Early predictions are for a vibrant and early autumn show of color, following a hot summer. The air is starting to cool off and the leaves in some parts of New Hampshire are already showing a hint that fall is on the way. The approach of the fall foliage season now provides a reason to step outside and experience New Hampshire’s annual fall show. And, northern NH is always the first place to offer a great show.
The Granite State offers many ways to experience the season, whether by boat, car, on foot or from an aerial view. New Hampshire in the fall bursts with the colors of nature and a variety of activities. New Hampshire’s foliage season runs roughly from mid-September to mid-October, but this varies widely depending on weather, topography and geography. Just before the season begins, a sneak preview of fall can be found as swamp maples surrounding some ponds and lakes may turn a fiery red, and the deciduous trees of northern New Hampshire may have already begun their transformation. Columbus Day Weekend is often the focal point of fall foliage excursions, but the White Mountains can present earlier colors, especially in a warm year.
Here are a few ways to enjoy New Hampshire’s fall colors.
TAKE A CRUISE FOR A COLORFUL VIEW
One special place to enjoy the foliage is Lake Winnipesaukee. It’s hard to see foliage while you’re driving, so why not take a cruise on the M/S Mount Washington and let the captains handle the rest. The big lake has amazing color and the juxtaposition of the water and sky can be breathtaking. Sundays in September and October, they offer early sunset dinner cruises from Weirs Beach. Daily daytime cruises also run through October 22. For more information visit: www.cruisenh.com or call 603-366-5531.
TAKE THE TRAIN THROUGH THE TREES OR A LIFT OVER THE MOUNTAINS
Climb aboard one of the region’s three sightseeing trains for unique views of foliage: Hobo Scenic Railroad in Lincoln; the Conway Scenic Railroad in Conway, and the legendary Cog Railway that chugs up Mount Washington from its base in Bretton Woods (always the place to catch early color). For more information visit: www.visitwhitemountains.com or call 603-745-8720.
For a different aerial view, take the sky ride to get a bird’s eye view of fall foliage. Ski mountains in the area offer trips on their chairlifts and gondolas to the tops of their mountains, where the views can be simply spectacular. Consider the Loon Mountain Gondola in Lincoln; the Wildcat Mountain Gondola in Jackson, and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in Franconia. Nothing beat the view from the top! For more information and suggestions, visit: www.skinh.com/scenic-chairlift-rides
GREEN FROM ANOTHER VIEW & TIME
Visitors can view art dedicated to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec beginning on September 30 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. Although the original works of art are more than 100 years old, their continued prevalence is a reminder of the influence he continues to have on art, and especially graphic design. Lautrec’s colorful lithographs reveal the enduring beauty of Paris. They also feature the city’s more shadowy figures, whose lives the artist celebrated through his art. Drawn from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Currier’s exclusive New England presentation will present more than 100 posters, prints and illustrated books. This exhibition is on display through January 7.
SURROUNDED BY FOREST AT WATERVILLE VALLEY RESORT
There is nothing like fall in New England, and Waterville Valley Resort, located in the middle of the White Mountain National Forest, has a full slate on tap this fall for those seeking the best colors of foliage season. The Valley tends to get plenty of moisture – so the show should be amazing this year. Celebrate the arrival of fall with Waterville Valley’s Fall Foliage Fest over Columbus Day Weekend, October 7-9. A weekend of fun family events is planned including kids’ games, pumpkin painting, and ResortBoard rides and music. Foliage is also the perfect time of the year to hike and bike Waterville Valley’s extensive trail system that includes more than 30 miles of marked and maintained mountain bike trails and more than 100 miles of hiking trails and paths. Whether it’s a leisurely ride around town or a dirt-kicking expedition through the autumn woods, you’ll find plenty of trails to suit your mood. Bike and boat rentals will be open all weekend during Columbus Day. For more information, visit: www.visitwatervillevalley.com or call 800-GO-VALLEY.