Enjoy a weekend of New Hampshire’s culture and history on this tour across the state. This travel itinerary will show you the heartbeat of New Hampshire, a freethinking and culturally sophisticated yet unpretentious state. Tune in to New Hampshire Public Radio, and set out to find the authentic Granite State. Whether you’re a history buff, an arts lover, or a shutterbug, this itinerary is a jumping-off point for understanding what makes New Hampshire tick. Don’t worry—it won’t feel like history or art-appreciation class, and you don’t have to take notes. But do take pictures of your own.
Begin your trip in Portsmouth at Strawbery Banke, all about connecting with the past. Visitors to Strawbery Banke have the opportunity to experience and imagine how people lived and worked in this typical American neighborhood throughout four centuries of history. Through its restored houses, featured exhibits, interpretive programs, and historic landscapes and gardens, Strawbery Banke tells the stories of the many generations who settled in the Portsmouth community from the late 17th to the mid-20th century.
Next, drive to Canterbury Shaker Village and browse the antiques stores along Route 4. Canterbury Shaker Village offers a full calendar of special events, each focusing on a particular theme of interest. Visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, demonstrations and activities as they explore these exuberant Village celebrations. From summertime Meeting House concerts to a candlelit Christmas stroll, special events at Canterbury Shaker Village shed new light on Shaker traditions and provide new ways of learning about Shaker culture.
Continue on to the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region and visit The Fells in Newbury, one of New England’s finest examples of an early 20th-century summer estate. Take a historic guided tour of the 22-room Colonial Revival summer home of John Milton Hay, stroll the length of the 100-foot Perennial Border, discover the Old Garden, hidden behind masses of rhododendron, and admire the view of Lake Sunapee from the formal Rose Terrace and renowned hillside Rock Garden where a brook trickles to a Japanese water lily pool.
Afterwards, stop in Cornish where J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, once lived. Salinger, who passed away in 2010, was famous for being somewhat of a reclusive character. The town has long been a summer haven for artists and writers, a solitary escape in the woods.
Pay a visit to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, 150 acres of studios, gardens and the former home of one of America’s foremost sculptors, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The estate was the artist’s summer residence until his death in 1907. Saint-Gaudens is credited with portraits of American heroes, including presidents, military leaders and Supreme Court Justices, as well as monuments and tributes such as the grieving figure in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.
Another famous landmark in Cornish is the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, connecting New Hampshire to Vermont and having the distinction of being the longest historical covered bridge in the world! This bridge is also part of the Connecticut National Scenic Byway, a great way to continue your adventure and experience the rural countryside of New Hampshire.
If you are in the area, don’t miss:
• Currier Museum of Art in Manchester
• Frank Lloyd Wright’s Zimmerman House in Manchester
• Museum of New Hampshire History in Concord
• Enfield Shaker Village in Enfield
• Robert Frost Place in Franconia
• Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tamworth
• The MacDowell Colony and Peterborough Players in Peterborough
• American Independence Museum in Exeter
• John Paul Jones House Museum and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail in Portsmouth
• Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown
This itinerary is compliments of the State of New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development.