Best of NH 2013 Fun and Adventure

Get out there and have some fun! This list includes everything from hiking trails and a picnic spot to zip line tours and a day spa.
Take the "plunge" at SkyVenture in Nashua.

Readers' Poll
*Editor's Picks

*Accessible Trails: Back in 2011 the Crotched Mountain Foundation opened the fully accessible Dutton Brook and Gregg Trails in Greenfield. At a combined four miles, this is the longest mountain trail network of its kind in the US, offering everyone — regardless of physical ability — the chance to explore this beautiful area. For those with disabilities or anyone who has trouble getting around, the gently sloping trails are able to accommodate wheelchairs, power chairs and other means of assistance.

*Best Playground: Part of the Hampton Beach facelift included a revitalization of their playground. Where else can you take the kids for a whirl on a merry-go-round, slip on a slide or toe-in on a kid-sized climbing wall — all with a pure sand base and steps from the bracing cold ocean for a quick cool-down.

Cooking Classes
Chez Boucher Culinary Training Center

*Cooking Classes and Alcohol Pairings: The In the Mix Kitchen Series, hosted by the New Hampshire Liquor Outlets, happens every Saturday at the new superstore in Nashua. From 12 pm.-2 p.m. a local chef will offer samples and tips for mixing a variety of food, wine and spirits.

Kids and adults alike will love the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort.

Day Spa
The Wingate Salon and Spa

Family-Friendly Resort
Red Jacket Mountain View Resort
North Conway

Grand Hotel
Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa
New Castle

The historic Hancock Inn.

*Historic Hospitality: Step into The Hancock Inn and you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s still appointed in the lovely Colonial-era furniture, paintings and curios that were in style when it opened its doors in 1789. Once — and still — a gathering spot for locals (Franklin Pierce among them) and a place of respite for travelers, it’s New Hampshire’s oldest, continuously operating inn. In the last year alone, it’s won a ton of awards.

*Indoor Adventure: SkyVenture in Nashua started with indoor skydiving, a vertical wind tunnel where you can experience the freedom of flight. Then came the Fishpipe endless water slide, a rotating barrel of water that offers the equivalent of a 1,600-foot slide. Now they’re building Surfs Up Indoor Surfing, which will be the largest facility for indoor surfing in North America. It’s slated to be making waves in August.

Sports enthusiasts will love Arena Sports Bar and Night Club in Nashua.

Karaoke Spot
Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery
North Woodstock

NH Sports Team
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Nerdfest: Not all adventures involve sunlight and fresh air. Granite State Comicon in Manchester allows fanboy and fangirls and curiosity seekers of all ages to indulge their inner geek with cosplay, gaming tournaments, legions of pirates and stormtroopers to tease and celebrity guests like Katie Cook, writer and artist of "My Little Pony" (which has recently gained terrific nerd-cred online) and A-list voice actors like Quinton Flynn (Jonny Quest, Robot Chicken and Raiden of the Metal Gear game series).

*Place to Watch Sports: Sick of yelling at the TV/computer screen all by yourself? Head to Arena Sports Bar and Night Club in Nashua to bask in the glow of the 100-foot video wall that plays every conceivable sporting event at once. Free wi-fi and a live sports update ticker ensure that fantasy fanatics can obsessively check scores to their hearts’ content.

The Andrew Brook Trail off Mountain Road in Newbury offers fantastic views.

Resort/Hotel Spa
Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa
New Castle

Romantic Country Inn
Bedford Village Inn

*Seacoast Picnic Spot: If it’s a water view you want for your picnic, few places can rival Four Tree Island in Portsmouth. It sits at the mouth of the harbor, in the middle of the Piscataqua, just across from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Accessed via a causeway from Peirce Island, there are covered picnic tables, cooking facilities and, helpfully, public restrooms. As you can imagine, the strategic location is rife with important history.

The AMC Carter Notch Hut is quaint, rustic and possibly haunted.

*Ski Trail: The legendary Lynx Trail at Wildcat provides tons of winding vertical (2,112 feet of it). It also has great views — attested to by none other than National Geographic, which named the Lynx the “Most Scenic Trail in the North Conway Area.”

*Social Sports: Kickball, dodgeball, volleyball, softball, football, basketball  — what sports-minded young person doesn’t like them? That’s the point. It’s a great way to engage them and keep them from moving out of state (and in the employment pool). If that isn’t enough, there’s the Internet dating group and general networking. It’s all provided by New Hampshire Sports and Social Club, which has 15,000 members throughout the state.

Soar above the trees with Alpine Adventures.

*Sunapee Hike: It takes about an hour to hike, but the 6.5-mile Andrew Brook Trail off Mountain Road in Newbury gives you a big payback on your effort. You can stop at Lake Solitude, which is bordered by the White Cliffs that rise up on one side of the lake. Ten more minutes to the top of the cliffs for snacks and views then 30 minutes through hardwoods to the peak of Mount Sunapee. Across the lake is White Ledge, a series of cliffs that tower over the western part of the lake. Bring a fishing rod and pick up a trout at this rarely fished lake.

*White Mountain Hut: Given it’s the 125th anniversary of the AMC hut system, thumbs up goes to Carter Notch Hut, the oldest of the system’s eight huts. Not too tough to get to along the 19-mile Brook trail, it is quaint, rustic and terribly scenic. Oh, and maybe haunted. No worries, just the hut system’s first manager checking in on it.

*Winter Farmers Market: Though winter offers its own perks, it can be tough to go for months on end without local produce. Sure, you can find most things all year round in the grocery store, but typically cold weather meant a lack of NH-grown veggies. The Tilton Winter Farmers Market offers a great exception to this rule. Chase away any winter blues with a stroll among its many vendors offering winter produce, meats, cheeses and more.

Zip Line
Alpine Adventures

Categories: Best of NH Winners