New Hampshire is famous for its autumnal colours. What is less appreciated though, is that New Hampshire’s scenery is breathtaking year-round, thanks to landscapes dotted with quaint farms and villages, white steeple churches and covered bridges. 

“New Hampshire welcomes more visitors from the UK than any other overseas market. They tend to be experienced travelers who seek backroad, cultural experiences mixed with a bit of soft adventure.”

MICHELE COTA, TRADE & INDUSTRY RELATIONS MANAGER, NH DIVISION OF TRAVEL AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

A winter's tale

Skiing and snowboarding during winter in the White Mountains is a big magnet. The news is that prices are very reasonable for ski lift day passes and ski rentals - a massive bonus for families. Many of the ski attractions are only a two-hour drive from Boston, which means international guests can quite literally be on the slopes a few hours after they arrive.

Abenaki Ski Area, Wolfeboro, is the oldest community-run ski resort in the country, offering lift tickets for under $20 as well as a 30km cross country ski network. Loon Mountain (3,050-feet) has 11 lifts, a gondola and 61 trails which attract both ski and Nordic ski enthusiasts. Attitash Ski Resort in North Conway is renowned for its ski and snowboard instruction and features 11 lifts plus 68 trails for cross country skiers. Ragged Mountain Resort in Danbury has two mountain peaks and 57 trails, including 17 renowned glades and three terrain parks. It also has the state’s only six-person high speed chair lift.

Canon Mountain in Franconia has diverse terrain across two mountains with 95 ski trails and glades plus 11 lifts and sledging and dog sledding but its main attraction is Flume Gorge. This natural granite chasm extends 800 feet around the base of Mount Liberty, has crashing waterfalls and towering 90-feet-high granite walls.

 

Up north

Extreme Northern Adventures is based in North Conway where it offers snowmobiling tours through dozens of miles of dedicated and groomed trails in the nearby Great North Wood. This exhilarating activity is very easy to learn but riders must have a current driver’s license.

Looking for a bit of après ski? Just down the road from Attitash is quaint North Conway Village which has restaurants, shops and art galleries lining its main street. Nearby Settler’s Green Outlet Village is a great place to bag bargains with well-known American brands. Best of all, shopping in New Hampshire is tax-free.

Family-friendly fun

One of the favourite past times of White Mountain visitors is taking the Cog Railway which ascends Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the Northeast. Early each day, an historic coal-fired steam locomotive makes the 6,288-foot climb to the mountain top, recreating the experience of what it was like to be a passenger in the early days of travel.

For nature enthusiasts, the trails at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch offer great hiking. There is even a hiker shuttle during the summer to take enthusiasts to nearby trailheads. Due to donations from the recreation company L.L.Bean, there is also a fully kitted-out gear room with free-to-hire boots and other gear for those staying at the lodge.

Wildlife can be spotted in the mountain’s woods any time of year. Very lucky hikers may see a lone moose lounging in the shallows of a lake. Easier to spot are red squirrel, beaver and even black bear, outside of its winter hibernation period. During September, many twitchers come to spy on kittling broad-winged hawks, bald eagles and osprey.

It is certainly worth treating children to a tour of the Grand Mountain View Resort’s farm. This property was originally a fully functioning farm in 1865 when it was purchased and converted to a hotel. The farmer takes guests around every morning from 8:30 – 9:00 am. Though they now focus mainly on yarn production, visitors can also take part in egg collecting, harvesting vegetables, or participate in spring shearing. Sheep, ngora goats, llamas, alpacas, and Angora rabbits are some of the livestock folks will see.

Inns and eats

Seeing the region’s famous maple syrup is collected and processed is a fun excursion. The 200-year-old Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth belonged to the local doctor and the original farm is still a working concern. Here they distil maple to make some of the area’s scrumptious syrup and sweets. Visit the doctor’s home and office to see how rural doctors plied their craft back in the days of early settlers.

There are many inns and pubs that serve great food and even locally brewed beer. Summer brew festivals held at the resorts are soaring in popularity. Places like The Woodstock Station and Brewery near Loon Mountain in North Woodstock, formerly the rail station, now has its own microbrewery and creates beers such as Pig’s Ear Brown Ale or Lemon and Blueberry Pale Ale.

Americans are famous for their breakfasts and restaurants here will not disappoint. Waffles drowned in syrup then topped with strawberries seem to be on most menus as is America’s version of a fry-up: sausage and bacon, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, and toast. For a real treat, try out the Lakehouse Eggs Benedict with Maine lobster at Lakehouse Grille at Mill Falls at the Lake while enjoying the spectacular views that surround the property.

The Mill Falls at the Lake on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee has five different hotels. Church Landing is Adirondack style with woodsy, quirky antique type décor inside. There is an enormous, inviting fireplace in the lobby as well as smaller versions in each of the 70 rooms. The original old linen mill, dating to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, has been preserved and reconstructed into a four-floor marketplace.

There are tales of ghosts in a few of the very old properties in the mountains. Built in 1856, the Grand Mountain View Resort recently had a visiting spiritualist convinced that an apparition of one of the early owners inhabits a room off the lobby, sitting cosily by the fireplace. The manual elevator here is vintage 1920s and slightly wonky so it must be operated by member of staff.

Christmas Farm Inn in the village of Jackson has a few haunted tales to tell too. Parts of the 300-year-old Jackson village have been annexed to the Christmas Farm Inn over the years, including the Free Will Baptist Church, built in 1803, which was stuck to the back of the lodge when the owner needed more room.

What the experts say

"Lodging and attraction partners located in different parts of the state have reported that their late spring and early summer started out far ahead of last year but was offset by a slower July and August. All partners have claimed that most of their annual volume from the UK arrive during the autumn foliage season. So far bookings are trending flat with last fall which was a good year for New Hampshire overall. The added airlift likely plays a role in keeping our UK inbound in good shape despite the strong US dollar.”

MICHELE COTA, TRADE & INDUSTRY RELATIONS MANAGER, NH DIVISION OF TRAVEL AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Where to book it

Purely New England offers departures from November 2017 to March 2018 (except Christmas/Easter) from £929pp based on two sharing with return flights from Gatwick with Norwegian Airlines. The package includes compact car rental for seven nights; two nights’ room-only at Inn at Mill Falls, Meredith; two nightsB&B at Mountain View Grand, Whitefield and three nights’ B&B at Christmas Farm Inn, Jackson.

A 10-night holiday to Boston and New Hampshire with America As You Like It starts from £1395pp based on two sharing, including return flights to Boston on Delta, three nights room-only in Boston at the Midtown Hotel, seven days’ fully-inclusive car hire, four nights’ B&B in the New Hampshire White Mountains at the Hampton Inn, North Conway, and three nights’ room-only in the New Hampshire Lakes at the Inn at Mill Falls, Meredith.