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What to do for a weekend

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NC
posts: 4,275
reviews: 1
What to do for a weekend

Hello all - We might fly up for the weekend Oct. 28-30 on a US Airways e-saver from NC. Been to VT but never NH. Anyone want to offer suggestions on what we should not miss? I'll tell you a little about us to help fine-tune suggestions:

50 year old couple - like nature, scenery, quaint shops, interesting dining, exploring out of the way towns, festivals, spas, "country" stuff, and basically New England charm. Thanks in advance, and if I can ever return the favor for a visit to NC, I will!

Antrim, New...
posts: 1,536
reviews: 13
1. Re: What to do for a weekend

Hi there,

Unfortunately, you will miss the fall colors, the major attraction of this region in the fall. You will also miss the Keene Pumpkin Festival, the weekend before, which holds the Guinness World Record for the most jack-o-lanterns lit in one place - over 29,000. And you are too early for skiing.

That said, you will also miss the crowds. The trees may be a bit bare, or even entirely so, but not the evergreen. And there are still many beautiful places to go, depending on how far you want to drive, where you stay, and what direction you choose to go. NH Offers a small but beautiful coast which you can explore to your heart's content for 100s of miles up through Maine. There are tons of lakes, from Winnipesaukee, the largest and grandest, to smller lakes. And there are the mountains, from Monadnock in the southwest, the 2nd most climbed mountain in the world after Fuji, to the beautiful White Mountains.

By the coast, Portsmouth is a beautiful place to spend a weekend. The old part of the city is a wonderful walking area with many shops, galleries, restaurants, music venues, etc. There are a number of B&Bs in town as well as the Sheraton, and numerous other inns and B&Bs throughout the area. You would have a great time exploring the beaches and towns by day, and enjoying the city by night. Portsmouth also has the restored Colonial Village at Strawberry Banke, which is quite nice, if you enjoy that sort of thing. Dip across the bridge to Maine and explore the rocky shore, lighthouses and fishing villages of York, Ogunquit, and other towns. And, the Kittery Trading Post, on US 1, is a great place to shop for all manner of outdoor gear at good prices.

If you head toward the west, into the Monadnock Region, you can hike Mt Monadnock, a very popular mountain with a choice of several trails leading to the peak. Depending on the trail you choose, I believe they range from 3 - 7 miles each way. The views are fabulous, as there are no trees at the top. You can also climb North Pack, a smaller peak popular among the locals, about 2 miles each way. Some local highlights include - Peterborough with a great art gallery and shop - the Sharon Arts Center - and other craft and art shops, a great bookstore - Toadstool - and more good restaurants than any town this size should have, including Acqua Bistro and R.A Gatto's, as well as 12 Pine for casual gourmet lunch, and more. You can also do a little Monadnock region chocolate tour, including Ava Marie in Peterborough, Ye Olde Goodie Shop in Keene, and the world famous Burdick's in Walpole. The Monadnock region is full of charms, to many to list here. It is a lot of small towns with surprises of all sortsall over the place.

You can head up I-89 to the Dartmouth - Lake Sunapee region. Lake SUnapee is one of the larger lakes in the state, but much smaller than Winni. A beautiful area. The towns of Warner and New London are nice places to explore. There should be plenty of hiking in the area, but I cannot give you specific suggestions. Further up the road, you get to the the Hanover, where Dartmouth college is. Hanover is a lovely town, with the campus and a host of shops and restaurants to explore. Dartmouth has an excellent arts center - The Hopkins Center, or The Hop, as it is known. Check their website for a schedule of arts and performance events that weekend. Many good restaurants, but if you are there for breakfast, Lou's is worth the wait. Lunch, too.

And of course, there is the White Mountains. Magnificent scenery, great hiking, and good exploring in and out of car. A lot of hiking and beautiful scenery is accessed off the few roads through the Whites. The Kankamagus Highway, from Lincoln to COnway is the most popular, with many spectacular vista and turnouts, and many hiking trails accessible from the road. But there are other roads, equally beautiful in their own way, that form a triangle or square around the Whites. Coming up I-93, continue north from Woodstock and Lincoln through Franconia Notch. There are many short as well as increasingly demanding hikes from this and other roads. At Cannon Mountain ski area, there is a cable car to the top, and a short hike to a fire tower. Continue through the Notch and head toward Twin Mountain to continue the route. Or, you can continue north to Littleton, which is a nice town to explore. If you stay overnight inthe area, find out if Polly's Pancake Parlor is open in this season. It is in the little town of Sugar Hill, and is worth the ride, up Rte 117, I believe, just for the view of the Presidential Range to the east. It is easily one of the top vistas in the state. If you head to Twin Mountain, you can either take the northern route to Gorham, and then head south on Rte 16 through Pinkham Notch, past the base of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the northeast. Or, you can head south on Rte 302 through Crawford Notch, past the historic Mt Washington Hotel. Either route will take you into North COnway, heavily touristed area in both summer and winter, with many shops, restaurants, and the like.

If you decide to spend your weekend in the Whites, stop at a NH tourist info place and pick up a White Mountain Map. It will show roads, as well as countours and trails, with trail descriptions on the back. If you plan to hike in the Whites, and especially some of the higher peaks, and ESPECIALLY Mt Washington, be prepared for drastic weather changes. Mt. Washington has recorded some of the most severe weather in the world. Yu may hit a sunny 60 degree day in the Whites, but as you rise above 4000 or 5000 feet, the temp can drop and the weather can change.

Finally, there is the Lakes Region, centered on Winni, but also including Lakes Squam, where On GOlden Pond was filmed, and Winnisquam. There are many lovely towns around Winni, including Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Wolfeboro, and a host of smaller towns in the area, as well as Laconia a small city that can be interesting to explore. There are some lovely places to stay in this region.

To learn more about these regions of the state, go to www.visitnh.gov, the NH Tourism Website. You can find out about things to do as well as lodging in the areas, including quaint B&Bs and Inns, which is what I would recommend.

I would advise that you be careful not to spend too much time driving. Pick one area to spend a weekend. Or, if you must, combine a stay in the seacoast with a drive up the eastern side of Winnipesaukee. If the Whites are your kind of place, just go there and leave yourself the time to explore the area and do a bit of hiking. In the Monadnock region, if you explore a circle consisting of Rtes 101, 202, 31 and/or 123 to Rte 10 back down to Keene, you will have seen some beautiful quaint towns, scenery, shops, antiques, restaurants, etc. in a very laid back area. Dartmouth area is a fun weekend, but as long as you are driving through, check out the towns along the way.

Jonas

NC
posts: 4,275
reviews: 1
2. Re: What to do for a weekend

OMG Jonas! Thanks so much. My problem now is that you made it ALL look good and I really don't know which direction to choose! LOL. I'll do some exploring on the website and ask "she who must be obeyed" what she prefers. Decisions, decisions - now if US Airways will cooperate with an e-saver and the good Lord will grant some decent weather - we'll be up there soon. Best wishes, and thanks!

Antrim, New...
posts: 1,536
reviews: 13
3. Re: What to do for a weekend

Yeah, I did go a bit overboard.

How about Southwest Air? They fly directly into Manchester, too. Also, consider flying into Portland, Maine, sometime. That is one of my favorite places for a weekend getaway.

NewEngland
posts: 1,025
reviews: 3
4. Re: What to do for a weekend

Well, the previous poster didn't leave much out! But you could consider flying into Hartford CT also, it is about 1.5 hours from Keene. Keene also offers lots of nice restaurants and the Monadnock region has several very nice bed and breakfasts. A shorter hike that we really enjoy is the trail up Little Monadnock that is out of Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam. You should not miss the covered bridges of Swanzey, right next to Keene, 6 bridges in all. The leaves will be gone, but so will the leaf peepers, weather should be crisp. Hannah Grimes Marketplace in downtown Keene offers all NH made products. The Colony House and Wyman Tavern are 2 historical sites right on Main St. The drive north on Rt 12 along the CT River is always pretty and will bring you into Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region home of Dartmouth College.

NC
posts: 4,275
reviews: 1
5. Re: What to do for a weekend

Thanks for the tips, but on e-savers you have to fly where they are going that weekend. And, it changes each week. You don't know where you are going until Wed before leaving Sat. We are interested in Manchester because we haven't been through there and they have it frequently. Once in a while they offer Portland and Hartford but not as often. All the tips are appreciated!

6. Re: What to do for a weekend

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