New Hampshire - a road trip to remember: Part 2
For the second stage of our trip we spent
some time exploring New Hampshire’s natural wonders. For a relatively small
state, New Hampshire has some amazing areas of lakes and mountains, and all
within easy reach of Boston.
Driving along Route 93 from the capitol
Concord, we arrived at the very beautiful Squam Lakes on a warm and sunny
afternoon. Our accommodation for the night was the prettiest cabin you ever did
see, complete with deck and rocking chairs, to sit and admire the lake. We
overlooked Little Squam (yes there is also a Big Squam); beside a small area of
lakeside beach, and a beautiful expanse of blue water, fringed by a forest of
Apart from being the most relaxing place to
spend a few days, the area is also home to the acclaimed Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. We
spent an enjoyable and very informative afternoon touring the centre and I lost
count of the times I said – ‘The grandkids would just love this place’. The
centre has certainly taken on board the ‘make learning fun’ directive, and boasts
an amazing array of displays and interactive exhibits. There are some indigenous
animals and birds to see, but this is not a zoo, they are creatures that have
been rescued and cannot be put back into the wild. There is also a network of woodland
trails, attractive gardens and the centre operates informative boat trips on
We were lucky to take a late afternoon
excursion out on the lake in a very speedy boat belonging to Cindy O’Leary.
Cindy knows Little Squam Lake
like the back of her hand and enjoys taking photographers out on the water to
get that perfect wildlife shot. We searched for the elusive Loon and did
eventually spot one at a distance. These large water birds can dive for minutes
at a time so you have to keep your eyes peeled.
Heading north we were soon into the White
Mountain National Forest and surrounded by some very dramatic scenery. Our base
was the Mountain Club on Loon in Lincoln.
This is a popular winter ski area, but also offers a selection of activities in
the summer months. Zip lines, climbing wall and the Ariel Forest Adventure Park
were not for us oldies, but a ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain
was definitely on the cards, with fabulous views, some easy trails and a cafe
for a cup of tea.
Blessed with great weather we also explored
the peaks of Cannon Mountain, the famous gorge at Franconia Notch State Park,
and of course, Mt. Washington. We loved
Mt Washington so much we went to the top twice – once by road, which was quite
a hairy experience and not for the faint hearted. But the weather was perfect
and the views from the top were over 100 miles in every direction. Our second
trip was on the famous cog railway, a
great experience, but sadly it was if we had gone into a different season. It
was so foggy and wet (and cold) at the summit that I couldn’t see my hand in
front of my face. All we could manage was to find our way to the visitor centre
for a hot drink and wait until the next train down. There is a very interesting
museum at the visitors centre where you soon learn that Mt Washington is the proud
holder of the title ‘Worst weather in the World’. So we were thankful we had
the chance to see it on a clear day.
We drove even further north, close to the
Canadian border, to an area known as The Great North Woods, eventually arriving
at Pittsburgh and our Cabin at Lopstick.
Yet more beautiful lakes, but this time even more remote and peaceful, and with
no Wi-Fi or mobile signal we enjoyed 24 hours cut off from the world. The area
is busy in winter with its extensive snowmobile routes and is also attracting
ATV (all terrain vehicles) year round. Fishing for trout and salmon is very
popular and there are plenty of hiking trails to follow.
Finally to end our trip we headed for New
Hampshire’s small but delightful seacoast. At just 18 miles long it starts at
the Maine border in the city of Portsmouth and runs along to the Massachusetts
We stayed in Portsmouth and found it to be
a vibrant city with an attractive waterfront and steeped in history. The city
was at the forefront of the British settlement and a visit to Strawbery Banke Living Museum is a
great way to appreciate life in the ‘Puddle Duck’ neighbourhood from 1695
onwards. The museum is in the centre of town and a delightful place to wander
around, dipping in and out of the different houses, chatting to the costumed
role players who cleverly take you back in time and admiring the pretty
Portsmouth is a foodies paradise and boasts more restaurants
and eateries than most, and to take advantage of this fact an enterprising company,
offers innovative tasting tours around town. It is a great way to spend a few
hours, walking around the city, calling into different restaurants for tasters
and making new friends along the way.
Or if your feet have taken a pounding why
not try a cycle tour
instead? There are a number of itineraries to choose from including a twice
daily historic tour or an invigorating coastal tour.
Our last treat was an afternoon on the
water on board the luxurious Stella di
Mare. For just a few hours we were made to feel like the super rich as we
were treated to bubbly and nibbles, some great company and a relaxing sail
around the harbour.
A scenic drive along the coastline took us
back to Boston and our flight home, with just time to enjoy a last lobster roll,
while sitting on the beach soaking up some late summer sun.
To sum up our extensive trip I would have
no hesitation in recommending New Hampshire for a fly drive holiday. Personally
for me the highlights were the beautiful lakes and mountains with wonderful
views and a real feeling of ‘getting away from it all’. Hopefully one day I
shall be back.
With frequent flights and some very good fares, Boston makes an affordable gateway to New Hampshire. Check out Norwegian.com, the new airline flying from Gatwick.
Or our partners, American
Sky offer a selection fly drive packages with varied itineraries.
For more information on New Hampshire go to