Once school is out for the summer, my girls and I can begin our vacation day trips in earnest around the great state of New Hampshire. Honestly, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the US thanks in part to the variety and majesty of the Granite State. Our plans often include low budget destinations, and thankfully, New Hampshire is filled with opportunity. On occasion, we make meticulous plans for destinations, but most times, the open road calls and we find our spur of the moment adventures.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
Cannon Mountain is not only the oldest ski area in the country, but a top NH destination for summer travelers as well. Located off of US 93, the site offers the amazing Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway to the four seasons rest lodge, offering views of not only the remnants of NH’s Old Man of the Mountain, but also nests of mating eagles from the surrounding peaks. We visit at least once a year, and treat ourselves to not only the tram ride, but a walk through the US Ski museum and a hike along the rim trail. Feel free to pack a picnic lunch, or dine in the café in the lodge. To comfortably enjoy the amenities Cannon Mountain delivers, plan on bringing $20 per person in your group.
Mount Washington Auto Road
No trip to New Hampshire is complete without taking a leisurely drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road. At $28 per vehicle and driver, plus $8 for each additional adult, you gain access to not only the road and mountaintop observatory, but also the coveted certificate of achievement and iconic bumper sticker. And audio CD or cassette narrates your trip to the highest summit in the northeast, where you can spend a day climbing the rocks, exploring the weather station and hiker rest area, and watching as the Cog pulls into the station.
Mount Washington Cog Railway
At the top of our ‘special occasion’ list is the Cog Railway, an antique, specially designed train for climbing the steep vertical terrain of Mount Washington. Tickets range from $39 to $66, but this once in a lifetime trip offers an intimate glimpse of the unique treasures Mt. Washington has to offer. Leaving from Bretton Woods, the Cog operates from April to November weather permitting.
Cruising on Lake Winnipesaukee on the MS Mount Washington
The MS Mount Washington leaves every day from ports along Lake Winnipesaukee for seasonal trips on the largest lake in New Hampshire. Summer cruises are designed for all preferences, from foliage tours, architectural delights, and evening dinner cruises for the romantic at heart. Tickets range between $15 to $123 depending on cruise package and the season.
Prescott Park Arts Festival Plays in the Park
Since 1974, the Prescott Arts Festival in Portsmouth, NH has been hosting a free theater experience in the lovely riverside Prescott Park. Past performances have included Annie, Shrek the Musical, and Grease. These community theater programs are a delight, with dinner picnics a New Hampshire classic. The community theater plays run from June to August, with both evening shows and afternoon matinees.