AUTUMN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Beauty, Bounty and Surprises
"Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile."
-William Cullen Bryant
“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour."
"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns."
Come September, I start dreaming about Fall! It’s my favorite time of year. The crisp air and golden light of the season; leisurely hikes through quiet autumn woods; weekend football games; pushing a wheelbarrow through fields of giant pumpkins; the multitude of fresh apple varieties available at the farmer’s market; pumpkin muffins, apple cider and hearty stews; corn mazes and fall holidays… I just love it!!
But best of all is the dazzling fall foliage: the burnished yellows, oranges and reds of leaves drifting off trees, dancing with the wind, crunching underfoot, and carpeting the ground.
My only problem is we live in southern California, so we don’t get a “traditional” autumn season. :( Oh sure, the few liquidambar and gingko trees in our neighborhood do turn lovely colors and we can drive out to a crowded pumpkin patch (complete with food trucks and parking attendants). To be fair, the fall weather here is amazing, we do watch football and eat pumpkin muffins and stew, and I can buy armloads of red, yellow and orange French Marigolds to go with my farmer’s market apples. But it’s just not quite the same experience!
This year though, we were lucky enough to make a trip to the Lake Region of New Hampshire to see the fall foliage. What a soul-satisfying treat!!
We stayed in the little town of Meredith, on Lake Winnipesaukee. Coincidentally (or not!!), this is near where Stuart went to summer camp as a child. We actually drove out to his old digs; it was ungated, so we wandered around taking photos as he reminisced. In the woods near the lake we saw a very large deer on the property.
On another day we headed out to the White Mountains for some zip-lining. To get up to the first platform we rode in a "Pinzgauer", an all-terrain vehicle used by militaries around the world. Even with seatbelts, that was an adventure!
Wearing a harness and speeding through the treetops was a blast! We went too fast to actually appreciate the scenery, but the fresh air blowing in our faces and the sense of freedom was fantastic. I recommend it for anyone who loves the rush of skiing fast.
There's so much great hiking in rural New Hampshire. You'll see trailheads just off the highway seemingly every few miles. We found a spot outside the town of Moultonborough, called the Red Hill Fire Trail Loop. After driving several miles into the woods, we parked and started walking. The loop was only 3.3 miles through the woods, but the first half was a steady steep climb over rocks and roots carpeted with dead leaves.
The day was beautiful--the temperature was a cool 55 degrees with a slight breeze causing yellow leaves to drift down on us. At one point as we were climbing Stuart shouted, and I looked up to see a gigantic owl practically dive bombing him! It was a Great Horned Owl, with a wingspan of nearly three feet. Beautiful! I only wish I'd gotten a photo!
Another surprise in the woods were the wild mushrooms peeking out from underneath leaves. Fall is mushroom season in New Hampshire. Who knew? Walking along we spotted some of these little jewels. Sometimes the smallest, most unexpected things can be the most beautiful!
New Hampshire is also famous for its old covered bridges. There are fifty-four in the state. We spent a lovely morning driving along rural roads searching for them. Here are four of our faves.
We stopped at several farmer’s markets to inspect the pumpkins and sample varieties of apples not available to us at home. Lots of things are on offer. Check out the sign!
And finally, we spent a delightful afternoon tasting wines made not from grapes, but from cranberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries and elderberries at the Hermit Woods Winery. Their logo is this cool stylized snail, but I also loved the sign below. Plus, their wine is so delicious, we had some shipped home!!
-There are lots of places to zipline in the area. We did the Alpine Adventures Treetop Canopy tour.(https://alpinezipline.app.resmarksystems.com/public/5a04d501e4f54906b7da0655)
-Hermit Woods Winery, (https://hermitwoods.com/)