The Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region encompasses the area of the state of New Hampshire from Bradford northwest to the city of Lebanon. It’s named for two of New Hampshire’s most important and popular attractions – Ivy League Dartmouth College in Hanover and beautiful Lake Sunapee and Mount Sunapee.
This area of New Hampshire is composed of the Upper Valley Region, which is the northwest-central area. It includes Lebanon, which is a commercial and manufacturing area, as well as Hanover. Most of the area is composed of tourist towns and agricultural areas.
Lake Sunapee, the third largest lake in New Hampshire, and the town of Sunapee, take up the rest of the area – the central and southeastern portion of the region. Nearby Little Sunapee and Pleasant Lake, with Lake Sunapee, provide lots of opportunities for all sorts of water sports including swimming, fishing, boating, and more. The lake and town are extremely popular summer and resort areas. Many celebrities have homes in the Lake Sunapee area.
This lovely area of New Hampshire is known for its country roads which provide perfect opportunities for afternoon drives, its scenic acres of farmland, cold, clear lakes, and the beauty of the Dartmouth campus, which also offers top-rate entertainment that’s open to the public. It’s an area full of history, tradition, and natural beauty. There are myriad opportunities for family activities year round.
In the summer, spring, or fall, take a drive along country lanes. Enjoy the fields, stone walls, barns, and old New Hampshire churches. Watch the trees leaf out in every shade of green in the spring. Enjoy the cool breezes in the summer as you head out to Lake Sunapee, or one of the other lakes in the region for a refreshing swim. In the fall, come for the yellow, red, and gold foliage and the harvest. Stop at a farm stand or farmers market and buy fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Keep an eye out for local farmers’ markets as well.
Are you a skier? In the winter you can take your family skiing, or enjoy a romantic ski weekend – either downhill or cross-country, at one of the area’s ski resorts. Mount Sunapee is famous for skiing and snowmobiling. Mount Sunapee resort in Newbury has 65 trails and a half-pipe. It also offers an Alpine terrain park.
Then enjoy a splendid dinner at one of the area’s wonderful restaurants. You’ll find fine dining, country inns, coffee shops, breweries, and traditional New England culinary favorites.
Spend some time outdoors at places like The Fells and the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge in Newbury. It’s the former home of John Hay, Abraham Lincoln’s secretary. It was built in the early 20th century and is famous for its gardens and Colonial Revival buildings. There are also hiking trails on this estate that run along Lake Sunapee and are open year round.
Are you a covered bridge fan? The Cornish-Windsor Bridge, in Cornish, crosses the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont and is the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States. While in Cornish, stop at the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site. It’s the former home of Augustus Saint Gaudens, one of the premier American sculptors of the 20th century.
If your family would enjoy some rock hunting, a trip to Ruggles Mine at Mount Isinglass in Grafton is a must! Mineral collecting is permitted and visitors might find mica, beryl, amethyst, quartz, or garnet.
Come to the New London Barn Playhouse for live theater or the Claremont Opera House in Claremont to enjoy entertainment from children’s theater to chamber music and dance. Or head to the Hood Museum of Art on the Dartmouth College Campus and feast your eyes on an outstanding collection of European, American, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian collection of art.
No matter what the season there’s always a good time to be had in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region, whether it’s boating, hiking, biking, fishing, snowmobiling, maple-sugaring, shopping, dining, cultural offerings, art, or just enjoying the scenery and the friendliness of the regions residents. It’s New Hampshire’s year round destination for vacations and visitors.