Genteel New London is a place to saunter, sip, shop, and ski when the weather turns frosty. Pegged as a Lake Sunapee region summer haven, its also a year-round commercial hub for small towns between Concord and Hanover. And with its distinctive shops, handsome homes, village green, and friendly taverns, it makes for a great getaway for couples any time.
Stay Colonial Farm Inn and Restaurant
(499 Andover Road, www.colonialfarminn.com
, 800-805-8504, doubles $149) is comfortable and unpretentious. Jon and Heidi Greene bought the six-room, 1836 inn two years ago following career changes. He was in quality assurance, and she was a financial analyst. Now she cooks, and he manages the inn with its 100-year-old oak drop pocket pool table, original wooden floors, and three fireplaces. The handicapped accessible Sunapee room is the only one with a TV, while the rustic upstairs Potter Place has carpeting. Tea-loving guests have an extensive selection to choose from and breakfast options include treats such as bananas Foster French toast and pancakes with apple-smoked bacon. Those seeking an alternative to inns should check out the Lamplighter Motor Inn
(34 Newport Road, www.lamplightermotorinn.com
, 603-526-6484. Doubles start at $99, including tax).
Dine Rockwell’s at the Inn
(353 Main St., www.rockwellsattheinn.com
, 603-526-2791, dinner only. Restaurant entrees start at $18; tavern entrees $9-$25) is the town’s fine dining mainstay with fresh twists on traditional regional fare. Venture into the casual tavern for martinis to accompany a shorter menu with items like meat loaf or grilled tenderloin steak tips with chive whipped potatoes. An airy European atmosphere pervades Millstone’s
(74 Newport Road, www.millstonerestaurant.com
, 603-526-4201, lunch/dinner from $8) where the filet mignon is topped with goat cheese, and Vermont free-range chicken is pan roasted with vegetables. The granite bar is split between the dining room and purple-hued lounge where lighter fare, such as garden salad with a grilled chicken breast or grilled organic Scottish salmon, is teamed with a well-rounded wine list. If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a quick bite, Ellie’s
(207 Main St., www.elliescafeanddeli.com
, 603-526-2488, breakfasts from $4.95) is the local breakfast and lunch spot featuring cloth napkins, brick-walled fireplace, and sandwiches aplenty.
During the day
Love to shop? The eclectic work of eccentric artists and craftsmen make Artisan’s
(195 Main St., www.artisansnewlondon.com
, 603-526-4227) a must-see. Browse the independent Morgan Hill Bookstore
(253 Main St., www.morganhillbookstore.com
, 603-526-5850) with its local style, including signed works by award-winning children’s author-illustrator Tomie dePaola, who lives in town. Friendly volunteers staff the Renaissance Shoppe
(107 Newport Road, 603-526-6711) with its upscale secondhand deals benefiting the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association. Be amazed in the jammed three-story collectibles-filled barn of Prospect Hill Antiques in Georges Mills
(Prospect Hill Road, www.prospecthillantiques.com
, 603-763-9676). In need of exercise? Check out the view from the stone bench overlooking stunning Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee after a short jaunt on the Clark Lookout Trail (Davis Hill Road, www.nl-nhcc.com
). If you arrive after a snowfall and are looking for a place to ski, head to nearby Mount Sunapee Resort
in Newbury (1398 Route 103, www.mountsunapee.com
, 603-763-3500) or Danbury’s growing Ragged Mountain
(620 Ragged Mountain Road, www.raggedmountainresort.com
In the summer, visitors should take a look at the venerable New London Barn Playhouse. This time of year, however, meeting new friends at local pubs takes center stage. The microbrewery at the Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille
(40 Andover Road, www.flyinggoose.com
, 603-536-6899, lunch/dinner burgers from $7.99, entrees from $12.99) dispenses a plethora of freshly brewed beer and ales from the hoppy Robert Strong Brown to the brisk Split Rock Golden Ale inside a lively bar. Occasional Thursday night concerts feature top folk favorites. Wooden tables, exposed beams and 11 beers on tap from England to New England make Peter Christian’s Tavern
(195 Main St., www.peterchristianstavern.com
, 603-526-4042) a good choice for an evening out. There is open mike entertainment on Thursday nights.
Marty Basch can be reached through www.onetankaway.com.
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