Sunapee is an all-seasons area, thanks to its gorgeous lake centerpiece, great ski mountain, and classic New England fall foliage. It's a quick 90-minute drive for Boston, which makes it a great escape for urbanites in need of some peace and quiet. Outdoor activities are the star attractions here. Lake Sunapee has pristine, family-friendly beaches with all the standard amenities (rest rooms, lifeguards, food, etc.). Mount Sunapee Resort draws plenty of skiers and snowboards, thanks to its great snowmaking and trails for all levels. To visit, fly in to Lebanon Municipal Airport, Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport, Manchester Regional Airport or Boston Logan Airport, which is the closest international airport. A car is a must for exploring the region, so be sure to pick one up at the airport.
Whether you're visiting in the warm weather or cold weather, you're likely to wind up at Mount Sunapee at some point during your stay (thanks to its summer outdoor adventure park), so it's a good thing that you can find gourmet dining even on the mountain. You won't find typical ski resort greasy and microwaved food here, especially if you're eating at Goosefeathers Pub, a full-service restaurant that serves up tons of healthy options (such as a kale and romaine Ceasar salad) or a turkey burger topped with guacamole. In town, there are plenty of options for whatever dining mood you may be in. One of the standout finer restaurants is at the Coach House Restaurant, which has an ever-changing menu that features local ingredients and innovative options—like a green garbanzo bean hummus served with grilled naan and maple creme brulee that's topped with fresh New Hampshire Maple syrup. For a more casual meal, Bubba's Bar and Grille has a large menu with everything from seafood to warm honey cornbread (paired with maple butter and served hot in a skillet). The pizza oven turns out delicious pies that are perfect for large, hungry groups. And of course, you can't miss aprÃ¨s ski at the Salt Hill Pub, a popular-with-the-locals Irish pub that hosts live music and plenty of happy hour specials.
You won't find any chain hotels or any really big resorts in Sunapee. This town is all about charming inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and small locally owned hotels. Dexter's Inn, a bed-and-breakfast, has one of the best locations in Sunapee, with a view of Mount Sunapee from many of its rooms. Although it's close to the slopes (and to Lake Sunapee as well), Dexter's Inn sits on 20-acres of forest and open land crisscrossed with miles of cross-country skiing and hiking trails. Unlike in most ski towns, the rates at properties in Sunapee are super affordable—and modestly priced ski and stay packages are within range for many families.