Now this is a MUST. We've been stopping in here for so many years. Filled with leather goods, Native American crafts, moccasins, bead work, jewelry, dream catchers, toys for the kids... It's just plain fun. And VERY New Hampshire.
At the trading post, outside of Meredith, there are always fun things to investigate. Karen found a dream catcher for a gift. I was a bit silly trying on this raccoon hat...tail included. There are moccasins, leather belts, boots, fur pelts, Native American toys and crafts, ...all sorts of interesting stuff. It's all part of the New Hampshire experience......like buying a little sachet with pine needles inside so you can have the smell of the woods at home.
The Castle in the Clouds is an Arts and Crafts estate which would more correctly be termed a MANSION rather than a castle. However, to the man who built it, I'm sure it was his castle. Now open for tours as a museum, you can tour the property and grounds high above Lake Winnepesaukee with absolutely knock out panoramic views of the lake below and the mountains beyond.
Built for a million dollars in 1914.. an enormous amount of money in the day.. every room of the castle has a view. One would almost not pay attention to the interiors because of them. I saw tourists spending most of their time at the windows.
The castle is open from 10 am to 4:30 pm from Memorial Day weekend thru Oct. 15th. The road is closed in winter. You park part of the way up the mountain and are carried by trolley up the remaining slope to the top and the castle.
There are 45 miles of hiking trails, kids activities, 1000' waterfalls, and Science Center programs...plus concerts, events and lecture series. A small cafe is located in the carriage house where you begin your ascent by trolley.
Some rent the space for weddings..as we saw when we were there. Dinner was going to be outdoors on the patio with tables set for the reception overlooking the magnificent views of Lake Winnepesaukee.
I was fascinated by the number of people out on the ice...lots of lakes around. Folks build these little houses on the ice and they fish for hours. Guess there is a little stove inside the house for warmth...but couldn't possibly be comfortable enough for the likes of me. I was surprised to see so many of these little buildings on several of the lakes in the area. Guess they are really into it. Interesting tradition.
The Shaker village is a fascinating place to visit. We were fortunate to have a very knowledgeable tour guide who walked us through several buildings and then turned us loose to enjoy several others on our own. Visit the gardens, snack shop, formal restaurant, ride on a tractor pulled wagon, sit in the old schoolroom.....or visit the trade shops. I enjoyed the carpenter's shop. Many photos to share, so I'll create a Travelogue as well. Hope you'll enjoy.
The heart of New Hampshire's mountains are spread through both the White Mountains National Forrest and various state parks interpersed throughout the area. One of your first stops should be one of the ranger offices in the part of the part you wish to explore. We camped in Crawford Notch State Park and just up the road on route 302 was this great source of information. The ranger explained in detail the opportunities in the area and we soon had two great hikes to choose from. They are very friendly and knowledgeable so stop in and enjoy this free service.
One of the best times to visit New Hampshire and especially the White Mountains is during fall foliage. This is not an exact time but varies from year to year with various climatic conditions. But generally, it starts with the first frost of the season. There are lots of factors that determine if it will be a good foliage season like rain during the spring and summer as the leaves need the moisture to produce the bright colors later. Sun and cold weather is what cyrstalizes this color in the leaves and last but just as important is wind. If it's too windy, there won't be any leaves on the trees to see!
The Crawford Path is the oldest continuously used hiking trail in the United States. It starts off as a well groomed and lush forest walk but soon steepens and gets more rugged. The trail will give you great elevation grain for views over the Presidential Range and eventually bring you to the Lake in the Clouds Hut and Mount Washington as pictured. It is about 8.5 miles to the top of Mount Washingon along this trail that picks up 4700 feet.
The Franconia Ridge Trail is one of the most popular long hikes in the park and for good reason. Once you get above treeline, you will have spectacular vistas in all directions for the entire hike. This great trail combines two small and lovely hikes, the Old Bridle Path and Falling Waters Trail that brings you to a nice waterfall. But it is the Franconia Ridge portion that makes it the classic hike in the region and perhaps the whole state. It is a 9 mile loop that picks up 3800 feet and brings you past the Greenleaf Hut, where you can get a hot meal, something to drink or just seek refuge if the weather is bad. But when the weather is fine, you will want to spend all your time outside enjoying the great views. Do this hike during the week to avoid crowds as it is deservedly the most popular in the park.
Are you ready for these pictures??? Every summer in New Hampshire, contestants come from all over the country (and various parts of the world) to enter this sand sculpture contest. I believe you have to be invited to participate. They import special sand for this contest. Only one person can work on the sculpture at a time. Sand and water are the only materials used.
Lovers of the Arts & Crafts era will love this excellent example built with pride of workmanship. It's comfortable, solid oak, filled with excellent views of the lake and surrounding acres of woodland...Notice the painted ceiling of the dining room, the massive cast iron stove in the kitchen and the wonderful pedastal sinks in the master bathroom. Many handsome details.
See my other tip and the travelogue for further information and photos.
North Conway, a very busy resort town (with a traffic jam almost always from one end of town to the other) has a nice sight/activity to offer: the Conway Scenic Railroad. There are actually two trains running: The Notch Train which runs along the Saco river through Crawford Notch to Fabyan near Bretton Woods and the Valley Train which makes a much shorter journey through the lower Saco river valley and stops in Bartlett as well.
The Notch Train offers scenic views but it is a long five-hours round trip and it is quite costly: calculate at least $45 for Coach, $70 for the superior experience in the category Dome. The Valley Train is cheaper of course: fares vary between $22 for the Bartlett round trip (Coach) and $35 (Dome). Schedules are somewhat odd, though. See their website for more info.
Every summer, when I was a kid, my Mom would take us to the NH seacoast to spend a day, a week, or even a couple of weeks. Rye Beach is my favorite beach. It's out of the hub-bub of Hampton, and very scenic.
Lots of locals and out-of-staters rent cottages on the beach during the summer months. The best beaches in NH are: North Hampton, Jenness Beach (Rye Beach) and Wallis Sands.
Strawberry Banke is one of those "Village" museums where a bunch of antique buildings were moved and gathered together, and turned into a tourist attraction. You can tour the houses and shops and watch blacksmiths, potters and coopers ply their trades. The Strawberry Banke gift shop has an excellent collection of handicrafts and books.
Kancamagus Highway (NH 112) links Lincoln with Conway. It is one of the most scenic roads I've driven in New England. We were very fortunate to be there in early October when foliage was at its peak. And the weather was perfect. The road is well maintained (but not quite a highway, thank god) and offers stunning views of the vast maple- and birch-tree forests to both sides and the mountains which reach about 4300 ft. (Mt. Osceola) in the south.
There are plenty of parking/picnic places along the road. I thought Hancock Overlook offered the most stunning views with Mt. Kancamagus in the southwest and Mt. Osceola right in southern direction. Shortly after Hancock Overlook (eastbound) you reach the highest point of the road and soon CL Graham Overlook provides views of the Northern/Eastern White Mountains near Bartlett and Jackson (our destination). Thus we didn't drive all the way to Conway but turned north to reach Bartlett via Bear Notch - which is by far not as scenic as Kancamagus Highway, but had very little traffic.
The Flume Gorge is a natural 800-foot chasm at the southern tip of Franconia Notch State Park. It's a very popular attraction. The trail starts at the Franconia Notch State Park Visitor Center from where you can walk or take a shuttle bus to the gorge. The entire walking loop through the Flume and back to the visitor center by way of the pool is 2 miles (3.2 km) and takes about 1.5 hours. The walk will lead you along waterfalls, covered bridges, a scenic pool, wonderful mountain views and glacial boulders. The shuttle bus will bring you nearby but you still have to walk the last part to the top of the gorge via boardwalks and steps, which can be quite exhausting for elderly people.
It was one of our best trails in that area, really recommendable!
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