Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall Foliage Updates for New Hampshire

Commentary and photo by Eric H., fall foliage updates courtesy of VisitNH.com

The good people at VisitNH.com just sent us some fall foliage updates for New Hampshire. Just a day away from the Columbus Day Weekend, this leaf peeping information should serve, no doubt, as a valuable guide to your New Hampshire trip planning needs.

On a personal level, New Hampshire has always had a special place in my heart, especially during the fall foliage season. Yes, fall foliage is tremendous anywhere in New England, but to me, the New Hampshire foliage resonates with colors seemingly more consistently brilliant. Add the dramatically, rugged and beautiful White Mountains and its nearby lakes or quaint, relaxing towns like Hollis, Milford, Bristol, Keene, Wolfeboro, Peterborough, Meredith and Woodstock and you have the perfect foundation for a New Hampshire fall foliage day trip or extended vacation.

Without delay here are the updates from VisitNH.com -- and don't forget to call its recorded hotline at 1-800-258-3608 for more updates:

Great North Woods Region: Just when we thought the foliage in the Great North Woods region was starting to fade, up comes another autumn blast of beautiful color. The yellows of the poplar and birch have peaked, and are now combined with the remaining oranges and leftover reds to make spectacular viewing. If you drive into the valleys, you’ll see the incredible mountain vistas. Climbing a fire tower is a fun and educational family activity, and Magalloway Tower sits 3,360 feet atop Mt. Magalloway. There is a sweeping panoramic view of Northern New England and Canada from this viewpoint. Follow Rt. 3 to Magalloway Road, and follow the 8-mile dirt path to the trailhead. A 60-minute hike up a steep and rocky trail brings you to the tower. Bring some of the beauty and fragrance of New Hampshire into your home this holiday season by tagging your tree now. Please visit www.nhchristmastrees.com for a list of tree farms in the state.

White Mountains Region: The foliage in the White Mountains region just continues to amaze, with its constant blast of fiery reds, brilliant oranges, and lemon yellows. Route 16 from Conway to Gorham provides peak fall color, and route 302 from Glen to Twin Mountain is still looking fine in it’s array of autumn colors. Route 93 from Franconia to Plymouth is always a favorite drive, and it takes you past some of New Hampshire’s most beautiful natural areas, including the Flume Gorge; Cannon Mountain, where you can ride the tramway to the summit; the Basin; and the Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site. Mountain vistas are glowing with an orange-red tint, and waterfalls are framed in warm colors. The villages in the Mount Washington Valley are crowded right now with the Return of the Pumpkin People. Take a self-guided tour and enjoy viewing these hand-created folks who will delight and amuse you. Bring your camera – they’re only here for the fall season. Call 603-383-9356 for information, or visit www.jacksonnh.com.

Lakes Region: There is plenty of fall color to be seen in the Lakes region, with glorious shades of hearty orange, scarlet red, and bright yellow surrounding the open meadows. Higher elevations are near peak right now, and should be at full peak within the next week or two, while the lower slopes are drenched in bold color. The area surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee is about 60% changed right now, and is expected to peak very soon – why not book a fall foliage cruise on one of the vessels that grace the waters in the lakes region? For information, please visit www.lakesregion.org; go to Where to Play; On the Water; and click Cruises/Boat Tours. Landlubbers will want to travel routes 109, 25, 11 and 171 for a scenic loop around the big lake. The Sandwich Fair takes place this weekend; follow Routes 109 or 113 to the fairgrounds.

Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region: The Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region is near peak right now, with 70 to 80% color among the remaining greens. Despite some leaf drop, there are still plenty of warm oranges, bright reds, and glowing yellows in the area. Our leaf peepers are reporting possible peak conditions very soon – maybe even by this weekend. Interstate 89 from exit 20 in West Lebanon to exit 9 in Warner shows remaining swamp maples and what is described as a colorful patchwork quilt covering the hillsides. Some activities in this region include visiting a roadside farm for apples and pumpkins, and taking a scenic chairlift ride to the summit of Mount Sunapee. Routes 4 and 4A provide lovely scenic views, also. The town of Warner is holding its annual Fall Foliage Festival this weekend; for information, please call 603-456-9775

Monadnock Region: The lowlands in the Monadnock region are still ablaze with the gorgeous oranges and reds of autumn, and routes 109, 32, and 202 are good roads to take for scenic drives through this area. Reports say that Mount Monadnock – reputedly the second most climbed mountain in the world – is near peak right now, so if you’ve never climbed it, now would be a good time. Route 101 to Peterborough is awash with peachy oranges. The Pumpkin Trebuchet on Route 31 in Greenfield, NH is a must see for anyone in the area. Please visit www.yankeesiege.com for information, or call 603-547-6421. The color throughout this entire region has changed dramatically over the past week and should last well into next week.

Merrimack Valley Region: The Merrimack Valley region is still slow in its change from summer green to autumn glory, but Interstate 93 from Manchester to Derry appears to be about 40% changed, with nice yellows, bright oranges, and hearty reds. A drive on route 130 west will bring you through the scenic rolling hills of Hollis, which is about 50% changed right now. Here you will find roadside farm stands where you can buy authentic New Hampshire grown fruits and vegetables. Southern parts of this region are mostly green, with sporadic yellows and occasional splashes of orange and red. Looking for something to do on this Columbus Day weekend? The Milford Pumpkin Festival is taking place, and is always a good choice. Please visit www.milfordpumpkinfestival.org for information.

Seacoast Region: Our leaf peepers in the Seacoast region are reporting increased color changes, with more reds and oranges throughout the area. Route 1 from Hampton Falls to Rye is starting to look like fall, especially along waterways and lowlands. Route 101 west from Hampton to Epping is showing more vibrant color among the green, and Routes 155 and 155A are good country roads to take for a look at New Hampshire’s back roads. A visit to the Coppal House Farm and Corn Maze on Route 155 in Lee is a perfect way to experience autumn in New Hampshire. For information, please call 603-659-3572. City dwellers may want to head to Portsmouth for a guided walking tour of the Portsmouth Harbour Trail. For information, please call 603-610-5510.

Log onto VisitNH.com for more great New Hampshire vacation information.
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