Mom wants to see mountains. Dad's got his heart set on boating and fishing on a tranquil lake. The kids are clamoring for amusement-park rides. Can this family's vacation be saved? If their destination is New Hampshire, the answer is a definite "yes." New Hampshire offers up a taste of everything most vacationers seek in a travel destination, and you'll find yourself well satisfied after sampling all the state has to offer.
First settled by Europeans in 1623, New Hampshire gained its separate identity from Massachusetts in 1679. New Hampshire delegates were the first to vote for the colonies' Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the state continues to be in the political public eye every four years when it hosts the first presidential primary vote.
New Hampshire's natural bounty and beauty are undisputed. This land of lakes and mountains has seven distinct regions for visitors to explore. The Seacoast Region makes the most of New Hampshire's abbreviated, 18-mile Atlantic Ocean shoreline. You'll find some of the best whale-watching opportunities in the Northeast off the coast of Portsmouth, plus sandy beaches, fresh seafood, and New England's largest water amusement park-all the key ingredients for a delightful oceanside escape.
In the Merrimack Valley, New Hampshire's capital city, Concord, is home to a planetarium named for one of the state's most notable modern heroes, Christa McAuliffe, who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger. The Monadnock Region in New Hampshire's southwest corner is home to sleepy villages and country roads--just the kind of place you'd imagine as the birthplace of Uncle Sam. And indeed, the man who inspired the national symbol, Samuel Wilson, called this region home. The Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region is home to the Ivy League college Dartmouth, and its border with Vermont along the Connecticut River provides recreational opportunities such as canoeing, fishing, and birding. There are also mountains to ski in Sunapee, though the peaks of the White Mountains region outshine them.
The White Mountains are New Hampshire's most popular four-season vacation area. The region offers skiing in winter, wildflowers in bloom come spring, amusement parks and llama treks in summer, and some of New England's most spectacular autumn foliage. The wondrous fall foliage can be viewed from aboard a sky ride, from a vintage train, or from one of America's most scenic byways, the Kancamagus Highway. The Great North Woods region near the Canadian border is home to pristine forests and is a haven for sportsmen and nature lovers. And Dad will be in his glory when you finally arrive at the Central Lakes region, the location selected for filming of the acclaimed movie On Golden Pond, and the site of 273 lakes and ponds, the largest of which is Lake Winnipesaukee.
Whatever image comes to mind when you dream of a perfect antidote to your hectic lifestyle, you're sure to find it in New Hampshire.
Australia Citizens of Australia must have a valid passport to enter the United States if they are staying less than 90 days and have an onward or return ticket.
Canada Citizens of Canada need proof of citizenship for entry into the United States. This can be either a birth certificate with a raised seal or a voter registration card with a photo ID. A driver's license is not enough. Canadian citizens under 16 need notarized permission from both parents.
France Citizens of France must have a valid passport to enter the United States if they are staying less than 90 days and have an onward or return ticket.
Germany Citizens of Germany must have a valid passport to enter the United States if they are staying less than 90 days and have an onward or return ticket.
Ireland Citizens of Ireland must have a valid passport to enter the United States if they are staying less than 90 days and have an onward or return ticket.
Japan Citizens of Japan must have a valid passport to enter the United States if they are staying less than 90 days and have an onward or return ticket.
United Kingdom U.K. citizens must have a valid passport to enter the United States if they are staying less than 90 days and have an onward or return ticket.
The local language in New Hampshire is standard American English. It is spoken in a casual manner and does include some slang. There are no real peculiarities about the regional accent.
Foreign currency must be changed to U.S. dollars before it is accepted by merchants. Money can be exchanged at banks or at various foreign-exchange brokers.
Most restaurants and hotels will take travelers' checks. Also, most merchants accept major credit cards.
Other than banks, travelers can withdraw cash from ATMs, which are readily accessible.
Electricity is 110V AC, 60Hz in the United States. Plugs are of the flat, two-pin type. Be aware that this voltage is half as much as in most European and Asian countries, so visitors from those countries will need a plug adapter and a power transformer to operate their appliances.
The country code for the United States is 1. The area code for New Hampshire is 603.
To reach an operator in New Hampshire, dial 0. To reach directory assistance, dial the area code and 555-1212, or, within the desired area code, dial 411. To make international calls from New Hampshire, dial 011 followed by the country code and the phone number. A local call from a public pay phone in New Hampshire costs 25 cents.
Many small businesses such as pharmacies and print shops have fax machines from which you can send and receive faxes for a fee. Public libraries often offer fax service and access to computers with Internet connections. Additionally, many major hotels, particularly in larger cities, have business centers and can send and receive faxes for guests.
New Hampshire is in the Eastern Time Zone (Greenwich Mean Time minus five hours). Daylight Savings Time is observed; clocks are set forward one hour at 2am on the first Sunday morning in April, and Eastern Standard Time resumes at 2am on the last Sunday morning in October.
Typical public and private office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am or 9am to 5pm. Banking hours are typically Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm, but many banks offer extended hours on selected evenings and on Saturday mornings, particularly those with branch offices inside retail establishments such as grocery stores. Many gas stations and grocery/convenience stores are open 24 hours, though those in more rural or remote areas may have shorter daytime hours of operation. Post offices are open usually from 8am or 8:30am until 5pm, Monday through Friday, and until noon or later on Saturdays. Most stores are open Monday through Saturday from 9:30am or 10am until 6pm or later and on Sundays from 11am or noon until 5pm or 6pm.
Gratuities are not usually included in rates. Follow the guidelines below for calculating tips.
When to Go
New Hampshire has four distinct seasons, or five if you count the "mud season" between winter and spring, which occurs in late March and early April. Any time of year can be ideal for a trip to New Hampshire, depending on your preferred activities. Snow in the mountains makes for wonderful skiing vacations beginning in late November and lasting through April. Outdoor adventurers will want to avoid the infamous three-week "black-fly season" which generally occurs in late April in the southern part of the state and may occur as late as mid-June in the far north. New Hampshire really comes to life in late spring and early summer, and you'll find festivals celebrating the state's floral bounty, including lilac festivals in Rochester and Lisbon and a lupine festival in Sugar Hill. Summer is a great time to explore New Hampshire's seacoast beaches and take a whale-watching cruise or to visit an old-fashioned agricultural fair.
Like its New England neighbors, New Hampshire is perhaps at its most breathtaking in autumn, when the White Mountains are ablaze with color. You'll bring home wondrous vacation photos of crystal-smooth lakes and covered bridges against a background palette of autumn hues. Chairlift rides at New Hampshire's ski resorts are a splendid way to view the colorful panorama. Keep in mind that some attractions are not open or have scaled back hours in the winter months, and beaches and amusement parks are usually not open until Memorial Day, which is the last weekend in May.
What to Take
Pack lightweight summer clothing for visits between late June and early September, but be sure to bring along a jacket or sweater, especially in the mountains or near the coast. Bathing suits, towels, and sunscreen are important for beachside or lakefront destinations. In the spring and fall, temperatures can be cold at night even when daytime temperatures are moderate and comfortable. You'll want to bring along a warmer jacket or raincoat, and an umbrella is always a good idea no matter what the season.
Snowfall in New Hampshire can be substantial, especially in the mountains. You'll want to be prepared with a heavy coat, scarf, waterproof boots, and gloves or mittens if you plan to visit between November and March. If you are planning a skiing vacation, you can bring your own gear along or rent equipment at the slopes.
If you're in danger of being in New Hampshire during "black-fly season" in late spring, be sure to bring along insect repellant formulated especially to repel black flies. Also, be sure to pack any prescription medications you may need, maps and brochures with information on the sights you plan to visit, airline and other tickets, passports, credit cards and/or travelers' checks. Many hotels provide hair dryers and toiletry items such as shampoo, soap, and body lotion, but it is always wise to inquire ahead. Bed and breakfasts are less likely to offer these amenities.
No specific immunizations are needed to enter the United States. For more information, contact the Center for Disease Control at 800-342-2437.
Most cities in New Hampshire have hospitals with emergency rooms and many also have walk-in clinics for minor emergencies and ailments. Highways and roads display signs with the hospital symbol--a white "H" on a blue background--which can direct you to the nearest facility. Most rural communities have volunteer rescue squads, but transportation time to an emergency facility can at times be a concern. For this reason, several of the state's trauma centers have helipads so patients may be transported quickly from remote areas in emergencies.
In the event of a serious emergency, most cities and towns in New Hampshire are connected to an emergency response system that can be accessed by dialing 911 from any telephone. In areas where 911 service is not available, dial 0, and an operator can connect you to the appropriate emergency services.
If you require regular medication, it is a good idea to bring along an adequate supply. Over-the-counter drugs are available at pharmacies, grocery and convenience stores, and many discount and department stores. Prescription drugs are available at licensed pharmacies only with a prescription from a doctor licensed in the state of New Hampshire.
New Hampshire has very little violent crime and is consistently ranked one of the safest states in the U.S., but, as when traveling in any unknown place, visitors should be alert and cautious. Travelers should use common sense to protect themselves and their belongings. Carry valuables such as money, travelers' checks, credit cards, passports, and visas close to you. Do not leave valuables in your hotel room while sightseeing. Many hotels provide safes for securing personal items. Do not leave purchases or luggage visible in your car, and be sure to lock your doors when you park.
New Hampshire is the only state in the nation that does not by law require motorists and front-seat passengers to wear seatbelts. However, for your safety, it is wise to buckle up. New Hampshire law does require all vehicle occupants under the age of 18 to wear seatbelts, and all children four and under must be secured in an approved safety seat.
Statewide, dial 911 for all emergencies.
Australian Consulate 150 E. 42nd St., 34th floor, New York, New York, 10017; Tel.: 212-351-6500, Fax: 212-351-6501
British Consulate 845 Third Ave., New York, New York, 10022; Tel.: 212-745-0200
Canadian Consulate 1251 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York, 10020; Tel.: 212-596-1628, Fax: 212-596-1725
French Consulate 934 Fifth Ave., New York, New York, 10021; Tel.: 212-606-3688
German Consulate 871 UN Plaza at 49th St., New York, New York, 10027; Tel.: 212-610-9700, Fax: 212-610-9704
Irish Consulate 345 Park Ave., 17th Floor, New York, New York, 10154; Tel.: 212-319-2555, Fax: 212-980-9475
Japanese Consulate 299 Park Ave., New York, New York, 10171; Tel.: 212-371-8222
For More Information
Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce 500 Market St.; Tel.: 603-436-3988, Fax: 603-436-5118; http://www.portcity.org/
Lakes Region Association Harbor Business Center; Toll-Free Tel.: 800 60-LAKES, Tel.: 603-744-8664; http://www.lakesregion.org/
Monadnock Travel Council Tel.: 603-355-8155, Fax: 603-357-3259; http://www.virtualnh.com/
Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Main St.; Toll-Free Tel.: 800-367-3364, Tel.: 603-356-5701, Fax: 603-356-7069; http://www.4seasonresort.com/
New Hampshire Office of Travel and Tourism Tel.: 603-271-2665, Fax: 603-271-6784; http://www.visitnh.gov/
Northern White Mt. Chamber of Commerce 164 Main St.; Tel.: 603-752-6060, Fax: 603-752-1002; http://www.northernwhitemountains.com/
Ski New Hampshire Tel.: 603-745-9396, Fax: 603-745-3002; http://www.skinh.com
Waterville Valley Region Chamber of Commerce Toll-Free Tel.: 800-237-2307, Tel.: 603-726-3804, Fax: 603-726-4058; http://www.WatervilleValleyRegion.com/
White Mountain Attractions Toll-Free Tel.: 800-FINDMTS, Tel.: 603-745-8720, Fax: 603-745-6765; http://www.visitwhitemountains.com/
Going By Air
New Hampshire has one major airport, Manchester Airport (MHT), and two smaller airports: Lebanon Municipal Airport (LEB) and Keene Airport (EEN). Many New Hampshire visitors also fly in and out of Logan International Airport (BOS) in Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine.
Dominant carriers serving Manchester Airport are Business Express (800-345-3400), Comair (800-345-9822), Continental Express (800-525-0280), Northwest Airlines (800-225-2525), Southwest Airlines (800-435-9792), US Airways/USAirways Express (800-428-4322) and United/United Express (800-241-6522). USAirways Express has flights between Lebanon International Airport and Boston and Philadelphia and New York City. Delta Business Express and Northwest Airlines Business Express also offer flights between Lebanon and Boston.
Going By Car
Interstate 91 runs north-south along the Connecticut River on the border dividing New Hampshire and Vermont and provides convenient access to New Hampshire's Monadnock, Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee, and White Mountains regions in the western part of the state for travelers driving from New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Interstate 93 also runs north-south from New Hampshire's southern border with Massachusetts and provides access to the cities of Nashua, Manchester, and Concord, as well as the White Mountains region. Interstate 89 enters New Hampshire near Burlington, Vermont, and runs southeast to Concord, where it intersects with I-93. Visitors from Maine or Massachusetts will find I-95 to be the best route to New Hampshire's seacoast region, including the city of Portsmouth. Interstate 95 and I-93 are toll roads.
Going By Bus
Interstate bus companies that provide service to many points in New Hampshire include the Greyhound Bus Line (800-231-2222) and Concord Trailways (800-639-3317 or 603-228-3300). In addition, Vermont Transit (800 451-3292 or 802-864-6811) operates a route connecting Portsmouth with Boston and the Maine cities of Portland, Bangor, and Bar Harbor.
Going By Rail
Amtrak (800-USARAIL) has one train station in New Hampshire in the central city of Claremont with service along a route that originates in Washington, DC, travels through New York City, and terminates at St. Albans, Vermont. Travelers can also take Amtrak to White River Junction, Vermont, or to Boston's South Station and continue on to New Hampshire via rental car or shuttle-bus service.
Getting Around By Car
Driving a car is probably the most flexible and comfortable way to get to the sights and recreation spots you'll want to visit in New Hampshire. Winter driving conditions may be treacherous during snowstorms, but road crews are usually fairly quick to clear major roadways following a storm. Highways are generally well marked, though a good New Hampshire road map is indispensable, particularly if your itinerary includes less traveled roads.
You'll face two potential driving hazards in New Hampshire: mud and moose. It's a good idea to steer clear of dirt country roads during the spring mud season, and moose are particularly prevalent along the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112) in the White Mountains. These large animals can cause tremendous damage and injury.
The major car-rental companies in New Hampshire include Avis (800-331-1212 or 603-624-4000), Budget (800-527-0700 or 603-668-3167), Hertz (800-654-3131 or 603-669-6320) and National (800-227-7368 or 603-627-2299). Rates in New Hampshire begin at about $30 per day and $200 per week for an economy car with unlimited mileage, not including taxes. New Hampshire does not require seatbelt use for adults. However, for your safety, it is wise to buckle up. New Hampshire law does require all vehicle occupants under the age of 18 to wear seatbelts, and all children four and under must be secured in an approved safety seat.
Getting Around By Taxi
You won't find taxicabs available to hail on the street in New Hampshire, but they are available at airports and bus and train stations. Most larger cities have cab services available; hotel and restaurant staff will be able to call a cab for you if needed, or check the local phone directory for the number for a local taxi service. Fares vary based on distance and number of passengers. It is a good idea to ask for a price before your trip begins. A 10 percent to 15 percent tip is appropriate.
Getting Around By Bus
Concord Trailways (800-639-3317 or 603-228-3300) serves 21 stops in New Hampshire, concentrated in the Merrimack Valley and the Lakes and White Mountains regions. Vermont Transit (800-451-3292 or 802-864-6811) serves the New Hampshire cities of Hanover, New London, Concord, Manchester, and Nashua on its route between Boston and Montreal, Canada, and has a stop in Keene on its route between New York City and Montreal.
Several shuttle bus/limousine services connect points in New Hampshire with major airports in and outside the state. These bus and van shuttle services are especially useful for skiers who need to transport equipment to and from the slopes. First Class Limousine (800-252-7754 or 603-883-4807) connects Manchester Airport and Logan Airport in Boston with more than 63 New Hampshire destinations.
Getting Around By Rail
Amtrak, with rail lines criss-crossing the countryside, is a great way to travel at leisure: just board a train, sit back, and enjoy the scenery going by. For longer trips, sleeper cars are usually available. For information and schedules, visit Amtrak's website at http://www.amtrak.com/ or phone them at 800-USA-RAIL.
Attractions and Where to Stay
You don't have to go to the "old" England to see a prehistoric archaeological enigma. New England has its own Stonehenge in North Salem, New Hampshire. Explore 30 acres of cave-like dwellings, astronomically aligned rock formations, a sacrificial stone and other mysterious structures left behind by an unknown people who lived in the area about 4,000 years ago. The site is open from late March through late December, and special events are held in conjunction with the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.
Portsmouth is home to Redhook Ale Brewery, which offers tours of the most technologically advanced brewery in the country, a beer garden, a gift shop, and a pub. Portsmouth Brewery is New Hampshire's oldest brew pub and offers brewery tours on request. In nearby Merrimack, visit the Anheuser-Busch Company's large brewery for a factory tour, beer tastings, and the unique opportunity to see the Clydesdale draft horses, one of the most recognizable advertising symbols of the world's largest beer maker. Moultonborough is home to Castle Springs Brewing Company, a new microbrewery known for its hand-crafted ales; the historic Castle in the Clouds mansion; and Castle Springs Premium Mountain Spring Water. All three attractions are set on 5,200 acres overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.
Canterbury Shaker Village
Step back in time to the simple ways espoused by the Shaker religious community formed at Canterbury, New Hampshire, in 1792. This 694-acre National Historic Landmark has 25 original Shaker buildings, nature trails, gardens, costumed guides, daily craft demonstrations, a gift shop featuring Shaker reproductions, and an award-winning restaurant called the Creamery, which serves traditional Shaker cuisine.
Cathedral of the Pines
Located in Rindge, New Hampshire, this outdoor memorial honors Americans who died in service to their country. The Altar of the Nation is constructed of rock from every U.S. state and territory. Norman Rockwell designed the bronze tablets located inside the Memorial Bell Tower, which features bells from around the world. This site is also home to gardens, an indoor chapel, and a museum of military memorabilia. In summer especially, attend a concert or meditation service. Cathedral of the Pines is also a popular wedding spot.
New Hampshire is home to New England's only commercial caves. Take an hour-long, self-guided tour of Lost River Gorge in North Woodstock, where you'll see glacier-carved caverns, steep-walled gorges, and plummeting waterfalls. Or, head to Polar Caves Park in Plymouth, where you'll see an amazing series of caves and passageways formed about 50,000 years ago when the third continental glacier began to recede. Families will enjoy exploring the caves, a rock garden, and nature trails on a self-guided tour.
Christa McAuliffe Planetarium
Concord, New Hampshire, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe captured the world's imagination when she became the first civilian astronaut. Her untimely death in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger devastated a nation that had followed her dream. The New Hampshire Technical Institute's planetarium in Concord, named for McAuliffe, features hands-on exhibits, a 40-foot dome telescope, and a changing menu of shows that take visitors on a virtual flight through space.
Clark's Trading Post
One of the White Mountains' most unusual attractions, Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln is best known for its dancing black bears that perform several times daily. Clark's has been delighting families for 70 years with its eclectic collection of entertainment possibilities, which also includes a scenic train ride on the White Mountains Central Railroad, water bumper boats, the mysterious Tuttle House, Merlin's Mystical Mansion, and a museum of Americana. Other popular White Mountains family attractions in nearby Jefferson are Santa's Village, a Christmas-themed park with rides and shows, and Six Gun City with Western-flavored attractions.
On Golden Pond, the 1981 movie for which Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn won Oscars, was filmed at New Hampshire's Squam Lake. Two tour companies offer boat tours of the scenic lake and "behind-the-scenes" anecdotes about the making of the film. The two-hour Original Golden Pond Tour departs daily from Memorial Day through foliage season from the boathouse used in the movie. Squam Lake Tours take passengers on a two-hour pontoon tour of movie filming locations with three daily departures from May through October.
Llamas are perfect hiking companions. These gentle, doe-eyed pack animals can take you to New Hampshire spots you might never see on your own. Llongneck Llamas (603-286-7948) in Northfield offers leisurely treks and farm tours. Mini Meadow Llamas (603-938-5268) in Bradford, near Lake Sunapee, has llamas to pet and to ride through woods and fields on relaxing treks. Snowvillage Inn (800-447-4345 or 603-447-2818) in Snowville will arrange a romantic llama expedition for two including gourmet food and champagne.
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
The former home, studio, and gallery of one of America's foremost sculptors, Irish immigrant Augustus Saint-Gaudens, is now a national historic site. Located in the New Hampshire village of Cornish, the 150-acre state that Saint-Gaudens called home from 1885 to 1907 has hiking trails, gardens, a stable with antique carriages, the sculptor's historic 18th-century home, and three exhibition galleries. Saint-Gaudens is famous for public monuments such as the Sherman monument in New York City's Central Park and Standing Lincoln in Chicago. The site is open daily from late May through late October. While you're in Cornish, don't miss the four covered bridges, including the longest one in the U.S.
Three railroad sightseeing options provide New Hampshire visitors with a nostalgic, leisurely means of viewing the state's natural beauty. Perhaps most famous is the Mt. Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods. Open from early May through early November, the coal-fired steam engine trains take passengers up one of the steepest tracks in the world, 6,288 feet to the summit of Mt. Washington. Conway Scenic Railroad offers scenic excursions aboard the vintage Valley Train from Conway to Bartlett or the Notch Train through Crawford Notch, one of the state's most spectacular spots. Or, climb aboard the historic Winnipesaukee Railroad, from departure points at Weirs Beach or Meredith, for a fabulous tour of the lake's shore.
Ski Resort/Sky Rides
New Hampshire's White Mountains are home to more than 10 ski resorts and some of the most exhilarating skiing and snowboarding in the Northeast. In total, New Hampshire offers 20 alpine resorts and 24 Nordic centers for skiers of all ages and abilities. Some of the largest ski areas are Attitash Bear Peak in Bartlett, Black Mountain in Jackson, Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, Loon Mountain in Lincoln, Mt. Sunapee in Sunapee, and Waterville Valley in Waterville Valley. In the off-season, sky rides at many of these resorts are one of the best ways to see the scenery. The Cannon Aerial Tramway, for example, is a popular perch for "leaf peepers" in the fall.
Tax-free and Outlet Shopping
There is no sales tax on purchases anywhere in New Hampshire. That makes the state's outlet shopping centers an even better bargain for shoppers. The 55 outlets at Lakes Region Factory Stores, located 90 minutes north of Boston off I-93, are New Hampshire's most popular shopping destination. You'll also find outlet savings at Tanger Outlet Centers and at the more than 40 factory stores at Settlers' Green Outlet Village Plus, all located along Route 16 in North Conway. Many New Hampshire shops will gladly ship purchases for visitors.
New England's largest water amusement park, Water Country, is located in Portsmouth. The park's 18 different water rides range from big thrillers like Raging Rapids to tamer options appropriate for the tiniest of tots. Water Country also boasts New England's largest wave pool--it's 700,000 gallons! One admission price includes all water rides and attractions.
Whale Watching in Portsmouth
The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company is New England's oldest whale-watching company and provides educational whale-watching expeditions from Portsmouth to one of the best whale-spotting sites in the Northeast. The day-long adventure also includes a narrated tour of historic Portsmouth Harbor and a chance to see two lighthouses, five forts, and the Portsmouth Naval Yard. Isles of Shoals offers much more than whale-watching cruises, though. Be sure to check their schedule of picnic cruises to Star Island, foliage cruises, lobster clambake dinner cruises, and even excursions to New England's only working buffalo farm.
3 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Spend a day at sea on a whale-watching cruise or other excursion with Portsmouth's Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. In the evening, take a scenic drive along Route 1A, which parallels New Hampshire's shoreline, and watch the shadows dance on wave crests as the day disappears.
Day 2: Head north to Lake Winnipesaukee. Get a fabulous view of the sparkling lake aboard the historic Winnipesaukee Railroad. Spend the afternoon at Weirs Beach, where you'll find swimming, arcades, souvenir shops, kids' rides, and a giant waterslide overlooking the lake.
Day 3: Spend the morning at the historic Canterbury Shaker Village, located just a short drive south of Lake Winnipesaukee off Route 93. Be sure to have lunch at the Village's award-winning Creamery restaurant, where you can sample authentic Shaker cuisine. In the afternoon, continue south to Concord and take a side trip to outer space at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium.
5 Day Itinerary
New Hampshire 5-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Start your White Mountains adventure in North Conway, where you'll find outlet stores galore from Nine West to Bass to L.L. Bean, and no sales tax on any of your purchases. When you've tired of the shopping frenzy and the crowds, take a peaceful trip aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad. In the evening, head north on Route 16 and pass through the covered bridge gateway to the town of Jackson, where you can sup at the Wildcat Inn & Tavern (603-383-4245), a Jackson landmark.
Day 2: Continue north on Route 16 to Dixville Notch in the Great North Woods, where hopefully you've been able to make reservations at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, a relaxing, elegant, mountain escape. The resort offers cross-country skiing in the winter, golf, tennis, and swimming in the summer, and there are separate activities for children. Dinner at the Balsams features a gourmet menu that changes daily.
Day 3: Rise early and take a morning walk around Lake Gloriette. Ask the Balsams restaurant staff to pack you a picnic lunch before you set out again, heading north to Jefferson, where families may want to spend the afternoon at either Santa's Village or Six Gun City. Couples might prefer to continue on to Franconia Notch for an aerial view of New Hampshire aboard the Cannon Aerial Tramway.
Day 4: In the morning, take the Mt. Washington Cog Railway 6,288 feet to the mountaintop for breathtaking views. In the afternoon, head south on Route 3 and explore the eclectic amusements at Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln. A quick drive west to North Woodstock may let you squeeze in a self-guided tour of Lost River Gorge, too.
Day 5: New Hampshire's most scenic road, the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway (Route 112), takes you back to North Conway on what Car and Driver magazine has called an "eye-popping" and "arm-twisting" drive. You'll be treated to spectacular mountain scenery, and in the autumn, the Kancamagus Highway is one of the best foliage-gazing routes in New England. Be sure to plan for a leisurely drive because the road climbs to nearly 3,000 feet and provides many scenic overlooks. In the afternoon, take a quick trip south to Moultonborough and explore Castle in the Clouds and the Castle Springs Brewing Company.
7 Day Itinerary
New Hampshire 7-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Begin your weeklong New Hampshire adventure at the Massachusetts border town of Rindge, where you can visit the one-of-a-kind Cathedral of the Pines. After a meditative morning at this glorious, non-denominational spot, head a bit northwest to the city of Keene, where Colony Mill Marketplace features New England specialty stores and a 240-dealer antique center.
Day 2: Follow Route 9 northeast to Concord and visit the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium for a star-studded show. In the afternoon, travel north to Canterbury Shaker Village to sample the Shaker lifestyle. Have dinner at the award-winning Creamery restaurant.
Day 3: Continue north to Plymouth and spend the early hours exploring Polar Caves Park. In the afternoon, see Squam Lake (setting for the movie On Golden Pond) on one of the available guided boat tours.
Day 4: Continue north to Lincoln and spend the morning exploring Clark's Trading Post. In the afternoon, drive New Hampshire's most scenic road, the Kancamagus Highway, east to North Conway.
Day 5: Peruse the discounted merchandise at dozens of outlet stores in North Conway in the early part of the day. Book passage aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad's Valley Train and enjoy lunch in the dining car. In the afternoon, visit Castle in the Clouds and the Castle Spring Brewing Company in Moultonborough. Drive to Portsmouth in time to take a lobster clambake dinner cruise offered by Isles of Shoals Steamship Company.
Day 6: Spend the day exploring Portsmouth, one of New Hampshire's oldest communities, settled in 1623. You'll find pre-Revolutionary War homes, the Strawberry Banke outdoor living history museum and shops and galleries to browse. You may want to reserve part of the afternoon on hot days to relax on the beach or to play in the 700,000 gallons of waves at Water Country, New England's largest water amusement park.
Day 7: Before you leave New Hampshire, see the ancient archaeological mystery that is America's Stonehenge in North Salem.
Where to Stay
If you're in search of accommodations with character and charm, New Hampshire won't disappoint you. You can certainly find nondescript chain hotels and motor inns, particularly in New Hampshire's larger cities and towns, but your visit can be greatly enhanced if you select from the myriad of more unique lodging options, including grand resorts, country inns, bed and breakfasts, and rustic cabins. "Ski & Stay" packages are offered by inns near many of New Hampshire's ski areas, and you'll find attractive off-season rates at these same spots when the snow has melted away. Because New Hampshire, and particularly the White Mountains region, is a popular destination for foliage seekers in autumn, make reservations early for the months of September and October.
If you're heading for New Hampshire's Great North Woods region in the northernmost part of the state, the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel (800-255-0600 or 603-255-3400) is the state's highest rated accommodation. The resort's two main buildings date to 1866 and 1917 and provide 212 rooms for guests. Golf, swimming, tennis, and cross-country skiing are all available at the 15,000-acre facility, as is elegant dining in the resort's own dining room. For something completely different, try Tall Timber Lodge and Log Cabins (800-83LODGE), a rustic resort where you can fish, hunt, snowmobile, or just get away from it all.
In the White Mountains, Eagle Mountain House (800-966-5779) in Jackson overlooks a 60-foot waterfall and has been welcoming vacationers since 1879. Applebrook bed and breakfast (800-545-6504 or 603-586-7713) is a Victorian townhouse in Jefferson that overlooks the White Mountains and has 14 guest rooms. Sugar Hill Inn (800-548-4748 or 603-823-5621) is a 1789 country farmhouse with its own pub complete with player piano. Franconia Inn (800-473-5299 or 603-823-5542) has special appeal for cross-country skiers and horseback riders.
White Wings (603-823-7152) in Sugar Hill, the honeymoon cottage built by Pulitzer prize-winning author of the '20s and '30s Ernest Poole, is now a bed and breakfast. Mt. Washington Resort (800-258-0330 or 603-278-1000) is a 192-room, turn-of-the-century resort that hosted the historic international Monetary and Financial Conference in 1944 that was a precursor to the formation of the United Nations. For romantic getaways you'd like to last a lifetime, stay at the Notchland Inn (800-866-6131 or 603-374-6131), where innkeeper and Justice of the Peace Ed Butler is available to perform wedding ceremonies.
Other unique lodging choices in the state include the Seacoast Region's Inn by the Bandstand (603-877 2EXETER) in Exeter. This restored 1809 federal-style townhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lakes Region's Inns at Mills Falls (800-622-6455 or 603-279-7006) is three charming inns located in a former 19th-century linen mill complex. In the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region, the Eagle Inn at Coit Mountain (800-367-2364 or 603-863-3583) is a mansion from 1790. It was purchased in 1878 by Austin Corbin (developer of Coney Island and the Long Island Railroad) as a wedding present for his daughter and her famous husband, Jean Francois Champollion, the Egyptologist who deciphered the Rosetta Stone.
For Business Travelers
Business Style and Etiquette
With tax laws that are among the most favorable in the U.S., New Hampshire is increasingly attracting American and foreign business in spite of its limited transportation and distribution options in comparison to its neighboring New England states. If you're visiting New Hampshire on business, you'll find that style and customs can vary widely from industry to industry. New Hampshire's chief source of revenue is still tourism, so if you're paying a call on the state's resorts and other hospitality businesses, you're likely to find the atmosphere relaxed and casual. In the southern part of the state, where proximity to Boston, Massachusetts, has given rise to a growth in the number of technology-oriented companies, you'll find the pace of business similar to other more urban areas of New England.
While New Hampshire is a haven for those seeking freedom from taxes and a simpler way of life, it's still "Northeast" in terms of its general conservatism, business savvy, and directness of communication. Corporate dress may be casual in some companies, particularly on Fridays, but you'll never err if you stick to conservative business attire: suits and ties for men and dresses or business suits for women. Even when employees are prone to casual dress, there is often an expectation that visitors will dress more formally. It is always wise to inquire about appropriate dress when you are making your business travel plans.
Greeting colleagues in New Hampshire with a handshake is appropriate, and you'll find that some of your New Hampshire associates will still do business on a handshake, with less of the contractual red tape that is prevalent in larger northeastern cities. Beyond handshakes, other touching tends to be considered inappropriate, particularly across gender lines. When dining with business associates, follow their lead as to whether it is appropriate to order alcoholic beverages, particularly during business hours.
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