Travel

5 things to do when visiting Amesbury

"I think it's a really fun place for people to spend the afternoon or the day."

Tulip Fest at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury. Amanda Haggstrom

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People often mistake the historic city of Amesbury, located on the Merrimack River near the New Hampshire border, for a town, said city clerk Amanda Haggstrom.

“We call ourselves the city known as the town of Amesbury,” Haggstrom said with a chuckle. “We have been a city for almost 20 years. But everybody still calls it the town. It still has that small-town feel.”

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The former farming and mill town, once famous for building carriages, is gearing up for its 122nd Amesbury Days, taking place June 25 to July 4, a week-long celebration that will include live music, movie nights, a scavenger hunt, comedy night, kids night, Beer & Music Walk, fireworks, and more.

Ahead, the Amesbury native and city clerk since October shares her picks for where to go and what to do when visiting Amesbury.

Hit up a breakfast spot

There are so many wonderful breakfast spots in Amesbury that it’s well worth heading out for your first meal of the day, Haggstrom said. Her favorites are Ovedia Artisan Chocolates, Andyman Dessert & Baking Co., and Market Square Bakehouse.

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Market Square Bakehouse is the perfect place to meet a friend on a Saturday morning, sit outside with your coffee, and take in the sights and sounds of the city, she said.

Ovedia Artisan Chocolates has “amazing scones and chocolates,” as well as “very good” espresso and coffee drinks — and noteworthy ice, Haggstrom said.

“They make ice cubes with coffee,” she said. “So when your coffee melts, it doesn’t taste like water. It tastes like coffee.”

If you’re a bagel person, Andyman Dessert & Baking Co. is “everyone’s go-to place for bagels in the morning,” she said.

As for the other meals of the day, Haggstrom loves Crave for their burgers and Flatbread Co. for their pizza (her go-to is chicken bacon ranch).

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Explore the outdoors

“We really love going to the farms in Amesbury,” said Haggstrom, who has a young daughter.

Woodsam Farm and Battis Farm are her family’s favorites, she said.

“They’re both large open spaces with fields [and] walking trails. They’re perfect for long walks with the dogs, and you can also go sledding in the winter,” she said.

Amesbury has many outdoor areas great for exploring, Haggstrom said. Powwow River Conservation Area (“Po Hill” to locals) offers 133 acres, well-maintained trails, and gorgeous views from the summit at Batchelder Park, Amesbury’s highest point.

“You get to see all of Amesbury — other towns as well — and parts of southern New Hampshire,” Haggstrom said. “Not a lot of people know about that.”

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Pick fruit and nosh cider doughnuts at Cider Hill Farm

A trip to Cider Hill Farm never disappoints, Haggstrom said.

Folks can currently pick strawberries on the farm, and in the coming months guests can pick blueberries, peaches, raspberries, apples, and pumpkins.

Haggstrom attended the farm’s Tulip Fest this spring with her family.

“I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them,” she said. “They were gorgeous. It was just so beautiful.”

Fall is always busy at the farm, she said, which offers a food truck, farm store, Hot Cider & Donut Bar, Hard Cider & Chili Bar, barnyard, and more.

“In the fall, I think that’s when everybody from out of town comes for the apple picking,” she said.

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As for the doughnuts, Haggstrom said, “They are just amazing, the most amazing doughnuts you’ll ever have.” (Boston.com readers think so, too).

Go shopping

Haggstrom is loyal customer at Glow Spa & Salon, her favorite place to relax. She’s a fan of the hot stone massages and facials there.

“They have a woman named Jen there who does amazing massages,” she said. “They have a lot of people who are loyal to them and really love them.”

If you’re planning a shopping day in Amesbury, plenty of businesses are available to choose from, Haggstrom said. The renovated downtown has everything from clothing stores to health food stores to pet stores to beauty salons, she said. Those who enjoy craft beer can explore the city’s breweries as well.

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“There’s a lot of really cool things to do,” Haggstrom said. “There’s great open space, great restaurants, great art and culture, really cute shops downtown. I think it’s a really fun place for people to spend the afternoon or the day.”

What readers say about Amesbury

“Amesbury is awesome,” wrote @cinnamOnxlife.

The following are businesses and venues where Boston.com readers love to eat, shop, and play in Amesbury.

For food and beverages:

For things to do:

For shopping:

Finally, @unpackingsustainability offered the following itinerary for “The most perfect day in Amebury”: Breakfast at Morning Buzz Cafe, walk the Riverwalk Trail, lunch at The Coop Rotisserie, a dip in Lake Gardner, and dinner at Crave.

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