Shopping, antiques and craft fairs

“The best things in life are free” isn’t exactly your motto. Shopping, bargain hunting at the local flea market (try the one in Hollis for starters) or antiquing are your preferred summer vacation activities.

Antique Alley offers more than 500 dealers along a stretch of Rte. 4. Photo by Wendy Wood.

Stroll through one of our picturesque downtowns filled with local shops — Portsmouth, Hanover, Peterborough, Littleton, Exeter, North Conway and Keene, just to name a few, are all lovely and walkable (see our Arts & Shopping Page for many more local shopping suggestions).

No need to head to the dreaded cities (here’s looking at you, Boston and New York) for fashionable outfits. There’s a not-so-well-known Barbour Outlet in Milford (55 Meadowbrook Dr.) and another location (and many other high-end outlets such as Coach, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH) at the Merrimack Premium Outlets. Find more great deals at the Tanger Outlets in Tilton or spend the day at the Settlers' Green Outlet Village in North Conway. If you happen to be at Settlers' Green on a Tuesday this summer, stick around for the free outdoor movie (July 11-August 22).

Search for treasures and unique items at the wonderfully eccentric RavenWood Curio Shoppe in Jackson and find that perfect period piece to adorn your house at the New Hampshire Antique Co-op in Milford. Summer is a great time to travel Antique Alley, which is a stretch of Rte. 4 that includes more than 500 dealers.

Antique enthusiasts will not want to miss the 60th Annual NH Antiques Show on August 10-12 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. This summer tradition brings together highly reputable dealers who, with a keen interest in educating visitors about antiques, save their most prized wares for the event. With on-site shipping and no sales tax this is the event to find that one-of-a-kind treasure you have been searching for.

Support local artists by shopping in one of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen retail galleries or visit Keene’s Hannah Grimes Marketplace, where you’ll find a huge variety of local products. 

Continue to keep it local by checking out the two outdoor Arts Markets in Concord and Manchester. The award-winning Concord Arts Market was founded in the Fall of 2008 and has since become a popular summer and fall destination held on Saturdays from June to August in Bicentennial Square. The event coincides with Concord's farmers' market as well. Speaking of farmers' markets, click here for our list of summer markets happening around the state.

On from July 15-16, the 28th Annual Craft Fair at the Bay is held along the Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront in Alton Bay. Once again you'll find more than 75 juried craftsmen and craftswomen from around New England selling everything mentioned above plus you'll find gourmet specialty foods including herbal dips, salsas, baked goods, homemade fudge, candies and more.

Perhaps the king of all craft and artisan fairs, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair, takes place from August 5-13 at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury. The fair is now 80+ years old, and this year there’s more to see and do than ever before. In addition to perusing the fine arts and crafts, enjoy demonstrations, workshops, a walk through the sculpture garden or stop to watch one of the many strolling performers including magicians, musicians, oversized puppets and more. Held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

The summer of craft continues with the 25th Annual Lincoln Summer Craft Festival August 12-13 at the Village Shops & Town Green. Over 150 juried Artisans from over 15 states will display and sell traditional American-made crafts including fine jewelry, quilts, fleece, dolls, tapestry, bird houses, photography, metal sculpture, stained glass and much more. There will also be plenty of gourmet and specialty foods.

Head north for the White Mountain Art and Artisan Festival in Jackson Village Park. Held from August 19-20, it features works by more than 40 artists presenting sculpture, glass and wood arts, ceramics, fiber arts, fine jewelry for sale at all price points. There will also be live music, food and arts and crafts.

Categories: Summer Planner