New Hampshire's motto is "Live Free or Die"—from a toast once given by American Revolution hero General John Stark—but it could just as well be "Live Tax-Free or Die," given the popularity of tax-free shopping. For wall-to-wall outlet stores, try the village of North Conway in the Mount Washington Valley. If the crowds start to get to you, it's easy to literally head for the hills, where you can hike and ski in the glorious White Mountains.
Mount Washington, the highest peak in the U.S. Northeast at 1917 metres (6,288 feet), offers a wealth of amusements for visitors, from a charming cog railway to luxury resorts. Come prepared for the weather; on April 12, 1934, the strongest wind gust ever recorded on the earth's surface raced across this peak at 372 km/h (231 mph).
Perhaps you've heard of the Old Man of the Mountain, a rocky granite outcrop resembling a profile that was made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Beware old guidebooks that recommend a visit; unfortunately, the landmark crumbled in 2003. Public-spirited folks are currently raising funds to restore it.
New Hampshire's small, pedestrian-scaled capital, Concord, is home to the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, named for the New Hampshire teacher who perished in the Challenger disaster in 1986. Not far from Concord you can visit the charming Canterbury Shaker Village, a religious community that traces its roots back to 1792.
Few immediately think of New Hampshire as an ocean state, but it does have a little stretch of Atlantic waterfront that bills itself as America's Smallest Seacoast. Despite its size, it's home to several spots worth a detour. Strawbery Banke (yep, it's spelled the old-fashioned way) is a living history museum that recreates the 17th-century colony to life. Nearby, you can take a ferry to several of the rocky, picturesque Isles of Shoals.