaller hike closer to Concord, consider Mt. Kearsarge.

  • Nathan

    Had to cancel mine for this year. But, a great domestic trip that is underrated for those who don’t live in the NE, and know better.

  • Chris S

    If you have decent hiking shoes (and knees), and if the weather’s good, consider hiking Mt Washington.

    May Kelly’s (in North Conway) has good food, and a nice view if you can get a table outside.

    I stayed at the Quality Inn in North Conway last September, selected because it was so much cheaper than the other hotels in the area, and it was possibly the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

  • John

    Remember that the traffic from and to Boston can get very very bad as people go up that way! and yes the prices are absurd.

  • I always pad my schedule so that on my way back to MHT I have enough time to stop at the Airport Diner and order the turkey sandwich – it’s amazing! As a matter of fact, I’d rather miss a flight or give up a confirmed upgrade than skip an opportunity to have an Airport Diner turkey sandwich. By the way, their turkey pot pie is awesome too.

    Make sure you enjoy pancakes while your in New Hampshire. The Granite State is to pancakes what Minnesota is to pot roast; they’ve perfected the recipe.

  • Gaurav

    Polly’s Pancake Parlor in the White Mountains and then take the train to the summit to the observatory at the top of Mt. Washington. Should make for a great day.

  • Shannon

    I just got back from staying in the White Mountains. I’ve gone yearly for the past 5 years. LOVE it there. A decent place to stay if your paying cash is either the Golden Gables Inn downtown North Conway or the sister property, the Golden Apple Inn in Glen. The rooms are large, reasonable, and very clean. Also, the North Conway location is great.

    Delany’s Hole in the Wall is a very good restaurant located on main street. The Muddy Moose is very reasonable and also has a nice variety.

    There are a bunch of places to hike. It’s a quick trip to Cathedral Ledge. Diana Bath’s was also nice. I wouldn’t recommend driving up to Mt.Washington. My sister and brother-in-law did it a few years ago and it wasn’t enjoyable at all. As they drove up the mountain, it was very hard to see the road. There’s a train that goes up daily.

    We always have kids with us so we enjoy going to Santa’s Village. Just the drive through the White Mountains is great.

    Just a beautiful and fun place to go. Enjoy!

  • Shannon

    Polly’s Pankcake parlor has good food, but it’s so crowded inside it made for an unenjoyable experience. If you don’t mind a couple inches between tables, and I”m not exaggerating, it might be for you. The waiter or waitress takes your order and they make your pancakes.

  • Gaurav

    @Shannon–I don’t know if you’ve been to Polly’s since last year but they have completely gutted and expanded the restaurant. It is significantly larger and more comfortable now. Plus the home made maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple butter. Yum!

  • Amy

    The Hancock Inn in Hancock is not cheap but it is wonderful. Beautiful rooms with lots of history, and their breakfast is worth the stop even if staying elsewhere. Neat little town to wander in for a bit before moving on.