In this week’s edition of our Monday Muse, I am so excited to share an entire town that inspires me! Littleton, New Hampshire, was once home to Eleanor Hodgman Porter, author of Pollyanna, and as such has earned it’s nickname of “The Glad Town.” A bronze statue of Pollyanna waves from the center of town to passersby, and as someone who currently lives in a more urban area, it still startles me sometimes to see people driving down the road stop and wave to folks in the crosswalk! The downtown sidewalks boast several old pianos for anyone to play as part of a project to “Make Music” and the River District is home to Harmony Park, where there are many sculptures and features designed to be played! There is just such a warm, welcoming, positive energy throughout the town, you can’t help but smile!
As the daughter of two displaced New Hampshire natives, I have been spending summers in northern New Hampshire since I was a child. My mother grew up in nearby Franconia, and because of her mother’s very large family, we joke that you can’t throw a stone in Littleton or the surrounding towns without hitting someone we are related to! Although there was certainly a time in my teenage years when I longed to spend my summers back at home with my friends, the time I have spent in northern New Hampshire has become a treasure. Probably because my family has deep roots in these small New England towns, there is just such a familiarity and sense of coming home every time I exit onto Route 302, passing through Wells River VT and then over the Connecticut River into Woodsville, NH, Bath, Lisbon, and Littleton, on my way to our family home in Dalton.
In recent years, there has been such a revitalization of the downtown Littleton area; so much so that it was recently named the “Sixth best small town downtown in America!” There are so many wonderful entrepreneurs and small business owners who have made it their mission to see their town thrive, which is so inspiring to see! I won’t be able to talk about all of them, but I wanted to highlight a few of my very favorites. So plan a trip! No better place to spend a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks! You won’t be sorry!
When you go to Littleton, you must spend some time poking around in the many shops on Main Street. Nest is one of my favorites, featuring housewares, linens, and gifts. They feature products made by local artisans, as well as many fine brands. I always leave Nest with a treasure; this year two hand made pottery bowls by a local artist.
Pentimento is a gift store with an eclectic mix of items, from jewelry, candles, scarves, and housewares, to hilarious greeting cards and other items. The owner lives in the same home, and hand selects all of the items that she sells. The Purple Peacock is a mix of handmade items, antiques, and gifts. Don’t miss the basement, where there is a large space for antiques on consignment! Chickaroo is one of my favorite new finds. Opened this year, the shop features a very well edited collection of unique items. Bad Art is a favorite spot for funky, gritty, interesting art pieces. If you are in the mood for fashion, Bella Funk is a boutique that features an excellent selection of clothing and accessories. Just L is an amazing antique shop that specializes in mid-century modern items. I always have fun browsing around in their store! The Little Village Toy and Book Shop has a fantastic selection, and finally a visit to Littleton would not be complete without visiting Chutters, a candy shop that boasts the longest candy counter in the world (in the Guiness Book of World Records!)
There are also many wonderful places to stop and eat. Schilling Brewery and Taproom is home to some amazing beers brewed on site, as well as fantastic pizza and small plates. Miller’s Fare is a great spot for a cup of coffee or a nice lunch, with excellent sandwiches, salads, and other homemade items. The Littleton Diner consistently wins awards for it’s breakfast and diner fare, and The Coffeepot is also home to a great breakfast! Tim-Bir Alley is my favorite for a fabulous fine dining dinner experience. The menu often features local produce and products, and the dining room features a wonderful art display. You will need to call ahead for reservations there. Bailiwicks is another great dinner option, famous for their martinis!
There are many options for lodging in the area, but the most famous of these is Thayers Inn, which has been in operation since 1843. It’s graceful while columns and lobby will transport you back in time! If you want to splurge, you won’t be disappointed with The Mountain View Grand Inn and Spa, in neighboring Whitefield. NH.
There are so many more fantastic local places, I could go on for days! Lahouts Country Clothing and Oldest Ski Shop in America has an excellent collection of memorabilia from local skiers and Olympians. In the summer, you can’t miss the Littleton Farmer’s Market down on the River Front for local food, crafts, and music! One of my other favorite local spots is WREN in nearby Bethlehem, NH, which is an inspiring shop and network for local women entrepreneurs. They will likely be the subject of a future Monday Muse, so stay tuned!
So, I hope I have inspired you to take a trip! See you there! Visit golittleton.com for more information. If you have a favorite town or place to visit, comment below and let us know!