Based on what I have read here, the prevailing opinion is that if you are coming to NH in the fall, you should make an advance reservation because everything fills up fast for miles around.
The last 2 years my husband and I have driven up to North Conway from Loon Mountain, after the Scottish Festival, and we are planning to do so again this year. That would put us in North Conway on Sunday, 9/21. The last 2 years we did not make any reservations and had no problems getting a place to stay. The first time we stayed at the Kearsage Inn, which was fabuous. I can't remember what we paid but we got a great deal because they upgraded us to an unbeleivable suite. Next time (last year) we stayed at the Stonehurst Manor. The rooms were not as nice as the Kearsage Inn, but the place itself was nicer (the grounds, the library and common rooms, etc.). I always figured if you called on the day you want to stay, or walked in off the street, you might get a better deal because they knew the rooms might otherwise be empty.
Any optinions on this theory? Thank you in advance.