The days are growing shorter, the kids are getting ready to go back to school, and though it doesn’t feel it yet, the temperatures are about to get slightly cooler. But there’s still plenty to do in what summer we have left.
Here’s a dozen activities you can experience with your family before summer’s end.
A true sign of summer (even if it’s at the end), the return of Dave Matthews to the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, in Gilford, on Aug. 24-25 is a welcome opportunity to celebrate. And while the set list is an ever-changing, flowing, unpredictable thing, we hope he plays ‘Ants Marching.’ Note: go for The Dave Matthews Band, but keep your eyes stage left, where former Rochester, NH resident Jeff Coffin will spend the better part of three hours tearing into the sax.
Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, N.H.
Pick your own fruit
Many New Hampshire farms allow visitors to enjoy the best of summer’s bounty for a low price. In August, find locally grown blueberries at the excellent Lull Farm (locations in Milford and Hollis), and when the calendar flips to fall, look for apples and pumpkins. Brookdale Fruit Farm, also in Hollis, is a berry lover’s dream with pick-your-own blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries.
Pro tip: Head over to Hazelton Orchards in Chester and pick up a homemade peach pie. You won’t regret it.
65 Broad St.
615 Route 13
Brookdale Fruit Farm
41 Broad St.
Head to the seacoast and try your luck surfacasting or hope on a half or full day fishing boat. The days may be getting shorter, so night fishing may be limited, but reports say the bite is still on for haddock, cusk, pollock, whiting and reds.
Eastman Docks Fishing Fleet
5 River St.
Al Gauron Deep Sea Fishing
1 Ocean Boulevard
Watch your neighbor pit his F-150 against an Accord driven by an accountant from Portsmouth. Every Wednesday and Friday night at New England Dragway, enthusiasts (and the curious) get to see just how fast their daily driver will go – legally – down the Epping quarter-mile. It’s $25 if you want to race your car, or $10 if you want to sit in the stands and guess at who’s going to come out on top. Read all the safety information here.
280 Exeter Rd.
Go tubing on the Saco
The Saco is probably the most well-known destination for tubing, and as a result, stretches of the river can be crowded, but if you are up for a more social experience, it can be a good fit. The scenery is beautiful as the Saco winds its way through northeastern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine, eventually emptying into the Atlantic at Saco Bay. There are several outfitters ready to supply your group with tubes and shuttle service. Saco Bound, located in Conway, has shuttles that run nearly every hour and several excursions to meet different needs. One offers a trip from their main base over a 3-mile-per-hour current to family-friendly Weston’s Beach. Trips start at $25.
2561 E. Main St.
More than 80 years ago, a B-18 bomber crashed into Mount Waternomee in the White Mountains – and it’s still there. A 4.5 mile round-trip hike will bring you to the site, and the wreckage itself. With pieces as small as your fist, and as big as a car, there’s plenty to see and meditate on. The trailhead is on Walker Brook Road, off Route 118/Sawyer Highway, in Woodstock. Before you go, read more about the WWII bomber’s final flight here.
Italian lawn bowling is fun. Italian lawn bowling with wine is funner – even if that’s not a word. Zorvino Vineyard, in Sandown, has side-by-side bocce courts just steps away from its tasting room and its Z Patio (open for tastings, dining and enjoying what’s left of the summer). The rules are simple enough: Toss the pallino (a smaller ball) and then players take turns throwing a bocce ball as close to the pallino as possible. The inside ball wins, and points are awarded only to the player or team with the most “inside” balls. The first to 13 wins. Reservations are required for a table at Z Patio, but overflow and bocce players can enjoy the grounds without one.
226 Main St.
Travel along a 6.4-mile section of the Northern Railroad – through woods, farmland and along the Merrimack River – aboard a custom-built, four wheeled, pedal-powered rail bike. Scenic RailRiders is a family-owned company that can set you up for the nearly two-hour adventure embarking from Concord. A tour on a two-seat rail bike is $84, and a four-seat bike tour is $144. The season runs from May 30 through Nov. 1, and runs Saturdays and Sundays only after Aug. 28.
188 Sewalls Falls Road
The Mt. Washington Auto Road opens early on 2-3 Sundays every summer, allowing guests to drive themselves to the summit of Mt. Washington to view the sunrise from the highest peak in the Northeast. And your last chance for the summer is coming. On Sunday, Aug. 29, the road will open at 4:30 a.m., and the sun will peak over the horizon at 6:02 a.m. Plan on arriving early to avoid any traffic at the toll house.
1 Mount Washington Auto Rd.
Hit the cheese trail
Stretching from the top of New Hampshire to the bottom, the NH Cheese Trail leads cheese lovers through a variety of working dairies offering some of the finest, and freshest, cheeses available. Next time your cousin from Vermont visits, be sure to show them where the best stuff is produced.
The New Hampshire Cheese Trail
A family favorite for generations, exploring the boulder gardens and boardwalks of the Polar Caves is a perfect weekend getaway. Formed from granite boulders during the last Ice Age, visitors can delve into passageways and through naturally-cooled spaces, visit the animal park and go climbing.
705 Rumney Route 25
The Café Lafayette Dinner Train is a two hour ride with a five course gourmet meal. Winding through the White Mountains through the Pemi River Valley, it heads south from North Woodstock through the woods, over three trestle bridges, through a Christmas tree farm and along a golf course before heading back to the station. During the journey, you’ll dine on entrees ranging from flat iron whiskey cream and soy ginger salmon to chicken cordon bleu and eggplant rollatini. Main level dining is $85 and dome level dining is $99.
3 Crossing at Riverplace
North Woodstock, NH
I said this list contained 12 must-do things, but there’s really one more thing that you must do this summer: eat a donut. And not just any donut will do – venture out for a freshly made, hand-cut donut from The Angry Donut & Cafe in Stratham. In a few weeks, everyone’s attention will turn toward pumpkin spice and apple-flavored everything, so while you’re in a summer state of mind, grab a chocolate sea salt, raspberry filled or Fruity Pebbles donut. Your taste buds will thank you later.
157 Portsmouth Ave.