Lake Sunapee

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Lake Sunapee - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Hood Museum of Art

    Dartmouth's excellent art museum owns Picasso's Guitar on a Table, silver by Paul Revere, a set of Assyrian reliefs from the 9th century BC, along with other noteworthy examples of African, Peruvian, Oceanic, Asian, European, and American art. The range of contemporary works—including pieces by John Sloan, William Glackens, Mark Rothko, Fernand Léger, and Joan Miró—is particularly notable. Rivaling the collection is the museum's architecture: a series of austere, copper-roof, redbrick buildings arranged around a courtyard. The museum galleries received an ambitious renovation and expansion in 2019 that added five new galleries and a striking new entrance designed by the husband-and-wife architectural team of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (known for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and New York's downtown Whitney Museum).

    Wheelock St., Hanover, New Hampshire, 03755, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Tues.
  • 2. John Hay Estate at the Fells

    The former home of the statesman who served as private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Secretary of State to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, built the 22-room Fells on Lake Sunapee as a summer home in 1890. House tours offer a glimpse of late Victorian life on a New Hampshire estate. The grounds, a gardener's delight, include a 100-foot-long perennial garden and a rock garden with a brook flowing through it. Miles of hiking trails can also be accessed from its 83½ acres.

    456 Rte. 103A, Newbury, New Hampshire, 03225, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10 when house open, $8 when house closed, House closed Mon. and Tues. and mid-Oct.–late May
  • 3. Mt. Kearsarge

    There are two main ways to access this dramatic 2,937-foot granite peak east of Lake Sunapee. Approach it through Winslow State Park, which is closer to New London, by driving to the picnic area and hiking a 1.8-mile loop trail to the top. Or, more popularly, drive the 3½-mile scenic auto route through Rollins State Park, which snakes up the mountain's southern slope and leads to a ½-mile summit trail. However you get there, the views from the top are astounding. The park road at Rollins State Park closes at 5 pm nightly and from mid-November to late May, but from Winslow State Park you can hike Mt. Kearsarge any time of day or night, year-round. Rollins State Park is accessed from the cute Colonial village of Warner, which is worth a quick stroll.

    1066 Kearsarge Mountain Rd., Warner, New Hampshire, 03278, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $4
  • 4. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

    On a bluff in rural Cornish with views of Vermont's stately Mt. Ascutney, this pastoral property celebrates the life and artistry of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a leading 19th-century sculptor with renowned works on Boston Common, Manhattan's Central Park, and Chicago's Lincoln Park. In summer you can tour his house (with original furnishings), studio, and galleries, and year-round it's a pleasure to explore the 150 gorgeous acres of lawns, gardens, and woodlands dotted with casts of his works and laced with 2½ miles of hiking trails. Concerts are held Sunday from late June through August.

    139 Saint-Gaudens Rd., Cornish, New Hampshire, 03745, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, Buildings closed Nov.–late May
  • 5. Sunapee Harbor

    On the west side of Lake Sunapee, this old-fashioned summer resort community has a large marina, a few restaurants and shops on the water, a tidy village green with a gazebo, and a small museum.

    Main St. at Lake Ave., Sunapee, New Hampshire, 03782, USA
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  • 6. Cornish-Windsor Bridge

    This 460-foot bridge, 1½ miles south of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, connects New Hampshire to Vermont across the Connecticut River. Erected in 1866, it is the longest covered wooden bridge in the United States. The notice on the bridge reads, "Walk your horses or pay two dollar fine."

    Bridge St., Cornish, New Hampshire, 05089, USA
  • 7. Dartmouth College

    The poet Robert Frost spent part of a brooding freshman semester at this Ivy League school before giving up college altogether, but the school counts politician Nelson Rockefeller, actor Mindy Kaling, TV producer Shonda Rhimes, and author Theodor ("Dr.") Seuss Geisel among its many illustrious grads. The buildings clustered around the picturesque green, which is lovely for strolling, include the Baker Memorial Library, which houses such literary treasures as 17th-century editions of William Shakespeare's works. The library is also well-known for Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco's 3,000-square-foot murals that depict the story of civilization in the Americas. Free campus tours are available.

    N. Main and Wentworth Sts., Hanover, New Hampshire, 02748, USA
  • 8. Enfield Shaker Museum

    In 1782, two Shaker brothers from Mt. Lebanon, New York, arrived on the still-beautiful shores of Lake Mascoma. Eventually, they formed Enfield, the ninth of 18 Shaker communities in the United States, and relocated to the lake's southern shore, where they erected more than 200 buildings. The Enfield Shaker Museum preserves the legacy of these Shakers, who numbered 330 members at the village's peak. By 1923, interest in the society had waned, and the last 10 members joined the Canterbury community, south of Laconia. A self-guided walking tour takes you through 13 of the remaining buildings, among them an 1849 stone mill. Demonstrations of Shaker crafts techniques also take place, and overnight accommodations are available in the community's stately six-story Great Stone Dwelling.

    447 Rte. 4A, Enfield, New Hampshire, 03748, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $14, Closed Mon.–Wed., Nov.–mid-May, and weekdays mid-May–June
  • 9. Hopkins Center for the Arts

    If the towering arcade at the entrance to the center appears familiar, it's probably because it resembles the project that architect Wallace K. Harrison completed just after designing it: New York City's Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. The complex includes a 900-seat theater for concerts and film screenings, a 480-seat theater for plays, and a black-box theater for new plays. This is the home of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra and several other performance groups.

    2 E. Wheelock St., Hanover, New Hampshire, 03755, USA
  • 10. Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum

    Learn about not only the Native tribes of New England but also indigenous culture throughout the rest of the United States at this terrific museum set on a 12½-acre tract of meadows and forest on the road to Rollins State Park and Mt. Kearsarge. Exhibits are organized by region and feature ancient dugout birch canoes, headdresses and jewelry, basketry, textiles, pottery, musical instruments, and wood carvings, and docents are happy to provide free guided tours. Outside, you can stroll through Medicine Woods to discover the many kinds of plants used by Native communities for food, healing, and tools, and around a small arboretum with local flora.

    18 Highlawn Rd., Warner, New Hampshire, 03278, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $11, Closed Dec.–Apr. and weekdays in Nov.
  • 11. Mt. Sunapee State Park Beach

    A great family spot, this beach adjoining a 4,085-acre mountain park has picnic areas, fishing, and a bathhouse, plus access to great hiking trails. You can also rent canoes and kayaks, and there's a campground. Amenities: lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: swimming; walking.

    86 Beach Access Rd., Sunapee, New Hampshire, 03255, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5 mid-May–mid-Oct.

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