A guide to living local in New Hampshire

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for Moms, Dads and Grads

By Stacy Milbouer / Fiddlehead Contributing Editor

This Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation time, show your mommies, daddies and graddies local love. Head to your favorite boutique, farmers’ market, craft fair or mom-and-pop hardware store and pick out something you’ll never find at the big boxes.

Shopping local is as much a gift for the giver as for the recipient. Avoiding the crowds and the monotony at malls and chain retailers is the best way to start this long-awaited season.

So, roll open that sunroof, put on the sunglasses and hit the backroads and Main Streets for a fun shopping trip. That’s what we did and here are some of the treasures we found... (View the Shopping Ideas on the side bar, which drops below on mobile!)


Give the Gift of Time

At Fiddlehead our mission is as clear as Winnipesaukee water: Keep it local. And, since there are only 24 hours in a day, we say make the most of it and take Mom, Dad or grad on an adventure. Create a memory. Here are a few of our suggestions.

Mother’s Day

“Oo-ee, oo-ee baby, won’t you let me take you on a sea cruise?” Frankie Ford famously sang in 1959 and Herman’s Hermits followed up a decade later. Mom can enjoy the local equivalent by hopping aboard the MV Mount Washington’s Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch Cruise on May 13. Sailings depart from Weirs Beach at 10 a.m. and 2 pm. You and mom may hoist a glass of bubbly, nosh on a buffet fit for any Queen-for-a-day and watch the world float by.

Let mom know you enjoy hanging out with her and treat her to a zip line tour at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, which claims to be the longest canopy tour in the state. It’s free for mom on Mother’s Day and dad on Father’s Day, if they are accompanied by another. Reservations suggested. Consult alpinezipline.com for information.

We know you’d love to build a castle in the clouds for your mom. Do the next best thing and take her to Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough where admission is free for moms on Mother’s Day, May 13, if accompanied by a child of any age.

If Mom’s past includes more time than she would like to admit playing arcade games, take her to Funspot in Laconia where she can play a variety of old games, including Lady Pac-Man and who knows? She might have met Dad over a slammin’ game of Donkey Kong back in the day.

Doesn’t your mom deserve a chilled mimosa and an elegant meal including all the shrimp, oysters, prime rib she wants and a view to die for? Any Sunday can be Mother’s Day. The Riverside Sunday Brunch buffet at The Foundry, 50 Commercial St. in Manchester, runs every week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Mother’s Day until 3) If you do choose Mother’s Day, make a reservation at 836-1925 or email Nate@foundrynh.com

The Foundry Manchester NH

Wouldn't Mom enjoy the Riverside Sunday Brunch at The Foundry?
Photo by Stacy Milbouer.


Father’s Day

Coveralls for Dad? More like cover all Dad’s favorite bands. Damn the Torpedoes – a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band – will take the stage at Tupelo Music Hall in Derry on Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m.

Not your dad’s jam? Head over to Tupelo on June 21 at 7 p.m. when The Buddy Rich Band performs as part of its 100-year anniversary tour.

If dear old dad fancies himself a grill master, and let’s face it, many dads do, why not take him on a busman’s holiday to a local barbecue joint. Goody Cole’s Smokehouse in Brentwood is named after a witch, and there’s something spooky about how good their ‘Q is. KC’s Rib Shack in Manchvegas does a mean barbecue, too, as well as the Smoke House in Boscawen, Riverside Barbecue in Nashua – check out the catfish bites – and Phil’s Old-fashioned BBQ in Milford, where you can savor the smoked meat au naturel at a picnic table under a tree.

A shave and a haircut is more than two bits nowadays, but it’s well-worth whatever it costs to spiff up Daddy. You may not be able to get him to the local spa for a man-pedi, but how about the local barbershop? At Dude’s Barbershop in Hooksett, Pop can get a hot-towel shave for 25 bucks and a haircut for $18.

And speaking of dudes, take a trick from the Duderino himself, go full “Big Lebowski” and take the old man bowling. Bowl a frame or two at Lakeside Lanes in Manchester, King Lanes in Goffstown, Leda Lanes in Nashua or Boutwell’s Bowling Center in Concord. You’ll have to provide your own Donny and Walter and, who knows, The Stranger might show up.

Does the old man still think he can handle at fastball? You can find out for sure at the batting cages at Mel’s Funway Park in Litchfield. See if he can drive one off the park’s own “Green Monster.” You can complete the trip with a ride on the go-carts, a round of miniature golf or a game of laser tag.

Does dad have a taste for beer? Certainly, a six-pack or growler of beer from a local brewpub would be much appreciated, but how about helping him get in touch with his inner brew master, and help dad make his own suds at IncrediBREW in Nashua. They provide the equipment and the ingredients and expert assistance, and you choose a recipe from their 200 options, from Belgian to porter. IncrediBREW is the oldest brew-it-on-the-premises brewery in the country. You can make wine, too. Gift certificates are available. Consult incredibrew.com for information.

KC's Rib Shack

A hearty meal awaits Dad at KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester.
Photo by Stacy Milbouer.



Here's something you and the Trekker grad will love. Set your phasers to stun! Prepare to be beamed up for an unforgettable night with William Shatner, live on stage at the Capitol Center for the Arts, Friday, May 18, at 7 p.m. There will be a screening of the classic “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” on the big screen. Following the movie, Shatner will take to the stage to share behind-the-scenes anecdotes from portraying the original Captain James T. Kirk in the “Star Trek” television show and movies. Fans will also have a chance to ask the Captain their questions during the audience-led Q&A. A limited number of VIP tickets ($150 each) will be available, which include a post-show photo op with Shatner.

Many of our local high school grads will march down the aisle for their diplomas at SNHU Arena in Manchester. What about a party? You can rent a room at the Holiday Inn in Manchester and have a cookout reception catered by the Airport Diner next door, including hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad. You’re just a few minutes away from the venue, and no one will have to dirty their fancy frocks to clean up.

For Mom, Dads and Grads

And whether it’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or graduation – there isn’t anybody who wouldn’t love an ice cream sundae buffet at the Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach where the cold, creamy confection has been made and served for generations. And yes, each sundae still gets a tiny American flag.

Kellerhaus Ice Cream

Every Mom, Dad and grad would love a Kellerhaus sundae.
Photo by Stacy Milbouer.