The New York state of mind is an alluring one. The sights of and sounds of bustling streets, gigantic billboards and digital screens are just a few things visitors look for when they are in the Big Apple. Yet, daily exposure to the big city lights may be a little overwhelming. Take a four hour drive out of New York, and you will find yourself in a less conspicuous state: New Hampshire, a nature lover’s paradise.

The laidback state is blanketed by rugged mountains, lakes, waterfalls and deep gorges, setting the scene for stunning pictures in every corner. A state with four distinct seasons, locals and visitors to New Hampshire are blessed with dramatic landscapes throughout the year.

Breathe in the clean air and take in the expansive views with more than 90 state parks and countless nature trails. New Hampshire is a state off-the-beaten-path, and is every bit worth exploring. We’ve put together a guide for first-time travellers to the state, from mouth-watering eats to the comfiest beds in town.

What to do

Mount Washington Cog Railway

New Hampshire is home to the famous Mount Washington, New England’s highest peak. Rather than hiking, get onboard an old-fashioned train to admire the natural wonders New Hampshire has to offer. The Mount Washington Cog Railway climbs 6288 feet from its base in Bretton Woods along the steepest track in America to the summit of Mount Washington. This engineering achievement features stunning views on the way, including 360-degree views of up to five states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean.

Lake Winnipesaukee
New Hampshire travel
Lake Winnipesaukee (Image credit: Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash)

One may wonder what there is to do at a lake, but there is much to be discovered with a visit to Lake Winnipesaukee. The drive around takes visitors through nearly 300 kilometres of jaw-dropping shorelines. Visit in the spring for maple sugar tastings, in autumn for beautiful fall foilage or in the summer and winter for water sports and ice fishing. Embark on a cruise here to experience the most scenic cruise in New England first-hand, or take a relaxing stroll along the boardwalk in the evening.

Hood Museum of Art
New Hampshire travel
(Image credit: Hood Museum)

The Hood Museum of Art may belong to Dartmouth College, but holidaymakers are more than welcome to visit. The collections here draw from a spectrum of cultures and historical periods that present remarkable aspects of past communities and civilisations. The recently renovated museum houses both visiting exhibitions and permanent ones as well, including José Clemente Orozco’s beautiful fresco, The Epic of American Civilization.

Where to eat

Table+Tonic
New Hampshire travel
(Image credit: Table+Tonic)

Table+Tonic is quickly becoming a local favourite in New Hampshire, with their concept of creating farm-to-table cuisine in an upscale twist. Produce is taken from their very own permaculture farm, and their menu also consists of other sustainable seafood and local grass-fed beef. Don’t miss their special kombucha cocktails, as cocktails here are also designed with herbs and fruits from their Mountain Flower Farm in Intervale.

Raleigh Wine Bar & Eatery
New Hampshire travel
(Image credit: Raleigh wine bar and eatery)

Wine takes centre stage here at Raleigh Wine Bar & Eatery. Proprietor Nimi Idnani’s love for wines pushed her into to creating a space where diners could enjoy and appreciate the drink with delectable dishes on the side. Although wine is a big part of the dining experience here, expect exquisite bites from chef Jeremy Glover like seared foie gras with stewed apples and Dogpatch farm pork chop with hazelnut and pepper relish.

Ristorante Massimo
New Hampshire travel
(Image credit: Ristorante Massimo)

Ask any local about a restaurant recommendation in New Hampshire and they will direct you to Ristorante Massimo. This staple establishment has been around since 1994 serving up authentic Italian dishes. The comfortable atmosphere makes for an intimate experience for any diner, mirroring an earnestly prepared meal at home with plenty of love. Don’t leave without a taste of their Rosti di Patate, made with a crispy potato rosti, Royal Ostrea Italian caviar, creme fraiche, chives and capers.

Where to stay

Omni Mount Washington Resort

Nestled in New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountains, Omni Mount Washington Resort is a luxurious establishment for guests who love waking up to magnificent views every day. Each of their 200 spacious rooms hosts different views of Bretton Woods, complete with contemporary decor and plush beddings. Guests can also enjoy a bit of horseback riding and river tubing hosted by the hotel and also tee off on their golf course, created by celebrated golf course designer, Donald Ross.

The Centennial Hotel
New Hampshire travel
(Image credit: The Centennial)

Experience a bit of old New Hampshire charm at The Centennial. This charming boutique hotel is fitted with enduring 19th-century architecture and modern furnishings. Each of the 32 modern rooms come with designer floor tiles, sleek designs and immensely comfortable beds. The combination of quaint history and contemporary styles just some of the reasons why The Centennial so special. The propetry is also home to Granite Restaurant & Bar, an award-winning restaurant for guests to savour some decadent dishes inspired by French, Mediterranean and Asian culinary styles.

The Grand at the Bedford Village Inn
New Hampshire travel
(Image credit: The Grand at the Bedford Village Inn)

Formerly a farmhouse, The Grand at the Bedford Village Inn is a quaint property that merges fuss-free elegance with rustic charm in the core of New Hampshire’s countryside. Located just 16 kilometres from the Manchester-Boston regional airport, each of the 50 bedrooms features beautifully handcrafted furniture and marble bathrooms for a glimpse of old-school luxury.

Jocelyn Tan
Writer
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.