Only a 10-minute drive from campus, Newmarket is a charming small town with a rich history and lots of activities for the curious college student. Here are five fun things to do when in Newmarket.
1. The Stone Church
The Stone Church Music Club has an eclectic past, although most students know it for its many concerts and events. The Stone Church has been in operation since 1970 and along with performances, they offer local food and craft beers. The space was built in 1832 and went through a host of changes before it ended up as a music club. First, it was a Universalist meeting house and 20 years later, it changed to a Unitarian meeting house. A group of Catholics bought the church in 1865, retaining ownership until the turn of the 20th century when they sold it. The church was then used as a VFW hall, a roller-skating rink and a shoe-assembly plant. The Newmarket Heel Company suffered a major fire in 1968. Two years later, two former University of New Hampshire (UNH) students, Rod Philbrick and John Williamson, and a third non-UNH alumna, Arnet Taylor, bought the burnt-out church and flipped it into a venue for live music. On top of local UNH acts, the Stone Church has hosted national musicians such as Phish and Aerosmith.
Students can go for weekly events, such as Taco Tuesday, Wednesday Trivia night, and Sunday open mic. The cocktails served are named after iconic songs such as Drunk in Love Strawberry Fields and Purple Rain, and their host of salads, snacks and sandwiches ensure something for everyone to enjoy while listening to live music.
The Stone Church Music Club is located at 5 Granite St., Newmarket, atop Zion Hill. Information about upcoming acts can be found at stonechurchrocks.com.
2. The Newmarket Mills
The Newmarket Manufacturing Company was founded in 1822 and constructed its first cotton textile mill during 1823 and 1824, using the river water nearby to power the factory. Over time, the company dominated the local economy with seven textile mills. The company eventually shut down in 1929. In the 1970s, the mill served as the headquarters of the Timberland Company, and in 1980, the mills were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Although Newmarket used to rely heavily on its mill manufacturing, after the Timberland Company moved, the building fell into ruins before being revitalized by Chinburg Properties in 2011. While most of the building has been converted into apartments, the ground floor still remains commercial and open to the public. Some of the businesses that can be found there include Newmarket Mills Yoga (which offers student rates), Bloom’n Cow Ice Cream and Gelato, and Newmarket Sewing Works. There is a little something for everyone, whether you want to get some food, get some exercise or find some funky artwork.
One popular business that can be found in the Mills is the Joinery Restaurant, which serves farm-to-table food for its guests for brunch and dinner, and supplies information on which farms they obtain their food from. Those who have dietary restrictions, such as being vegan or having a gluten allergy, can easily find safe options on the menu.
For a complete list of all the businesses found at the mills, visit newmarketbusiness.com.
3. Good Juju
Students who love to do some shopping but would rather avoid the mall can find almost anything at Good Juju by Ceci. The shop offers products from over 65 local artisans. These range anywhere from natural soy candles and soaps, to pottery and textile arts, to original artwork and handmade jewelry. The shop has been a marker of the town since 2011, although it changed from “Good Juju” to “Good Juju by Ceci” in 2014. If a student needs a last-minute gift, they can find something for everyone on their list, or if the student needs something for their apartment, there is surely a piece that could fit in any decor.
While it’s a great place to do some shopping, it’s also just a fun store to be in. There is always something catching your eye – a baby pumpkin hat, beautiful glittery soaps, jewelry that you can’t help but reach out and touch – and it helps that the cashiers are always willing to help you find that perfect piece.
Good Juju also occasionally hosts workshops that range from painting and Easter egg decorating to making your own essential oils and furniture re-tiquing workshops, so even if you don’t want to buy anything, there’s an opportunity to develop new skills or explore a budding interest.
Good Juju is located at 108 Main St. Events and online goods can be found at goodjujubyceci.com or by visiting Good Juju By Ceci on Facebook.
4. Seven Rivers Paddling at Schanda Park Boat Launch
For over 15 years, Seven Rivers Paddling has been offering the chance for locals to try their hand at kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding along the Lamprey River. While they have many different locations to launch out of, the Newmarket experience lets paddlers leisurely go down the river into the Great Bay, and with any luck, guests may see some native animals along the way such as great blue herons, Kingfishers and osprey. Along with freestyle kayaking and paddle boarding, Seven Rivers offers tours of Newmarket, paddling alongside local waterfowl and past the mills. The tour begins with a 15-minute lesson, after which guests follow the leader into the water from the Schanda Conservation Park, the town’s boat launch. The tour is about three hours but is perfect to get a whole new view of the historic town.
For more information on prices and times offered, visit sevenriverspaddling.com.
5. Schanda Conservation Park
For those who are a little more outdoorsy, or just looking for something free to do, students and locals can visit the Schanda Conservation Park. On top of being a place where kayakers and paddleboarders can launch out of, the park can be a relaxing place to go if you need a place free from homework or want to get out of Durham. The park is only four-tenths of an acre, but that doesn’t stop it from also being a popular music spot. The park was named after Richard Schanda (1929-2004), a lifelong resident of Newmarket who was an active member of the conservation committee and the historical society.
Although the Lamprey River was once used to trade supplies and goods across the ocean, which often left the river view blocked by big boats, people can now come and enjoy an unobstructed view into the tidal portion of the river as well as the local landscape, flora and wildlife.