At the close of Mud Season and onset of summer, now is the perfect time to map out your travel to visit any – or all regions in New Hampshire. If you’re wondering where to start, why not follow the waterfalls? There are over one hundred cascading over various mountainsides in New Hampshire, and most are best viewed while on a hike in the early summer, when they’re bursting in full tumble from the melted spring snow.
Seacoast & Southern NH
Begin your day with a morning hike in Milford at Tucker Brook Falls. Follow the falls down to the old mill, and then head to Lower Purgatory Falls and Upper and Middle areas before exploring the loop hike at Senter Falls at the Alan & Edgar Rice Nature Preserve in Lyndeborough. Insider’s tip: It’s recommended to work your way up and loop down to the falls.
Following the hike, you’ll most likely have worked up an appetite. Plan to enjoy dinner at nearby Greenleaf, an award-winning restaurant open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Dining here ensures you’ll continue to connect with nature as the dishes here are made with in-season, local-foraged ingredients.
Another adventurous day might begin in Derry, at the Robert Frost Farm. This historical site is where you can stop to stroll the nature/poetry trail and connect to this American poet’s inspiration to pen The Road Not Taken.
While in Derry, you’ll want to reserve a time to stop for wine-tasting at Birch Wood Vineyards, off Rt. 28. This event space is sited among a spectacular setting, and during its late summer dinner event on August 18, anyone can purchase a ticket for an event called the Birch Wood Experience that offers multiple menu choices with a side tour of the vineyard and estate rooms.
Another option in Derry is to spend an evening enjoying The Tupelo Music Hall Drive-In Concert Series. Check out the schedule to view who might be performing. You just might be able to catch a live performance of The James Montgomery Band, Tiffany, and more. Check out the lineup online.
Before you depart this region of New Hampshire, you may want to stop at one more winery, especially if you’re craving both wine and ice cream. Averill House Vineyard has a scoop – or two – of … you guessed it – wine ice cream! Says Beth Waite of Averill House, “We just recently added a new flavor as well. It's our Truly Ours Red Chocolate Ice Cream with Cherries.” On select Sundays, you can bottle your own experience. Be sure to check the website and/or call ahead.
Central NH & the Lakes
With 273 lakes and ponds in the New Hampshire Lakes Region alone, it’s a premier area for waterfalls and hiking activities.
Grab your hiking boots and head above the 15-foot plunge of Welton Falls to the upper half of a hidden 8-foot tall cascade. You can hike this 3-mile trail (moderate-difficult) to the 15-foot plunge falls and opt to stop for a swim.
Another option is to head to the gorge at Sculptured Rocks Natural Area, a geological wonder and an easy hike to charming, smaller falls.
Beede Falls in Sandwich Notch Park is a somewhat easy half-mile or so roundtrip hike with two waterfalls. The main falls is measured at 35 feet and has a large 50-foot-wide pool, perfect for a summer swim. Its lower falls lead to the base, where the water pours into a pool called Cow Cave. The folklore to the naming of this overhang was in response to a search for a wandering heifer found in this cave.
Fall of Song is an easy quarter-mile hike to a 40-foot plunge type waterfall, part of Castle in the Clouds Conservation Area. Four more waterfalls are on a continued hike on Brook Walk.
Plan for a rainy day museum stop in Warner, where the New Hampshire Telephone Museum displays its vintage telephone collection and 2022 special exhibit, “Insatiable Curiosity: The Creativity & Innovation of Alexander Graham Bell.”
In Southern Central New Hampshire, Black Bear Vineyard in Salisbury is open on Friday and Saturday afternoons for public tastings (bring your pets!) and by appointment during the weekdays for private tastings and tours of its 17-acres of rolling hills. New to Black Bear Vineyard this summer is an outdoor seating area, an arbor and stage for private events such as anniversaries, birthdays, retirement celebrations, and wedding ceremonies. It’s also the place for golf outings and to book Lakes Region tours and bus charters.
Need a little music during your visit? Swing into Crazy Cat Winery in Bristol, for some live music and if you order your favorite wine as a slushy, you can keep the souvenir cup!
The White Mountains
Keep the theme flowing with visits to waterfalls in the White Mountains. In one day, in Crawford Notch alone, you can explore eight waterfalls of the more than 10 in this region of New Hampshire. If you’re feeling primed and ready to hike the 10-plus falls, you’ll want to book a campsite or hotel room nearby.
Fun Fact: With a drop of around 140 feet, Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch State Park is considered the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire. Plan a half-day hike to experience this outstanding view.
If you prefer to paddle instead of walk, plan a kayak adventure and head to the Saco River in North Conway. If you refer to take a long drive, you’ll want to hit the highway. But before you depart North Conway, you’ll want to stop at White Mountain Winery and grab a few bottles of Pineapple Sauvignon Blanc for summer sipping.
One of the most notable scenic drives in New Hampshire is the Kancamagus Highway, also called Route 112 or “The Kanc.” Note there are no gas stations, restaurants, hotels or other businesses in the heart of this highway, but you can take an exit in Conway to stop for premier outlet shopping time. If you’re a camper, The Kanc is the place to roll out your sleeping bag. There are six camping sites and plenty of opportunities to spot a moose in your path.
Spend the day in Lincoln, where you can catch a black bear live performance at Clark’s Trading Post before a 25-minute ride on the White Mountain Central Railroad. You’ll want to stroll the downtown for boutique shopping and lunch at Gypsy Café. Take an aerial tram for a prime view of Loon Mountain or spend the day experiencing seriously splashy fun at Whale’s Tale Water Park.
Dinner at The Common Man is a necessary rite of passage, if only to enjoy its menu item, the Nantucket Pie. This is a savory selection of shrimp, scallops, haddock and Maine lobster meat baked with lobster cream sauce and seasoned Ritz cracker crumbs.
End your day of fun at Seven Birches Winery in the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain in Lincoln. If the weather allows, you can enjoy your wine tasting on their veranda with spectacular mountain views.
In order to experience all of the great wineries located throughout the granite state, check out the article “Travel in the Live Free State of Wine” and also download or pick up the NHWA winery passport, available at each participating winery. If you’re driven to win, bring your passport to each member winery in New Hampshire to collect a special prize for visiting them all.