Travel

Fall 2018 New England Road Trip Guide: The Antiques Adventure

Spend three days spent handpicking heirlooms and adventuring for treasure through New Hampshire, from the Seacoast to the White Mountains.


Midcentury-modern wares at Just L, in Littleton, New Hampshire. / Photo by Matt Kalinowski

Total Round-Trip Mileage: 411

Day One
Your sports car is perfect for zipping around the city, but you’ll want to consider renting a truck to accommodate the spoils from the next three days spent handpicking heirlooms at New Hampshire antiques shops from the Seacoast to the White Mountains. The best advice for your journey? Pace yourself. The first stop is Antique Alley, a roughly 25-mile stretch along Route 4 packed with more than 500 dealers. Begin in Lee at Lee’s Circle Antiques, a co-op with a hodgepodge of clocks, china, and home décor, and make your way down the two-lane road, popping in to favorites such as RS Butler’s, if you like flipping through records; Eagle Antiques, for ancient artwork; and Parker-French, the store that reportedly started it all. The alley ends right outside of Concord, the state’s handsome capital city. Settle in for the night at the Centennial Hotel, an updated 19th-century house, but not before taking a 10-minute stroll to Revival Kitchen & bar, where chef-owner Corey Fletcher offers a fresh spin on New England fare (and a seriously good cheese platter).

Miles Traveled: 106

Day Two
In a little less than an hour’s drive this morning, you’ll trade rural roads for sandy shores. Today’s travels stick to the towns around the western edge of Lake Winnipesaukee: Begin by strolling Meredith’s charming Main Street to find stunning estate jewels at Waukewan Antiques and a rare selection of vintage linens at Bonita D. Story Antiques. Still jonesing for more? A quick 20-minute drive along the northern tip of the lake brings you to Moultonborough, a small town with several notable stops: Scott and Deb’s, for classic American wooden furniture; Antiques at Moultonborough, for Depression-era glassware; and the 1781 Old Country Store and Museum, which peddles penny candy and New Hampshire–themed souvenirs. Ready for a late-afternoon nap? Head north to the Sugar Hill Inn, a White Mountains bed-and-breakfast complete with in-room fireplaces, glorious mountain views, and multi-course dining extravaganzas made with ingredients from the inn’s own gardens.

Miles Traveled: 109

Day Three
Not beginning the day with breakfast at the legendary Polly’s Pancake Parlor is like going to Paris and never eating a croissant. For more than 75 years, the Sugar Hill restaurant has been serving up light, fluffy stacks to diners willing to wait hours for a table, so be sure to get there early. Then enjoy a scenic 30-minute drive up to Lancaster for a stop at the Potato Barn, where the only thing you won’t find are potatoes. Built in 1929 for root-vegetable storage, the rooms now feature an array of antiques. Standouts include the tool room, chock-full of old utensils and gadgets, and the very vintage clothing selection. Slowly begin your journey back home by passing a few hours in nearby Littleton, home to one of the best antiques shops in the region: Curated by a former New York City stylist, Just L stocks midcentury-modern furniture you won’t find anywhere else. And do not leave the area without a stop at Schilling Beer Co. for wood-fired pizza and a growler of one of its ­European-inspired brews. Once you drain it to the very last drop, it’ll become its own sort of relic from your treasure hunt.

Miles Traveled: 196

More: Five Fabulous Ways to See New England This Fall