1. American Classic Arcade Museum, Laconia: Whether you’re a serious gamer or you just like to play games for fun, this museum is a must visit. With a 250-machine collection and a specialization in games from the 70’s and 80’s, the American Classic Arcade Museum in Laconia holds the Guinness World Record for “Largest Arcade.” From standard games like Pac-Man and Mario Bros. to more obscure games like Robot Bowl and Lady Bug, this arcade has it all. A lot of the machines inside hold world records for high scores, including “Most Lines Cleared in Tetris DX” and “Donkey Kong World Record Score.” In addition to playing around the arcade, the museum frequently hosts tournaments open to the public.
2. Heritage Farm, Sanbornton: From a petting farm and horse-drawn wagon rides to a pancake house with homemade maple syrup, Heritage Farm in Sanbornton is fun for the whole family. This 15-acre plot is filled with country charm. Families can feed pigs, goats and chickens after eating made-from-scratch pancakes with farm-produced maple syrup at the pancake house. The property also has its own ice cream parlor, Rock Salt Creamery, which makes its vegan ice cream using a coldstone and liquid nitrogen.
3. Abakee Cottages, Laconia: If you’re in need of a relaxing getaway on the water, look no further. Abakee Cottages on Lake Winnipesaukee offer a natural and secluded setting with breathtaking views of the water and mountains. Celebrating its 50th year, this family-owned business in Laconia offers a choice of 13 well separated cottages, with one, two or three bedrooms inside. Each cottage has its own sitting area, kitchen, bathroom and fireplace as well as a screened-in porch to enjoy the lake view.
4. Kellerhaus, Laconia: This 110-year-old shop is the ultimate place to get ice cream in Laconia. Kellerhaus makes the ice cream using a machine from the 1930s, and after choosing a flavor, you can dress up your sundae with all kinds of toppings including sauces, candy and fruit. The shop also offers homemade candy and chocolates, selling most of its products by the pound. Also be sure to stop by on “Dollar Cone Day” every Wednesday.
5. New Hampshire Boat Museum, Wolfeboro: Stop by Wolfeboro to learn about the history of boating on New Hampshire lakes. Founded in the 1990s, the museum includes an exhibit on ice boating, boats old and new and even a few cars. The museum also features a family activity center where kids can build boats using Legos. The museum is open seven days a week through Columbus Day weekend.
6. Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough: This mansion in Moultonborough offers an unbeatable view of the New Hampshire Lakes Region and the surrounding mountains. The grand estate opened to the public in 1959 and is over 100 years old. Aside from the view, the mansion itself is a sight to see and was described as being ahead of its time in technology when it was built. It includes intercom systems, ammonia brine refrigeration and central vacuuming. Castle in the Clouds also features an art gallery, a gift shop, a restaurant, horseback riding and hiking. This estate is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily until Oct. 23.
7. NASCAR Racing Experience, Loudon: If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to drive an 800 horsepower, 3,500 pound NASCAR stock car, head over to Loudon for the NASCAR Racing Experience. You can choose to be a passenger to a professional driver and sit shotgun in a car or get behind the wheel and race the car yourself around the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Choose from a variety of experiences ranging in time and intensity. Most experiences include a graduate certificate and a souvenir racing license.
8. EKAL Activity Center, Mills Falls: Experience Lake Winnipesaukee through the EKAL Activity Center at Mills Falls. Located off the shores of Meredith Bay, this center offers a wide variety of rentals to take in the views from the lake. Visitors can rent kayaks, paddle boards and even reserve time on Miss Meredith, an antique speedboat that fits up to seven people for a 45-minute ride around the lake. The activity center also offer paddle board fitness classes and bicycle rentals to further explore the Lakes Region. This is the EKAL Activity Center’s fifth summer, and this time of year, it is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
9. Town Docks, Meredith: Town Docks in Meredith is a popular spot for lakeside dining. This specialty concept restaurant is owned and operated by The Common Man group and is rated “Best Outdoor Dining” from New Hampshire Magazine. Grab a cocktail, food and even ice cream. The menu has great variety, ranging from fresh seafood to classic sandwiches and burgers. Customers can order in or take out by car or boat.
10. Canterbury Shaker Village: Preserving the legacy and tradition of the Canterbury Shakers is the mission of this non-profit museum. The village is 700 acres large with 25 restored buildings and hosts a variety of programs and exhibits to foster an educational experience. The Shakers settled in the area in the late 1700s and lived there for 160 years, making the village a National Historic Landmark. The goal of the Canterbury Shaker Village is for visitors to leave their cell phones behind, enter a different world and appreciate the culture of the Shakers.
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