Being a born and raised New Hampshirite, I think it’s totally fair for me to say that the best things do indeed come in small packages. Most people outside the country don’t realize the seventh smallest state exists and I’m pretty sure there’s a large percentage of Americans who couldn’t describe where we were if they didn’t. no map as a reference. But it is okay! We may be a small state, but we are a big one. Few states can boast that visitors can see the mountains and the ocean in just one day. Or that they are the birthplace of Tupperware, Snowmobiles, Adam Sandler, Seth Meyers and Robert Frost. While there are so many wonderful things to see and do in my home country, here are five of my favorite hidden gems.
Stone house pond
Imagine Pocahontas plunging off that absurdly high cliff in the classic Disney movie and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what this stunning place in Barrington, NH looks like – without a waterfall. When I first discovered Stonehouse Pond on a third grade school trip, I was taken aback by the scenery. Even at this young age, I was amazed that such a place practically existed in my garden without my knowing it. The pond itself is beautiful, but it’s the granite cliff overlooking it that makes Stonehouse a truly remarkable place. The cliff is a popular spot for hikers and the views at the top don’t disappoint, offering views of the water below, colorful trees in front and mountains in the distance. One of the nicer aspects of the pond is that pretty much only fly fishing is allowed – a truly unique form of fishing that I strongly suggest everyone observes at least once in their life. life. In addition to fly fishing, visitors can practice hunting, hiking and rock climbing.
If you are planning to take a trip to New Hampshire, visiting the White Mountains is a must. Popular tourist destinations such as Mt. Washington Auto Road, Santa’s Village, Conic Scenic Railroad, and Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves are all tucked away in the mountain range, but for a true New Hampshire treasure you must explore the depths of the White Mountain National Forest. Located in the town of Bartlett, the forest is home to Diana’s baths. Being a sucker for anything to do with mythology, it truly is a magical place for me. Like the hapless hiker in Diana’s Myth, hikers can’t help but be drawn to the series of small waterfalls that come together and form cool pools amidst the dense forest. The hike to the baths is relatively quick and easy. The site is a popular destination in all seasons and offers a wonderful place to swim, relax, read and let yourself be carried away by the sensation of having stumbled upon a great secret that is almost too mystical to be real.
DeMeritt Hill Farm
Fall hasn’t officially arrived in New Hampshire until you take a trip to DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee. Driving down the dirt road to the farm and passing a friendly farmer driving a tractor with a hay wagon attached and full of happy apple pickers always makes me feel like a little girl. Nothing better than a sunny, cool September day spent walking through apple orchards and filling a simple white paper bag to the brim with fresh Mac’s and Cortlands. Seriously, does anything taste better than a just-picked and beautifully ripened apple? After picking your apples, you need to go visit the country store at the entrance. The smell that fills your nose as you walk in is heavenly – a combination of pressed cider, homemade candles and fresh baked goods. Displayed in all the stores are the delicious products of the local artisan. My mom has bought several birthday and Christmas gifts from DeMeritt and they are some of her favorites. In addition to the orchards and the store, DeMeritt has a great petting zoo, hay walks, educational trails for children, and every year hosts fantastic events such as the terrifyingly fun Haunted Overload and its annual Craft Fair.
Strawberry Bank Museum
While quaint Portsmouth, New Hampshire is home to many treasures, the Strawberry Banke Museum is a must-see. With all of the buildings constructed between the 17th and 19th centuries, Strawberry Banke is New Hampshire’s oldest neighborhood and has been perfectly preserved in this incredible interactive museum. If you’re looking to turn back time, look no further. Open year round, the museum features multiple walks through historic buildings, actors who take their characters very seriously, various historical exhibits on past practices, demonstrations, and many other entertaining features. At Christmas, the museum’s candlelight walk draws thousands of visitors fascinated by the transformation of the holidays. You can truly experience an old-fashioned Christmas by admiring the historic decorations, horse-drawn carriage rides, cooking in the holiday fireplace, and an assortment of festive shows.
New Hampshire’s 13-mile coastline
So, I realize that when someone thinks of an ocean, the first place that comes to their mind is definitely not New Hampshire. Yet despite the country’s shortest coastline, it is stunning. Yes, you can hike our coast many times in a day and still have time to eat dinner and watch a movie (maybe two or three movies), but it’s a fun ride and there is a lot to see and to do along the way. Rye is one of the most magnificent areas in New Hampshire and the views of the water and the pretty houses built along it make it a wonderful bike ride. Ordiorne Point is a unique park with diverse habitats and a great way for families and tourists to experience New Hampshire nature. Our shores offer an array of sand and boulders with the frigid Atlantic lapping at your feet, but the horizon stretches endlessly reminding us that we are all a small part that helps to form a vast whole and Magnificent.
While these five treasures are all amazing, New Hampshire has so much more to offer! With the motto “Live Free or Die”, New Hampshire is not a place to be underestimated or overlooked. It really is a unique little place and I feel so lucky to call it home. There is a big world to explore, but this little piece will always have a big part of my heart.
Cover image courtesy of Sakeeb Sabakka
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