Strawberry Banke is a town which has become a museum, representing about 400 years of architecture and crafts which have been part of this town through the centuries. It's located just beside the town of Portsmouth, which is a vital, bustling, revived town of many pleasures. Both are worthy of the visit. This weekend there were crowds everywhere, but it was holiday happy and twinkling lights everywhere you looked.
We're already planning to go back in the summer months when all the gardens are in bloom and we can wander outdoors with the sunshine. Decorated for Christmas, however, is a very special time in Strawberry Banke. Be sure you check it out one day.
Favorite thing: From my own experience I believe it is vital to meet locals there and develop good relationships with them (especially if you arrive to NH without a car, new in the country or the state). Generally NH people are very friendly and would be glad to help you in different ways so if you're moving to NH don't be shy to ask for a ride, bring your new neighbors a treat, invite them over, share a tool or just good news - thus you'd be building strong neighborly friendship:)
The main reason for going in fall was for us the foliage. We were hoping for brilliant colours and were not disappointed in New Hampshire (unlike in the other states). Flaming red, bright yellows and beautiful oranges were dominating colours. At home we do get the two latter ones but rarely the flaming, intense red.
New Hampshire has it. We were in the White Mountains exactly at peak time, 4-8 October. I was quite surprised there were no crowds on leaf-peeping tour.
For info on the progress of the change of colours call this number for New Hampshire:
and this number for the White Mountains (National Forest Service Fall Colour Hotline):
The North of New Hampshire means mountains. The Appalachians stretch in direction southwest to northeast. The dominating mountain region here are the White Mountains with the highest peaks to find in the Presidential Range (Mt. Washington, 6288 ft.). The mountains are by far not as spectacular as in the American West, Canada or in the Alps. However, they appear quite massive due to deeply shaped valleys - towns are set in quite low elevations.
When we visited in early October the skies were blue except for one rainy afternoon, foliage in full swing (see pics) and the air was crisp. No crowds.
Fondest memory: The blue water of Sawyer's pond with the white canoe, red leaves, blue sky. These colours!
The views from the top station of Wildcat gondola - Mt. Washington, the rolling hills towards the ocean (Maine).
Although no mountains - the small College town of Hanover, the Green that filled up with students at lunch time.
New Hampshire is divided into 10 large counties.
Hillsborough has the most people (380000) and Sullivan has the least (40000).
Coos is the largest with 1800 square miles and Stafford is the smallest with 370 square miles.
The first counties were made in the 1760s and the last in the 1840s.
New Hampshire is packed with scenic drives. Especially the two national scenic byways, the White Mountain Trail and the Kancamagus Scenic Byway are wonderful during the foliage season.
New Hampshire with its picturesque and historic villages, small towns, covered bridged, lakes and a lot of natural vistas is an ideal state to drive around in your (rental) car.
Byways in New Hampshire
Autumn is a wonderful time to visit New Hampshire because of its foliage colors. The cooler and shorter days of September cause the green chlorophyll to disappear from the leaves. Gold, brown and yellow become the prominent leaf colors of popular, oak, beech and birch trees. The sugar in the sugar and red maple tree bring out the red in these trees.
The best autumn colors are produced when dry, sunny days are followed by cool, dry nights. The color change begins in the northern part of the region mid-September and moves southward through mid-to-late October.
Here is a good website for more information on the foliage season:
New Hampshire has more than 50 covered bridges. They are also called "kissing bridges", because of their frequent use by the youngsters. Most bridges have a wooden structure and they are all different.
Covered bridges in New Hampshire
This comes up a lot in the forums: When is the best time to see the Fall color?
While it's impossible to predict exactly when foliage will be at peak, in general you'll find a lot of color on Columbus Day weekend. Columbus Day is the second Monday in October. The northern mountains may peak a week or two earlier, but you'll probably still see some color there and you'll see plenty in the Monadnock region, the area between Milford and Keene.
If you decide to visit New Hampshire in the Fall, be aware that you will not be alone in your leaf peeping. Expect a little bit of congestion even on secondary roads.
This is the Squam River Bridge. Not only is it wonderful for pictures .. lots of ice fishermen around in the winter... but also filled with winter storage boats and docks waiting for the summer crowd. This little spot could use up all your photo film for a weekend. It's picturesque in all directions. There were little cottages grouped together on one side of the lake. The kind of place to run away to when you are exhausted and want some beautiful quiet place to be peaceful.
We found a couple of covered bridges as we drove around Ashland, Meredith and the surrounding area. The Smith Bridge was rebuilt but in the old style....they are charming, unique and very photographable. I love the sound of the tires going through the bridge while the rumbling on wooden planks echoes inside the roof.
Good friends have a cabin right on the lake with a dock out in front. There is an assortment of boats and jet skis....dogs, kids, a few lobsters....and life is sweet.
What a lake it is! Enormous...clean...and FUN. There are a couple of towns which front on the lake like Meredith and The Weirs. We stay away from the crowds...just sun, water, and good friends. Here is Joe, wishing he had worked out more during the year. :-)
There is always a crew getting ready to take off to go water skiing at Lake Winnepesaukee.
Want some advice on interacting with New Hampshirites? Here's the secret tip: "They're kidding". Keep reminding yourself of this. Say, "they're kidding" and take it all with a grain of salt. The New Englander is a dry breed. Don't take them - or more importantly, "yourself" - too seriously. No self-respecting New Englander will sugar coat a sharp, ironic barb with "just kidding". You'll have to do that for yourself. Check out this pointed sign I found in Hampton Beach. If this isn't an example of classic New Hampshire humor, I don't know what is.
Fondest memory: Humor in New Hampshire? Try "Secretary's Day" in Manchester, where women in suit tops and skirts participate in the annual "Typewriter Toss". The lady who tosses the old machine the farthest wins! it's a blast. And the yearly pics of secretarys in high tops hurling machinery, hair blowing in the wind, is priceless.
The best thing I remember about New Hampshire was walking in the woods just amazed at all the beautiful colors. If you pick a good foliage year it is just breathtaking and a once in a lifetime experience (unless you are lucky enough to live there).
Fondest memory: I miss the foliage, pumkins in the fall, maple syrup on snow in the spring, the mountains and the snow.
Visit a quaint little town called Wolfeboro. I know there are lots of 'quaint' towns but this one boasts of pretty houses that have a great view of Lake Winnepesaukee.
Fondest memory: They have several nice stores on the main road that sell local things like paintings, craft stuff and other cute and fun knick knacks.
Favorite thing: It's got a quaint town center with old, narrow streets and fun shops common in New England towns. Enjoy the day walking around, eating ice cream on a hot, summer day, or warming up with a cup of coffee during the cold months.
100 Portsmouth Blvd, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801, United States
Good for: Business
Stayed last psring and this summer and every time the service, accomodation and staff were amazing....more
21 Front Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, 03102, United States
Good for: Couples