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The Northeastern United States is quintessential autumn at its best. From the upper Northern Woods region to the coast, a blanket of intense colors sweeps throughout New Hampshire. Folks come to drive the famous byways, hike the numerous peaks or discover charming towns serving piping hot cider doughnuts and coffee. Doesn’t that sound ridiculously cozy? Bunk up at a quaint bed and breakfast and recharge the body for days of outdoor adventures among the perfectly chilly haven. These are our favorite fall activities for a memorable trip to New Hampshire.
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Hands-down, the most spectacular aspect of spending fall in New Hampshire is the wide range of natural colors among the tree lines. Green, orange, red – it’s breathtaking. In the Great Northern Woods region, leaves begin to change as early as September and can extend into October. On average, most of the state sees its significant vibrant changes from mid to late October. Keep in mind that this all depends on weather conditions. But this, in general, can give a decent idea of when to come.
Driving the Byways
One of the best ways to explore all of that foliage is to take a scenic drive. Luckily, there are many notorious loops and byways to see the fall splendor. The Currier and Ives Scenic Byway runs through adorable towns like Hopkinton and passes historic covered bridges. Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway can be taken on in just 30 minutes and delivers a lot in such a short amount of time. We are talking about the works—mountains, lakes of course, and short optional hikes. White Mountain and Moose Path Trails are also scenic byways worth a gander.
Four thousand miles of hiking trails are beckoning visitors to explore the autumn display of the mountains. Many biking trails weave through the terrain if that’s more your speed. Likely the most famed hikes lie within the White Mountains. The Bemis Brooke Trail is a chill trek that tips barely over two and a half miles round trip while featuring a stunning waterfall that contrasts against gold and crimson hues. Odiorne Point State Park sits on the coast and serves up a different take of New Hampshire’s autumn scene. Easy hiking and beach glass hunting area among the highlights.
Eat Donuts and Drink Cider
Apple cider donuts and pie, along with cider and maple syrup are just some of the fall-ish foods sought after in New Hampshire. Cider Bellies Doughnuts covers two bases with an out of this world maple drizzled cider donut! Farnum Hill Ciders at Poverty Lane Orchards develops dry ciders from unique apple varietals that help them stand out above many. Not being overly sweet, it’s a fine counterbalance to traditional, nonalcoholic sweet cider.
Alpine Adventures Outdoor Recreation is just one of the places to offer zip lining in the state. Can you imagine the perspectives when soaring over the colorful White Mountain foliage? Several routes will offer one of the most unique leaf-peeping experiences on the East Coast. Before or after your adventure, enjoy the aerial park with fun obstacles.
Almost one thousand lakes and countless rivers can be traversed via kayak. Kayak Country Paddle Sports is a good one to go with. Cruises are also an incredible way to experience the water, and companies like Portsmouth Harbor Cruises have special excursions this time of year. The Inland River and Fall Foliage Cruise take passengers through cool old shipyards into picturesque bays.
Scenic Train Rides
Scenic train rides and fall time go hand in hand. Boarding a vintage rail car that will whisk you into the mountains while sitting by a window for the most relaxing views can far beat a regular car drive. That is if you’re cool with not being able to stop off at any given time. Making the experience even better, many New Hampshire railways serve up several course meals that are actually culinarily impressive. Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train tends to be a bit high end while Conway Scenic Railroad gives off a family-friendly appeal.
Apple picking is a part of the fall tradition. Bundle up in sweaters and boots, then meander through a grove lined with fragrant variations. Some places allow guests to sneak a few tastes. Aside from being a dreamy spot to snap photos, an orchard experience lets guests immerse in a classic fall flavor. Gould Hill Farm specializes in apples, other fruits and festive treats. You’ve got to go apple or even pumpkin picking in New Hampshire.
Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
Notchland Inn is a beautiful representation of all the incredible bed and breakfasts the state has to offer. The historic location sits on the river which is particularly beautiful when surrounded by leaves floating to the ground. Cozy rooms and cottages are pet friendly, and the sweet pups of the innkeepers may greet you. Breakfast is served every morning and includes all the little extras. Fruit, cereal, yogurt, orange juice, and some seriously tasty apple pancakes!
The village of Jackson is a fitting nook to visit during autumn. The historic buildings sit against a backdrop of color, and it’s all worthy of being front and center in a painting. But the annual festival that focuses on everything pumpkin is a major allure to the lovely town. But even that is overshadowed by the Return of the Pumpkin People, a yearly display of precious pumpkin-headed scarecrows that adorn the entire town. Come through and pick a favorite.