Day Trips and Weekend Excursions

DAY TRIPS

Path of Life Garden Windsor, VT

Experience the story of the great circle of life while traveling through sculptures of varying sizes and materials.  Inspired by a famous garden in Europe, these eighteen works of art symbolize the journey from birth to death and beyond.  Camp in a tipi and/or float, kayak or canoe down the river.  While you are there, check out the other spots to visit in Artisan's Park - VT Farmstead Cheese, Simon Pearce, Sustainable Farmer, Harpoon Brewery and Great River Outfitters.

Music in the Meadow at the Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT

Select Sundays in the summer an impressive concert is performed in a meadow at the Trapp Family Lodge.  Bring blankets and a picnic and enjoy a lovely, Vermont summer evening.  See CALENDAR for dates.

Fairlee Marina Fairlee, VT

Rent a pontoon or motor boat for the day.  They will deliver it to Lake Morey or the CT River.

Balloons of VT Quechee, VT 

This in not an inexpensive outing, but it's sure to be beautiful!

visit Stowe, VT

In the summer or fall, drive up the Toll Road, which is a beginner ski run in the winter.  You will zig zag up the mountain to the summit ridge of Mt. Mansfield where "stunning views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains await you."  Even young kids will enjoy this hike, as it's not difficult and the views are spectacular. 

In the winter, stay at TopNotch Resort and enjoy their indoor and outdoor pools when you are not skiing.  Or stay at Stowe Mountain Lodge, with their ski-in ski-out access and outdoor pool.

visit Burlington, VT

Stroll on Church street.  Do some shopping and have a bite to eat at American Flatbread or another one of the many restaurants.  Stop by Stella Mae or dear lucy for a great pair of shoes.  The ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science center is also worth a stop.  Ride the 12.5 mile bike path from Burlington's lake front, north over the Law Island Bridge.  Click here to see the trail map and check if the bridge is open for riding.  The southern 8 miles of the path are paved, the northern 5 miles have a crushed stone surface.  During the summer, Ben & Jerry's sponsors a summer outdoor music festival on Tuesday nights.

NYT Article from 2008 - 36 Hours in Burlington, VT

Whale's Tale Lincoln, NH

On a hot day, take the whole family to Whale's Tale.  With their 11 waterslides, wave pool, lazy river and kids area, it is a great summer adventure.  

Story Land Theme Park Glenn, NH

Classic theme park, geared toward little to medium sized children.  Open daily from the end of June through August.  Open weekends from the end of May through mid-October.

Franconia Notch 

After breakfast at Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, hike Flume Gorge near Franconia Notch, and then stop at the Garnet Hill Outlet on the way home.

Take a drive on the Kankamangus Highway.  Along the way you will notice several swimming holes.  Click here to see details on each.  A favorite is the Lower Falls, which has numerous small rapids and pools and one very large pool for swimming.  It can get crowded on a beautiful day.  It is 26 miles from Lincoln and 8 miles from Conway.

Ruggles Mine Grafton, NH

D Acres of NH Dorchester, NH 
Permaculture farm and educational homestead.  First Sunday of every month there is a farm feast breakfast - a local, all you should eat breakfast for a $5-$15 suggested donation.  Their trails are open that day for hiking or cross country skiing too!

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site Cornish, NH
Discover the home, studios and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s greatest sculptors. See over 100 of his artworks in the galleries and on the grounds.

The Ledges, W. Lebanon
No information, other than word of mouth.  Pass W. Leb's 12A strip and turn left on Brook Rd. "Park just before a small bridge and pick your way down a hidden footpath to a broad, sunny stream bank.  A short walk downstream leads to the best pools - just deep enough for soaking - and there is a big flat rock nearby for dozing in the sun." (by Sarah Hackney in the Valley News)

BEACH TRIPS

Crane's Beach - Ipswich, MA
Beaches and trails on the Crane Estate.  $15-$25 parking/vehicle

Hampton Beach - Hampton, NH
Swimming, fishing, picnicking.  $15 parking fee/vehicle

HORSEBACK RIDING RANCHES

Pond Hill Ranch 
Castleton, VT
A 2 hour drive west into Vermont is a family owned and operated 2,000 acre working ranch in the heart of the Green Mountains.  Enjoy a riding lesson, a 1 hour trail ride through the mountains or watch the action at the pro rodeo at 8pm every Saturday night during the summer.

Rocking Horse Ranch 
Highland, NY
Reach the ranch after a 4 hour drive toward Poughkeepsie, NY. You will be rewarded with lots of activities and fun for the whole family.  Voted Travelers Choice 2014 Award Winner on TripAdvisor.

WEEKEND EXCURSIONS

Rent a DOC cabin for your family or with friends.  They are located all over the Upper Valley.  Here are a few of our favorites close by: The new, large Class of 66 Lodge is 15 minutes from town on Moose Mountain.  The Nunnemacher cabin is at the top of Holt's Ledge at the Dartmouth Skiway.  The Titcomb cabin on Gilman Island in the Connecticut River must be accessed by canoe, which is included in your rental fee. 

Rent an AMC Hut - Steeped in 125 years of tradition, the AMC's network of mountain huts provides a unique backcountry adventure for novice and experienced hikers alike as well as convenient lodging for Appalachian Trail hiking. Each a day's hike apart along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire's White Mountains, AMC Huts offer mountain hospitality in spectacular locations above treeline or near mountain lakes or waterfalls.

Squam Lake Natural Science Center 
Live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, lake cruises.  Open May 1-Nov 1. Trail pass $10-$15.  Lake cruise is $19-$23.

Visit a waterfall.  Check out NH Magazine's list of rediscovered waterfalls, pick a hot day and plan a day trip for a cool, refreshing visit.

Old Sturbridge Village Sturbridge, MA
2hrs 45min from Hanover.  One of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums, depicting early New England life from 1790-1840 with historians in costume, antique buildings, water-powered mills, and a working farm. Visitors can view antiques, meet heritage breed animals, and enjoy hands-on crafts.

Manchester, VT 
Stay at the Equinox Resort, where you can golf, visit the spa, relax by the pool and play tennis.  Enjoy some delicious home-made donuts.  Visit the wonderful local bookstore, Northshire Bookstore, with an incredible children's section and attentive, informed staff.  Very close to high end outlet shopping.  For the adventure seekers, make a reservation with the LandRover Experience, (you do not need your own LandRover) where you learn how to drive off-road, over obstacles. (a great birthday present idea)  Hike Mt Equinox.

Salem, MA 

Plymouth, MA 
A mix of historic locations and modern amenities.  Visit the Jenney Grist Mill, a recreation of the country's first mill from 1636.  Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the ship the Pilgrims sailed over on in 1620, are at the Plymouth Waterfront.  Stop by Ziggy's for slushes and CabbyShack's for chowder.  The weekend before Thanksgiving Plymouth hosts America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration.  See CALENDAR for details.  

Portsmouth, NH 

Jay Peak, VT 

Six Flags Great Escape Theme Park and Indoor Waterpark, Lake George

The Berkshires, MA

Visit Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Clark Museum, Williams College

HIKES

Valley Quests 

Strolling

Pine Park Hanover

Fairly Easy

Balch Hill Hanover

Gile Mountain Norwich fire tower, Norwich

Pinnacle Hill Lyme

Mt. Tom Woodstock, VT - you will be rewarded with magnificent views once you make it up the switchbacks to the top of the mountain.  Easy hike to do with kids and then enjoy brunch or lunch in downtown Woodstock after you make it down.

More Difficult

Kearsarge

Moose Mountain 

Mt. Cube  

Mt. Cardigan  

AREA RESOURCES

VisitNH.gov 


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