The Best Summer Getaways: Exeter, New Hampshire

Ride to water

May 14, 2012
Outside Magazine
A key stop on your Exeter tour: Flag Hill Winery

A key stop on your Exeter tour: Flag Hill Winery    Photo: Geneve Hoffman

This small New England town is best known for the ruddy-cheeked prep-school kids at Phillips Exeter Academy. It’s also a terrific and accessible cycling destination, just 54 miles from Boston and full of rolling, traffic-free back roads. Get a room at the Exeter Inn (doubles from $159) and stop at the Wheel Power Bicycle Shop for advice or a tune-up. (BYO bike—they don’t offer rentals.) On day one, head east toward the coast on a 30-mile loop that leads to grassy Rye Beach, south along the coast to Hampton Salt Marsh Conservation Area, and back. On Sunday, try a 60-mile loop north and west from Exeter to Pawtuckaway State Park. Along the way, stop in a series of historic New England towns. In Newmarket, the Big Bean Breakfast Cafe (603-659-8600) serves a mean brunch; in Lee, Flag Hill Winery and Distillery offers tastings of its vodka and spirits; and farther west, Nottingham Orchard sells fresh blueberries, peaches, and apples. When you reach Pawtuckaway, dive in the eponymous 80-acre lake.