The air is starting to feel cool and the leaves in some parts of New Hampshire are already showing a hint that fall is on its’ way. While we have had our fill of hot summer days, the approach of the fall foliage season now provides a reason to get outside and experience New Hampshire’s fall colors. And, the long dry summer promises a vibrant show.
The Granite State offers many ways to experience the season off the beaten path whether through a hike, a drive, or a weekend stay. A foliage leaf peeking excursion can also be combined with a visit to one of the many state’s attractions. New Hampshire in the fall bursts with the colors of nature and adventurous activities to keep the entire family busy.
New Hampshire’s foliage season runs roughly from late-September to mid-October, but this varies widely depending on weather, topography and geography. Just before the season begins, a sneak preview of fall can be found as swamp maples surrounding some ponds and lakes may turn a fiery red, and the deciduous trees of northern New Hampshire may have already begun their transformation. Columbus Day Weekend is often the focal point of fall foliage excursions, but the White Mountains can present earlier colors.
There are plenty of activities to keep visitors busy for a day or weekend.
Here are a few places to visit in NH in the fall:
TAKE A CRUISE FOR A COLORFUL VIEW
One special place to enjoy the foliage show is Lake Winnipesaukee. It's hard to see foliage while you're driving, so why not take a cruise on the M/S Mount Washington and let the captains do the driving (and save the gas). The big lake has amazing color and the juxtaposition of the water and sky can be breathtaking. Sundays in September and October they offer Fall Sunset & Foliage Dinner Cruises from Weirs Beach from 5–7:00 p.m. For more information visit www.cruisenh.com or call (603)-366-5531.
TAKE THE TRAIN THROUGH THE TREES OR A LIFT OVER THE MOUNTAINS
Climb aboard one of the region's three sightseeing trains for unique views of foliage: Hobo Scenic Railroad in Lincoln; the Conway Scenic Railroad in Conway, and the world-famous Cog Railway that chugs up Mount Washington from its base in Bretton Woods.
For a different aerial view, take the sky ride to get a bird's eye view of fall foliage. Ski mountains in the area offer trips on their chair lifts and gondolas to the tops of their mountains, where the views can be simply spectacular. Consider the Loon Mountain Gondola in Lincoln; the Wildcat Mountain Gondola in Jackson, and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in Franconia. For more information visit www.thecog.com or www.visitwhitemountains.com or call 603-745-8720.
A CAPITAL CITY
The City of Concord is an emerging destination worth a look. Set in the middle of the state, with great hikes, apple picking, and event within an easy drive. It makes the perfect foliage base.
The Main Street is quite attractive, with lots of new places to shop and eat and great 19th century brick architecture.
Almost 100% of the stores and restaurants along Main Street are locally owned. They range from high fashion, to antiques, to a range of authentic cuisines including Greek, Asian, American, vegan and more. It is a small city with big city offerings, reminiscent of Newbury Street, with a variety of art-inspired stores including the League of NH Craftsmen, Capital Craftsmen and Romance Jewelers, art galleries and shops with other rare finds.
Concord is the state capital – that means the State House on Main Street – open 5 days week with 194 years of history to share. But, there is a lot more. See the grave and the home of Franklin Piece, the only US President from NH. Learn about the NH First in the Nation Primary at the State Library, Barley House Restaurant, and State House. Or, venture outside the city to see Canterbury Shaker Village, the Pierce Homestead, stone arch bridges, or Mary Baker Eddy’s home (there are 2). http://www.concordnhchamber.com/visitor_info.html
Where to Stay:
WHY STAY AT A HOTEL WHEN YOU CAN BE IN A MANOR?
The Manor on Golden Pond is a luxury New Hampshire hotel with the charms of a country inn. On Shepherd’s Hill, in the Lakes Region the Manor has sweeping vistas overlooking Squam Lake, of Golden Pond fame. The Manor’s 13-acre property, with sweeping fall panoramic views of the foothills of the White Mountains, is worth the journey. http://www.manorongoldenpond.com
In a Valley:
SURROUNDED BY FOREST AT WATERVILLE VALLEY RESORT
Waterville Valley is a full-featured resort area, which just happens to be surrounded by some of the most spectacular landscapes in northern New England. The adjacent White Mountain National Forest features America’s oldest network of hiking trails leading to spectacular views in all directions.
After working up a big appetite with the fall hikes, Waterville Valley offers their 16th Annual Chili Challenge & Brews Event September 27th. For this annual favorite, area restaurants compete in Town Square for the title of best chili. Attendees can sample all of the contestants’ chili, $7.50/adults and $5/children (12 & under) as well as taste hot sauces from New Hampshire-based Jehu Host Sauce.
To complement the brilliant fall foliage, Waterville Valley’s Town Square is hosting a Fall Foliage Celebration October 11 – 13, 2014. The weekend will feature a variety of family activities including free outdoor concerts, children’s games, and pumpkin painting.
Image Credit: Carroteater by Getty Images via Canva.com.