Art museums, music and theatre
Literature, music, theater, art — these are a few of your favorite things. Lucky for you, summer is prime time to soak up culture right along with some rays.
The NH Music Festival is a six-week series that honors traditional classical music while exploring new artistic paths. Now in its 63rd year, it features a number of world-class concerts that range from the Orchestra Classic Series to a series designed specifically for families to enjoy.
Start with a taste of our excellent summer theatre venues with the historic trio New London Barn Theatre, Peterborough Players and the Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth. By the way, this is just scratching the surface — click here for a comprehensive guide. Whether you appreciate Shakespeare or Broadway, there's sure to be something happening that you'll love.
Get your festival on with the Granite State Music Festival in Concord, The New Hampshire Music Festival (various venues, July 5-August 3), The White Mountains Boogie and Blues Festival (August 19-21) in Thornton, the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth or The SoulFest (August 4-6, Gunstock, Gilford). There's much more happening throughout the summer – Find more arts and music festivals here. (By the way, if you're looking for food, craft or beer festivals, then click here. This list also includes a number of traditional state fairs and extends into the fall.)
Peruse (and purchase) gorgeous local crafts or catch a demonstration or two at the massive outdoor League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair (August 6-14) in Newbury or watch artists in action in the gorgeous gardens of The Fells during the Artists’ Weekend (July 16-17) also in Newbury or during the Garden Party at Fuller Gardens (July 13) in North Hampton.
Enjoy sculpture, gorgeous scenery and concerts throughout the summer at the historic Saint-Gaudens Estate in Cornish or explore the paths not taken at the Frost Place in Franconia. By the way, see our feature on the Saint-Gaudens Estate here to see photos and to learn more about this often overlooked gem. It's well worth a visit.
Continue your literary journey and enjoy a glass of local wine at the Gilmanton Winery, which was once the home of Grace Metalious, author of the once scandalous "Peyton Place." You can also visit the New Hampshire Literary Hall of Fame at the Southern New Hampshire University campus in Manchester. Created by the New Hampshire Writers' Project, the Hall of Fame honors the state’s rich literary heritage by commemorating its leading authors with a biennial ceremony. The very first set of writers was inducted in 2015 and includes Robert Frost, Donald Hall, Grace Metalious and John Irving.
Once a summer, on Medal Day, the public is invited to explore New Hampshire's famous haven for artists, the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough. On this year's Medal Day (August 14) novelist and editor Toni Morrison will be awarded the 57th Edward MacDowell Medal. There is no charge to attend medal day.
There are fabulous galleries all over the state, but Portsmouth is a great summer destination, and it just so happens to be home to 3S Artspace, an alternative multidisciplinary arts venue that’s part gallery and part performance space, complete with artists’ studios and a restaurant. Check out this story from our sister publication, The Square, for more information on 3S Artspace.
Here are some other NH galleries and museums we suggest visiting this summer:
- The Currier Museum of Art, Manchester
- McGowan Fine Art, Concord
- The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fine Craft Galleries
- The Sharon Arts Center, Sharon
- New Hampshire Institute of Art Gallery, Manchester
- BAD ART, Littleton
- The Gallery at WREN, Bethlehem
- The ARTS Gallery, Lisbon
- Nahcotta, Portsmouth
- AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon
- Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Concord
- East Colony Fine Art, Manchester
- artstream, Dover
- Galleries at the Kimball-Jenkins Estate, Concord
- Walpole Artisans Cooperative, Walpole
- The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth, Hanover
- Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University, Plymouth
- Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College, Keene
- Museum of Art at UNH, Durham
If you're exploring the North Country this summer, then make sure to fit in some time to explore the artistic world alongside the outdoors one. Here's our big story on art in the North Country that has much more information.