Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Newbury, NH

  • Published 2022/08/13

Newbury is your next out-of-town destination in Merrimack County, New Hampshire.

The town has changed its name many times, from “Dantzic” in 1753, to “Hereford” in 1754, and “Fishersfield” in 1772.

Finally, in 1837, the town was incorporated under the name “Newbury.”

Residents who came from Newbury, Massachusetts, proposed the name.

Since the late 1800s, Newbury has drawn tourists and locals with its abundance of natural features.

Situated at the southernmost point of Lake Sunapee, this town has miles of trails, a ski area, a state park, and more.

The town offers a range of sightseeing options in addition to its natural wonders, such as various historic buildings and a bustling harbor area that holds summer events and concerts.

Here are the best things to do in Newbury, New Hampshire:

Go Camping at Mount Sunapee State Park

Scenic view of Mount Sunapee State Park

Jeff Holcombe /

Mount Sunapee State Park is a popular recreation area in Newbury that offers year-round activities.

The state park spans approximately 3,000 acres, including the majority of Mount Sunapee and a sandy beach on Lake Sunapee.

Located near the beach is a campground with platforms and lean-to sites, ideal for family camping in natural surroundings.

Waterlily pond at Mount Sunapee State Park

Jeff Holcombe /

The campground includes 11 sites, with one campsite open to campers without reservations.

Enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, picnicking, and non-motorized boating!

Spend the weekend at Mount Sunapee State Park!

A beautiful butterfly at Mount Sunapee State Park

Jeff Holcombe /

Go Skiing at Mount Sunapee Resort

Gear up and ski to your heart’s content at Mount Sunapee Resort, a ski and resort area at Mount Sunapee State Park.

The history of skiing in Mount Sunapee began way back in the 1940s.

As a response to the growing popularity of the tram in Cannon Mountain, Newbury also built one on Mount Sunapee.

Currently, the resort has 67 trails and slopes spread across 233 acres, a summit elevation of 2,743 feet, and a vertical drop of 1,510 feet, the highest in southern New Hampshire.

It also has four terrain parks, four mogul runs, nine glades, and eight lifts!

The ski season runs from late November through mid-April, with an average snowfall of 130 inches.

There’s more to Mount Sunapee Resort than just skiing, as it offers lodging, dining and retail, equipment rentals, and a wide array of activities.

Take ski and snowboard lessons, biking, hiking, disc golf, archery, aerial challenge courses, and sky rides!

Enjoy Water Activities at Mount Sunapee State Park Beach

The 4,085-acre Mount Sunapee State Park Beach is in Mount Sunapee State Park.

The beach is also called Newbury Beach and is a popular destination for family and group activities.

It features a vast shoreline of white sand ideal for sunbathing and grassy areas with some shaded parts terrific for picnics.

The beach also features a bathhouse, a playground, boat rentals, and a restricted boat launch.

Guests may go swimming, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, or biking within the state park premises!

Because of the park beach’s popularity, especially during holidays and weekends, tickets will most likely sell out in the morning.

Make reservations beforehand if you want to enjoy the Mount Sunapee State Park Beach!

Tour the John Hay Estate at the Fells

Discover 83.5 acres of beauty and serenity at the Fells in the John Hay Wildlife National Refuge.

Named after John Milton Hay’s Scottish ancestry, the Fells perches on a hilltop overlooking Lake Sunapee.

It was on these shores that John retired from public life as a statesman and diplomat, along with his wife.

Hay started buying abandoned farms in 1888 until they reached approximately 1,000 acres.

When he died in 1905, Hay passed on the land to his son, who developed the Fells into a working farm and a grand American estate.

The Fells served three generations as a summer house, each generation leaving a mark and a unique legacy in ecology, horticulture, and history.

Tour the Colonial Revival house’s 22 rooms and delight in the formal gardens and terraced lawns.

The Fells is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Likewise, it’s a conservation project of the Garden Conservancy.

Hike the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail

The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, a 50-mile hiking trail, connects Mount Monadnock and Mount Sunapee across the mountains of southern New Hampshire.

The trail passes through a rural highland covered in glaciers with heath barrens, lakes, rocky peaks of several isolated hills, and dense northern hardwood forests.

Some remarkable features along the trail include eight miles of the Sunapee Ridge, the peak of Mount Monadnock, Andorra Forest, Otter Brook, Nye Meadow Refuge, and Lake Solitude.

Numerous lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and other wetlands are along the path.

The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club maintains the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail.

This club is a non-profit group founded in 1994 to preserve the trail and raise awareness of the magnificent and distant well-kept secret of “The Greenway.”

Check Out the Chicken Farmer Rock

The graffiti “Chicken Farmer, I Still Love You,” painted on a stone beside a rural highway, has become a folk legend in Newbury.

The message has existed for decades, with reports dating back as early as the 1970s.

Back then, the message was “Chicken Farmer, I Love You.”

It was a profession of love from a teenage boy to a young schoolgirl who lived on a chicken farm across the street from the rock.

Reluctant to confess in person, the boy chose a less intimate but more open approach to communication by painting a message on a piece of rock.

In 2011, an employee of the Department of Transportation covered the graffiti after receiving a complaint, in the name of prompt customer service.

However, the rock didn’t stay blank for long; a freshly painted Chicken Farmer message appeared along the side of the road.

Through a petition, the Chicken Farmer Rock became a landmark in the community.

The community decided to preserve the message so that passersby could see it.

You can find the Chicken Farmer Rock on the right side of Route 103, about two miles before you reach Mount Sunapee State Park Beach.

Dine with a View at Bubba’s Bar and Grille

Nothing beats enjoying a meal with a view of nature.

If you want to try it, go to Bubba’s Bar and Grille, a laid-back lakefront restaurant in Newbury Harbor.

Bubba’s Bar and Grille offers various meals, including burgers, chowders, seafood, steak, and pizza, along with a full bar.

The restaurant has served hungry customers with excellent food and welcoming service for over 12 years.

Visit Bubba’s Bar and Grill to get the entire Bubba experience where guests come hungry and leave happy!

Join the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair

The annual Craftsmen’s Fair is one of the oldest fairs in the country, which has run since 1933.

Over 300 juried craftspeople offer their creations at the Mount Sunapee Resort for nine days every August.

Enjoy a day of demonstrations, interactive workshops, interactions with artisans, and more than 200 booths with unique treasures for you to take home.

Exciting musical performances and artisanal food options add fun to the festival vibe.

There is something for everyone at the Craftsmen’s Fair, so bring the entire family or your bunch of friends!

Explore the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge

The waters of John Hay National Wildlife Refuge

Jeff Holcombe /

The John Hay National Wildlife Refuge, founded in 1987, initially covered 164 acres.

This property included the family home, the gatehouse, the garage, and the lake beach house.

Today, the non-profit Friends of John Hay National Wildlife Refuge maintains the 84-acre historic houses, surrounding grounds, and gardens, popularly known as “The Fells.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the remaining 80 acres of the refuge for resident wildlife and migratory bird species.

Beautiful flora of John Hay National Wildlife Refuge

Jeff Holcombe /

Explore the 0.9-mile interpretative trail developed to commemorate John Hay’s grandson, who was a famous naturalist.

Among the habitats are the vast mature forest, the tiny island just off the shore, and Lake Sunapee’s longest section of undeveloped shoreline.

Butterfly on a flower at John Hay National Wildlife Refuge

Jeff Holcombe /

See the Center Meeting House

The majestic Federal-style Center Meeting House is a monument of Newbury’s past.

A local non-profit runs the Center Meeting House, which aims to preserve the structure and encourages the use of the building.

Initially, the building welcomed several religious groups for activities.

Today, it caters to a wide variety of events for the community.

It makes a beautiful setting for public activities, as well as for private gatherings.

Constructed in 1832, the building got on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Book a Massage at Sunapee Lake Massage

You deserve a treat at Sunapee Lake Massage, a full-service spa, and massage located just above Bubba’s Bar and Grille at Newbury Harbor Plaza.

Sunapee Lake Massage offers a wide range of services tailored to meet your individual needs.

You’re welcome for an hour or two of service or stay for the day with one of their full-day spa packages!

Their superb massage services include Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Prenatal, Swedish, Couples, Medi Cupping Treatment, and more!

Sunapee Lake Massage employs highly qualified and professional therapists, so you’ll surely get the care and healing your body deserves.

Stop by the Bell Cove Historic Caboose Museum

The Bell Cove Historic Caboose Museum is a historic red caboose in a little park south of Lake Sunapee along State Route 103.

People also refer to it as the Newbury Caboose or the Newbury B&M Railroad Museum.

Newbury Station once stood on the B&M Railroad line, connecting Claremont and Concord during the 1950s.

The tiny caboose contains many railroad artifacts, including lanterns, signal lights, brochures, bells, and timetables.

The museum is not open all year-round.

However, visiting local sights such asMount Sunapee State Park and the Fells makes a nice stop for a photo.

Travel the Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway

The Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway invites visitors looking for options off the beaten path, connecting many communities with a unique link to Lake Sunapee’s culture and history.

This 39-mile path circles Lake Sunapee and features stunning views and natural landscapes, including forests and mountains.

The sporadic peeks into Lake Sunapee and frequent panoramas of the mountains are the natural visual treasures of the Byway.

The road traverses the town centers of Newbury, Sunapee, and New London, where the past and contemporary culture merge.

You will also pass notable landmarks such as Mount Sunapee and the Fells.

Established in 1992, the Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway is among the 21 recognized routes of the New Hampshire Scenic and Cultural Byways Program.

Play at Baker Hill Golf Club

Baker Hill is in a league of its own, located in a magnificent highland setting overlooking Mount Sunapee.

Architect Rees Jones used the land’s natural features in the course while keeping a close eye on environmental conservation.

Built in 2001, this championship course in the Lake Sunapee region started as an idea by a devoted group of golfers in 1998.

Situated on land with undulating hills and beautiful scenery, Baker Hill currently stands as one of the Northeast’s premier golf courses.

The course is an 18-hole par-72 with lengths up to 7,200 yards.

Trek the Andrew Brook Trail to Lake Solitude

The Andrew Brook Trail ascends gradually for 1.9 miles from the starting point on Mountain Road, Newbury, towards Lake Solitude on the eastern side of Mount Sunapee.

The trail passes through Andrew Brook Forest, spanning 126 acres on the ascent.

The forest provides habitat for several wildlife species, as well as access for hikers, fishermen, and hunters.

Hikers may see a portion of sugar maple trees in the forest and its tributaries, providing lovely pools and moss-covered cascades.

Enjoy the beauty of Lake Solitude from its shoreline or 0.3 miles further at the top of Mount Sunapee’s White Ledges.

Pack your hiking gear and follow the Andrew Brook Trail.

Final Thoughts

Newbury is a family-friendly destination that offers a good mix of relaxation and recreation.

You’ll see a lot of nature in town, an opportunity to ground yourself and embrace a slow but active lifestyle.

When you have a chance, explore the best things to do in Newbury.

Marvel at its culture, history, and wonderful nature!

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