Choices include hiking trails, good restaurants and the AVA
The small city of Lebanon, N.H., features big attractions and many things to do, especially since the Mascoma River flows through the downtown district to provide multiple recreational opportunities. The large assortment of things to do in Lebanon helped the city earn the top spot on our list of the Top 100 Best Small Towns. Here are six things to do in Lebanon:
Take a Hike
Find your hiking boots, grab a bottled water and head to the Northern Rail Trail of New Hampshire, a well-maintained and marked pathway that begins in Lebanon and ends in Boscawen, N.H. The 60-mile former railroad line is paved for hikers and bikers, and it’s also a favorite with snowmobilers in the winter. Rivers, lakes and excellent photo opportunities are all along the way. White Mountain National Forest, just a short drive north from Lebanon, offers many seasonal hiking options, including the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves.
Relish the Flavor
Bring a good appetite to any of the excellent independent restaurants that operate in Lebanon. Among popular eateries are Yama Restaurant, where the service is great and the food choices include sushi, kimchi, bimibab and eel. 4 Ace’s Diner serves selections like piping-hot Florentine eggs Benedict, homemade raisin bread toast and red-flannel corn beef hash with beets, while popular restaurant Lui Lui prepares Italian food at its best, with menu items like lobster-stuffed ravioli and wood-fired pizzas. Margaritias Mexican Restaurant is highly rated by locals as well.
See the Big Picture
Spend a few hours at the AVA (Alliance for the Visual Arts) Gallery and Art Center, which plays an important role in Lebanon’s overall quality of life. Housed downtown just off Colburn Park in a former clothing factory, the 41,000-square-foot facility underwent a recent renovation and is worth a visit just to see the refurbished building. Inside, the art gallery often changes its permanent and traveling exhibits, and schedules numerous art studio classes for adults and kids.
Hit the Slopes
Buy or rent snow skis and get to Storrs Hill Ski Area, only a mile from downtown Lebanon. The ski area offers downhill skiing and operates a snowboard park along with the area’s only ski jumps. Other convenient winter recreation spots near Lebanon are Whaleback Ski Area located five minutes to the south on Interstate 89, and Dartmouth Skiway just 20 minutes to the north in Lyme.
Catch Their Acts
Treat yourself to an evening of musical entertainment by attending a performance at Lebanon Opera House, a small and quaint theater known for its quality acoustics and comfortable seating. Excellent sight lines are available to patrons seated on the main floor and mezzanine level, and shows range from operas to Broadway musicals to rock concerts. Meanwhile, music fans in Lebanon can also attend summer concerts and live entertainment festivals in Colburn Park as well as nightspots like Salt Hill Pub that hosts bands.
Float Your Boat
Go whitewater rafting or kayaking in the Mascoma River, which features a section of class V rapids that will test even the most experienced paddlers. Enjoy further water recreation activities along the larger Connecticut River and Mascoma Lake. The banks of the Connecticut have several spots to launch a canoe or boat, and the river shoreline also features other adventure options such as challenging hiking trails.