So Much to Do on Your Family Vacation in New Hampshire

Food & Farm ~ Children’s Activities ~ Hiking & Outdoors ~ Iconic New England ~ Museums & Art ~ Winter Activities ~ Restaurants

There’s plenty to do right here at Inn at Valley Farms! Take some time to tour our 105-acre organically managed working farm and see our sustainable farming practices first-hand; stay on the farm and help with the chores; collect still-warm farm fresh eggs from our hen house; peruse our extensive organically managed vegetable, herb, and perennial gardens; walk our woodland trail; or simply relax in the tranquil, bucolic setting.

If you’re after more adventure, our inn makes a great “home base” while exploring all that the region has to offer. Listed here is a sampling of our favorite local activities. Our library is full of guidebooks, brochures, gazetteers, and maps for use during your stay to help you discover even more area treasures in the Monadnock Region.

An idyllic spot for a memorable family farm vacation in New England, Inn at Valley Farms is located just 3 miles south of the charming village of Walpole. Situated in the southwest corner of New Hampshire, we’re close to abundant activities and attractions in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

For Local Food Enthusiasts

Our wonderful agricultural village has an abundance of farms making Walpole a one-stop shop for a wide variety of wonderful local foods including pasture-raised chicken, turkeys, eggs, heritage pork, 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, goat, 200 varieties of fruits, raw milk, a variety of cheeses, locally produced wine with locally grown grapes, locally made artisan bread, honey, maple syrup, exquisite handmade chocolates, several farm stands, a weekly farmers’ market (May-October), and from-scratch ice cream made with Walpole milk! Many of these products are available right from the farms themselves (many offer self-serve honor system, believe it or not!) or from the Walpole Grocery, which stocks many other local foods from neighboring towns as well. A stay at our farmhouse or one of our cottages allows you the luxury to “eat local” during your stay or plan ahead and bring a cooler to take a variety of specialties home with you! Bon Appetit!Right Here in Walpole: So much to explore, so little time… (be sure to plan plenty!)

Visit our very own Walpole Valley Farms’ Farm Store: to stock up on our own grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, maple syrup, homemade jam, and more before you head home. Frozen in portion-sized packages and can easily be packed for travel.

Alyson’s Orchard grows more than 200 varieties of already picked and pick-your-own fruit including blueberries, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, cherries, grapes, heirloom apples and features amazing views all within walking distance from our inn.

Don’t miss world-renown Burdick Chocolates not only for a taste of some of the most amazing chocolates you’ll ever have the pleasure of consuming, but a French-style bistro offering lunch and dinner featuring locally grown provisions. Or try the European pastries and drinks in their upbeat café – some of the best chocolate frappes and hot chocolate you’ll find anywhere!

Looking for a place to grab provisions for a picnic lunch or light dinner? The Walpole Grocery: A small specialty grocery store in downtown Walpole carrying a wide selection of local foods including a great local cheese selection, locally made artisan breads, prepared specialty sandwiches and some prepared dishes.

Walpole Creamery: Wonderful flavors of award-winning homemade natural ice cream made with our neighbors’ cow milk. Visit their scoop shop just north of town.

Boggy Meadow Farm Cheese: Makers of a variety of fine cheeses. Honor system retail store at the farm or cheeses available at the Walpole Grocery in downtown Walpole.

Love wine? Fine estate wines made exclusively from locally grown grapes at Walpole Mountain View Winery. Wine tastings Fridays 5-7pm, Saturdays 12-5pm and Sundays 11-4pm (Memorial Day through Christmas or by appointment). The view from the winery alone is worth the trip.

Or visit any number of local farmers’ markets (one nearly every day of the week), farm stands, in the surrounding area. We’ll provide you with an extensive list upon arrival. Add another dimension to your trip and learn how to cook with all the amazing ingredients you’ve gathered. Cooking classes are offered regularly at Your Kitchen Store and Leslie’s – The Tavern at Rockingham and baking classes are available year round at King Arthur Flour’s Baking Education Center.

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Favorites of the Young at Heart

Love farm animals and can’t get enough of them? Open Memorial Day through Columbus Day, the Friendly Farm and the Retreat Petting Farm are two wonderful petting farms in the area that offer a great way to spend the day up close and personal with farm animals. Other area farm highlights include Stonewall Farm – a working farm and education center open 365 days a year, Crescendo Acres, an alpaca, miniature horse, and maple syrup farm welcoming guests year-round and a bit farther away, but worth the drive, the Billings Farm, one of the finest working dairy farms in America along with an agriculture museum with a variety of exhibits and presentations.The Cheshire Children’s Museum – where all children can explore at their own pace in a safe, clean, and welcoming space…where children begin to learn that anything is possible!

See also section on Museums and Culture.

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Hiking & Outdoors

Hiking: Part of what makes our town of Walpole so picturesque is the fact that it has 18 conservation areas for hiking and exploring, many with views. Ask us for a list with directions when you arrive. Other favorite local hiking spots include, Madame Sherri Forest, complete with an intriguing local legend, Chesterfield Gorge State Park, or Pisgah State Park – this 13,668 acre woodland is the largest state park in New Hampshire or Pitcher Mountain – a fairly short hike with amazing 360-degree views and very little human traffic. Wild blueberry picking in early August. $1/quart PYO. If you’re looking for something more challenging look no further than Mount Monadnock. This 3,165 ft. peak is the most climbed mountain in North America with views on a clear day all the way to Boston.

Swimming: Unique swimming holes in local rivers and lakes are abundant in the area and are one of our family’s favorite summer activities! Ask us for a list with directions upon arrival. Walpole also has a town pool which is open to non-residents for a small fee. Spofford Lake, Surry Dam and Lake Sunapee are all larger bodies of water and a great way to spend the day.

Golf Courses: Walpole’s own Hooper Golf Course has been rated as one of the top 9-hole courses in the US. The Keene Country Club and Bretwood Golf Course are two 18-hole golf courses are located in nearby Keene, NH (20-minute drive).

For the More Adventurous Guests: Wanting to explore New Hampshire and Vermont’s numerous lakes and rivers? North Star Canoe Rentals and Vermont Canoe Touring Center both offer kayak and canoe rentals.

Ever dream of flying? The NH School of Falconry offers an unforgettable and educational experience interacting with birds of prey. Or try Monadnock Aviation for a remarkable scenic flight during New England’s brilliantly colored foliage season. Or try your hand at hang gliding, paragliding, ultralights, ziplining, or outdoor laser tag at Morningside Flight Park.

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Iconic New England

What do you think of when you think of New England? Southwestern New Hampshire has it all – Covered bridges, green rolling pastures, apple orchards, big red barns, classic white churches and historic homes, roadside farm stands, fields of pumpkins, dirt roads, town commons and historical societies to name a few. Below are a few of our particular favorites:Free Band Concerts on Walpole’s own historic town common occur every Sunday evening in July and August 6:30-8:00 rain or shine. Homemade pie made by the local church fellowship and sold by the slice makes this great weekly event even better!

Covered Bridges: New Hampshire, and southern New Hampshire in particular, has one of the highest concentrations of covered bridges anywhere in the US. If you haven’t seen one in person, it is worth the time to seek out a “kissing bridge” – a true iconic symbol of New England.

Green Mountain Flier Railroad: Train rides through the picturesque Green Mountains are especially beautiful during foliage season.

Interested in fiber arts? Green Mountain Spinnery is a worker-owned cooperative woolen mill producing high-quality yarns with environmentally preferred practices. Tours available.

The Rockingham Meeting House is a fine example of Colonial architecture as well as a historic cemetery open to the public and hosting periodic music events.

Vermont Country Store: Step back in time in this family owned and operated gem where they proudly claim to be “purveyors of the practical and the hard to find” and seek out items for their store sold nowhere else. When was the last time you saw Bag Balm on a shelf? Or classic wooden toys? Penny candy sold by the piece? Fun for all ages.

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Museums & Art

Museums: There are a plethora of museums in the region appealing to all ages. History museums in the immediate area include Walpole Historical Society, Horatio Colony Museum, Cheshire County Historical Society, The Fort at No. 4 Living History Museum, and the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site.

Area science museums that interest all ages include Montshire Science Museum, The Nature Museum at Grafton, and the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. The Mariposa Museum has workshops and performances highlighting the world’s cultures and folklife. The Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Museum, although a bit farther away (45-minute drive), is located just off of I91 making it a convenient stop with little ones either on your way to our farm or on your way home.

Art, Music and Theater: The Walpole Artisans Cooperative and the Sharon Arts Center both house great collections of works created by local artisans. Watch amazing creations of glass made in front of your very own eyes at Sherwin Art Glass and Simon Pearce or try your hand at creating your own at Terrapin Studios.

With more than 65,000 objects in its collection which began in 1772, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College is one of the oldest and largest collections of any college or university in the country. Admission to the museum is free and makes for a great day trip.

The renowned Apple Hill Center For Chamber Music and Yellow Barn, two of the finest chamber training and performance centers in the world offer weekly performances throughout the summer. The Colonial Theater is an historic performing arts center offering regular live and filmed events. And for live theater neither of these options disappoints; Peterborough Players Summer Theatre or the New England Youth Theatre.

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Winter Activities

Winter is a lot quieter on the farm, but offers great outdoor activities only available for a short period each year. We have several great sledding hills here on the farm and a collection of snow tubes, and sleds available for your use or bring your favorite to whoosh down great hills with a view of Vermont.

Snowmobiling: If you have your own “sled” bring it along! We have plenty of off-street parking for your vehicle and trailer and you can ride right from our accommodations directly to NH Corridor 5 trail system (Corridor 5 runs from Massachusetts to the Canadian border) without crossing any roads. Plenty of local trails are in the area as well leading to the local pizza restaurant and the gas station to name a few. Local snowmobile clubs keep the trails maintained and groomed. Unfortunately, there are not any places to rent snowmobiles in our area.

Sleigh rides: Winter is the perfect time to get cozy under warm wool blankets as a team of Belgian horses pulls you through the snow-covered trees and fields of Stonewall Farm or how about being pulled through the snow by majestic black Friesian horses at Friesians of Majesty?

Indoor ice skating with heated viewing room and skate rentals available at Cheshire Ice Arena, or the Nelson Withington Skating Facility at Living Memorial Park. If you have your own skates there are a number of additional options for indoor and outdoor skating in the area.

Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing and more at Granite Gorge in Keene, NH or try Grafton Ponds in picturesque Grafton, VT. There are numerous large ski mountains all within a 45-60 minute drive (Mount Snow, Stratton, Sunapee, Okemo, Killington, and more).

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Many of our guests say they can’t even think about eating after enjoying our three-course farm-to-table breakfast, but just in case…

Right in Walpole: Several options located right in town from Carol’s Scoop Shop for a quick delicious frozen treat, Diamond Pizza and The Walpole Village Tavern for family fare or The Restaurant at Burdick Chocolates and the Inn Pub and Restaurant for a more elegant dining experience.

A short drive: Bellows Falls, VT is about a 15-minute drive where you’ll find Popolo’s, Leslie’s Tavern, Shona Grill, and the Valley Cafe. Cafe Loco at Harlow Farms is located on Route 5 between here and Bellows Falls and is an awesome place for a fresh local food breakfast or lunch.

Keene, NH Area: Keene, which is an easy 20-minute drive, has too many options to mention them all, but suffice it to say this college town of 22,000 has options to please every palate. Family dining options include: Stuart and John’s Pancake House, Pappagallos (has large seating if you’re trying to seat a crowd), Pedrazza’s Mexican, Elm City Brewing Company, Fritze, The Place to Eat, The Stage, Thai Garden, Fireworks Restaurant, Ramunto’s Pizza, the food court at Monadnock Food Coop (great salad bar and homemade specialties by the pound using local ingredients) as well as the usual chain restaurants. Both Nicola’s Trattoria and Luca’s Mediterranean Cafe are more upscale if you’re looking for a special occasion meal.

Brattleboro, VT area: Being close to the border of VT, Brattleboro is not much further than Keene (25 minutes) and offers a whole other list of dining options. Family dining options include: Panda North, Fireworks, Three Stones, The Marina, Top of the Hill Grill, Whetstone Brewery, Hazel’s, or for more upscale dining try TJ Buckleys or Peter Havens.

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