Within an hour (give or take) of UNH, you’ll find great hiking, mountain biking, and, oh yeah, a couple of cities that offer more than just a few interesting things to do. Here are five of our favorite adventures that make for fun and easy getaways.
1. Catch Red Sox Fever
Take in a Red Sox game from the Bleacher Bar, located — you got it — under the bleachers at Fenway Park. The restaurant’s large window looks out on centerfield. Try the pastrami sliders or Nora’s warm cookie plate. No ticket required. First come, first served, so get there early on game day. Just hop on Amtrak’s Downeaster at the UNH Dairy Bar or take the C&J bus from Portsmouth to avoid the hassle of trying to park.
2. Float the Saco
Spend a couple of hours or most of the day tubing down the Saco River. Your choice: rapids or no rapids; 1 ½, 3 and 5-mile trips. Sandy beaches; rope swings. (The river is shallow so look before you leap.) Just head north toward the White Mountains and get off in Conway, New Hampshire. Tube rentals at Saco Canoe Rental Co. Canoes and kayaks, too, if paddling is more your thing. They also rent paddleboards.
3. Do Portland
Say “Portland” and people think “the Old Port.” That's because Portland, Maine's working waterfront is one of the city's hotspots, with its scores of shops, art galleries and restaurants. It’s also where you can catch the ferry to Peak’s Island or cruise Casco Bay. But there’s a lot not to miss just a few blocks from the water, like Coast City Comics, the Portland Museum of Art and the Duckfat sandwich shop. (Try the duck-fat Belgian fries with a wild cherry phosphate craft soda.) Again, the Downeaster train makes getting there easy.
4. Hike the Whites
Start picking off the 4,000 footers in New Hampshire's White Mountains — there are 48 of them. Or, go big: At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast. If that’s too much to take on, you can always ride up on the auto road. For a short a trek, visit the 160-foot Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch State Park. Or continue on to the Frankenstein Cliff Trail, a favorite in winter for ice climbers.
5. Go Lakeside
Bike the 12-mile loop on the Cotton Valley Rail Trail in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and take in views of Lake Winnipesaukee, Crescent Lake and Lake Wentworth. Or you can jump aboard the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad for an up-close look at the state’s largest lake. Want to get even closer? Take a (day/evening/brunch) cruise aboard the M/S Mount Washington, which runs through late October.