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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Visiting Mills Falls Marketplace for Shopping, Dining, Lodging in Meredith, N.H.

Great Northern Trading Company at Mills Falls Marketplace
Mills Falls Marketplace in Meredith, N.H., offers its own shopping and dining identity instead of being just another generic, unctuous tourist destination.

Here's the scene at the Mills Falls Marketplace: several shops and restaurants, brick walkways and flowers gardens, a 40 ft. waterfall and great views of Lake Winnepesaukee. What could have been another low moment in the trend of commercial developers creating shopping destinations as  sterile as possible happily bucks the trend by offering something you will experience nowhere else. Nothing smug and pretentious exists here,  just a lot of rustic New Hampshire charm and the spirit of small, local business owners making things so warm, interesting and inviting.

Given the heartwarming appeal of Mills Falls Marketplace, you'd never know that this former linen mill
Inn at Mills Falls (left), waterfall, and Giuseppe's restaurant (right)
that dates back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution was sadly deteriorating in the early 1980s. Too bad back then for Meredith, one of New England's great lake vacation towns.

Happily, the Marketplace's 1984 opening instantly brought back tremendous energy to Meredith's downtown district no matter what time of the year. The summer is wonderful for its walker friendly environs and outdoor dining, fall as a complement to Meredith's wonderful foliage, and winter as a place to Christmas shop and get cozy within a warm building that features some very nice shops. For those that want to stay over, The Inn at Mills Falls is connected to the building and features many amenities like an indoor pool and free WiFi. Within walking distance is the waterfront Chase House with 23 rooms, Camp restaurant (nostalgic feel, lighter fare) Lady of the Lake women's clothing store. Church Landing at Mills Falls, a few minute's walk from Mills Falls Marketplace, features 59 rooms and suites, a ballroom, the Cascade Spa and casually upscale Lake House Bar and Grille restaurant. The Baypoint at Mills Falls offers additional lodging with 24 more rooms and Lago Costa Cucina Italian restaurant. 

Baypoint at Mills Falls Inn
Clothing, jewelry and gifts comprise the majority of shopping at Mills Falls Marketplace, but I prefer to start at Lee's Candy with the largest candy bar in the Lakes Region with  125 jars of Gummies, Sours and novelties, homemade fudge, fine chocolates, hand made truffles, maple products, gift baskets and gourmet food products. It's hard to know where to start here!

The Country Carriage sells country gifts and decorative accessories, while Cozy Cabin Rustics features rustic and handcrafted furniture. Great Northern Trading Company has a nice mix of casual clothing, home decor items and a Christmas Corner. The Guest House, a Creative Studio is a jewelry and beading studio American handcrafted gifts in the theme at Oglethorpe Fine Arts and Crafts. Unique jewelry, accessories and apparel can be found at Adornment and Creative Clothing Company. The Innisfree Bookshop is perhaps my second favorite shop here, as the spirit of a darn good independent bookstore shines in an inviting, cozy setting.

Other Mills Falls Marketplace restaurants include  Giuseppe's Pizzeria and Ristorante specializing in Italian cuisine, pizza and entertainment, and The Waterfall Cafe offering breakfast and lunch in a cozy cafe and porch overlooking the waterfall and Lake Winnepesaukee. For ice cream lovers, Ben and Jerry's has a storefront here!
Lee's Candy

If traveling through, or vacationing in, the Lake Regions, Mills Falls Marketplace is definitely a must-see destination. It's unique and appealing, located within an already nice downtown district and right across the street from a truly beautiful lake. What's not to love here?

The Mills Falls Marketplace is located at 312 Daniel Webster Highway in Meredith NH. Tel. (603) 279-7006

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