New Hampshire is one of the two New England states I’ve never been to (Maine is the other). Since one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to add three more states to my repertoire, it’s officially on my bucket list (I’m crossing off Tennessee as we speak). I’m not sure in what capacity I’ll be able to make it up there but a Lake Placid, Montreal, and Maine roadtrip would be the preferred method.
New Hampshire to me always seems to something of the forgotten New England state (sorry NH). New York’s always heavily on my radar, not just because, let’s face it, New York City is on everybody’s radar, but because I grew up 40 minutes from its border. My dad worked in Binghamton growing up, we used to take roadtrips to Turning Stone casino, I go rafting/camping on the Delaware every summer and Lake Placid has become one of my favorite go-to destinations. My dad’s family is from Connecticut, Rhode Island is the smallest state (with the worst traffic) and Massachusetts is all about Boston and “the cape.” While I’ve never been to Maine but when you mention it pictures of gorgeous untouched coastline and the scent of lobster rolls come to mind. With New Hampshire, I draw a blank. It’s always been “the state that’s sort of shaped like Vermont and looks like Vermont but isn’t.”
Because of my limited knowledge I was initially going to make this a weekend trip to Manchester, New Hampshire, the state’s largest city, not because I knew anything about it, but because my dad graduated from St. Anslem’s College, a small Benedictine liberal arts college located just outside Manchester’s border in Goffstown (I was under the impression is was in Manchester my bad). Unfortunately my dad is not New Hampshire’s greatest ambassador as most of “St. A’s” stories seem to revolve around either the campus pub or roadtrips to Boston, but since it was my only point of reference, I gave it a go.
You know what happened when I started to do some research into both St. A’s and New Hampshire? I discovered that my whole “I associate New Hampshire with nothing” train of thought was entirely unfair. In fact, it looks like a really interesting place to visit and much like I mentioned in my last Weekend Trip Idea post on Vermont’s Mad River Valley, whoever put together the visit New Hampshire website deserves a raise.
It gives you itinerary ideas. A lot of them. From hiking to camping to biking to breweries. I like that. Spoon-feed me a pre-made trip. Not only does it make planning easy but it shows you how much there is to do in a compact area in a short amount of time. Obviously I was really into the brewery map they have. Merrimack, New Hampshire is home to one of the Budweiser breweries whose tour not only includes an inside look into beer production, but also the famous Clydesdales. Sold. Smuttynose, located in the coastal town of Portsmouth (which in itself looks like an awesome destination) is a popular enough microbrew that I’ve heard of it and The Woodstock Inn and Brewery is appealing because of its location in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
Google image a picture of the White Mountains. They’re gorgeous. They’re also home to Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Fun fact: for 76 years the mountain’s summit held the world record for the strongest gust of wind ever measured on the Earth’s surface (at 231 mph). There’s obviously tons of hiking and outdoor opportunities here (check this link for hiking all over the White Mountains) but a scenic drive to the top of Mt. Washington as well as the Cog Railway, the steepest railroad tracks in North America that will take you to the summit.
So for the first time, I decided to make this installment of “Weekend Trip Idea” into an entire state. Consider this my apology to New Hampshire. Take your time, explore the websites (the White Mountain one is really good as well) and decide where in the state would appeal most to you (or chose a premade itinerary or stay for more than a weekend). I aim to visit New Hampshire in real-life this year but until then will definitely come back to explore a few locales in more detail for the blog.