Northern New Hampshire is brimming over with exciting cultural activities and events to attend, art-filled galleries to visit, and many beautiful and historic buildings to explore and enjoy. Year round, but particularly during the summer months, there are so many cultural happenings to choose from that it would be easy to be out every day and night of the week — and still miss some.
Find locally-created art and local history at the Tillotson Center for the Arts, with its community heritage museum and art gallery, and attend a concert of local and national performing artists in its 175-seat theater. The historic building was originally the horse barn for The Balsams hotel!
The artists of the Connecticut River Artisan Group display their talents in an on-site gallery at Fiddleheads on Main Street, where you can also find U. S. and Canadian-made products, and Fair Trade items.
Look for the big red barn on Route 3, home to The Weathervane Theater, whose summer playbill includes seven classic and contemporary shows in alternating repertory, along with daytime performances of timeless tales and musical stories for the kids. On the playbill this summer are “Hairspray,” “Seussical,” “Inherit the Wind,” “West Side Story,” and several other exciting productions.
The North Country Chamber Players & White Mountains Music Festival present six summer weekends of classical music at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield and the Sugar Hill Meeting House in Sugar Hill, along with a variety of community events.
Drop by the William Rugh Gallery in downtown Lancaster to view the abstract expressionist paintings of Ed Widmayer (1923-2010), award-winning photographs by Olympics photographer Fletcher Manley, and a selection of locally made fine furniture.
There is an old-timey feeling to the Rialto Theatre. The theater’s distinctive marquee advertises first-run movies, a free summer family film series, and a growing schedule of concerts and other community events.
The beautifully restored Medallion Opera House (in the same building as the Town Hall) is the heart of the town’s cultural activities, with a year-round schedule of performing arts.
Grab a cup of coffee and check out the rotating art exhibits at the White Mountain Cafe & Bookstore, along with books by local and regional authors, White Mountains maps and guides, and children’s books and toys.
Both the terrific performing arts series and the lovely architecture of 500-seat St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts are worth a look. The former church was built in the baroque architectural style, and includes a central portal with a rose window and two elaborate stained glass accents. The Hook and Hastings pipe organ, donated in 1898, is in excellent condition.
Overlooking the city is the oft-photographed Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church at 20 Petrograd Street, with its six cross-topped domes and distinctive blue and white exterior. The interior includes Byzantine-style Icons, early 20th century oil paintings, framed imported prints and faux marble wainscoting.
A glimpse into Berlin’s history can be found in the Berlin Murals, adorning a wall of the former Brown Company Research Building on Main Street, just south of the Service Credit Union Heritage Park. The images depict scenes from Berlin’s history including the city’s paper industry, logging, ski jumping and hockey.
The AMC Highland Center hosts an impressive display of the mountain photography of explorer, mountaineer, and pioneering aerial photographer Brad Washburn. And the AMC’s series of Free Evening Programs introduce visitors to a variety of subjects, from musical evenings and visiting authors to tales of mountaineering in far away places and identifying the stars overhead.
Although it’s neither an art gallery nor a theater, it’s worth a stop at the architecturally magnificent Omni Mt. Washington Hotel, a National Historic Landmark. First opened in 1902, the hotel was built by 250 master craftsmen in the Spanish Renaissance style.
The WREN Local Works (Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) gallery in the lobby of the hotel showcases the work of dozens of regional artisans, including original art, jewelry, pottery, textiles, photography and unique and handmade gifts.
The Colonial Theatre is one of the oldest continuously operated movie theaters in the country. The summer season features Grammy Award-winning artists, independent feature films, film series & festivals, children’s programs, community events and more. The Live! 2018 season includes performances by Greg Brown, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Secret Sisters, the Cashore Marionettes, Girls Guns & Glory and more!
Don’t miss First Friday at the Gallery at WREN where you can meet the local and regional artists whose art will be on display for the remainder of the month. The juried artists include painters, photographers, potters, sculptors, fiber and multi-media artists. While you are there, browse the adjacent Local Works store for handmade jewelry, pottery, textiles and more.
Sip a latte, munch on a scone (recommended!), or order up a delicious breakfast sandwich or luncheon salad at Maia Papaya while you browse the art on the walls. The café’s rotating selection of arts and artists is always interesting and is guaranteed to add some extra spice to your coffee or sandwich!
Housed in a historic church, circa 1877, 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center includes a communal working art studio, a fine art gallery, and live performance space. Resident artists include sculptor Valery Mahuchy, Nitty Gritty Pottery, Kool Kinetics, Deathmau Studios, The Artworks Custom Framing and Larcom Studios. Artist receptions are held on the first Friday of each month.
A rotating selection of art, including an annual jewelry show, adorns the walls at the Cold Mountain Café, just across the street from The Colonial Theatre. Great food, the cozy atmosphere, and artwork on the walls makes this a must-stop spot.
And new to Main Street Bethlehem, Rek’-lis Brewing Company will be featuring local artists in their stairway to the sum•it bar, the highest bar in a town east of the Rockies. They will also be part of First Friday’s in Bethlehem!
Situated on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River, the League of NH Craftsmen Littleton Gallery showcases some of New Hampshire’s finest craftsmen working in jewelry, clay, glass, fibers, wood, metal, photography, baskets, printmaking and mixed media. Or sign up for a hands-on workshop in pottery, jewelry making, basketry, painting, and more at the gallery’s Studio School.
The Loading Dock is a multi-disciplinary collaborative space, with performances by emerging artists, open mike, art studio and classes.
Jax, Jr. Cinemas has been a Main Street destination since 1951, with two cinemas showing first-run movies.
For a wonderful photo op stop check out the Pollyanna statue on the Littleton Library front lawn. The hometown of Eleanor H. Porter, author of the beloved children’s book “Pollyanna,” Littleton is now known as the “Glad!” town.
Poet Robert Frost’s former homestead is now a museum for poets and poetry. The Frost Place hosts three summer poetry writing conferences, including poetry readings open to the public.