New Hampshire is a small state in New England. The fifth-smallest of all the USA’s states, it is also the tenth least-populated state. It shares land borders with Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Canada’s Quebec, and also has a short 18-mile-long stretch of coastline along the Atlantic.
Known as the Granite State, New Hampshire is famous for its soaring mountains and natural splendour, terrific winter sports, relaxing summers at the seaside, and, as with the rest of New England, the beautiful natural colours of autumn leaves. It is also known for its prestigious academic institutions.
The area was historically home to several Abenaki indigenous groups and Europeans first settled here in the 1600s. New Hampshire was the first British colony in North America to create its own system of governance outside of Britain’s rule, and it was one of the 13 founding states that led to the birth of the USA.
When it comes to innovations and developments, New Hampshire gave North America its first aerial passenger tramway. The first American to journey into space hailed from New Hampshire and the state saw the nation’s first free public library. Today an American staple, the first potato to be planted in US soil was in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire may be a great place to cross your fingers and hope for a big win; the USA’s first legal lottery was established here. It’s rise and shine in New Hampshire too, as it was a state local that gave the world the first alarm clock. However, the original alarm clock only rang at the time the inventor usually woke up—at 4am!
Hike, ski, and enjoy nature in the splendid White Mountain National Forest. Ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway and admire spectacular vistas. Soak up history in Portsmouth, treat the kids to a day out at Glen’s Story Land and Jefferson’s Santa’s Village, get back to nature at Lake Winnipesaukee, and unwind at Hampton Beach.
There are heaps of brilliant things to do in New Hampshire. Once you’ve hit the highlights and need a break from the tourist crowds, why not uncover some of the state’s lesser-known jewels? Live Free or Die (not literally—it’s the state’s motto!) and check out some of these fabulous hidden gems in New Hampshire:
1. Fuller Gardens, North Hampton
The majority of people passing through North Hampton are heading straight to the coast. Slow it down a little, though, and visit Fuller Gardens on your way to the seaside.
The gardens were created in the 1920s by a wealthy businessman, politician, and humanitarian, Alvan T. Fuller. A symbol of love and devotion, he wanted to honour his wife, Viola. The land was later opened up to the general public following Mr. Fuller’s death.
Well designed, attractive, and home to many different species of plant, the gardens are any botanist’s dream.
Journey to other lands with a stroll through the formal English garden and the Japanese garden, and inhale the heady scents in the delightful rose garden. The conservatory is nice and warm to allow plants from the tropics to thrive.
Add a little summertime horticultural magic to your trip to North Hampton with a visit to Fuller Gardens. Do note that the gardens aren’t open during the winter months.
2. Benson Park, Hudson
If you’ve ever wanted to experience life behind bars, here’s your chance. Well, unless you get sent to prison for some reason, that is! Understand a little of what caged animals must feel as you explore this unusual former zoo.
Step into the old cages and peer through the bars, feeling the enclosures seemingly getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller around you. Gaze with longing at the outside world, think of freedom, and perhaps develop a greater empathy with zoo creatures.
Once home to large animals like lions, elephants, and gorillas, and previously known as Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, the animals were re-homed and the zoo closed in 1987.
With little use for empty cages, the zoo was subsequently abandoned. Eventually, however, the area was given a new lease of life and transformed into a quirky public park. Some cages feature artwork and interesting displays, while others are as they would have been when they were used to keep animals captive.
A mini railway chugs through the park and there’s a whimsical giant boot by the entrance.
3. Diana’s Baths, Bartlett
Tucked away in a corner of town, Diana’s Baths comprises several small waterfalls. Part of the White Mountain National Forest, it is also a historic site.
The area was once home to a sawmill, though buildings were later demolished to preserve the natural beauty of the waterfalls. Peaceful and scenic, the waterfalls are especially pleasant during the summer months when you can clamber across rocky ledges, admire the tumbling water, and paddle and swim in the shimmering pools. There are several small caverns throughout the area too.
Water cascades down a distance of 75 feet. There is a small walk of just over half a mile to reach the bottom of the falls, from where you can begin your explorations of the enchanting area.
Records indicate that the falls were previously called Home of the Water Fairies. Local legends tell of evil water spirits that used to haunt the area, making life difficult for indigenous people that lived nearby. After praying and praying for a resolution to their problem, the Sokokis Indians were delighted when a flood carried away the mischievous and malevolent beings, leaving the area tranquil and serene.
Later renamed Diana’s Baths at some point in the 1850s, the waterfalls are said to have been named after a Roman goddess: Diana, the goddess of nature. You’ll certainly feel rather like a natural goddess, or god, as you explore this beautiful natural site.
4. Shelburne Moriah Mountain, Shelburne
With the abundance of glorious mountains in New Hampshire, it’s only to be expected that some will be more popularly visited than others. Shelburne Moriah Mountain is often overlooked in favour of more well-known names. That’s great for you, though, as it means you can enjoy scenic hiking in peace and quiet and terrific views from the top without vying for space with crowds and their tripods or selfie sticks.
Within the Carter-Moriah mountain range, the mountain can be overcome by following the Rattle River Trail. The route is fairly easy, with a gentle uphill path, for most of the way. There is, however, a very steep and rocky section towards the end that may feel like it takes forever to complete.
Climbing Shelburne Moriah Mountain is definitely not a walk in the walk; the round-trip hike covers some ten miles! Strap your walking boots on, take plenty of water, and give yourself a little pep talk before setting off. The awesome views from the peak will make the effort worth it.
5. Incredible Pond, Pawtuckaway
Stunning, tranquil, and pretty difficult to find, the Incredible Pond really does live up to its name. You might have problems finding it on the first, and maybe second, attempt, but its elusive nature makes it even more alluring.
There are several tracks that will lead to the glistening tree-surrounded still waters, though you’ll get the best vistas if you approach the pond from its northern side. Greenery grows on the surface, presenting a striking juxtaposition between the clear blue water and the verdant plants. The sun’s rays cast divine reflections of the tall trees on the mirror-like surface, with the water seeming to glint and gleam in the sunshine.
Gaze across the pretty pond as you walk around the edge and climb the boulders for even more fantastic views over the Incredible Pond. Watch your step, though, as the boulders can be a bit tricky in parts.
6. Corner House Inn, Center Sandwich
A local favourite in the town of Center Sandwich, the historic and award-winning Corner House Inn is a real gem for those visiting from out of town. A relaxed and friendly vibe, cool entertainment, delicious food, great service, and beautiful surroundings are just a few reasons to add this to your must-visit list.
Set in a scenic village, the inn dates back to the late 1840s. Exuding a rustic vibe from times gone by, settle down in front of the roaring log fire on chilly days or head into one of the intimate and stylish dining rooms for a meal to relish.
If you’re popping in for lunch, you can look forward to hearty traditional pub fare like burgers, sandwiches (of course!), pizzas, salad, and more. In the evening, start with a bowl of hot soup to soothe your soul before moving onto Canadian salmon, shrimp scampi, meatloaf, steak, chicken parmesan, stir-fries, burgers, and others. There’s a separate menu for kids too.
Try and save some space for one of the tempting desserts. With key lime pie, cupcakes, ice cream crepes, chocolate pudding, tiramisu, raspberry crème brulee, and strawberry shortcake among the options, it would be difficult to say no!
There’s live music every Friday night, or for something a little different to the norm come here to eat when a storytelling dinner is scheduled. Sink your teeth into something tasty as you absorb local folk tales and travel back in time through the spoken word.
7. The Ramparts, Bean’s Purchase
Carter Notch is a mountain pass that leads through the Carter-Moriah mountain range. Located in the area of Bean’s Purchase in Coos County, the pass provides great views of the surroundings. It boasts two lovely ponds, where you can take a quick dip in the warmer months, and an unusual boulder field, known as The Ramparts.
Crafter by Mother Nature, the boulders lie in a messy jumble, with neighbouring mountains looming above. Quiet and remote, you can expect to bump into just a handful of other keen explorers.
Early morning is an especially great time to visit, when the soft sun rises over the ridge and the area takes on an ethereal air.
You will need to prepare plenty of energy to visit The Ramparts as the pass can only be reached by foot. You’ll need to follow a marked trail to get here. The journey is all part of the fun, though! In the wintertime, when a soft blanket of snow covers the ground, strap on a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis to get here. The snow-dusted boulders look even more like something from a fairytale.
8. Leg Grave, Washington
What should you do in the unthinkable event of losing your leg? If, for example, it had to be amputated following an accident, as was the case with Captain Samuel Jones in the early 1800s? It’s probably something you’ve never given much thought to!
In today’s modern world, amputated limbs are often incinerated or used for medical research and training. Captain Samuel Jones decided to do something a bit different with his leg, though …
Mourning the loss of his limb, Jones held a funeral for his amputated leg. Following the sorrowful service his leg was then laid to rest in a local graveyard in New Hampshire’s Washington.
You can go and pay your respects to the lost leg, marked with a simple headstone that bears the inscription, “Capt. Samuel Jones’ Leg, which was amputated July 7, 1804”.
Interestingly, it wasn’t all that unusual back then, at the turn of the 19th century, for limbs to be given a fitting send off. People thought that burying detached bodily parts would reduce the risk of having phantom pains later on in life.
Unfortunately, Captain Jones and his leg weren’t reunited in the afterlife. Although it’s not clear where exactly Mr Jones was subsequently buried himself, it was in either Rhode Island or Boston, MA. A piece of him remains, however, in New Hampshire’s earth.
9. Hood Museum of Art, Hanover
Located within Hanover’s Dartmouth College, the Hood Museum of Art is a terrific place for any art enthusiasts and creative souls.
Originally opened in the early 1770s, the present-day building was opened in 1985. It contains a huge number of exhibits from all around the globe and from several time periods.
You can see works that show Native American life and traditions as well as pieces from North and South America, Africa, Europe, Australia, and Melanesia. Paintings, sculptures, and photographs are among the various art forms on display.
Classical and contemporary works are displayed with pride, and many of the pieces take visitors on a visual journey through different cultures and epochs.
There are frequent temporary exhibitions in addition to the enormous permanent collection.
Art buffs will already know of some of the artists. Famous artists with pieces on display at the museum include Perugino, Jan Davidszoon de Heem, José Clemente Orozco, Luca Giordano, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Rockwell Kent. And, you don’t have to be a major arts aficionado to know the name Picasso!
10. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish
Another art-related attraction in New Hampshire is Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in the town of Cornish. It is the former home and studio of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a renowned French-Irish sculptor whose family moved to the USA when he was just six months old. Though he grew up in New York, and later studied in Europe, Saint-Gaudens later moved to his New Hampshire summer house.
Though Saint-Gaudens had loved New Hampshire as a summertime retreat from 1885, he made the permanent move here in 1900 following a diagnosis of cancer. He continued to work, though, creating many more marvellous pieces.
With handsome landscaped gardens, great views, and a stately home, it’s easy to see how an artist could be inspired here. Today a National Historic Site, exquisite replicas of Saint-Gaudens’ works are scattered throughout the grounds. Don’t miss the birch grove, complete with a stunning marble pool and a statue of Pan, the Greek god of woodlands, pastures, mountain nature, and shepherds.
11. Chutters Candy Store, Littleton
Chutters Candy Store is sure to delight anybody with a sweet tooth or a burning craving for sugar. The historic store is situated on Main Street in Littleton, and it has been providing sweet relief and sugary hits for more than a century.
Opened by a candy-loving English minister called Frederick George Chutter, the shop was originally a dry goods grocery shop. The owner couldn’t help but keep adding to the already extensive array of sweet treats, though, and this eventually led to the store having the longest candy counter on the planet.
Stretching for 112 feet, it’s difficult not to be tempted by the vast assortment of colourful candies. Glass jars are brimming with multi-coloured sweets, with hard candies, soft candies, jellied candies, and, in fact, almost any type of candy that you could possibly imagine!
How about a bag of candy corn, gummi sour pumpkins, cinnamon lava balls, jellybeans, gummi bears, fudge in diverse flavours, various chocolates, licorice, or anything else that your heart desires? Or, really go to town and have a mixed bag of exciting sweetness.
12. Libby Museum, Wolfeboro
Established by a rather eccentric dentist in 1912, the Libby Museum contains the diverse and unusual collection of Henry Libby. An avid collector of anything he found interesting, one could also say that the dentist was perhaps a bit of a hoarder. Far from containing any old random junk, though, the museum is home to cultural objects, artwork, stuffed creatures, historic artefacts, and more than a few curiosities.
Step into the nondescript and normal-looking building and enter a large room crammed with items that are far from normalcy. While you can cast your eye around the room and take in the bigger picture in just a few minutes, it’s well worth taking the time to delve deeper, forage, and spend longer discovering the eclectic pieces.
The collection includes an assortment of taxidermies, including a bear, a bobcat, and a huge alligator, and the skeletal remains of a host of creatures. Moose and deer heads peer down from the walls.
Even more obscure, however, is the authentic mummified hand from ancient Egypt. Not the body—just a hand! Who wouldn’t want to take that home with them to display with pride?!
Imagine going for a night on the town, all dressed up in your glamorous garb, your outfit complete with a necklace made from monkey teeth. And picture using strange implements to help with day-to-day tasks.
Weapons from colonial times, rare coins, old maps, a dugout canoe, farming tools, and historic cultural items that once belonged to Abenaki people are other items you’ll find here, and you can follow one of the walking trails outside to enjoy the great outdoors.
13. Derryfield Park, Manchester
Located in New Hampshire’s largest city of Manchester, the large Derryfield Park covers 76 acres of land. The park was probably used as agricultural land in the past, though today it is a popular place for locals and visitors to enjoy green space and recreational activities away from the city’s noise.
You’ll find play areas for younger visitors to let off steam and have fun, walking trails, cross-country tracks, tennis courts, woodland areas, and sports fields.
While the park itself it well worth a visit, it couldn’t be called a hidden gem. What many people don’t know about, however, is the observation tower hidden within the park. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the tower is known as the Western Observatory. It was named after the man responsible for its construction.
Built in the 1860s, it was initially a lookout tower where locals could come and spend a pleasant few hours picnicking and enjoying the views. During the Second World War the tower served a much more practical purpose, used as a watchtower to look for enemy action.
After suffering damages, the tower was repaired and renovated in the 1970s. Although it is not open for visitors today, seeing the tower from outside is still, nonetheless, impressive.
14. Mount Kearsarge Native American Indian Museum, Warner
A top place to discover more about New Hampshire’s cultural heritage and the people from the past, Mount Kearsarge Native American Indian Museum pays homage to the state’s original citizens. Preserving and conserving Native American traditions and ways of life is forefront at the museum’s goals.
People originally made the lands that now make up New Hampshire their home some 11,000 years ago. These early inhabitants split into various tribal groups, all of whom spoke variations of the Abenaki language. Tribes included the Pigwacket, Penacook, Ossipee, and Sokoki.
Villages grew up alongside lakes and rivers and close to prime hunting areas. Europeans introduced various diseases that led to the decline in native populations, with the situations further exacerbated by vicious battles between indigenous peoples and colonisers. Today, fewer than 1,000 descendents of New Hampshire’s first people remain.
Mount Kearsarge Native American Indian Museum takes visitors on a journey back through time, teaching traditional practices and encouraging respect for the land and for nature. Wander through the Medicine Woods, see how indigenous people made shelters and tools to survive, and find out about the medicinal use of plants and herbs.
15. Frost Point, Portsmouth
Sitting towards the back of Odiorne State Park in Rye, Frost Point is a pleasant coastal area that sees relatively few visitors. Providing great views of Little Harbor in one direction, if you turn around and face the other way you can also admire lovely vistas across the Gulf of Maine. Time your visit for sunset and you’ll be rewarded with glorious scenes.
The waters here are pretty calm, making it a top place to kayak, swim, paddle, and splash about.
Don’t fancy getting wet? Simply laze on the soft sands for a while and luxuriate in peace and tranquility. Alternatively, burn off a few calories and stretch those muscles with a walk through the wildlife-rich woods.
There are several wartime relics in the locale too, including old bunkers and storage buildings if you want to inject a little history into your trip. A few of the eerie tunnels are still accessible.
16. Smith Chapel, Durham
Located outside of the University of New Hampshire, Smith Chapel is a dinky place of worship in a quintessential and charming part of New England.
Inspired by the grand medieval churches of Mother England, the tiny church was built in a Gothic revival style.
Constructed from stone more than a hundred years ago, the chapel now almost blends in with the surrounding verdant foliage. Spots of moss cling to the walls, ivy creeps up the outside walls, and leaves try to hide the chapel from sight.
It is named after the man who once owned the estate where it is located: Hamilton B. Smith. It was commissioned by his widow following his demise to honour and fondly remember him.
A small family cemetery sits next to the picturesque chapel, the final resting place of several members of the Smith family.
The chapel is generally closed to visitors, though you can enjoy the quaint building and its surroundings from outside. If you really are desperate to have a peek inside the diminutive place of worship it may be possible to arrange a viewing via the local town office.
17. Cat Alley, Manchester
A purr-fect attraction for any feline lovers, Cat Alley is the name given to a small side street in Manchester. You’ll find the entrance to the alleyway off Elm Street.
Officially named Dean Court, the walkway got its more common nickname after it was given a makeover. It now sports a number of large and quirky cat murals along the brick walls.
An open-air public art space, cute felines of all colours and sizes grace the walls. Designed and decorated by local street artists, the murals are eye-catching and very photogenic. You’ll certainly get some great shots to add life to your Instagram feed here!
18. Rye Airfield, Rye
From painted cats to cool cats, Rye Airfield is where all the hip and trendy kids hangout. Don’t be fooled by the name, though—you won’t find any planes or flying machines here.
What you will find, however, is one of the state’s most awesome skate parks. The biggest such skate park in all of New England, Rye Airfield is a brilliant place for thrill-seekers and trick-loving skateboarders and bikers.
The large park has ramps, rails, and obstacles galore. Even if you’ve never tried wheeling your way to fun before you’re still more than welcome here; lessons are given in BMX biking, skateboarding, and scooter riding. Pick up some new tricks to impress your buddies.
If you’re intrigued but don’t want to have a go yourself, no problem. You’re still welcome to come and watch the action safely from the sidelines. Do notes that if you want to participate you’ll need to sign a disclaimer—nobody wants to be sued!
19. Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle
A hotel that is now part of the international Marriott chain, you may wonder what’s so interesting about Wentworth by the Sea. Take a closer look, though, and you may recognize the grand hotel from the big screen.
Built in the 1870s in a Victorian style, the refined hotel sits on an island. Offering luxury and bliss, facilities include a spa, swimming pools, a fitness centre, a sauna, a restaurant, and a modern business centre. Rooms are swanky and stylish.
It’s not the interiors and amenities that are of primary interest to anyone seeking a hidden gem; it’s the outside. Though the hotel isn’t hidden in the true sense of the word, its back story may come as a surprise.
The historic five-storey building once sat abandoned and rather dilapidated, with only the ghostly memories of its former guests haunting the rooms. The decaying ocean-shaped building featured in the film “In Dreams”; does the name the Carlton Hotel ring any bells?
You might remember the scene where a tortured woman wanders through an abandoned hotel to find her dog chomping on the remains of her husband. Yuck!
As well as being a movie star, the hotel was also, in its previous heyday, the setting for peace talks to end the Russo-Japanese War. Teddy Roosevelt’s mediation of the talks earned him a Nobel Peace Prize.
20. Distant Hill Gardens, Walpole
A gorgeous garden in Walpole, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the striking Distant Hill Gardens were part of a professionally landscaped park. They’re not though—they are the work of a dedicated husband and wife who love gardening and creating beautiful outdoor spaces.
Filled with wildlife and covering some 58 acres of land, the gardens not only provide sweeping views of the surrounding areas but they are also a delight to explore.
The owners aim to show people how they too can transform their own gardens, teaching them the methods and showing them the tools that they need to be successful and develop their own green thumbs. Workshops are run throughout the year.
More than 400 species of plants can be found in the beautiful gardens, adding plenty of colour and many appealing scents. You can also see various native plants growing as nature intended around the swamps and wetlands and in the forested areas.
Take a stroll across the bog-crossing boardwalk, marvel at the large stone circle, admire the many ornate statues and sculptures spread around the grounds, follow the Distant Hill Nature Trail, and spot an array of wild creatures.
21. The Crystal Quail, Center Barnstead
Passing through Barnstead? Enjoy a great meal at the lovely Crystal Quail. Do note that reservations are required; it’s no use turning up on the spot or you’ll be leaving still feeling hungry and sorely disappointed!
Something of a magnet for artists, writers, musicians, poets, thespians, and other creatives, the Crystal Quail has a long history.
It is housed within an old farm building that dates back to 1764. It was once used as a post centre for oxen that transported goods from place to place. There was little need for such delivery methods after the birth of the railroad systems and the farm began to flounder. It was later used as a summer retreat and was eventually turned into a charming restaurant in the 1970s.
Step through the old doors and you’ll find yourself in a homey and cosy kitchen with a fireplace. Continue to the comfortable dining area and you’ll be told the day’s menu.
There are no printed menus here, with the owners using what they term a “verbal menu”. This means that items are regularly changing, allowing the restaurant to make full use of seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients. While you may not know in advance what you’ll be eating, you can rest assured that it will make your taste buds sing!
22. Josie Langmaid Monument, Suncook
Sitting on Academy Road in Suncook, the Josie Langmaid Monument is perfect for fans of the macabre. It remembers a young 19th-century murder victim, standing close to the spot where the unfortunate young girl’s body was found.
The monument is engraved with poignant prose: “Death lies on her, like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flow’r of all the field”. The 15-foot-tall obelisk also gives the gruesome details of the murder, even going so far to give details as to where the victim’s severed head and dismembered body were found!
The events were sad, as with any murder. One October morning in 1875, 17-year-old Josie Langmaid set off, as usual, for school. When she didn’t show up at school, and failed to return home that afternoon, alarm bells were raised.
Search parties found her corpse within 24 hours of her having gone missing. She has been abused and her head had been cut off. She was buried in a nearby graveyard, but the town wanted the horrific act to never be forgotten, hence the monument.
23. Chicken Farmer Rock, Newbury
A roadside feature that many love-struck teens can probably relate to, the small town of Newbury has a graffitied rock that is now known as Chicken Farmer Rock.
Believed to have been daubed in the 1980s, possibly the 1970s, the message is simple and the writing in crude. There are only six words painted on the rock” Chicken Farmer I still Love You. Large white capital letters stand out prominently on a redish pink square painted on the flat stone face.
While nobody really knows who painted the message, who it was for, whether the devotion was returned or unrequited, and who chicken farmer was, several tales circulate about the unusual love letter.
Locals say that a shy young boy wrote the message to a young girl who lived on a chicken farm over the road from the rock. Originally created using paint and granite chalk, it is regularly repainted to keep the flame alight and the embers of passion burning.
24. Andres Institute of Art, Brookline
A delightful open-air art museum in Brookline, the Andres Institute of Art displays many interesting sculptures. The biggest sculpture park in New England, it was established in 1996. Since that time, the eye-catching installations have been making many a camera shutter work hard.
Located in the scenic Monadnock Valley, the stunning natural surroundings provide the perfect backdrop to the man-made art. Sitting on an old skiing area, the site covers around 140 acres.
The 80+ sculptures are made from both stone and metal and they are spread throughout gardens and forests. Several walking trails lead around the area, with trails of varying difficulty levels available. Whichever path you choose, however, is sure to be interesting.
Many pieces are abstract, sure to set your mind racing to interpret the artists’ thoughts, feelings, meanings, and intentions. Works have been made by both US artists and sculptors from overseas.
25. Madame Sherri’s Castle, Chesterfield
Now a crumbling ruin, Madame Sherri’s Castle was once an ornate and opulent home where an eccentric designer used to host magnificent and decadent parties.
Elite members of New York’s world of theatre would regularly head here for evenings of fun and frivolity in the middle of a forest, courtesy of Madame Sherri.
Madame Sherri was a bit of a strange woman to say the least. She was famous for designing striking theatrical costumes that were worn by actors and actresses treading the boards and wowing the crowds on Broadway.
She built the three-floor castle purposefully to host parties and entertain guests. She actually lived in a much smaller home nearby. She may have lived more modestly than the castle implied, but that didn’t stop her from parading around town with a monkey sitting on her shoulder!
Sadly, money eventually ran out and the revelry stopped. The castle was abandoned and it was left for nature to reclaim its land. A fire and vandals took their toll on the once-fancy building, and there are just foundations, crumbling walls, piles of bricks, and a staircase leading to nowhere today.
26. King Ravine, Randolph
Many visitors head to more well-known ravines in the White Mountain National Forest, such as Huntington Ravine and Tuckerman Ravine, with barely a thought given to King Ravine.
This is both a shame for those that miss out and a charm for those that make the effort; visitors can enjoy the dramatic natural splendour in relative solitude, and it’s highly possible to visit and not encounter another soul.
A sense of real remoteness and isolation hang in the air. Rugged, beautiful vistas stretch all around. Mount Adams and the Durand Ridge soar above the ravine, making you feel tiny in comparison. Huge boulders are scattered over the ground, having plummeted from the high rocky walls. Majestic ice caves can be found along the trail. Lift a boulder and you may be amazed to find ice and snow underneath, even in the height if summer!
The trails are pretty steep and can present a challenge. A trekking pole may come in handy and sturdy shoes are a must.
27. Purgatory Falls, Lyndeborough
Another of New Hampshire’s stunning natural gems, Purgatory Falls is situated in a picturesque area close to Lyndeborough. A small but scenic waterfall, it is made even more interesting by the strange tales that surround it.
Local lore says that the Devil used to frequent this part of the state. It is said that Satan once hosted a dinner party here, inviting local churchgoers for a slap-up bean feast next to the falls. Clearly a careless cook, the legend says that the Devil’s fire, which came directly from Hell, was just too hot for cooking a mere pan of beans.
The blazing inferno melted the rocks and caused the Devil to become stuck! Climb up the falls and you’ll come to a hole known as The Devil’s Bean Pot, and another smaller indentation that is called The Devil’s Footprint.
Tales don’t say whether or not the meal was eventually dished up, but we can only assume that the dinner party had to be cancelled …
28. Yankee Siege Catapult, Greenfield
The Yankee Siege Catapult is a brutal-looking contraption, built to hurl, of all things, pumpkins!
Although the catapult’s pumpkin-tossing days are now over, and it is no longer in service, you can imagine the hilarity that must have ensued when the contraption was first put into use.
The brainchild of a local farming family, the Yankee Siege Catapult may look like a medieval invention but it was actually built fairly recently, in 2004.
Standing six stories high, the now-rusting oddity was built to try and draw more customers to the farm. Although a rather odd way of drumming up business, it obviously paid off. People would come to test their pumpkin-chucking prowess, with one toss managing to fly more than half a mile through the air!
Even though you won’t see it in action, it’s still one of the state’s most ingenious and quirky hidden gems to hunt down.
Enjoy solitude at scenic spots, visit unusual museums, admire art, stroll through charming gardens, explore ruins, dine in secret local hotspots, see a whimsical contraption, and hope you don’t run into the Devil when discovering New Hampshire’s diverse hidden gems.