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Best Places for Bicycling in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has hundreds of miles of scenic roadways that are perfect for bicycling, everything from peaceful farmlands, rolling hills, challenging mountainous terrain and quaint historic villages. Maybe you consider your bike a transportation tool instead of a recreation device. Whether it’s biking for transportation, recreating, paved or gravel roads, rail trails, fat-biking, mountain-biking, or if you choose to add an electric-assist to your ride, there are plenty of options in the 603. Here are just a few of some best places for bicycling.

This story appears in the special publication Best Places New Hampshire 2020See more from the issue here.

Central New Hampshire

Lebanon
In bustling downtown Lebanon, you can easily access the western terminus of the 57-mile gravel surface Northern Rail Trail. It runs all the way to Boscawen, and has spectacular views of Mascoma Lake, Webster Lake, Mt. Kearsage, Mt. Cardigan, a covered bridge and much more. Choose your mileage accordingly. If you’re up for some distance, the Danbury Country Store, 27 miles from Lebanon, makes a nice rest or lunch stop. You can easily shorten this trip by turning around whenever you want and enjoying lunch or dinner in downtown Lebanon.

Franklin
For some super fun and flowy mountain- or fat-biking, try the artfully carved trails at Franklin Falls Dam Conservation area in, you guessed it, Franklin. It’s an enchanted forest of buff single track. Trails range from easy (Moose Gully, Rusty Bucket, Stump) to advanced (Rogue, Caddywhompus, Mighty Chicken).

Wolfboro
From downtown Wolfboro, you can easily access the 12-mile Cotton Valley Rail Trail and ride to Wakefield and back for a roundtrip total of about 24 miles. It’s a scenic trail with amazing views of Crescent Lake and Lake Wentworth. After your ride, be sure to walk through downtown Wolfboro with its many restaurants, shops, parks and museums.

Western New Hampshire

Peterborough
If riding on paved roads through rolling hills and quintessential New England scenery is your thing, start from Francestown center and ride along Route 136 to Peterborough. Have lunch at Twelve Pine or any of the many other irresistible options, like the Peterborough DinerToadstool BookshopBaker’s Station or Harlow’s Pub, nearly all of which offer outdoor seating. About 22 miles roundtrip, and Peterborough is divine.

More Information
Learn more here about the state’s most bike-friendly communities, why you might want to consider an E-bike and more advice from Paula Bedard.

Keene
It doesn’t get much better than Keene. Bike trail options include the Cheshire Rail Trail, the Ashuelot Rail Trail and many more. Pick one and explore. Park in downtown Keene for a scenic out-and-back in just about any direction. Roll or stroll through the historic downtown area, being sure to seek out the “Magical History Tour” of evocative murals that grace 16 of the city’s downtown buildings. There are also six covered bridges within a 16-mile radius of downtown Keene. If you’re thirsty or hungry, there are many inviting watering holes, bakeries, cafés and restaurants. Keene rocks.

Eastern New Hampshire

Seacoast
Ah, the seacoast! You haven’t lived till you’ve ridden Route 1A along New Hampshire’s stunning seacoast. With a road or hybrid bike, head east on Route 111 in North Hampton, then north on Ocean Boulevard. Stop, rest, and enjoy the scenery at the entrance to Odiorne Point State Park, then turn around here for your approximately 22-mile out-and-back. You won’t regret it. It’s a flat trail, but be prepared for gusty ocean breezes that are not always a tailwind. The views cannot be beat. Note: Be aware that right now parking along Route 1A is prohibited.

Northern New Hampshire

Littleton
There are 22 adventurous miles of options for mountain- or fat-biking in Littleton at Parker Mountain Trails. The trails are stupid-fun with views of the Presidential Range. If you’re undaunted by a little climbing, try pedaling all the way to “Linda’s Lookout” for a stunning mountaintop panorama. Après ride, Littleton’s Main Street, a Great American Main Street award-winner, along the scenic Ammonoosuc River, is a hub of restaurants, cafés, breweries and shops. It has a vibrancy that’s unmatched in the state.

Gorham
A trip to the North Country’s Gorham for biking is well worth it. Stay for a few days and explore the gravelsurface, 18-mile Presidential Rail Trail. It is a section of the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail (xnhat.org). Start at the Presidential Rail Trail parking lot near Moose Brook State Park and head west toward Jefferson. Hit it in late June for jaw-dropping lupine blooms.

Map

Want to find the places mentioned here (and more)? Check out our Google map that contains many spots featured in our special Best Places New Hampshire 2020 issue.

Mountain bikers of all abilities will swoon over the 22 miles of trails built and maintained by the Coös Cycling Club. Just go get some. Afterward, downtown Gorham has many food and beverage options like White Mountain CaféLibby’s Bistro and SAaLT Pub.

Cross New Hampshire

Adventure Trail
This rugged, 83-mile trail transects the northern part of the state, from the Maine border in Shelburne, New Hampshire, to the east, stretching west all the way to the Vermont border town of Woodsville, New Hampshire. It’s best done in sections, but if you’re a multiday bike packer, definitely put this one on your list. The website xnhat.org has all the info you need to complete this North Country gem.

Southern New Hampshire

Goffstown
With a hybrid, gravel or mountain bike, you can explore eclectic Goffstown with its beautiful 5.5-mile gravel-surface rail trail, the Goffstown Rail Trail. It has beautiful views of Glen Lake and the Piscataquog River. In Goffstown Village, the historic depot building is now home to Apotheca, a bike-friendly and inviting coffee, tea and flower shop. Head east on the rail trail to connect directly to Manchester’s paved rail trail system known as the Piscataquog Trail. Take the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge, which has a spectacular view of the Queen City, to access many downtown Manchester destinations. It’s about 16 miles roundtrip from Goffstown to downtown Manchester.

 

For more information, click here!

Full Moon Hike at Prescott Farms

Precott Farms, Laconia, May 26

Set out at dusk to explore Prescott Farm at night. Inspired by the weather and the dynamic calendar of the natural world, topics discussed on our moonlit walk will vary but may include: identifying constellations, discussing the habits of nocturnal animals and practicing your own night vision abilities.  Purchase tickets here: prescottfarm.org

 

Mother's Day Events and Brunches

There are plenty of great things to do during Mother’s Day weekend 2021, including special brunches at local wineries, a plant sale, craft fair, arts festival and much more.

Fuller Gardens Plant Sale

Does Mom like to garden? If so, then take her to pick from hundreds of field grown hardy perennials, potted hardy rose bushes of all varieties and herbs. A fun event for all ages; there’s something for everyone! You won’t want to miss this annual event that runs rain or shine.

Date: May 7-9, 2021
Where: Fuller Gardens, 10 Willow Ave., North Hampton
More Info: Visit fullergardens.org


11th Annual Mother’s Day Weekend Craft Festival

Meet the makers at the Mother’s Day Weekend Craft Festival.

The scenic Town Common in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, will come alive with color, flavor and music for the 11th Annual Mother’s Day Weekend Craft Festival.

More than 75 juried craftsmen and craftswomen from all over New England will display and sell their American-made works, including stained glass, original watercolors, photography, pottery, carved wildlife, folk art, hand-crafted soaps, country wood, quilts, doll clothes, fine jewelry, floral design and more.

Come and sample the culinary delights of herbal dips, kettle corn, maple, pickles, jams, jellies, lemonade, homemade fudge, oils, sauces and more.

The fair is held rain or shine, handicap accessible and admission is free.

Hampton Falls Town Common is located directly on Route 1 in the lovely and picturesque village of Hampton Falls.

Date: May 8-9, 2021
Time: Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Hampton Falls Town Common, 4 Lincoln Ave., Hampton Falls
More Info: (603) 332-2616 or click here.


Mother’s Day Three-Course Plated Brunch at Flag Hill Distillery & Winery

Enjoy brunch in a vineyard! Sparkling Cayuga white is included with your brunch, and there will be plenty of delicious food options for you to enjoy.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: 297 North River Rd., Lee
Cost: $48 per person
More info: Reservations are necessary. Click here to register.


Mother’s Day Brunch at LaBelle Winery

Visit this lovely winery and enjoy gorgeous views for a special brunch.

Date: May 9, 2021
Where: 345 Route 101, Amherst
Cost: $73 for adults
More Info: Visit the website to see the full menu or to reserve a table.


Mother’s Day High Tea Brunch & Wine Pairing at Averill House Vineyard & Winery

This Mother’s Day High Tea Brunch & Wine Pairing is an experience to share with mom, sisters, friends and the wine lover’s in your life.

High Tea Brunch & Wine Pairing: Includes a pre-set four-course brunch, cup of tea, a tasting flight of four wines (must be 21+) per guest and a souvenir glass.

While enjoying a delicious meal enjoy a wine tasting of four wines that will be the perfect balance to our High Tea theme.

Chef Debbi from The Seasoned Chef NH has come up with a scrumptious four-course menu that will highlight traditional High Tea finger sandwiches, patisseries and more.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: 21 Averill Rd., Brookline
Cost: $50
More Info: Register here and find more information.


Mother’s Day Takeaway at the Currier Museum

Celebrate Mother’s Day with a delicious takeaway brunch to enjoy at home that includes menu items like broccoli and cheddar frittata, chicken madeira with sweet onion, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms and strawberries and cream with fresh biscuits.

Date: May 8, 2021
Where: The Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash Street, Manchester
Tickets: $150, serves 4-6, add Prosecco for $20
More Info: (603) 669-6144 or click here.


More Brunch Suggestions

The Bedford Village Inn

The BVI offers both a Mother’s Day brunch and dinner. Menus and more information can be found here. Reservations required.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: Brunch seating: 9:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Dinner seating: 2-7 p.m.
Where: 2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford
Cost: Brunch: $65 per person, $32 for children (plus tax and gratuity). Dinner: $65 per person, $34.95 for children (plus tax and gratuity)
More Info: (603) 472-2001 or click here.


Mother’s Day Grand Buffet at Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa

Enjoy a delicious spread in the hotel’s Harvest Tavern that includes an omelet station and smoked ham carving station. Buffet options include eggs Benedict, pancakes, cornmeal-crusted catfish, New Hampshire squash bisque and more.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, 101 Mountain View Rd., Whitefield
Cost: Ages 13 and older are $24, ages 6 to 12 are $12 and children 5 and under eat free.
More Info: 1-888-589-6661 or click here. Reservations are required.


Mother’s Day Dinner at Omni Mount Washington Resort

Savor a delectable four-course Mother’s Day Dinner in the newly renovated Main Dining Room and prepared by an award-winning culinary team.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: 12-8 p.m.
Where: Omni Mount Washington Resort, 310 Mt. Washington Hotel Rd., Bretton Woods
Cost: $65 for adults, ages 6 to 12 are $30 and children 5 and under eat free.
More Info: See the event schedule here.


The Old Courthouse

Enjoy a brunch buffet with a cooked-to-order omelet station and fresh sliced North Country Smokehouse applewood-smoked ham in this lovely restaurant that’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

Date: Available every Sunday
Time: 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: The Old Courthouse, 30 Main St., Newport
Cost: $18.95 for adults and $9.50 for children under 12.
More Info: (603) 863-8360 or click here. Reservations are recommended.


The Grazing Room at The Colby Hill Inn

The Grazing Room, which is certified local by the New Hampshire Farm-to-Restaurant Connection, is located at the charming Colby Hill Inn. The special Mother’s Day brunch has a three-course prix-fixe menu that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Where: 33 The Oaks St., Henniker
Cost: $70 for adults and $35 for kids
Reservations: Call (603) 428-3281
More Info: See the menu here.


The Foundry

The Foundry’s regular Sunday Riverside Brunch changes slightly depending on the season, but most weeks you can expect the buffet to include a custom omelet station, local meats, handmade pastries, fresh oysters, Belgian waffles, shrimp cocktail, hand carved roasts and much more.

Date: Brunch is regularly available on Sundays
Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: 50 Commercial St., Manchester
Reservations: Make reservations via OpenTable or call (603) 836-1925
More info: See the website for more information.


Atkinson Resort & Country Club

This special Mother’s Day brunch buffet has a carving station with ham, prime rib and pork loin, plus made-to-order omelets and waffles, salads, fruit, dessert table and much more.

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: 2 p.m.
Where: 85 Country Club Dr, Atkinson
Cost: $59 for adults, $25 for kids ages 3-10 and free for kids under 3
Reservations: Call (603) 362-8700
More Info: See the full brunch menu here.


Oak & Grain at the Inn at Pleasant Lake

Oak & Grain is the farm-to-table restaurant at the Best of NH award-winning Inn at Pleasant Lake. The Sunday brunch is inspired by their excellent prix-fixe dinners, with a three-course menu that includes appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Date: Regular Sunday brunch begins with a cocktail reception at 11:30 a.m. with seating at 12 p.m.
Where: 853 Pleasant St., New London
Cost: $40
Reservations: Reservations are required, and can be made by calling (603) 873-4833 or online.
More Info: See the website for more information and sample dishes.


The Common Man Mother’s Day Brunch To-Go

Date: May 9, 2021
Time: Times vary
Where: See the website for all participating restaurants.
Cost: Costs vary

Various restaurants in the Common Man family will hold special Mother’s Day brunches available to-go and enjoy at home. Click here for the full list.


Woodstock Inn, Station and Brewery

Offering the “brunch of all brunches,” featuring an omelets, french toast, waffles, plus tons of desserts and much more.

Date: May 9, 2021
Where: 135 Main St., North Woodstock
Cost: Costs vary
More Info: See the website for more information.

 

For more information, click here!

New Hampshire Day at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

May 8th, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH
Ready to get out and connect with nature and some wild animals? New Hampshire residents may visit the live animal exhibit trail at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center for only a $5 admission for New Hampshire Day. Note: New Hampshire Day tickets must be purchased in advance at nhnature.org.

Hit the Decks Returns as a Five-day Celebration

Enjoy some well-deserved time out shopping, eating, drinking and supporting your favorite businesses and attractions during the 2021 “Hit the Decks” celebration.

Portsmouth’s annual event will be extra special this year, after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Come out to play! It’s about sunshine filled days and warm nights outside. It’s about the restaurants, shops, hotels, activities and attractions that are welcoming you to kick off YOUR Summer on the Seacoast,” organizers write.

READ MORE

Typically a one-day event, this year Hit the Decks will feature five days of fun. This will spread the love across all participating businesses, and avoid having throngs of people flooding into Portsmouth for one day. From May 12 through 16, guests can get outside, enjoy the sunshine and support local business across one of New Hampshire’s favorite cities.

The celebration will feature restaurants, retail, lodging, arts, attractions and activities, each offering specials for Hit The Decks. The Seacoast Region is anticipating a banner season, according to a press release. Portsmouth has granted a historic number of outdoor dining permits, and the performing arts are expected to thrive as well.

Following the many hardships of the pandemic, including impacts on small businesses and local restaurants, the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth has planned an imaginative, COVID-safe celebration this year. Over 50 Seacoast businesses will participate, and they are feeling encouraged and optimistic, says Martha Sullivan, spokesperson for Hit the Decks.

“[We’re] trying to spread the love, spread the activities, open up the space,” says Sullivan. “For a lot of us, it’s our first time coming out to eat and going out shopping,” she adds.

Hit the Decks will be different this year in light of the pandemic and “Seacoast Safe” practices, says President of the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth Valerie Rochon in a press release.

“In the past, our membership loved hosting a huge one-day party along the decks, which we all embraced enthusiastically. But those embraces are just not possible this year, as we all know. So it has been gratifying and exciting, actually, to see local business leaders coming together to support one another, and to shine a light on what makes Portsmouth and the Seacoast a unique destination here in New Hampshire,” Rochon says.

Each day of the celebration will have a specific focus — Wednesday will be Restaurants, Thursday will be Retail, Friday will be Arts & Culture, Saturday will be Historic Homes and Sunday will be Activities & Attractions.

Aqua-colored Hit the Decks flags will both identify participating businesses and add a festive air to town, says Sullivan. Some shops will have outdoor displays as well, and outdoor dining will be offered in many of Portsmouth’s renowned restaurants.

While live music would usually be held centrally in one place, this year performers will be spread out across Portsmouth, playing on the street corners.

Another new, exciting element to Hit the Decks is the raffle. Simply scan the QR code found on posters or cards at participating businesses, and enter for a chance to win Buoy Local gift cards, “Deck Boxes” from local restaurants, and potentially a $500 travel voucher for Allegiant Airlines.

Can’t wait until May 12? Even better! “The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, City Hall and local business owners have worked incredibly hard to find innovative ways to keep Portsmouth and the Seacoast open for business.  The region is open for business right now — with a record number of outdoor dining options featuring beautiful decks, porches, patios and secret gardens.”

The city of Portsmouth has a mask ordinance in effect through the end of June. Hit the Decks will follow the city’s COVID-19 guidelines, and the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth supports #SeacoastSafe, social distancing and wearing masks in public, and the city’s mask ordinance.

The entire event is being put on in a way that is “Seacoast Safe,” including many COVID-19 precautions.

“The pandemic is still upon us. The scientific evidence is clear: Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing slows the spread of COVID-19, therefore saving lives, keeping our economy strong, and supporting our work force, residents and visitors. We have seen encouraging progress with people making plans to visit the region — our #SeacoastSafe policies are working. We encourage everyone to do their part to protect the health of our workforce, our residents, our visitors and our economy,” says Rochon in a press release.

Click here the full list of 2021 participants and all the latest updates.

For more information, click here!

 

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