New Hampshire is a pint-sized state that packs a pretty big punch. New Hampshire offers a combination of outdoor activities, history and scenic vistas that keep generations of loyal travellers pouring in every year.
Cool down with some Atlantic waves at Hampton, gorge on incredible fall foliage, go to the north for a rugged adventure-filled vacation, or pop a thrill pill with an active holiday in the Lakes Region – choices are plenty and enough to confuse you where to begin. Keep these 20 New Hampshire Landmarks handy for a bragworthy holiday in the state.
- New Hampshire
- Famous Landmarks in New Hampshire
- Historic Landmarks in New Hampshire
- Natural Landmarks in New Hampshire
Famous Landmarks in New Hampshire
1- New Hampshire State House
Completed in 1819, New Hampshire State House is the nation’s oldest state house and where both the houses of legislature still meet in their original chamber.
It’s not surprising that the material used to build the Granite State’s Capitol building was granite.
The stately building in Concord flaunts a Greek Revival architectural style with trademark Doric and Corinthian columns.
A stately golden dome tops it all.
This New Hampshire landmark houses the New Hampshire General Court, Governor and Executive Council.
The grounds are spread across 2.6 acres (1.05 ha), and the building houses the Hall of Flags, Senate Chamber and House Chamber.
New Hampshire State House is at 107 N Main St, Concord, NH 03303.
2- Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
Zoom to the 4080 ft (1243 m) summit of Cannon Mountain in flat eight minutes.
North America’s first and New Hampshire’s only aerial tram offers a spectacular ride and a panoramic view during its 2180 ft (664m) vertical ascent.
It can accommodate 80 people in one go, and online reservations are recommended.
There is plenty to do on the mountain top besides marvelling at the mountains of four states – New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York – and Canada.
There is a 360-degree observation deck to enjoy the view.
Scenic paths, cafes, restaurants are there to explore and enjoy at the summit.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is at 260 Tramway Dr, Franconia, NH 03580.
3- U.S.S. Albacore
Take a peek into the submarine history of the U.S. Navy at this self-guided submarine museum in Portsmouth.
This museum is housed inside a 200 ft (60 m) research submarine U.S.S. Albacore and tells tales of secret feature testings and stories of Alabacore’s crew during the Cold War heyday.
The submarine experience is designed around audio stations that provide information about this underwater combat vessel’s unique features, such as its teardrop-shaped hull and hydrodynamics.
Peep through a real periscope, get busy in the control room, check out the engineering rooms and the bunkrooms for the full feel of this sub.
U.S.S. Albacore is at 600 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801.
4- Portsmouth Historic Houses
As one of New England’s oldest English settlements, Portsmouth has many stories to tell.
You can discover some of the secrets of Portsmouth tucked away within the walls of its nine historic houses, which were once the homes of interesting characters who were influential in America’s history.
The historic houses are decked out with antique decor, and the charming architecture is delightful.
Two to visit are Jackson House, which is the oldest timber-framed building in the state and built around the mid-1700s, and Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden.
The latter is a handsome Georgian mansion with lovely gardens built for merchant John Moffatt between 1760 and 1763.
Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden is at 154 Market Street | Portsmouth, NH 03801.
5- Kancamagus Highway
Known as ‘Kanc’ by the locals, Kancamagus Highway is New Hampshire’s National Scenic Byway that snakes through the thickly forested land of White Mountain National Forest.
This 34-mile route flares up in fall colours and offers one of the most scenic road trips in the state.
But don’t dismiss it just as a colour therapy for the eyes, as there are plenty of key New Hampshire landmarks along the way.
Visit Albany Covered Bridge, Lower Falls Scenic Area, Russell-Colbath Historic Site and Sabbaday Falls.
Pack a picnic and the day is sorted.
Access the Kancamagus Highway from I-93 in Lincoln NH or NH Rt. 16 from Conway NH.
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Historic Landmarks in New Hampshire
6- New Hampshire’s Railroad Museums
Railways emerged in New Hampshire during the first half of the 19th century.
With almost 1200 miles (1931 km) of railway tracks, you can cover the entire state on a train ride in a day.
Discover the state’s railway history at its railroad museums, such as Contoocook Railroad Depot, Ashland Railroad Station, North Conway station, Potter Place Railroad Station, Raymond Railroad Depot, Sandown Depot and Steamtown.
From seeing the world’s oldest surviving covered railroad bridge in Contoocook Railroad Depot to the best-preserved 19th-century rural railroad station of Ashland Railroad Station and the famed Boston & Maine railroad station of Raymond, these railroad museums are important landmarks in New Hampshire for railway buffs.
7- Mount Washington Cog Railway
Mount Washington Cog Railway is the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway and the result of one man’s tenacity.
The cog railway is testimony to incredible mechanical engineering feats.
Sylvester Marsh devised a cog system later patented as Marsh Rack System to make the track fit for a mountain railway to climb a steep gradient.
Although sceptics scoffed at his idea initially (his railroad might as well reach the moon, they said), he launched his railway in 1866.
Wrapped around the western slope of Mount Washington, this rail route is one of the spectacular rail rides in the world today.
Mount Washington Cog Railway is at 3168 Base Station Rd, Mount Washington, NH 03589.
8- Covered Bridges
Picturesque and quaint, the covered bridges of New Hampshire have a serious fanbase among photographers and romantics.
Engineering marvels from the past, these wooden bridges were initially erected to make river and stream crossing easy and quick. And the state had lots of bridges, as it has a vast network of rivers and streams, of which now only about 60 remain.
The Cornish-Windsor Bridge is America’s longest at 450 feet (137 m) connecting New Hampshire to Vermont.
Packard Hill Bridge at Robersode Drove, Lebanon, is the epitome of the traditional style for a covered bridge.
Sentinel Pine Bridge at Plume Gorge is the most dramatic and photogenic, and Bath-Haverhill is the oldest one, constructed in 1829.
9- America’s Stonehenge
America’s Stonehenge is a winding maze of man-made stone-walled chambers and caves believed to have been constructed 4000 years ago.
This mysterious site is atop a granite-studded hill in Salem.
Researchers have confirmed that, like England’s Stonehenge, America’s Stonehenge also proves the proficiency of ancient people in stone construction and astronomy.
The site is an astronomical calendar made of standing monoliths that align perfectly to predict a few annual solar and lunar activities.
The area is easily walkable, with lush green forest and solitude surrounding you.
America’s Stonehenge is at 105 Haverhill Rd, Salem, NH 03079.
10- American Independence Museum
New Hampshire was the first state of the USA to declare independence from England in 1775, so it’s befitting to pay homage to all things to do with freedom by visiting the American Independence Museum,
The historic house museum is Exeter, the Revolutionary War Capital of New Hampshire.
A tour around the house and tavern reveals fascinating facts about its original owners, the Gilman family, and many aspects of the American Revolution.
There is a collection of artifacts, documents and historically significant everyday objects.
Visitors with an affinity towards American history and Colonial America will delight in this compact capsule of information, where guided and self-guided tours are available.
American Independence Museum is at 1 Governors Ln, Exeter, NH 03833.
11- Robert Frost Homestead
From 1900 to 1911, the homestead was home to American poet Robert Frost and his family.
This quaint and simple two-storey white clapboard house and the connected farmhouse are now a National Historic Landmark.
Soak in his poetry on a nature poetry trail and explore the house, the fields, and the woods on a self-guided tour.
Open from May to October, there are seasonal programs available to participate in during that period.
Celebrate the author’s work on a literary trip here and admire the typical farmhouse architecture of 1880s New England.
Robert Frost Homestead is at 122 Rockingham Rd, Derry, NH 03038.
12- Castle in the Clouds
Formerly known as Lucknow Mansion, Castle in the Clouds is a labour of love of the original owner Thomas Gustave Plant and his wife, Olive, who built it in 1914.
It’s a perfect amalgamation of tradition and technology.
While the house had futuristic features that were way ahead of its time, the building materials were all-natural and local.
The estate sits on a rocky outcropping of the Lee Mountains and overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee and Ossipee Mountains.
Apart from a self-guided historic house tour, you can enjoy 35 miles of hiking trails in the estate, dine at an original 20th-century stable with a stunning mountain view, go trout feeding at Shannon Pond and grab an ice cream.
Castle in the Clouds is at Route 171, 455 Old Mountain Rd, Moultonborough, NH 03254.
13- Mount St Mary’s Manor
Located in Hooksett, Mount St Mary’s Manor was once a convent college for women but was converted into an upscale condominium after the former closed down in 1978.
The five-level Mercy Hall belonged to the Galt family from whom the Sisters of Mercy purchased the property in 1909.
The plush and exotic interiors featured intricate Italian marble, mahogany and oak.
The college shut down as the education trend veered from its single-sex higher education, which was comparatively expensive compared to nearby community colleges.
Mount St Mary’s Manor is at 15 Mount St Mary’s Way, Hooksett, NH 03106.
14- Fitzwilliam Town Hall
Another historic gem listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this double-storey timber frame structure is located in the Village Green.
The building is known for its period church architecture and its role in the town’s history.
It started as a humble church in the 1770s and in 1858, it was converted into a Town Hall.
The third version is a replica of the second one, which burned down just nine weeks after its construction.
The town hall is part of the Fitzwilliam Common Historic District, which is the town’s historic heart and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Fitzwilliam Town Hall is at 13 Templeton Turnpike, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447.
For landmarks in Latin America, see:
Natural Landmarks in New Hampshire
15- Mount Washington
Mount Washington is the state’s highest peak at 6288 ft (1916 m) and part of the White Mountains.
It’s also one of the most topographically prominent mountains east of the Mississippi River and is part of the Presidential Range.
You can drive up, hike, or take the cog railway to reach the state park, its summit.
It’s one of the windiest places in the northern hemisphere and you can learn more about its extreme weather at the Mount Washington Observatory.
Mount Washington is in Sargent’s Purchase in Coös County.
16- Hampton Beach
Ranked highly among the cleanest beaches in the United States, Hampton Beach is an 18-mile (29 km) long sandy sun-kissed strip along the Atlantic Ocean.
Every summer, the quiet beach town shakes itself up and transforms into the busiest beach town in New Hampshire.
From food to entertainment, watersports to a casino, nightlife to live music, activities keep flowing.
There are three beaches, central, north and south.
Most activities are concentrated on the central beach, while the northern section is quieter and suitable for surfers with lovely private homes.
The south is also quiet and great for camping and hanging out with larger groups.
17- Arethusa Falls
Although its height is subject to some controversy, anywhere between 140 and 200 ft (42 to 60 m), Arethusa Falls is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the state.
The waterfall trail reminds you that the best view comes after the most challenging climb.
When viewed from the trail or the base, the gorgeous multi-tier waterfall feels like it’s falling from the sky.
There is no pool to wade in at the base and, depending on the season, it can either be a torrent of water or a trickle.
Arethusa Falls is in the White Mountains in Crawford Notch State Park.
18- Flume Gorge
Flume Gorge is an 800 ft (243 m) long natural granite gorge chiselled by the Flume Brook.
The two-mile Flume Trail passes through the gorge, which has moss-covered towering Conway granite walls that rise to a height of 90ft.
Along the path are dramatic waterfalls, historic covered bridges, glacial pools and a tree-covered mountainscape.
Although the hike is easy and is a steady uphill climb, it can be done in 1.5 hours but involves climbing stairs.
Flume Gorge sits at the foot of Mount Liberty in Franconia Notch State Park, Lincoln.
19- Lake Winnipesaukee
New Hampshire’s crown jewel of the state’s Lake region, Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the state.
The lake is in the mid-state region at the foothills of the White Mountains.
Visitors looking to live a boat life can launch their own, and boat-free visitors can opt for a scenic day cruise on the lake or rent a boat or a party pontoon.
The lake covers a vast area and offers activities for all ages.
Swim in the spring-fed waters, explore hidden bays, eat tasty treats on the boardwalk, catch a pink sunset, hike Mount Major and ride the historic Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.
Lake Winnipesaukee is in east-central New Hampshire at the foothills of the White Mountains east of Laconia.
20- Eco Lake
Small, compact, and scenic, Eco Lake is an idyllic lake with sandy shores and warm shallow water promising a great swim.
Located in North Conway, the lake’s surrounding is set ablaze with fall colours during the season.
At other times, it’s a contemplative paradise of refreshing green with meditative reflection of Mount Washington in the lake water.
Eco Lake is part of a state park and has easy hiking trails through the woods.
The beach has conveniences like changing rooms, restrooms, and picnic tables. Book in advance as entry is prohibited if the park gets full.
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