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New Hampshire – “The Granite State”

New Hampshire was the 9th state to join the Union, and today this small state has a population of around 1.3 million people, with the State sandwiched between Vermont on the western side and Maine on its eastern side, with a small coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean, and Quebec, Canada to its north.


The State Capitol is Concord with the State renowned for its lakes, ski areas, moose, other wildlife and forests. There are some 1300 lakes in New Hampshire, and while the summers are usually short, there are four seasons and the Fall with the mix of leaves falling from Elms, Maples, Pine, Hemlock, Arctic Fir and other trees make for a spectacular show.

In winter there are the snowfields and in summer there is the hiking, biking, fishing, walking trails in the forests and alpine areas, as well as the 1300 lakes and beach areas along the coastline where you can swim (depending on how cold the water is), paddleboard, kayak and enjoy other water sports.

There are many Ski Resorts to choose from, and also resorts and lodges that are located next to lakes, rivers, the coast, next to or in small towns and in the mountains – so great places to just take ‘time out’ to enjoy the outdoors and all that it offers.

It’s not just the scenery, it’s also the exhilaration of seeing a Moose in the wild up north, watching the snow melting to form cascades of water down mountain streams, smelling the air with the sweet smell of the pine forest, seeing small farms, villages and paddling a kayak on a lake, walking through forests with just you and nature all around you. And if you want action, there are all the skiing, snowboarding, Ziplines, boating and mountain climbing to enjoy, as well as the Aprés Ski activities.

Welcome to New Hampshire!
Right at the mouth of the Piscataqua River that runs into the Atlantic River and the coastline is the small city of Portsmouth – a beautiful old port city that dates back to the early 1600’s with Market Square being the main center for small shops, bakeries, bars, bistros, coffee houses, a pretty white church and lots of activities in the summer months. The Piscataqua River forms part of the Harbor, and lined along the foreshore are boats and old Georgian style warehouses, which in the early Springtime look picture perfect with maybe a late dusting of snow touching the rooftops of the old buildings. The New Hampshire-Maine border is midway across the River, with the seagulls, buildings, islands, inlets, tug boats, other boats and bays making the waterway really attractive and a great way to get a feel for this part of New England and New Hampshire.

Note: many attractions may only be opened in summer months, roughly April until November.

In Portsmouth there are a number of things to do

River, Harbor and Island Tours – A MUST DO with cruises out to Star Island in the ‘Isles of Shoals’. The island is picture perfect, 6 miles off the coast, with a dozen or so white buildings, including the big Oceanic Hotel on the 43 acre rocky island. The Island has been a fishing village since 1614, and it is one of the 9 islands that form the ‘Isles of Shoals’. The other islands are Lunging, Seaway and White Island in New Hampshire and Appledore, Cedar, Duck, Malaga, and Smuttynose Islands that are in Maine.

You can travel out to the Star Island on a Portsmouth Harbor Cruise (See www.portsmouthharbor.com Tel: (800) 776 0915 located at 64 Ceres Street)and stay to tour the island for an hour or so, or a whole day, stay longer to Kayak, relax and take in the scenery, or stay over at the hotel which is also a retreat. On the island you can visit the Gosport Village and Gosport Stone Chapel built in 1800, with candle lanterns its only light source, as well as see the John Smith Monument and Caswell Cemetery. English born Admiral John Smith (1580-1631) was instrumental in starting the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, and he charted the ‘Isles of Shoals’ in 1614. He is also famous for being rescued from almost certain death by Pocohontas, the Native American Princess.

Other cruises – see www.gundalow.org 60 Marcy Street. Tel: (603) 433 9505 – to sail on the flatboat sailing ship “Pisctaqua”. Also see www.isleofshoals.com 315 Market Street. Tel: (603) 431 5500.

USS Albacore Submarine Park – 600 Market Street. Tel: (603) 436 3680. See ussalbacore.org Here you can see inside the USS Albacore Submarine, built in the Portsmouth Naval Yard in 1953 and de-commissioned in 1972. This was the first submarine built in the shape of a cylinder and in 1966 it recorded an underwater speed of 40 miles/hour setting a world record at the time. Some 55 crew served on the submarine when it was operational, and today you can see and read about life on the USS Alcacore.

The Portsmouth Naval Yard is located in Kittery, Maine just a short distance from Portsmouth, and it has been operating since 1800. Today it is still operational repairing, maintaining and updating Submarines for the US Navy. Wooden boat construction also happened from around 1690 for the British, and there is still a great love for wooden boats here in New England.

Strawberry Banke Museum – 14 Hancock Street. Tel: (603) 433 1100. See strawberrybanke.org This is a recreated village covering 10 acres of grounds, with the old buildings, gardens, historic displays and exhibitions about clothing, food, people, tools, and more, and there is also the Pitt Street Tavern here, built in 1766.

Historic Homes and Mansions – there are a number of historic buildings in Portsmouth, some open to the Public during the Summer months. These are some of them –

  • Moffat Ladd House – 154 Market Street. Tel: (603) 436 8221.
  • Governor John Langdon House – Built 1784 located at 141 Pleasant Street.
  • John Paul Jones House Museum – built in 1758, located at 43 Middle Street
  • Warner House – built 1716-18, located at 150 Daniel Street
  • Wentworth-Gardner House – built 1760, located at 50 Mechanic Street.
  • St John’s Episcopal Church – built 1807 located at 101 Chapel Street.
  • Hotel Portsmouth – 40 Court Street. Tel: 603 433 1200.
  • Jackson House – built 1664 located at 76 Northwest Street.
  • Rundlet-May House – built 1807 located at 364 Middle Street.

Portsmouth International Airport is located at 55 International Drive, Pease Tel: (603) 433 6088 See www.peasedev.org

In Portsmouth there are lots of hotels as well as bed and breakfast accommodation, and of course restaurants, bistros, inns, bars, micro-breweries and lots of shopping options too. The beaches are also not far away – the main five beaches being Wallis Sands, Jenness, Hampton, North Hampton and North Beach – which are best seen during the summer months with most having lifeguards from around Mid-June to the end of August.

SKI RESORTS

There are at least 20 to 30 recognized Ski Resorts and skiing areas in New Hampshire – and you are really spoiled for choice. Picking the one you want to head to is hard, and it comes down to budget, time, type of skiing or snowboarding you want to do, whether you are an advance skier, or looking for a Ski School or place that the kids will enjoy. Rest assured all the choices are here in New Hampshire. These are just some of the choices you have. See the hotels section of this website to find some of the best places to stay in New Hampshire –

Mount Washington is New Hampshire’s highest peak standing at 6288 feet high. It is in the White Mountains, and here you will find Omni Mount Washington Resort at 310 Mt Washington Rd, Bretton Woods (Tel: (603) 278 1000) a big resort Hotel complex with great rooms, views, spas, restaurants and the Bretton Woods Ski Field next door – 464 acres of ski fields, 62 trails, 35 glades, 3 terrain parks, 10 lifts. It’s New Hampshire’s biggest ski field. Also here there is also the Canopy Tour – a 3.5 hour tour that takes you over the canyons and mountains via sky-bridges and 9 ziplines across the top of the snow starting from Bretton Woods Base Lodge. This is amazing. (Tel: (603) 278 4947). Also in Bretton Woods is the Cog Railroad (thecog.com) 6 miles off Route 302 on Base Rd, Bretton Woods – a railroad so steep it works using cogs to pull the engine and carriages up Mt Washington to the Observatory Museum on top. Also here is Tip Top House built in 1853 –said to be the oldest mountain top hotel in the world.

In Summer also take a drive on the Mt Washington Auto Road (See www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com ) one of the most scenic drives in the USA. Also see the Mt Washington Children’s Museum at 2936 White Mt Highway, North Conway, and the Museum of American Weather at South cannon, Haverhill (Tel: (603) 989 3167) that has studies about Blizzards, Hurricanes, Floods and Tornados.

Mount Sunapee Resort – 1398 Route 103, Newbury (Tel: (603) 763 3500) about 30 minutes from Concord (the State Capitol). Here you will find 233 skiable acres, 18 miles of trails, the Ridge 2 mile long trail, 3 terrain parks, 4 mogul runs, 9 glades, 11lifts including 3 quad chairs, with snow making over 97% of the terrain. There are around 20 lodges and also the Sunapee Lodge, Spruce Lodge and Summit Lodge to stay in.

In summer take a cruise on the MV Sunapee II. Tel: (603) 938 6465 leave from Lake Avenue, Sunapee to head out on Dartmouth Lake. See www.suanpeecruises.com . There are 3 lighthouses on the lake too.

Loon Mountain – 60 Loon Mountain Road in White Mountains (Tel: 800 229 5666). Skiing and snow shoeing with 61 trails, 370 acres of ski fields, 12 lifts, 6 terrain parks to enjoy, day and night tubing, ski camps, a 425 feet long Superpipe , Zipline over the Pemigewasset River. Base Elevation is 950 feet, summit elevation 3050 feet, with a Vertical Drop of 2100 feet. The longest trail is Bear Claw with is 2 ½ miles long.

Franconia Lodge State Park, Franconia (Tel: (603) 823 8800). This is also in the White Mountains and besides the skiing at the Cannon Mt Ski area this is a popular place to head to in the summer to camp or stay over in other accommodation. Here you can bike, swim, paddle a canoe or paddle boat on the 1931 feet high Echo Lake; hike on a sensational pathway up Flume Natural Gorge beside the rushing water; fly fish on Profile Lake; rock climb; bird watch, see ‘the Old Man of the Mountain’ Rock formation; ride the aerial tramway the 8 miles to the 4200’ feet high summit of Cannon Mountain and visit the New England Ski Museum; see waterfalls, cliffs and the Basin – a 20 feet diameter 25,000 year old Granite pothole. There are both longer and shorter trails to hike on.

There are many other ski resorts too and in the summer months the mountains become a hiker’s delight. Other names to look for include Ragged Mountain, Wildcat Mountain, Crotched Mountains, Pats Peak, Whaleback Mountain, Pats Peak, Gunstock and others.

Railroads – if you like to see old Railroads, New Hampshire is the place to do it. These are some of them to see –

  • Hartmann Model Railroad – 15 Town Hall Rd, Intervale. Tel: (603) 356 9922. See hartmannrr.com
  • Flying Yankee – a silver streamliner that ran from Portland to Boston for 22 years. Route 16, Glen. Tel: (603) 745 3974. See it at the Hobo Railroad Station at Lincoln. See flyingyankee.com Also www.hoborr.com
  • Conway Scenic Railroad – Norcross Circle and Route 16, North Conway. Tel: (603) 356 5251. See conwayscenic.com
  • White Mountain Central Railroad – over the Pemigewasset River. See whitemountaincentralrailroad.com

Happy travelling!

Geoff Stuart

Happy Traveller

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