Budget-friendly Mother’s Day: 5 places to take Mom that won’t break the bank

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By Stacy Milbouer

May 5, 2024

Not every mom wants to go to brunch on Mother’s Day. It’s a lot of food, a lot of money and it’s likely too late to make a reservation. If you’re looking to spoil your mom on a budget, try one of these places:

For the mom who is a fan of art and a walk in the country, a trip to the non-profit Andres Institute and Sculpture Park, 106 Route 13, Brookline is the perfect and free destination. This is a 140-acre park with hiking trails sprinkled with over 70 mind-blowing sculptures. In the words of the institute – “Our purpose is to bring the visitor into a closer, and … more comfortable relationship with the works of art. By placing sculpture within nature’s framework of trees, boulders, critters, and mushrooms, viewers are free to consider the inherently beautiful art form nature has to offer along with each piece of artwork.” Trails are open year-round from dawn until dusk. There is no fee to enter but donations are appreciated online or on-site. The family pup is also welcome but has to be leashed. Bring a picnic but note there are no trash cans, so prepare to carry out, what you carry in. Trail maps are available at the parking area or can be printed ahead of time here.

If your mother loves art but prefers an indoor experience, consider a visit to the Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, including Mother’s Day. The Currier is considered one of the best small museums in the country. In addition to rotating exhibits, the museum’s permanent collection contains over 15,000 objects representing every medium, including architecture, early-American furniture, art glass, sculpture, and works from Pablo Picasso, Frederick Church, Edward Hopper, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Andrew Wyeth, and Ansel Adams to name a fraction of few. The Currier is also the only museum in the world, that has two Frank Lloyd Wright homes. If you want a nosh before or after, the museum’s Winter Garden Café is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and serves a Sunday brunch. Admission to the museum is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, youth, 13-17, $5 and children under 13 are free. The museum is also free to any New Hampshire residents every second Saturday and many New Hampshire libraries offer free or reduced Currier tickets.

For the animal-lover mommy, head north to Moose Alley, a stretch of Route 3 between Pittsburg and the Canadian border that’s home to the state’s highest concentration of moose. Hopefully you’ll see one of these magnificent mammals in person. Some adult moose weigh over 1,000 pounds and survive by eating leaves, twigs, and aquatic vegetation. Moose occur throughout New Hampshire and are most concentrated north of the White Mountains. Roughly 4,000 of these moose hang around this 13-mile stretch of Route 3 and are regularly seen here every year. According to the Appalachian Mountain Club, in New England, moose are seen the most in late spring and early summer when they typically feed in wetland areas. Moose are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. This means extra caution due to lower-light conditions presenting risks for drivers. If you want to up your chances of spotting a moose, you might want to check out local guides like Pemi Valley Moose Tours in Lincoln and Gorham Moose Tours.

What about the beach? New Hampshire may only have 13 miles of coastline, but they are awesome. Wrap mom in a cozy hoodie, stroll along the sand, and view (probably way too cold to swim) the icy greens and blues of the Atlantic. Afterward, take her to Hampton Beach for a hot slice of what Granite Stater’s like to call beach pizza—the thicker, Sicilian-style pizza with a slightly sweet sauce iconic in these parts.

If mom has a green thumb, you can give the gift of inspiration by visiting Maple Hill Gardens at Beaver Brook Association 117 Ridge Rd. Hollis. There are 13 themed gardens, maintained by a group of volunteers, a natural play area, a demonstration compost court, picnic areas, and a wildflower trail to explore. It’s open every day and is free to the public. The best season for viewing the gardens is April through October. Garden tours and presentations are available with a reservation. Bring a picnic and if mom still feels up to it, there are 35 miles of hiking trails on the 2,000-acre nature preserve. Or if you’re at the seacoast head to the 10-acre Prescott Park Gardens, 105 Marcy Street, in Portsmouth, home to a formal garden with sculptural elements, designed with an eye for height, color, and massing. The grounds attract butterflies and other pollinators. Each plant species is identified. Admission is free.



  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.



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