What not to miss in New Hampshire!

The breeze coming in my window last night turned decidedly chilly by dawn, brrr, I loved it! The cicada’s are singing in good form and I’m getting reports from Waaaaay up in Caribou Maine and Canada that branches on some maples are beginning to turn. What has me taking notice is that the  swamp maples in southern Connecticut are turning as well and I have to assume they are very stressed. Also

What follows are my top 10 places to visit in New Hampshire. You will note this isn’t my top 10 routes or top 10 covered bridges. These are places that families, couples, photographers will find ample subjects to “oh” and “ah” over. If you are saying but the “Kanc” is a route. Lets just say the “Kanc” makes it onto all my lists of places/things to visit regardless.

1. Kancamagus highway

View from the Kanc to see a tapestry of autumn fall foliage

View from the Kanc

The Kancamagus (or Kanc as it’s known by the locals) is one of New Hampshire’s old grand dames of scenic drives. It also has falls, covered bridge, rivers hiking trails and history. It’s also as old as me! Construction finished on her in 1959, but I’m still a work in progress, ask my wife. The best time to visit the “Kanc” is usually between 1-12 October but as with all these places, the dates slide one way or the other, depending on the weather.

2. Clark’s Trading Post

Clark’s trading post is just north of Lincoln New Hampshire on route 3, (exit 33 off Route 93) and you should be aware that they do close down on Columbus Day. Also there is a schedule of different attractions like the bear acts so plan your arrival to take advantage of that. Best foliage is in the 1-10 Oct neighborhood.

3. Polly’s Pancake Parlor

This is another of those don’t miss spots and I always try to stop at least once during fall foliage season. This is also a four season attraction so be prepared for great food and great scenery. You ask about the scenery? just up the road you’ll see a multi-directional sign and you’ll have your choice of places to check out. Best foliage is in the 1-10 Oct neighborhood.

4. Flume Gorge

The Flume covered bridge in New Hampshire's Franconia state park.

New Hampshire fall foliage

The Flume is another of those early October destinations because you are up in the White mountains. This area is generally best between the 1st and the 7th of October. You pull off of I-93 and pull into the large parking lot. Now the visitor center doesn’t open until 9AM but for those who want a shot of the Flume at dawn, then you will have to bring your own maps and find the path in. Just when you come out, go through the visitor center and pay them then. (yes they do charge…)

5. Mount Washington Auto Road

For those who like to do it themselves, you can take your car up the Mount Washington Auto Road. This journey takes you up from Route 16 at Pinkham Notch to the very top of the mountain. The last time I did this there were no guardrails so if you might be a bit uneasy about driving up.

But the view is wonderful! So take a few extra layers because it’s always 10-20 degrees colder or more up on top.


6. Conway Scenic Railroad

Take a ride on the Conway scenic rail road and see fall foliage the way it’s mean to be viewed at a leisurely pace. Lisa and I took the long ride up to Faybans station and it was great. We did bring our own lunch and safe a little money but the views were great.

7. Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge

Situated at the feet of the Presidential Range, Pondicherry wildlife refuge is a great stretch for the legs and there are several entrances. I find most walks in are about a mile or so, so be prepared for both the walk and the spectacular view. You get all the way in and Cherry Pond stretches out in front of you with views of the mountains reflected in the surface of the pond.

8.  Milan Hill State Park

Milan State Park and the Fire tower have been a favorite of mine since I found this several years back. You can find my write up of the Milan fire tower on my scenic Route 16 through the northern white mountains.  The views from this tower rain or shine can be very dramatic, yes I said rain or shine but if there is lightening in the area, maybe you should rethink going up three stories on a tall metal tower on top of a hill… 🙂
But a soft misting rain with a rainbow? go for it! https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/milan-hill-state-park.aspx

9. Canterbury Shaker Village

The fall colors lead the eye to the Canterbury Shaker Meeting House

Canterbury Shaker Meeting House

The cost is about $12 (Please check before you go) and what can I say, fall colored trees and 19th century period buildings, the combinations are just screaming to be explored.

10. Portsmouth NH

From Portsmouth harbor and the lighthouses visible from the shore over to the Strawbery Banke Museum. I  can go to Newcastle beach and photograph both Portsmouth lighthouse and Whaleback lighthouse which is really a Maine Lighthouse. I won’t tell if you don’t. Check these links for some more Portsmouth goings-ons… http://www.portsmouthnh.com/listing/portsmouth-harbor-lighthouse/ and http://www.portsmouthnh.com/listing/whaleback-light/ and http://www.portsmouthnh.com/search-results/?q=portsmouth%20lighthouse

You maybe saying But you left off so many… That’s right I did, but this gets you started and that is the point. I can’t hold your hand through all of New Hampshire. BUT! I can get you started on exploring all the nooks and crannies for the treasures that can be found just around the corner.

Please enjoy and feel free to leave a comment with your favorite and be sure to tell people where to find it also.

Jeff "Foliage" Folger  You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites

Subscribe to my Newsletter - If you would like to sign up for my Fine Art America Newsletter (click this link and a window will open allowing you to sign up). Why sign up for the newsletter? Contests, discount codes on my artwork, maybe an excerpt from my book "Exploring the back roads of New England with Jeff Foliage"... Yes you heard me right... (Damn now I have to start writing it!)

share this

Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as: http://www.4cornersnewengland.com/
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff Foliage.com.
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
share this

Latest posts by Jeff Foliage (see all)


My top 10 not to miss in New Hampshire — 6 Comments

  1. Thank you for all of your information. We travel to Salem each year. I love fall foliage and halloween. I never know when and if i can do both. Should i come the 15th of October and maybe see foliage or wait until the 19 and get to stay for halloween? I know this isn’t exact but what are your thoughts? Thanks somuch

    • Well everywhere in eastern MA to southern NH are in the red for drought so the colors are going to be hurting in our area. I won’t say we won’t have any color but I suggest you focus on Halloween and Salem. You would have to leave here and drive out to western MA to find color. We’re getting to the extreme level of drought and I think if we do get any color it will come in one day and be gone the next…
      I would do the 15th with a plan of heading up to southern VT or western MA and then see some halloween in Salem…

  2. I absolutely loved my visit to NH last year especially the White Mountains, the whole area is spectacular in the fall. The best breakfast I have ever had was at Polly’s. Thank you Jeff for all your info. This year we are leaf peeping in Quebec and may drive down south to visit NH again. How does Quebec compare to New England? We will be staying in Montreal and Quebec City the first week of October.

%d bloggers like this: