Just 8 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, redbrick buildings and tree-lined streets evoke 18th-century New England in quiant Exeter, New Hampshire. The Inn by The Bandstand mirrors the town’s charm with a Federal-style façade and an ornately 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. The inn’s nine guest rooms are individually decorated in English country elegance and each holds a crystal decanter filled with port wine for guests.
In addition to its close proximity to Exeter’s antique shops and 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.
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.