Mount Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the United States. Pair this family day trip itinerary with a multi-day excursion and the various hiking, biking and boating activities in the region.
Good to know
Summertime bugs and ticks are prevalent in New Hampshire, so bring bug spray!
Recommended time of the year
The Friendly Farm is open late May through Labor Day, and then on weekends through mid-September. Edward MacDowell Lake and Rosaly's Garden are also recommended to visit from late spring to early fall.
Group rates of more than 15 people for Friendly Farm are $5.50 per person. Nature’s Green Grocer is quite expensive. Instead, you can get picnic supplies at the main grocery store, Shaws, on Route 101 in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Start off your family's New England day trip with delicious coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Parker and Sons Roastery. Set in a restored boiler house building, the Parker and Sons Coffee House roasts its own coffee and serves sandwiches on homemade bread. It has outdoor seating overlooking the Contoocook River and an entire shelf of kids games and toys.
DIRECTIONS Parker and Sons Roastery is just south of downtown Peterborough on the 202. Drive south about a mile (1.6 km), and the roastery is in a refurbished mill on the left-hand side.
The Friendly Farm is a completely interactive farm experience. Kids can hold baby chicks, bottle feed goats and pet rabbits, while learning about the daily goings-on of a farm. Peacocks, sows with babies, cows, horses, sheep, ducks and geese also roam free in this laid-back atmosphere perfect for a family trip.
DIRECTIONS From Parker and Sons Roastery, head north towards Peterborough, but turn left/west on the 101 and drive for about 10 minutes. The Friendly Farm is past Dublin, on the main road on your left-hand side.
TIP There's a large basin for hand-washing and hand sanitizer on-site, picnic tables and a gift shop at this family-friendly farm.
Stock up for a picnic at Nature's Green Grocer, the largest natural food grocery store in the Monadnock Region. It has a café with an organic menu and a good selection of all-natural baby products and snacks. It also seems to be a staple in Peterborough's thriving artist community, which makes for some good conversation with the locals. The outdoor patio also has a fabulous river overlook that is worth checking out.
DIRECTIONS From Friendly Farm, head back down the 101 towards Peterborough. Turn left off the 101 onto Union Street (there will be a big sign with Nature's Green Grocer on it), and follow the road until you see the yellow building and parking lot on your right.
TIP Nature’s Green Grocer is quite expensive. Shaw's on the 101 by downtown Peterborough would be a less expensive alternative for a market in this family vacation itinerary.
For an ideal, inexpensive family vacation idea, picnic at Edward MacDowell Lake. The 165-acre lake is surrounded by densely forested rolling hills. It is a perfect place to enjoy lunch and a midday swim or walk. The lake has two covered picnic shelters, a beach, a boat ramp and a small playground.
DIRECTIONS Edward MacDowell Lake is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from Nature's Green Grocer. Just go back east on Union Street, and make a direct right onto Wilder Street, up the hill to the lake.
TIP This year-round park is open and free from sunrise to sunset.
Peterborough, NH, is home to the MacDowell Colony, an artist retreat that brings writers, composers and artists from around the world to the small town. Toadstool Bookshop is a reflection of the area’s literary influence. It's one of the best independent bookstores in New England, with a fantastic selection of kids books and plenty of nooks to get lost in during a New England day trip with kids!
DIRECTIONS From Edward MacDowell Lake, follow the road down to Union Street, turn left on Union Street and wind down into downtown Peterborough. Toadstool Bookshop is off Depot Street, on the left-hand side, next to a parking lot.
TIP There's a café next to the bookshop with coffee and treats.
Rosaly’s Garden and Farmstand is one of the largest certified organic farms in New Hampshire and the oldest of its kind in the state. Harvesting a huge assortment of local vegetables and fruits, kids can pick their own raspberries and blueberries, flowers and herbs from the garden. It's a perfect way to end a New Hampshire family adventure, combining farming, nature, and yes, as many blueberries as you can eat!
DIRECTIONS Follow Grove Street out of Peterborough to the 101, turn left onto the 123-N/Wilton Road, and then a right onto Elm Hill Road. Rosaly's Garden and Farmstand is on your left.
TIP The gardens and farm stand at Rosaly’s are open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 13th until Columbus Day. Berries, flowers and herbs vary depending on the season.