Best of New England: New Hampshire


Inn : Lakefront
One doesn’t normally expect such elegance in central New Hampshire, the land of Jet Skis, mini golf, and arcades. Yet this Adirondack-style inn on Lake Winnipesaukee is posh in every way, from its upscale rustic décor to the cozy library fireplace. Sip coffee on your private balcony, head down for a mineral-shell massage, and then take a dip in the indoor-outdoor pool. // 281 Daniel Webster Hwy, Meredith, 800-622-6455,  

Inn : General Excellence
Located in a Federal-period country house, Home Hill spoils its guests with every conceivable luxury, including marble baths, in-room fireplaces, farm-to-table dining, and aromatherapy massages. It’s a shame that there are only 11 rooms to go around. On the other hand, bigger crowds just might mess with the magic. // 703 River Rd., Plainfield, 603-675-6165,

Inn : For Gourmands
The breakfast comes in three courses, complete with homemade popovers; chef Orlo Coots hosts regular cooking classes and themed dinners that cover Irish, Japanese, Cajun, and Provençal cuisine. And for epicures on the go, innkeepers Ilja and Brad Chapman are happy to pack a picnic basket full of gourmet pasta salad and pastries, and send you off with a list of romantic spots. // 80 Guider Ln., Bethlehem, 888-444-2600,

Inn : Romantic
Between the lush gardens, secluded location, Arts and Crafts–style architecture (the parlor was designed by Gustav Stickley himself), and in-room fireplaces — not to mention the “leave it to us” approach of innkeepers Ed Butler and Les Schoof — you’ll probably find your thoughts turning to romance. No wonder it’s such a popular destination for weddings and vow renewals. // 2 Morey Rd. (Rte. 302), Hart’s Location, 800-866-6131,

Resort : General Excellence
A recent $60 million facelift did wonders for this grande dame of the White Mountains, preserving all its charms (the views, the excellent dining, the cruise ship–worthy list of activities) while spiffing up its guest rooms and impressive common areas. Meanwhile, newer offerings, such as the longest canopy zipline tour in New England, make this even more of a year-round destination…and the state’s absolute favorite. // Route 302, Bretton Woods, 603-278-1000,

Resort : Oceanfront
Between the waterfront island setting and the grand Victorian architecture, the Wentworth looks like a set for a belle époque period drama. Thanks to a 2003 renovation, however, it’s a thoroughly modern getaway, complete with updated rooms, indoor-outdoor pools, a full-service spa, three dining options, and golf and tennis at the adjacent country club. // 588 Wentworth Rd., New Castle, 603-422-7322,

Resort : Classic
This former retreat for the Mellons and DuPonts still retains an air of dignified luxury — from the formal dining room to the white-glove service to the red-clay tennis courts and generous sprinkling of Adirondack chairs. Once you check in, you really don’t need to leave the 8,000-acre estate until your departure day. Most rooms are classic New England country, but the Tillotson Suite is an unexpected midcentury modern gem; in amenities and in style, there’s something to make everyone comfortable. // 1000 Cold Spring Rd., Dixville Notch, 800-255-0600,

Village Inn in the “Big City”
Portsmouth may not quite be a village, but it’s so charming and walkable that it can certainly feel that way. And right in the heart of it is the Governor’s House, once home to New Hampshire Governor Charles Dale. This petite bed-and-breakfast still feels like a private residence, with just four guest rooms decked out with soft queen beds and Frette linens. Borrow the hotel’s bikes, beach chairs, and towels for off-site fun. // 32 Miller Ave., Portsmouth, 603-427-5140,

Hotel with a Sense of Humor
We like to think of it as the Disneyland of accommodations: 16 themed rooms ranging from the kid-oriented Tree House, with a tree swing and loft; to the Cave, with stalactites and a waterfall shower; to the Show Time, with a 10-foot projection screen and commercial popcorn popper. It’s all in keeping with the hotel’s motto, “Life should be one adventure after another,” and it’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable place to, say, hole up and pretend to be a caveman on holiday. // 3440 White Mountain Hwy., North Conway, 603-356-9744,

The restored farmhouse is charming, the rooms are prettily appointed, and the egg-laying chickens are a breakfast bonus, but the real thrill of Bishop Farm lies in the way the Salter family treats every guest like a newly met cousin. Some people are just made for this business, we suppose. Every arrival is met with a smile, no request is a bother, and after one taste of Maggie’s breakfasts, you may ask to be adopted. // 33 Bishop Cutoff, Lisbon, 888-838-2474,