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First trip in NH, help needed!

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First trip in NH, help needed!

In the first half of July, my husband and I will be finally able to do a trip in New England we’ve been planning for a long time, but I need some help/comments/suggestions about the second part of the itinerary. We’ll spend the first part of the trip along the coast, from Boston to Bar Harbor. After that, we want to leave the seaside but are a bit confused.

The idea is to leave the coast from Rockland, head to the White Mountains, may be stay a couple of nights in, or around, North Conway (or North Woodstock?) then do a bit of rural New Hampshire (Franklin to Keene?) and go straight to Boston on the day of the return flight (our plane leaves late in the afternoon).

Shall we be able to do it in 4/5 days withouth long drives? We’d rather see less things but see them better. And which are the not-to-be-missed places in that regions?

Thank in advance for the help!

Claudia

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1. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

Stay at the Woodstock Inn in North Woodstock, NH. You have to do the Kangamangus highway (Rte 112) that will bring you into Conway. The "Kanc" is legendary (may get some slow traffic from other tourists, though). Lost River and the Flume are near the Woodstock Inn and are both cool (sight and temp!). I would skip the "rural Franklin and Keene" bit and focus on the Franconia Notch area (Woodstock Inn, Flume, Lost River area) as there is so much to see and is so much prettier than Franklin. 93 goes right through, so getting a plane in Boston is a cinch.

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2. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

I would agree with BEGWIB. Your idea is doable and should be wuite nice. Just one detail, the Kancamagus Highway runs between Conway and Woodstock, but since you will be arriving from the coast, you may find that your more logical direction will be the Kanc from Conway to Woodstock.

The Franconia Notch area, which includes Woodstock, is quite lovely. There is also a gondola to the top of Cannon Mountain, as well as numerous hikes, short and long. When you get to NH, stop at one of the Tourist Information Stations and pick up a NH road map. This will map more of the smaller roads than most commercial roadmaps will. Also, buy a White Mountain Trail Map and Guide. It will show all the roads through the Whites, hiking trails, and descriptions of the trails, where to find the trailhead, where to park, and how easy or difficult the trail is.

While in the Franconia Notch area, you may want to drive up through the notch and explore "north of the notch" as folks refer to it. The Franconia Inn is another place I would recommend to stay. Head up Rte 137 (I think it is) to the town of Sugar Hill for a spectacular view of the Presidential Range to the east. There is also a great place for breakfast called Polly's Pancake Parlor.

Back onto I-93, a few miles farther north, is the small northern city of Littleton. There are some great shops long there long Main Street, and some good places to eat.

As for your trip through Franklin to Keene, that is a wonderful plan, which many do not readily consider. If you go to the state tourism website www.visitnh.gov you can get all kinds of info about the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee and Monadnock Regions, including listings of Inns and B&Bs. There are some beautiful places in this area. The actual driving time from Woodstock to Keene, along I-93, I-89 and Rte 9 is about 2 hours or less. So this is an area where you can really wander along the backroads and enjoy the real, not so touristy NH.

A coupl eof interesting driving options. One is to take Rte 112 west across the state to Woodsville, and the souoth on Rte 10 to Hanover, which is the home of Dartmouth College. There are some sweet towns along the way, and the whole route is marked as a scenic drive. Then you could continue down Rte 10 right into Keene. Alternatively, you could head downt he highway to Franklin, and then follow any of the state roads through the Lake Sunapee area and down to Keene. Either route will be very rewarding.

As I said, there are tons of beautiful places to stay in these areas, and you can access many of them on the website I gave. Some of the inns and B&Bs don't have web links, but you can call them for info. My bet is that the ones without websites are less expensive, but no less reliable. I would expect newenglandweaver to chime in to this discussion, She usually has some good specific suggestions for lodging in the Monadnock area, as well as some nice attractions. One place to see that occurs to me is Rhododendron State Forest, in Fitzwilliam, south of Keene. I think mid July, when you willbe there, is about the right time for the Rhododendron to be in bloom. This is a forest that is loaded with wild rhododendron.

Have fun. You have chosen a great route - city, coast, mountains and rolling countryside.

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3. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

Just up Rt 16 from No Conway is Jackson the prettiest town in the North Country, Lots of good info at:

http://jacksonnh.com/

www.mtwashingtonvalley.org/lodging.cfm

As for Southwestern NH it is very pretty but lacks the "touristy" places but this is "real deal' New Hampshire. Keene in nice as is Peterborough.

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4. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

Yes, the Keene and Peterborough areas are very nice areas. Here are a couiple of things to do and see in these areas.

Keene boasts the widest Main Street in America, or the world, ro something. It all depends on how you measure it, but it is wide, attractive, tree-lined on the streets and down the center divide, and vibrant. There is a picturesque circle at the top of Main St with an old white clapboard church, a gazebo/bandstand that has free summer concerts, I think on Wednesday or Thursday nights. There are many very good restaurants on and just off Main Street, ranging from the down home Lindy's Diner - a stop for most presidential candidates - and Timoleon's, to a variety of international cuisines - Italian, Mexiacan, Mediterranean, Thai, and more. (There is also a terrific Indian restaurant at the little airport in Keene. My wife and my favorite.) Down West Street from the circle you will come to the Colony Mill Mall, not your usual mall stores with one fo the best bookstores you'll find - Toadstool Books.

The Colonial Theater on Main Street, and the Arts Center at Brickyard Pond, further down Main on the campus of Keene State COllege, offer a terrific performing arts schedule. You can check them both out online. Also, the Thorne-Sagendorf Gallery at KSU has some excellent exhibits. If you like baseball, the Keene Swamp Bats, of the New England COllegiate Baseball League, features top college ballplayers, Games are June through July, and cost about $3 admission. You can sit in the old wooden roofed grandstand down the first base line, a small set of bleachers down the thrid base line, or right on the grass beyond third base. The Cheshire COunty Fair is in town the first week of August.

Toadstool Books actually began in Peterborough, and is still an anchor attraction of the the downtown, or Depot Square, area in this town of 5500. There is the excellent Sharon Atrs Center gallery and store, and several other smaller galleries and antique shops, as well as other intersting shops. And for a small town, there are more good restaurants than you would ever expect. For an excellent and leisurely meal, try Acqua Bistro, R. A. Gatto, Pearl (not actually in Depot Sq, but a short drive down Grove Street and through the traffic light onto Rte 202 South.) There is also gourmet fast food at 12 Pine, a great cafe/club at Harlow's with a lively bar scene and great music on the weekends. And there are two diners - Peterborough Diner and Nonie's. There are free summer concerts in surrounding towns - Antrim (Weds), Hancock (Thurs), Jaffrey (??). There are a lot of lakes in the area. Greenfield State Park has a large picnic area and swimming beach, and there are many other lakes with beaches maintained by the towns.

Jaffrey, south on Rte 202, is a similar sized town, not quite as artsy, but worth the visit. But their biggest attraction is probably the Festival Of Fireworks, put on by Atlas Pyrotechnics (based in Jaffrey) as a fund raiser for the town rec department. This year's date is probably August 18. It takes place at the local airstrip, and is always a spectacular, world class show by one of the world's premier fireworks companies. Also in Jaffrey is Mount Monadnock, the 4000+ ft mountain that the region is named for, which is reportedly (I don't know who is counting this stuff) the second most climbed mountain in the world, after Mount Fuji. There are a number of differnt trails. Ask locals for a run down ont he trails, or check with the folks at Eastern Mountain Sports in Peterborough.

North of Keene is the town of Walpole, home of Burdick's Chocolates which, if you have that urge (who doesn't), is worth the visit. They have a cafe that serves brunch, lunch and dinner. Their hot cocoa is to die for. And Walpole is a beautiful town, too. Rte 123 east-west between approximately Walpole and Stoddard (Rte 9) is most picturesque. You will pass Pitcher Mountain, an easy climb to the firetower with a spectacular view. Also a great place to pick wild blueberries from about mid-July to mid-August.

By the way, you don't have to go all the way to Burdick's for great chocolates. Ava Marie's in Peterborough is also quite outstanding.

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Rome, Italy
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5. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

thank you everybody: you've been really helpful (as Tripadvisors always are!) We'll print the messages and bring them with us. And we'll definitively try to do the Franklin-Keene region: the chocolate tip sounds too good to be skipped, even in July!

thanks again

Cl.

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6. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

Also, If you go to Walpole, they have a the Walpole Creamery where they make fresh good ice cream, I believe there is also a company that makes cheese and chocolate in the same area.

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7. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

The cheese is at Fanny Mason Cheese at Boggy Meadow Farm right off Rt 12 in Walpole, they have a sign on Rt 12 and it is really wonderful.

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8. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

anyone know of the hotels in North Conway area w/the best indoor pool for 4 kids to hang out during vacation week?

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9. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

fox ridge resort in north conway is a great place for families. 2 large pools (one indoor one outdoor) incredibly clean rooms, great breakfast. foxridgeresort.com

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10. Re: First trip in NH, help needed!

Lincoln/North Woodstock area is becoming more and more crowded with the expansion that's going on at South Mountain of Loon....consider jumping north of the notch and staying in Franconia...a quieter village with a more New Hampshire "feel" to it....check out the reviews on TripAdvisor for lodging recommendations in the village...there are two very highly rated motels that have some great reviews....

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