Nestled below Mount Monadnock there is a very special town; a creative community bursting at the seams with arts, culture, good food, and cute shops. The place I describe is none other than Peterborough, New Hampshire. Peterborough, self described as “a good town to live in” or simply, “our town”, is one of New Hampshire’s best gems (perhaps even one of the country’s best gems as far as small towns go). Consider this post a miniature tour of downtown Peterborough wherein I describe my favorite places to go and things to do in this special place. While certainly not all-encompassing, these are some the highlights.
First let’s talk food. Cause when it comes to good eats, Peterborough is where it’s at. It’s hard to chose a favorite but if I was forced to, Twelve Pine would win. Gourmet market-meets amazingly deli-meets awesome coffee shop-meets excellent restaurant is how I would describe Twelve Pine. Oh, and they sell flowers and homemade gelato too. All under one roof! In a casual, yet somewhat refined atmosphere. I have probably spent thousands there collectively over the years (joking, but probably pretty close- some do refer to it as “twelve dollar pine”-worth it!) and yet, I consider it well spent.
There are some new places to eat in town that are definitely worth a shout out as well. My new favorite spot (especially for lunch) is the Thai Cafe, located in the same building as chocolate maker and sweet shop Ava Marie’s (which has the best iced coffee in town- their secret: coffee ice cubes and swirls of homemade caramel sauce). The food at the Thai Cafe is made to order, fresh, and so delicious! Oh, and they have amazing iced coffee too (we are spoiled on break around here!) Other Asian restaurants are down the road, there’s Kogetsu – great for sushi- and Pearl – a more upscale Asian-fusion dinner place that specializes in Oysters on the half shell. And then, if you want a good ole’ pub environment there are two great options: Harlow’s Pub and Cooper’s Hill Public House. The former is a Peterborough landmark, it’s been downtown for years and is a funky place to relax and listen to live music. Cooper’s Hill is new, and is great because it’s open late (something Peterborough lacks) and you can sit in armchairs and talk for hours (if you can hear yourselves above the music that is) I would highly recommend the Irish Nachos at Cooper’s Hill, instead of corn chips they use thinly sliced potatoes, topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream and scallions – yum!
When it comes to treasure hunting in antique shops and cute little stores, Peterborough’s got it covered. Some of my favorite antique stores ever are in town, but it is hard to pick an absolute favorite. It’s a tie between Bowerbird and Friends and Grove & Main. Both are meticulously curated and styled, and both are filled with beautiful and interesting things to look at (generally I just look, cause both stores are a bit pricey). Bowerbird even has a little terrarium building room overlooking the river in the back of the store. Another good one is Laurel & Grove down the street. Smaller than the other ones, they have good sales and a lovely selection of potted plants. For more eclectic, international gifts try out Joseph’s Coat. For unique clothing and jewelry, there is Alice Blue. Depot Square is home to many little shops, too many to list. I am not including everything here- you have to go to Peterborough and see for yourself 🙂
Yes, I’m sure you’ll spend more on stationary and office supplies at Steele’s Stationers than you would at Staples or Wal-mart, but the fact that Steele’s is still in business since the 1800s and you can go into a cute little mainstreet store like that makes me so happy. I wish big box stores didn’t exist so all downtowns could be as thriving as Peterborough. Peterborough also has a very large and well stocked book shop called Toadstool which includes new and used books. If buying books isn’t for you, check out the oldest free public Library in the country- the Peterborough Town Library.
Peterborough is a very walkable town. There is a path along the river (next to the big parking lot by Toadstool’s Bookshop) which is lined with flowers in the summer. There is a small outdoor stone seating area where you can overlook the water. There is also a pathway of birch trees you can meander up from Depot Square to Grove street. Off of Grove street there is a bridge over which you will find another nice park to roam around in. Peterborough really is a paradise for the pedestrian- I wish all small towns were still that way. Whether you come in warm weather or cold, or visit when the fall colors are out, or when the flowers start blooming, I am confident you will enjoy your visit to Peterborough. Please comment below if you need any further clarification on the places listed, or if you would like more detailed directions or information. Happy adventuring!