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History buffs are in their glory in this achingly cute village that served as New Hampshire’s capital for a dozen years after the American Revolution. The town has gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve its historical ambiance, including several Colonial-era house museums, and a 19th-century brick downtown that is now filled with boutiques and bookstores ready-made for browsing. The pride of the town is the American Independence Museum, which showcases exhibits relating to the earliest history of the country, including not one but two original copies of the Constitution and papers and other artifacts owned by George Washington. No less ...

History buffs are in their glory in this achingly cute village that served as New Hampshire’s capital for a dozen years after the American Revolution. The town has gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve its historical ambiance, including several Colonial-era house museums, and a 19th-century brick downtown that is now filled with boutiques and bookstores ready-made for browsing. The pride of the town is the American Independence Museum, which showcases exhibits relating to the earliest history of the country, including not one but two original copies of the Constitution and papers and other artifacts owned by George Washington. No less important is the town’s other claim to fame: Philips Exeter Academy, an elite prep school that churns out the country’s next generation of leaders. In contrast to its rival, Philips Andover, Exeter has a more artsy reputation, with frequent lectures, art exhibits, and musical performances taking place on campus. Even when there is nothing special going on, the perfectly manicured grounds make for a pleasant afternoon stroll with architecture right out of a prep-school drama such as Dead Poets Society or A Separate Peace.

Michael Blanding
About the Expert

Michael Blanding is coauthor of Moon New England, Moon Vermont and Moon Rhode Island, and editor of New England Travel magazine.

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Michael Blanding for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July 4, summer, fall