The Upper Valley has so much to offer because it embraces two states, one large river, and an abundance of great food, culture, adventure, history, and the beauty of our region. The following are some of my family's favorites outings:
ARTS & CULTURE:
Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich, VT - A hands-ON science museum for all ages! Nature trails with native plants grace the expansive property & fun exhibits that change all the time are sure to please - and teach. Open year-round! http://www.montshire.org/
Hood Museum of Art, Hanover NH - Once the kids are all tuckered out you can head on over to the Hood and also enjoy the beautiful Dartmouth College campus - or even better the Hood offers a great "date night" for you and your spouse or loved one! Sundays are family days at the Hood and admission is always FREE! Closed Mondays http://www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/
Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hanover NH - Take in a wonderful live show or movie at The Hop, also located on Dartmouth Campus and right next door to the Hood. Ballet, African Drummers, Opera - if you want culture, here it is! Visit http://www.hop.dartmouth.edu/
AVA Gallery & Art Center, Lebanon NH - Summer (Beginning June 22nd) classes & workshops for all ages keeps busy hands - well, busy! Showcases local artists and offers year-round classes for all ability ranges. www.avagallery.org
BEST OF VERMONT
Quechee Gorge, Quechee Vermont - A full day of fun & activities for every age group is available within very short driving distance from the Gorge itself.
Toy & Train Museum, Cabot Cheese & Farmer's Diner are all located in the Quechee Gorge Village, located just before the Gorge. Breakfast at the Diner is always delish or enjoy lunch here and partake in some handmade incredible ice cream! The Toy & Train Museum showcases how toys have evolved over the decades from the 40's on so every generation is sure to exclaim "I used to have one of those!"...and when you do, you'll get a sticker to prove it! Also there is a fantastic replica of the actual train tracks that run through Vermont. http://www.quecheegorge.com/
Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) - Live birds, summer nature camps & wildlife conservation. Visit the nature center for varying exhibits. Open until October 31st http://www.vinsweb.org/
Simon Pearce, Quechee VT - Watch a glass blowing demonstration & enjoy some of the best food & wine in the Upper Valley. $$$ but worth every bite! http://www.simonpearce.com/
Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock VT - I am pleased to add this destination, one that I just visited (Oct 2009) and thoroughly enjoyed. A full tour of the working farm, fully restored 1890 Farm House, and museum make a perfect 1/2 day exploration or for a full days enjoyment also visit the March-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park right across the street! The ice cream alone is worth the trip!
Valley Quest - Hike, treasure hunt & learn about the unique Upper Valley region for all ability ranges and ages. Visit www.vitalcommunities.org/ValleyQuest for quests and more information
Cardigan Mountain, Canaan NH - A local favorite hike, easy enough for grade school children and provides an incredible panoramic view of the Valley. Take Route 4 to Route 118, follow signs
Appalachian Trail - The Upper Valley is also blessed with the Appalachian Trail meandering right through our area with many trail heads and outlets. http://www.appalachiantrail.org/
ON & AROUND THE WATER
Mascoma Lake, Route 4A Enfield NH - Public boat launch (and beach) available for motor boats, water skiing, jet skiing, etc. While here, visit the Shaker Village, LaSallette Shrine & if you are a gemstone lover, go to Gemstar Gemstone at the head of the lake for some incredible jewelry making and gemstone buys. LaSallette is a favorite winter location when they dress the shrine up with wonderous Christmas decorations but is viewable year-round.
Lake Sunapee & Mount Sunapee, Sunapee NH - Cruises available (with dinner served) on the lake or in the winter enjoy some great skiing. http://www.newlondonareanh.org/ While visiting the Sunapee area, I also recommend The Fells, Newbury NH - Historic estate & gardens is beautiful and fun to tour. Open seasonally http://www.thefells.org/ and Philbrick-Cricenti Bog, New London NH - Completely flat, easy walk made up of a few loops that display some of the most unique native plants in the Valley such as Pitcher plants (carnivorous) http://hikenh.netfirms.com/TDPCBog
ROUTE 12A DRIVE
Follow Route 12A from West Lebanon to see these amazing attractions:
Saint-Gaudens, Cornish NH offers art, incredibly kept historic estate and gardens as well as walking trails following a beautiful brook, definitely worth a stop! http://www.sgnhs.org/ Across the Road, you will notice the Cornish Arts Colony, part of the earliest art colonies in the US and was home to painter Maxfield Parrish, writer Winston Churchill and scores of others
Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge - The longest wooden bridge in the US and the longest two-lane bridge in the world! It connects Vermont and New Hampshire by spanning nearly 450' across the Connecticut River.