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The beauty of New England is that you can get a totally different experience in any given location depending on the time of year. New Hampshire is known as home to Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains, and while those are great spots to visit, there are other gems like New Castle that are worth exploring as well. Here are the top six picks for where to stay when visiting the Granite State.
Wentworth by the Sea, A Marriott Hotel & Spa
New Hampshire’s Seacoast is conveniently located just over an hour from Boston and is one of the state’s best places to visit, especially during the summer months. Within the Seacoast is a tiny island called New Castle, bordering the city of Portsmouth and town of Rye. That’s where you’ll find Wentworth by the Sea, A Marriott Hotel & Spa, sitting right on a marina. This historic oceanfront property is a popular wedding destination thanks to its ocean views and the picturesque red-roofed, white hotel, which looks particularly pretty if you’re coming into the marina by boat. There are two-story suites that are perfect for wedding parties, other special occasions, or families who want a pool closest to the water. When you get hungry you can enjoy classic American cuisine and craft cocktails at SALT Kitchen & Bar or dine with a view at Latitudes.
Great Island Common and New Castle Common are where you’ll want to be during the summer months, since it's close to beaches and parks. You can also golf at the Wentworth by the Sea Country Club, which is private but typically has a couple of tee times reserved for hotel guests. New Castle is also home to Fort Constitution. From New Castle, you can also drive or even ride a bike into Portsmouth to walk around and enjoy food and drink on the Bow Street decks.
If you want to stay right in downtown Portsmouth, book a room at The Hotel Portsmouth. This modern boutique hotel prides itself on providing everything you need for an enjoyable stay in this Seacoast city, while still reminding you of the charm and attentiveness of a bed and breakfast. This 138-year-old historic mansion is right near Market Square, just a short walk from the majority of Portsmouth’s restaurants, shops, and attractions. Hotel Portsmouth, formerly the Sise Inn, opened after a 2014 renovation. The new hotel honors the history of the mansion and city while still bringing guests a modern look and feel. If you plan to visit during the peak season (late-spring through early-fall), keep in mind that there are only 32 rooms, so you’ll want to book early.
For New Hampshire, Portsmouth is technically a city, but it really has a small-town vibe. It’s located right on the water, with many beaches just a short drive away. If you’re looking for other outdoor activities, rent kayaks or stand-up paddle boards at Portsmouth Kayak Adventures. You can also grab a bike and ride through town or head to Ordiorne Point State Park and explore the trails. Portsmouth also has several breweries and the popular Strawberry Banke Museum.
Omni Mount Washington Resort
If you’re looking for a luxury resort that’s ideal for both couples and families in the White Mountains, the Omni Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods is your best bet. Originally opened in 1902, this National Historic Landmark has been visited by everyone from poets to presidents and has maintained its historic beauty through renovations over the years. Much like the Wentworth by the Sea, the exterior has a stunning red roof that pops against the snow during the winter months.
Speaking of winter, Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area with 464 acres filled with trails, glades and terrain parks. And when it’s not ski season, golf at the award-winning Mount Washington Course overlooking the mountains or try zip lining. The Omni Mount Washington Resort also has a spa you’ll want to spend the whole day. Be sure to enjoy the outdoor pool, which is heated and open year-round.
The Wentworth in Jackson is in the middle of the White Mountains, surrounded by nature. This 61-room inn is charming, with modern, European decor, and there an on-site farm-to-table restaurant. During your stay make sure to spend some time at the Spa at the Wentworth.
While you’re visiting, go skiing or participate in other outdoor activities throughout the year at nearby Attitash, Wildcat, Cranmore and Black Mountains. When it’s warm out, hit the links at the Wentworth Golf Club with views of the Presidential Range or take a canoe or kayak out on the Saco River. Don’t forget to stop for a photo at the covered bridge as you head in or out of Jackson.
Mill Falls at the Lake
Lake Winnipesaukee is oftentimes synonymous with New Hampshire for out-of-towners, as it’s a popular vacation destination. The Mill Falls at the Lake in the quaint town of Meredith is on Lake Winnipesaukee, which has four different inns: the Bay Point, Church Landing, Mill Falls, and Chase House. The first two are directly on the lake and the other two across the street, but all have great views of the lake and mountains.
Staying on Lake Winnipesaukee brings plenty to do, from renting canoes, kayaks or bikes, to taking an antique speedboat ride. The Mill Falls at the Lake is also located near Gunstock Mountain, Castle in the Clouds, the Tanger Outlets in Tilton, and Weirs Beach.
The Stonehurst Manor in North Conway is a romantic getaway originally built in 1874 by the inventor of the carpet loom, Erastus Bigelow. In 1946, it opened as an inn with just over 25 rooms and suites between the original Manor and the Mountain View Wing, which was added on later. The hotel is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend along. The on-site restaurant, Wild Rose, is open for breakfast and dinner, serving fresh, local menu items.
The town of North Conway is another popular White Mountain destination, with mountain scenery everywhere you look and several different outdoor activities, including hiking in the Whitaker Woods or skiing at Cranmore, Attitash, Bretton Woods, or Wildcat Mountain. There are also golf courses, train rides, and more to explore.