1) The Garnet Hill Mobile Boutique, Exeter NH.
Tucked away in downtown Exeter, the Garnet Hill Mobile Boutique is a space unlike any other on the seacoast. The twinkling string lights, local art, and pebble pathways remind me of everything I love about New England, in a softer, subtler way.
The brand is known for attention to detail and quality workmanship, and the boutique encapsulates this ethos. Plus, they’ve got bocce! Swing by before the boutique leaves for the Seaport in Manhattan. I highly recommend their silk dresses, ideal for breezy August evenings, and their cashmere wraps, for chilly October mornings.
2) The Secret Spot in Hampton, NH
The Secret Spot has the best açai bowls and smoothies north of Boston. Stop by for a “Session Smoothie” before surfing, for a pick-me-up — after all, their slogan is “Eat well, surf better.”
They also have knockout burritos and wraps that shouldn’t be missed. Rent boards (and wetsuits) next door at Cinnamon Rainbows. They also offer lessons!
3) The Portsmouth Farmers Market in Portsmouth, NH
The Portsmouth Farmers Market is open seasonally, May to November, from 8 AM to 1 PM on Saturdays, rain or shine. My go-to is local vegetables, eggs, an oversized bouquet of flowers, and lunch from one of the vendors. In the fall, be sure to indulge in apple cider donuts and maple syrup. There are always a few vendors selling handcrafted soaps and other beautiful products for giving (or keeping).
4) A walk at Wagon Hill in Durham, NH
The Wagon Hill Farm is a staple among locals. Some of my favorite pastimes include walking my dog, Skipper, during golden hour with some of my closest friends. The trails are accessible year round, but in the winter only by snowshoes, cross country skis, or ambition and sturdy boots. The trails run through forests and fields, and along swamps and the coast of the Great Bay.
Just past the water’s edge, significant oyster conservation is going on, as the Nature Conservancy and the University of New Hampshire work to rebuild what was once a thriving oyster ecosystem. In recent years, their efforts have restored as many as five acres and one million oysters annually.
5) Ceres Bakery in Portsmouth, NH
Ceres Bakery has a special place in my heart. When I was a child, my dad and I would go there for lunch. Ceres Bakery has since relocated from Ceres Street to a cozy building on Penhallow Street, but their soups and fresh bread will always bring me back to being six years old. The line can be quite long at lunchtime, but their pesto flatbread and sandwiches will never disappoint. If you’re in the market for breakfast, grab one of their egg sandwiches and coffee to go.