Redbrick buildings and tree-lined streets evoke 18th-century New England charm in Exeter, New Hampshire, located just 8 miles from the Atlantic. The Inn by The Bandstand mirrors this charm with its Federal-style façade and a decorated interior, creating what Fodor’s calls “one of the best B & Bs in the state.” Built in 1809 and still right across the street from its bandstand namesake, the cream-yellow-painted bed and breakfast preserves its roots with antique furnishings, hand-hewn oak ceiling beams, and brick fireplaces. In addition to its close proximity to Exeter’s antique shops and other boutiques, the bed and breakfast offers an advantage through its Show Your Room Key program, which gets The Inn By The Bandstand guests a discount at many local shops and restaurants.
The inn’s nine guest rooms are individually decorated in styles ranging from English country elegance to sleek black and white, and each holds a crystal decanter filled with port wine. The third-floor Lakeheath lodge channels a rustic cabin with antler wall art and wooden floors. Topped by a patchwork quilt, the room’s wrought-iron bed sits under a canopy of pine boughs. In the Edinburgh room, the bed is backed by an antique walnut headboard, with a nearby fireplace to warm up the room.
Exeter and Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Quaint Towns with Revolutionary War History
One hour north of Boston, in New Hampshire's coastal region, Exeter’s streets are lined with quaint boutiques and restaurants. The capital of New Hampshire during the Revolutionary War, Exeter may be best known for a prep school established during the Revolution, Phillips Exeter Academy. The prestigious school has produced several notable alumni, including president Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln, author Gore Vidal, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. With its Georgian-style classroom buildings and converted Victorian homes, the campus is worth a visit.
About a 20-minute drive northeast of Exeter, the seaport town of Portsmouth mixes 19th-century municipal buildings with waterfront restaurants. Named one of America’s prettiest towns by Forbes, Portsmouth features a red brick market square with an Italianate-style church, coffee shops, and contemporary-art galleries. At the city’s Strawberry Banke Museum, staff re-create daily life from four different centuries as costumed artisans roam the grounds crafting beautiful art and loudly bemoaning the lack of flying cars.