Historical New Hampshire Attractions | Best Western Hotels & Resorts

  

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Interesting New Hampshire Attractions and Historical Sites 

As one of the original 13 colonies, New Hampshire has a lot of history to share and up to date museums and attractions give you the opportunity to explore strategic achievements of the coastal state throughout the years. New Hampshire was the first state in the U.S. to have its own constitution and this spirit of independence has gained New Hampshire the widespread motto ‘Live Free or Die’. 

From the celestial peak of Mt. Washington to the deep ravine of the Lost River Gorge, even New Hampshire’s natural landmarks seem to echo this claim. There’s no shortage of roadside attractions like the romantic and rocky Isles of Shoals. Day tripping through the mountains continues to be a favorite way to take in the magnificent splendor of New England’s fall foliage. Come explore the deeply riveting attractions of New Hampshire and leave having discovered that independent spirit of nature-inspired progress in you.

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From the celestial peak of Mt. Washington to the deep ravine of the Lost River Gorge, even New Hampshire’s natural landmarks seem to echo this claim. There’s no shortage of roadside attractions like the romantic and rocky Isles of Shoals. Day tripping through the mountains continues to be a favorite way to take in the magnificent splendor of New England’s fall foliage. Come explore the deeply riveting attractions of New Hampshire and leave having discovered that independent spirit of nature-inspired progress in you.

Concord

Begin your exploration at the New Hampshire State House in Concord which became the first official place of state government in the U.S. The State House, which was erected in 1819, was constructed from local Concord granite. It sits on 2.6 acres in the city center and displays statues of General John Stark, Franklin Pierce, Daniel Webster and John P. Hale throughout its grounds. The State House was designed in the style of Greek Revival, showcasing Corinthian columns and a portico which rises up to greet a gilded dome that stands 150 feet in the air.

You can enjoy the history within by taking a guided or self-guided tour that offers glimpses of military history in the Hall of Flags where 107 flags hang in representation of the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Civil War. Marvel at the expansive Doric Hall that features murals depicting the rich history of the state. New Hampshire’s state legislature and the offices of the Governor and Executive Council still meet here today, making it the oldest state capitol building in the United States where the legislature meets in its original chambers.

Located near Concord in New Hampshire, the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site showcases the working studio, gardens and summer home of famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This beautiful estate showcases over 100 of his artworks that include public monuments, portrait reliefs, and two sculptures depicting President Lincoln. The compound and surrounding Cornish Art Colony are open for tours in the summer, while in the winter visitors can explore on their own.

Portsouth

Head Southeast and in about an hour you’ll come to the famed city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire which offers various attractions and maritime museums. The scenic Portsmouth Harbor Trail gives way to over 400 years of history and showcases 10 buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and an additional 10 that grace the list of National Historical Landmarks. From late June to early October visitors can embark on walking tours that take you back to lives of some of Portsmouth’s earliest settlers, patriots, shipbuilders, and entrepreneurs. Adults pay a small fee while kids can walk the tour through downtown Portsmouth for free.

We can thank the Portsmouth Historical Society for preserving the only building known in association with the American naval hero John Paul Jones who was responsible for overseeing the construction of the U.S.S. America, a 74-gun naval ship in 1782. Located in Portsmouth, visitors can view rotating exhibits at the John Paul Jones House including historical artifacts from the seafaring city.

As a hub for maritime research, Portsmouth is also home to the innovative submarine the USS Albacore. Visitors can visit the park which features a visitor center and museum. Take an audio tour which highlights the Albacore’s unique features including the teardrop hull form which is still used in modern American submarines today. The nearby memorial garden commemorates the brave men who pioneered submarines that were lost during World War II and the Cold War.

Isles of Shoals

Just off the coast of Portsmouth, the Isles of Shoals are a group of Islands belonging to Maine and New Hampshire. They feature numerous walking trails through lush greens and granite outcrops overlooking the ocean. Portsmouth offers many harbor cruises that dock at Islands like Star Island that boasts a church and conference center or visit the humbler White Island that features a signature lighthouse and is the most southerly island of the group. When you return to Rye Harbor don’t forget to top off your seafaring experience with a delectable lobster roll or mussels from the Rye Harbor Lobster Pound.

White Mountains

Journey north to the White Mountains for pristine New Hampshire scenery like the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. Located near Franconia, a .75-mile walk over boardwalks and stairs carry you through the glacier-carved beauty of luscious green moss and granite boulders in Kinsman Notch. Explore rugged caves and pass over sparkling waterfalls or take the kids to explore the Lost River Mining Sluice where they can hunt for gemstones and fossils while learning about the geological history of the Northeast.

For more New Hampshire roadside attractions to experience with kids, we recommend Santa’s Village in Jefferson (nearby Franconia) where little ones can enjoy the large holiday theme park which features a reindeer petting zoo and ornate Christmas Carousel.

If you head back south toward Concord, be sure to stop at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center for an engaging experience that lets you explore aviation, astronomy and space science. The center offers hands-on learning exhibits and views from the 14” Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope in the Observatory.

Keene

With art lovers in your group, you’ll want to head back to Keene to the Redfern Arts Center for theatre performances, artists’ studios and year-round hands-on fun. Workshops and diverse dance and theatre performances make this Art Center an exceptional venue for viewing dance troops from North Africa and New York City along with native New England performances including a 1980s dance party and new Irish drama.

Mt Washington

Finally, a trip to New Hampshire wouldn’t be complete without standing on the peaks of one of many majestic mountains. The tallest peak, Mount Washington is located in the northern part of the state, just east of Franconia. Mount Monadnock, near Keene, is well known for expansive scenery and long trails. Whatever your ideal adventure, New Hampshire is a versatile state with breathtaking vistas and preservation of multiple historical attractions and activity centers to fuel your imagination.