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    Foliage in New Hampshire: the best places to observe the fall colors

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    Martí Micolau

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    Embraced by Maine and Vermont, the New Hampshire it is the fifth smallest state of the union and it takes just over three and a half hours to cross it on its longest side, from north to south. It is also one of the least populated and the only one where the price of some consumer goods is not taxed.

    It is known as The Granite State (the state of granite) for the presence of rocky reliefs but this should not suggest that it is devoid of greenery and gloomy. Far from it! New Hampshire has a large number of lakes, rivers, and forests that spring to life in the fall beautiful views in particular from late September to mid-October when maple, beech, oak, poplar and birch trees light up with red, orange and yellow.


    • The locations of the Fall Foliage in New Hampshire
      • Great North Woods Region
      • White Mountain Region
      • Dartmuh-Sunapee Region
      • Lakes Region
      • Monadnock Region
      • Merrimack Valley Region
      • Seacost Region
    • The Fall Foliage show by helicopter
    • Other useful resources
    • Foliage in the other states

    The locations of the Fall Foliage in New Hampshire

    It is the period of Fall foliage and it is difficult at that moment to resist so much beauty and not visit that land perhaps together with the other five states that make up the so-called New England. Let's start to discover the autumnal wonders of the Granite State without forgetting the suggestion of covered bridges (historical heritage) but also of traditions, a true autumn cult that manifests itself in all its faces: parties to celebrate the joy of the harvest and straw scarecrows that "smile" at us in the arcades and gardens of the houses.

    And then still hundreds, maybe thousands, of Halloween pumpkins in all sizes, some ready and on display, others still to be carved and colored. The preparatory Halloween rituals create a wonderful atmosphere that involves parents and children. Our itinerary to discover the foliage and the celebration of autumn starts from the north, descends towards the center and then ends in the south.

    Great North Woods Region


    At the northernmost tip of the country, bordering the Canadian region of Quebec, the Great North Woods region, also known as North County, is the largest in New Hampshire. Many moose have a home in its forests and if they had the gift of speech they would certainly express their appreciation for the triumph of colors.

    Il Beaver Brook Falls Wayside (432 NH-145, Colebrook) is a forest area popular with hikers, known for the scenic Beaver Brook Falls, scenic waterfalls 24 meters high visible from the road. There is nothing better than having a picnic while admiring nature and this is the best time.

    even the Dixville Notch State Park (1212 W. RT26 - Dixville) is no exception with its scenic gorge and waterfalls. The more experienced can follow the paths that lead to the Table Rock mountain, a rock formation with pinnacles from which you can admire a wide panorama of the foliage from above and enjoy splendid sunsets.

    We started off great, with an enchanting nature, but to get to know the local realities better, especially at this time of the year, we try to participate in events, for example towards mid-October in the pretty Berlin, al Riverfire (961 Main St.) which has its climax when lots of carved and illuminated pumpkins create a suggestive atmosphere along the Androscoggin bridge  (but who gave it this name?) and especially when at sunset the river is illuminated by a "floating" fire. In 2017, more than 400 pumpkins were carved.

    And, if possible, you shouldn't miss it Mount washington Auto Road (1 Mt. Washington Auto Rd.) Near Gorham, a twelve-kilometer toll stretch that leads to the summit of Mount Washington in thirty minutes; from there the panorama of the mountains and the valley is great as well as the whole path to reach the top often accompanied by low scenographic clouds. Between Berlin and Gorham we also point out the scenic roads 16 and 2.

    White Mountain Region

    Franconia Notch State Park

    Geographically below, but always in the north, the White Mountain region it is an area of ​​natural beauty, outdoor recreation (and ski resorts) where many rivers flow including Connecticut, the longest in New England, which we also find in the states of Vermont, Massachusetts and of course in the state of the same name.

    Littelton is a pretty town that at this particular time of the year is a "postcard" but children and gourmands may be more interested in 43 Main Street where Chutters it houses the largest candy counter in the world, 34 meters long, without forgetting the confectionery specialties such as fudge, peanut butter and truffle. A real institution, an almost obligatory stop that has nothing to do with the wonders of nature but which is still another kind of "wonder".

    And that's not all, there are also two covered bridges in the city: the Veteran’s Memorial bridge (Cottage St. & Main St.) and the Riverwalk bridge (also called Warren Truss) along Mill Street; Sunday, from July to October, is held on Farmers market (Riverglen Ln.) The farmers' market where we recommend buying typical products such as maple syrup and goat cheese.

    Search for a hotel in Littleton

    Jackson Falls

    In the small town of Jackson the landscape around the popular Jackson Falls it is remarkable and worth a stop. Along the main street of the small town stands the red color of theHoneymoon bridge (honeymoon bridge) which flows over the Ellis River. The bridge has this name because traditionally lovers kiss inside as a gesture of good wishes for their future.

    A few steps away, the general store is worth a visit Flossie General Store (21 Main St.), a real institution in the village that with the typically autumn setting attracts even more attention. It is known for its country store style; you can buy gifts, collectibles and works by local artists.

    Search for a hotel in Jackson

    When you get to Lincoln, along the Daniel Webster Highway, the main attraction is Franconia Notch State Park, a natural area full of charm and of particular interest during the foliage when you are enchanted by the warm colors and cross the spectacular pass.

    Inside, Flume Gorge Park is a scenic walk with the backdrop of the mountains between covered bridges, waterfalls, i Echo lakes and Profile. We like to mention this note of interest which is a sort of "love story": in the park there is a mountain, symbolic and much loved, baptized Old Man of the Mountain (Rt.93 exit 34B) for the particularity of depicting the profile of a face.

    Echo Lake

    Unfortunately, the front part with the nose and chin collapsed in May 2003. The affection for "the old man" led to the establishment of a foundation which commissioned two artists to create a plaza in Profile Lake with a 'unusual but effective attraction, or rather "solution": seven steel bars have been placed on a granite base, they are called "profilers" and point towards the cliff.

    Each has a series of irregular shapes on one side. If you position yourself correctly as indicated on the spot, you can see in the mountain the original outline of the “old man” profile; a tribute from the heart and another way to perpetuate the memory. Fortunately, the image of the mountain depicted on road signs and quarters (25-cent coins) will also help to preserve its historical memory.

    North conway it's a nice little town. At the terminus of Main Street, the main street, you can see the Victorian-style railway station building (38 Norcoss Cir.) From which trains depart. panoramic itineraries. In this period the tours are very popular, for example the Conway scene railroad with a view of Mount Washington and the crossing of a scenery in the foliage. During the journey you notice in the distance, surrounded by nature, the very white Omni Mount Washington Resort (310 Mt. Washington Hotel Rd. - Bretton Woods) which stands out for its large size and red roof; a remarkable chromatic effect with the surrounding environment.

    Mount Washington Cog Railway

    But for a sure adrenaline rush we suggest the Mount washington Cog Railway, a cog railway that takes you to the top of the tallest mountain in all of New England and then from up there the view speaks for itself. In the area we mention the town of Hart's Location and its approximately 40 inhabitants who together with the citizens of Dixville Notch (much further north) since 1948 they have enjoyed the status of first voters of the United States. Favored by the location in northeastern New Hampshire and therefore by the time zone, all agree they go to the polls at the stroke of midnight and have been able to deliver the results of the elections for many years.

    Curiosity aside, here you can visit the Crawford Notch State Park along highway 32. This park is ideal for nature walks in the company of the splendid autumn colors. Inside, in an area of ​​wild beauty, you can admire the Arethusa falls 60 meters high and easy to reach.

    But here in New Hampshire there is one panoramic road par excellence, 55 kilometers of absolute must in the period of foliage; and the Kancamagus Highway (Rt. 112 Lincoln to Conway via White Mountain National Forest) which showcases all the splendor of fall foliage and is widely regarded as New England's most glamorous road. It is also known as The Kanc and runs along the impetuous Swift River covering a path from "wow”In which private houses are rare, there are very few service stations and the even more beautiful thing is that there are no buildings that disfigure the landscape. In this spectacular natural path the Sabbaday Falls in Waterville Valley, the most popular waterfalls in the state immersed in the forest, easily accessible by a walkway that leads to the sides of the water fall and there is also an observation point from above.

    Rocky Gorge

    In Albany, near Conway, we point out theAlbany covered bridge with the backdrop of the White Mountains, the waterfalls Lower Falls throwing themselves into the Swift river e Rocky Gorge, an easy walk along the river with rapids in the gorge. We mention in particular the scenic road White Mountain Trail (Crawford Notch, Franconia, Littleton, Conway and North Conway), a scenic drive with waterfalls, gorges and lots of nature at the highest level with fiery red maples, golden birches and purple oaks interspersed with evergreen trees.

    If you want further help in orienting yourself in this splendid region, I suggest you read our in-depth study entirely dedicated to the White Mountains.

    Dartmuh-Sunapee Region


    In the west central area of ​​New Hampshire the Dartmuh-Sunapee region it grows along the border with Vermont. Remember that most of the borderline roads are scenic; it was a real pleasure for us to ride 10 and 12.

    Il Lake Sunapee, near the town of the same name, it has "numbers"; it is the 5th largest lake in the state, encompasses 11 islands and is home to 3 functioning lighthouses from 1890. It is the main draw for visitors to the area and is surrounded by beautiful greenery that is bursting with color in early autumn.

    While in the area it is worth abandoning the foliage for a moment and heading to Sculptured Rocks Natural Area (251 Sculptured Rocks Rd.-Groton), a 110 hectare natural area sculpted by the Cockermouth River, a particular series of rock formations.

    Lakes Region

    Castle in the Clouds

    The central area of ​​the state is the Lakes region, known for lakes Winnipesaukee, Squam, Ossipee, Winnisquam and Newfound. Several films have been shot or set here and this is not surprising because the natural landscapes are remarkable and the admiration one feels turns into a deep sense of serenity.

    Il Brine Ossipee, in the town of the same name, is a popular vacation spot where trout, salmon and sea bass are caught. In the period of foliage, the waters become a mirror of colors. In the rural town of Ashland, the Squam River covered bridge (Old Trail Rd) is a bridge also equipped with a pedestrian walkway on the sides that crosses the Squam river. Walking along a covered bridge feels like you've stepped back in time. Spending part of the holiday in places of this type really gives the possibility to "disconnect" from everything and then, in the presence of a splendid scenery, the benefit is amplified.

    Il Brine Winnipesaukee it is the largest in New Hampshire and the third largest in New England, so much so that inside there are about 280 islands or islets. It is dotted with quiet bays and coves, and houses and boats can be rented or bought nearby. The country of Center Sandwich, on the north shore of the lake is surrounded by woods and for this reason it is very popular in the period of foliage. Other villages overlooking this stretch of water that gives its best in this period are Meredith, Wolfeboro and Laconia.

    Very famous in this area is the Laconia beach, called Weirs Beach, from the shore of which every day until October 22, at 10 am and 12.30, the lake cruise for the foliage starts, defined as the most scenic in the state aboard the M / S Mount Washington, also known as "The Mount".

    In the town of Moultonborough, at 455 Old Mountain Road, stands Castle in the Clouds (castle in the clouds) at 225 meters above sea level, a building that does not have a past as a castle but has only its structure. It was built by a millionaire from the footwear industry according to various styles; from the Swiss chalet, to the Norman castle via the Tudor. Here it is possible to go horseback riding, guided tours, rent the property for private events but what interests us most now is to enjoy a splendid view from above. The official website provides all the information.

    We also report thehighway scenic 153 in the stretch from Sanbornville (west of Lake Winnipesaukee) that goes north up to Conway, gateway to the White Mountains.

    Monadnock Region


    La Monadnock region it is located in the south-west and is named for the presence of the homonymous mountain. It is mainly composed of rural areas embellished by a protagonist nature and for this we recommend the town of Keene with l 'Ashuelot River park (Wheelock St. & Court St.), along the river of the same name, with walking and cycling paths surrounded by beautiful foliage.

    A Swanzey instead we report the Thompson covered bridge (96 Main St.), the covered bridge recognizable by its red color and by the side pedestrian walkway. It stands out even more in autumn thanks to the warm bright colors that surround it and we tell a peculiarity about him: school buses can only cross it when they are empty; if there are students, they must get off and cross it on foot.

    Ad Ashuelot, the covered bridge of the same name (20 Hampshire Ct.) is immediately identified by the red roof that goes well with the white of the front and side. There is a strong link between the chromatic triumph of the foliage and the covered bridges because many of them are immersed in the woods. Precisely for this reason they are worth seeing and it is good to know their satellite coordinates in order to locate them more easily.

    A Rindge there is the so-called Cathedral of the Pines (10 Hale Hill Rd.) Consisting of a beautiful stone memorial, erected to honor fellow countrymen who died in war, together with an outdoor area where there are benches and an altar, essentially a church without a roof and walls. The complex is located on a hill from which you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding nature and where the Monadnock mountain stands. In autumn the landscape is enhanced by colors. This place of peace and meditation is worth visiting.

    Merrimack Valley Region


    La Merrimack Valley region rich in large waterways it is found under the Dartmouth and Lakes region, on the border with Massachusetts. Here it arose Concord, the capital of New Hampshire that is home to its government symbol: lo State Capitol (107 N. Main St.), mentre Manchester, located on the banks of the Merrimack River, is the largest city in New Hampshire.

    But actually in this period we are more interested in discovering small local realities, for example Milford in the first weekend of October when the Pumpkin festival, the village festival in preparation for the celebration of Halloween with music, stalls, tables for the personalized creation of scarecrows, carving workshops and decoration of pumpkins. Here we see and experience the real America.

    Seacost Region


    Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean Seacost region, in the southeast of the state, borders Massachusetts and Maine. Here the foliage goes very well with the coastal setting. We report the port city of Portsmouth with the pretty downtown full of historic buildings, shops and restaurants but the part we like the most in this period is the area called South End Waterfront with its delightful and colorful buildings and a triumph of colors as a backdrop.

    Search for a hotel in Portsmouth

    Il Memorial bridge connects the city to Kittery which is located in Maine, just after the border. There Road 1A is a small coastal scenic drive overlooking the Atlantic Ocean that runs through some towns such as Portsmouth, Hampton, Rye and Seabrook on the Massachusetts border. The locals also call it Ocean Boulevard.

    To reach New Hampshire we recommend theinternational Airport di Boston in the neighboring state of Massachusetts (1 Harborside Rd.) which has convenient connections to Europe on various airlines.

    This is just a taste of New Hampshire which is so much more, and then all that remains is to get on board a car or motorhome, enjoy what is around us and stop whenever something catches the eye, in particularly in this period with the tranquility of the places and the magical atmospheres of the foliage, the popular events, but also the extravagance and excesses of Halloween.

    The Fall Foliage show by helicopter

    Driving the streets of New Hampshire surrounded by the warm colors of autumn certainly has its charm but, if you want to add something more to your experience, why not consider a helicopter tour that will allow you to have a shot. single eye on New Hampshire foliage?

    More info on the helicopter tour

    Other useful resources

    If you are thinking of embarking on a New England itinerary, I would like to point out some resources that may be useful for planning your trip.

    • Our guide on how to plan a tour of New England.
    • Our tips on Country Inn: the best Bed & Breakfasts in the region.
    • All you need to know about Acadia National Park, New England's most fascinating natural park.
    • Our advice on the city of Boston, a reference point for visiting the region.
    • Our section with all the recommended itineraries in New England.

    Foliage in the other states

    The beauty of the colors of the foliage is a phenomenon that affects all the states of New England, here are our tips to enjoy the autumn season in the other states:

    • Foliage in Vermont
    • Foliage in New Hampshire 
    • Foliage in Maine
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