Best of NH 2021 Shops & Services
Who doesn't need a little retail therapy now and then? From places to buy a bike to great garden centers, here's where to indulge yourself. Plus, find the best services in pet care, fitness and more.
New Hampshire is home to miles of great mountain biking trails and parks (see our recent story on lift-service mountain biking at nhmagazine.com for more), and that means there are plenty of Granite Staters who enjoy hurtling down hills on knobby wheels. If you count yourself among the truly passionate, you might want to get in touch with Kristofer Henry. Henry is the founder and owner of 44 Bikes in Lyndeboro, where he turns a lifelong love of the sport into custom-built bikes. While the process might not be for everyone — it’s not something that’s finished overnight — for those looking for their own unique ride, this might be the perfect fit.
What used to be the Rockingham Park horse racing track is currently transforming into a 3.8-million-square-foot, mixed-use super regional destination, thanks to Tuscan Brands. Tuscan Village in Salem is a 170-acre property complete with a grocery store, luxury apartments, bars, fitness facility, live entertainment, brewery, beer garden, restaurants, retailers, and a variety of local and national brands with more joining the megacenter by the end of the construction process in 2022. The overall goal? For it to be a place for you to be able to “Live. Stay. Work. Play.”
Alison Murphy and Alyssa McClary opened their dream shop Penumbra in the shell of the famous old French’s Toy Store on the corner of Warren and State streets in Concord in March 2020, and were open a whole week before COVID-19 locked down the whole Live Free or Die state. The concept of a gift shop featuring mostly small succulents and philodendrons in interesting pots was daring to begin with, but it was also pretty timely. “Our aesthetic is ‘plants we can’t kill,’ because neither of us has background in plants, but we love them,” their website says. And the opportunity to offer something living (and hardy) as a gift during our “plague year” became popular, giving the owners a chance to keep the doors open via pickup and delivery. As the world opens up, the shop has expanded to offer a variety of similarly spot-on gifts, all stylish and resilient.
The Moon River Wellness Center did not duck when the coronavirus struck New Hampshire. In fact, it was really a call to action. The center had just opened in the heart of Pelham to serve as a true “center” for the community and continues an evangelical outreach to the surrounding communities promoting yoga, massage and other alternative paths to wellness. Created by a local family with deep roots in town, the Moon River mission extends to providing assistance to area nonprofits via their “Yoga on the Green” program where class fees are donated to assist the arts and to feed local families.
Place to Recharge
People have been going to Wolfeboro to get away from the pressures of life since before the founding of our country, eventually earning the lakeside community the motto of “Oldest Summer Resort in America.” But what if you already want to live on the lake and still want to get away from it all? Ohm Lifestyle Center in Wolfeboro has a few ideas for you, ranging from the sweet heat of an infrared sauna to the infinite drift of a float tank built for two. Ohm just completed extensive upgrade on their already-top-of-the-line facilities, and they offer all the conventional spa and styling amenities, just paired up with state-of-the-art features like their hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Frizzhome Gardens in Bedford feels like a find even though it’s not exactly far off the beaten path — it’s just a couple of miles from busy Route 3 — but when you arrive after driving through a quiet residential area, it looks like you might be pulling into someone’s driveway. This unassuming family-owned and -operated center is packed with plants, most of which are grown onsite and are very affordable. A tour around the open-air stands and many greenhouses reveals a huge variety of plants from the expected to the surprising. Walk through the main building to the tropical greenhouse to explore a world that feels very far from New Hampshire. This lush space is teeming with succulents, cacti, birds of paradise, plumeria (also known as lei flowers), cycads, canna lilies and more beautiful and unusual (at least for New England) species. If you’re looking for something new and different — and the advice for how to care for your latest garden addition — this is the place.
Angels Sewing and Quilting opened in Salem in the thick of the pandemic, supplying the growing demand for useful and creative outlets for all those all those hunkering down at home. Created by Carol Lawrence of Red Arrow Diner fame, Angels is similarly dense with product, fun promotions (like “Sew Fun Sundays”) and knowledgeable, earnest staff. Lawrence says the Red Arrows are all doing just fine, thanks. She just wanted to try something new, and she’s gone in 100% on this new shop, reflecting her own love of the art of stitchery. The shop offers free lessons with every sewing machine sold and they carry the best — Baby Lock, Brother, Janome — and they think they are the only Juki brand distributor in the state. Along with classes in a variety of sewing skills, Lawrence does a Facebook Live presentation every Friday at 9. “I’m in heaven,” she says, “living the dream.”
Readers’ Poll Winners
Antique or Vintage Shop
Grappone Automotive Group
Concord and Portsmouth
Bicycle Shop Multilocation Local Goodale’s Bike Shop
Hooksett, Nashua and Concord
Comic Book Store
Jetpack Comics & Games
Meagan Sbat, Get Fit NH
Cobblestone Design Company
Wentworth Greenhouses & Garden Center
Hair Daze Salon and Spa
Home Décor Shop
Independently Owned Fitness Center
Get Fit NH
Kid’s Clothing Shop
Puddlejumpers Children’s Shop
Local Jeweler With Store
Men’s Clothing Shop
Mac & Cooper’s Pet Supply Outlet
Pet Supplies Store
Mac & Cooper’s Pet Supply Outlet
No Monkey Business Dog Training
Secondhand Clothing Shop
M&C Clothing and Goods
Piche’s Ski & Sport Shop
Gilford and Belmont
Willikers! Books & Toys
Women’s Clothing Shop
Gondwana & Divine Clothing Co.
Sol Power Yoga