While glittering parties and champagne toasts mark the end of another year all over New Hampshire, families seeking a festive celebration for New Year’s Eve have plenty of options. New Hampshire’s grand hotels – Omni Mount Washington Resort, Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa and Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa – will be offering gourmet cuisine and live music and New Hampshire’s ski resorts have special family celebrations planned. In Portsmouth and Wolfeboro First Night™ events make the celebration bright for all ages.
One of just a handful of places nationwide to ring in “midnight” early on the day of New Year’s Eve, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire presents a Family New Year’s Eve Celebration from 10 am to 3 pm at 6 Washington Street. Now in its 25th year but in a greatly expanded and improved location, the Museum includes children in the traditional New Year’s fun concluding well before bedtime. Visitors receive noisemakers and can create their own sparkly party hats to wear and write their wishes for the new year on mini flying blimps that are launched at each countdown. At 11 am, 12:30 pm and 2 pm, there are spirited “countdowns to midnight” with music, confetti and balloons as a glittering ball drops from the museum’s top floor. Visitors also receive a plastic “champagne flute” of gingerale to toast the New Year. The party is included in the regular price of admission $9; seniors $8. Free to children under 1 and museum members. Contact: 603-742-2002.
On December 31, in the final dazzling display of the 2011 holiday season, there are fireworks and First Night celebrations in a number of New Hampshire locations:
Portsmouth and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire celebrate First Nighttmwith a variety of music, dance and theatre performances, ice sculptures glittering in holiday light and a fireworks display. In Portsmouth, First Night means ice sculptures in Market Square, a street dance from 5 pm to midnight and fireworks over South Mill Pond at 7:30 pm are among the highlights, in addition to a variety of art performances, face painting and other activities inside for the price of a First Night button (purchased in advance: $20 for adults; $1 for kids 10 and under.)
First Night in Wolfeboro, “America’s oldest summer resort” (and vacation choice of French President Sarkozy) celebrates New Year’s Eve against the backdrop of Lake Winnipesaukee. Family events starting at 2pm include a magic show, ice sculptures and wildlife programs. The First Night parade kicks off at 5:15 pm, followed by fireworks.
Mount WashingtonValley’s New Year Festival means fireworks over the Town Square at 7:30pm, sleigh rides, dogsleds and skating. At WatervilleValley ski area, a Torch Run ski parade adds to the atmosphere; and in Laconia, Gunstock Mountain presents Snowshoe Ridge Tour. Pat’s Peak presents a family friendly “New Year’s Eve Goes Pop” party with fireworks at 10:30 pm. The slopes are open until 10 pm and families enjoy a variety of suitable entertainment. For all the New Year’s Eve festivities on the mountain, visit www.SkiNH.com
For more suggestions on ways New Hampshire can help light up the holidays for visitors, go to VisitNH.gov