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New England is special at any time of the year, but there is simply nowhere on earth where you can experience nature’s changing colors as you can here. When the days become shorter, the nights turn cool, the first frost coats the lawn, and the roof shingles sparkle with their early-morning ice, New England prepares for the magic season of fall foliage. Trees, shrubs, flowers and weeds all begin the transformation that changes their color from green to multiple hues of red, orange, and gold-and a million shades in between. It’s simply a time of magic! It’s also the time when nature performs a brilliant display reminiscent of fireworks on the fourth of July. It’s a time to be in New England. This itinerary weaves a journey through the backroads of New Hampshire to experience the splendor and glory of New England’s fall foliage.

Recommended Pacing: Two nights will enable you to cover the entire itinerary at a leisurely pace unless you decide to make this itinerary the center of your trip into this part of New England. The focus of this itinerary is the road trip north into Conway and North Conway-the heart of the Green Mountains. It provides the opportunity to explore several different spurs, then return back to the main route of the itinerary. Deciding which of the spurs to pursue is analogous to having to choose one of your children, so let our descriptions guide you to the different alternatives. No matter which one(s) you choose, you will have a wonderful time. Let your day be open to new experiences and vistas and you’ll be many times rewarded. Plan to use Boston or the Boston area as your point of departure going north on Route 95 through the northern part of Massachusetts into New Hampshire, where you will pick up Route 4 in Portsmouth, and then Route 16 north on the Spaulding Turnpike toward Rochester, and finally, north into the heart of New Hampshire.

To the west of Route 16 lies the grand Lake Winnipesaukee, at the southern portion of which is the town of Wolfeboro, the center of much boating activity on the lake, and the summer home for many who live in the cities of New England. This is a very popular area for vacationers, as there is nothing more idyllic than a week or two at the edge of a lake, swimming off the dock, fishing with your kids, or going out in a boat to explore the lakes’ many coves and tributaries.

If you have resisted the temptation to go to Lake Winnepasaukee, just continue along Route 16 on the very scenic route leading into Conway and North Conway. Whether you are traveling to enjoy the wintertime activities of the ski country of New Hampshire; the beauty of the unfolding spring with the flowering daffodils; the bounty of summer with the town fairs, the markets, summer theater, antiquing, or the fabulous colors of Fall-you are the beneficiary of the many attributes that typify New England. In these mountain towns, you will find a ski area or two that will be running chair lifts during the fall season. This is a glorious way to rise above the trees and to gaze down, at first to the areas below you, and then from the top of the mountain to the vistas of the surrounding countryside. In many instances, these vistas include a blue lake lying below a swath of color, as if an artist were painting a brightly lit canvas.

The Conways, Conway and North Conway, and just to the north of them, the town of Jackson, are ideal locations for you to find a place to stay a night or two, and from which to take day trips into the surrounding countryside. From the Conways, there are three routes, resembling fingers, heading into the western portion of northern New Hampshire. An excellent daytrip takes the northern finger out of North Conway, returning back in the evening via the middle finger. This northernmost finger follows Route 16 to Jackson and Gorham. Turn west at Gorham to connect with Route 2 to Lancaster, at which point pick up Route 116 south to Littleton and then east through Bethlehem. Follow Route 302 through Twin Mountain, Bretton Woods, Crawford Notch, Hart’s Location, and Bartlett to Glen. Here you pick up Route 16 south, which returns you to North Conway.

An alternative to this more northern spur is to leave Conway via the “lower finger,” turning west just south of town on Route 112, known as the Kancamagus Highway. This road rises through the White Mountains and is simply beautiful. It twists and winds, rises and falls, making every beautiful, scenic mile one to remember. The road ends in North Woodstock and from this point you head north via the I-93 to Franconia, Bethlehem, Lower Waterford, and St. Johnsbury, where you can leave the itinerary to travel south into Massachusetts on I-91, or continue on Route 2 to Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. The recently remodeled state capital building is wonderful to tour.

This is the end of this itinerary, but certainly not the end of things to do in this area. If your plans call for a return to the Boston area, you can use one of the previous routes to reach Route 93, which will speedily bring you back south to either Route 2 or further south to Route 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike, and into Boston itself.


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