7 Weekend Getaways Within Driving Distance of the Upper Valley
Jun 12, 2018 12:26PM
● By Linda Ditch
Yep, it’s just down the road, but this Upper Valley town is a great place to spend a summer weekend. Enjoy a stroll around the village green and down Central Street, with a stop at Soulfully Good Cafe, Melaza Caribbean Bistro, or Mont Vert Cafe for a nosh. Or venture down Elm Street to pay a visit to the iconic FH Gillingham & Sons General Store, a true Vermont general store. Nearby, Billings Farm & Museum is holding their annual Cheese & Dairy Celebration on June 16 and 17, or enjoy Lobsters On The Green on July 7.
Pay a visit to the town that proudly proclaims itself “the only Henniker on Earth!” It is home to New England College and Pats Peak Ski Area. Stop in at the Henniker Brewing Company taproom and try a local brew or two, or search for summer reading among the thousands of books at Old Number Six Book Depot. If you’re a chili fan, then schedule your visit for August 19 to enjoy the 15th Annual Henniker Rotary Club Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest. Last year, more than 40 participants (divided into 3 categories) brought their best chili to be tasted and judged.
Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, this small town is home to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, Shelburne Farms (think tasty cheddar), and the Shelburne Museum. On Friday, June 29, head to Shelburne Vineyard for their Bluegrass & BBQ event. To learn more about Shelburne and what to do and see there, visit www.shelburnevt.org.
On the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, Meredith is the quintessential summer vacation spot. Take a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in one of the restored vintage coaches, or tour the Hermit Woods Winery. Stop in at the American Police Motorcycle Museum. If you take the short drive to neighboring Weirs Beach, you can spend your Saturday night at a dinner/dance cruise aboard the Mount Washington (check the schedule at cruisenh.com/collections/dinner-cruise-schedule) or catch a movie at the Weirs Drive-In Theatre.
This is a great town to shop for crafts, folk art, and local produce. Explore the state’s cultural heritage at the Vermont Folklife Center or at the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, the oldest community-based museum in the country. Treat the poet inside you to a hike along the nearby Robert Frost Wayside to see the words that inspired Frost’s most beloved poems. The Town Hall Theater will host the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival from August 23 to 26, featuring films from around the world.
Located in the Northeast Kingdom, Yankee Magazine declared Peacham New England’s most iconic village and certainly one of its most photographed. Visit the weekend of August 17 and 18 for the annual Peacham Acoustic Music Festival. The event features a variety of musical forms, from blues and bluegrass to Celtic and old-time fiddle tunes.
New London, NH
Just down the road on I-89, this college town (Colby-Sawyer College) offers easy access to both Lake Sunapee and Pleasant Lake, as well as the surrounding mountains—Sunapee, Ragged, and Kearsarge. Take in a performance at the New London Barn Playhouse and visit the New London Historical Society’s historic village (www.newlondonhistoricalsociety.org), where the Annual Strawberry Festival takes place on June 24. Or just relax in the town’s exquisite gazebo on the green and watch the world go by.