There are plenty of things to do in Walpole NH, a small, charming town with a historic district listed on the National Register and shops and restaurants that measure up to those found in larger cities and towns.
Although small in size with only 3,000 residents, the hidden gem of Walpole NH has a surprisingly large number of things to do. It’s definitely worth a stop if you’re ever traveling through southeastern New Hampshire!
The town’s well-preserved historic district, which includes over 100 buildings and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, gives the feel of stepping back in time to the 19th or 18th century.
And in addition to the town’s charm, you’ll also find a number of interesting shops and eateries on Main Street. There’s a world-famous chocolatier, a french bistro, a small specialty grocery, and a crafts collective – all of which could be found in larger towns or cities.
Plus, if you’re lucky, you may run into the town’s celebrity, documentarian and filmmaker, Ken Burns.
Top 10 Things to Do in Walpole NH
These are best and most fun things to do in Walpole NH.
Treat yourself to L.A. Burdick’s chocolates
One stop you must make in Walpole is L.A. Burdick.
Located in the center of town, this chocolatier is renowned for creating some of the best chocolates in the nation. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg gave his guests Burdick’s signature chocolate mice at his wedding.
While L.A. Burdick also has stores in Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C., its Walpole location is its flagship. And unlike the other locations, this Burdick’s cafe is attached to a restaurant called The Restaurant at Burdick’s (that local filmmaker Ken Burns is part owner of!), featuring French bistro-inspired food.
A must-have favorite at Burdick’s is its rich and creamy hot chocolate and iced hot chocolate – it’s unlike anything you’ve tasted before. Hours: Monday: 7 AM – 5 PM, Tuesday – Saturday: 7 AM – 8 PM, Sunday: 9 AM – 5 PM. (47 Main Street)
Explore the Walpole Artisans Cooperative
Just across the street and a short walk away from Burdick, is the Walpole Artisans Cooperative.
This unique store is bursting at the seams with a wide variety of local crafts including pottery, jewelry, paintings, photography, and fiber arts.
You’ll also find home decor and furnishings, clothing and accessories, cards, and other gifts. Most of the 20 artisans selling their wares also work at the cooperative so you’ll likely meet one of them when you visit.
Winter hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM, Summer Hours starting in April: Tuesday – Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM – check the website to confirm hours as they do change. (52 Main Street)
Explore Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail
Among the fun things to do in Walpole NH is a visit to Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail.
This nature preserve includes 155 acres of forest, field, and wetlands and is just five miles east of downtown Walpole. Here you’ll find cultivated gardens of over 450 varieties of plants and a mile-long wheelchair and strolled accessible network of looping nature trails.
For children, there’s a play area along the trail that includes bark, logs, plants, rocks, and trees specifically designed for children to play with and explore. And there’s also a story walk trail that displays a new book every month.
Distant Hill also features a number of other areas to explore including a cranberry bog, vernal pools, a pollinator meadow, and more (see website for more details).
Hours: the nature trail is open year around from dawn to dusk; the gardens are open Saturday and Sunday of the first full weekend and the third weekend of the month, May-October from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission: Free. (507 March Hill Road)
Visit local covered bridges
Just north of Walpole, in both New Hampshire and Vermont, are a number of historic covered bridges.
The Hall Covered Bridge in Bellow Falls, VT is a 14-minute drive while the Prentiss Covered Bridge in Langdon, NH is a 12 minutes drive. Further north, you’ll find the Worrall Covered Bridge and the Bartonsville Covered Bridge, both in Rockingham Vermont.
Pick up some food at the Walpole Grocery
Foodies will love the opportunity to explore the Walpole Grocery, located just next to L.A. Burdick.
This small, quaint store features both delicacies from local farms as well as fine cuts of meats and cheeses, a bakery, prepared foods, and other unique culinary finds.
It’s also a great place to pick up lunch to go with prepared sandwiches, wraps, soups & chilis and house-made garden salads. You’ll also find a selection of wines and locally-sourced fresh bread.
Hours: Sunday: 10 AM – 3 PM, Monday – Saturday: 9 AM – 6 PM. (47 Main Street)
Attend an outdoor concert
Every summer The Savings Bank of Walpole hosts Concerts on the Green, a nine-concert series held on Walpole’s town green.
Previous performances include the Keene American Legion Band, the East Bay Jazz Ensemble, and The Walt Sayre Orchestra.
Shows happen rain or shine and are on Sundays from 6:30 PM – 8 PM unless otherwise noted on the website. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair or even pack a picnic while they listen to the music. (Walpole’s town green is on Westminster Street just a short walk from L.A. Burdick)
Visit the Walpole Creamery
Among the things to do in Walpole NH is to grab some ice cream at the Walpole Creamery.
Here you’ll find various flavors of ice creams including classic favorites like chocolate and vanilla, as well as more unique options like maple walnut and blueberry buttermilk.
Each batch of ice cream is made the same day using Crescent Farm milk, a dairy farm located just 3 miles down the road from the parlor. Hours: Friday – Saturday from 12 PM – 7 PM, Sunday 1 PM-7 PM (532 Main Street)
Visit the Hooper Golf Club
Golf enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Hooper Golf Club, a short 3-minute drive from downtown.
This nine-hole public course has been, according to its website, “consistently ranked in the top 15 for 9-hole courses in America”.
The course has a mix of open fairways and challenging narrow shots, with water hazards and bunkers adding to the difficulty. The course is relatively short, with a par of 35, but offers an enjoyable and challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels. (166 Prospect Hill Road)
Among the favorite winter-time things to do in Walpole NH is to go skiing.
While Walpole doesn’t have its own ski mountain, there are a few ski options nearby. The small Granite Gorge Mountain Park is only a 25-minute drive away in Keene and perfect for new skiers or anyone who doesn’t want to go far for a quick ski. The Mountain Park also features a terrain park and snow tubing. Hours vary by day and whether you’re skiing or snow tubing. Click here to see when it’s open. (341 Route 9, Keene)
There are a few larger mountains nearby as well including Crotched Mountain Ski Resort (615 Francestown Rd, Bennington), Mount Snow (39 Mount Snow Road, Dover, VT), and Stratton Mountain Resort (5 Village Lodge Rd, Stratton Mountain, VT). Each of these ski resorts are about an hour’s drive away from Walpole and feature multiple chair lifts and a variety of trails.
And finally, Nordic skiers (also known as cross country skiers) will enjoy visiting the Viking Nordic Center, a 43-minute drive west from Walpole. Trails range from those for beginners to more advanced. Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (615 Little Pond Rd, Londonderry, VT)
Walk Walpole’s Historic District
For history buffs, among the things to do in Walpole NH is to walk the town’s historic district. This section of town listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features several charming and well-preserved buildings.
The district includes over 100 historic buildings, many of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. You can stroll along Main Street and admire the architecture of the Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian-style homes.
The district also includes the historic Town Hall, built in 1822, and the Walpole Meeting House, which dates back to 1793. Other notable landmarks in the area include the 1816 home of Governor Samuel Bell and the Walpole Cemetery, which is the final resting place of many notable residents.
About Kerry Flatley
Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.