Fall foliage is coming

Fall foliage is coming.  To some of us anyway.

For me, this fall means I get to watch my leaf turn!  Well, it’s not quite that.  There’s more than one leaf!

But it’s not like Pennsylvania where I’m from, or fall in New England.

One of my favorite places to visit in the fall is New Hampshire.  If you haven’t had the pleasure, put it on your bucket list.

Great food, real maple syrup, and color.  Lots of color.

Glen Junction Restaurant just posted on Facebook that their pumpkin pancakes start this Saturday.  With maple cream…

That’s really what got me going about fall foliage…

Colors can be different from valley to valley, and from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountains.  It’s a good thing digital film is cheap!

There’s a gallery on Laughing Frog Images devoted to fall foliage in New Hampshire.  Coincidentally, it’s called fall foliage in New Hampshire.  There’s more to be added to that gallery, and maybe this will get me going on that.

The image below is of Silver Cascade in Crawford Notch along Route 302 in New Hampshire.

I’d love to tell you how hard I worked to hike in for this shot, and what it took to haul my camera bag and tripod in.  But, I’d be lying.  You can park along Route 302 and take this shot from the safe side of the guardrail.

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This image was made with a Fuji S9000, 1/80s @ f7.1, ISO 80, in Fuji’s raw file format.  Yes, I used my tripod and a cable release!

Processing was done in Perfect Photo Suite 9.5, and it was cropped to a 1:2 format to remove the gray sky and rocks in the foreground.  It’s amazing what a simple crop can do!

There’s another image of Silver Cascade taken at about the same location in the gallery, but I left that in its’ original format so you can crop it yourself.

If all of this makes you think about a last minute trip to New England to check out the foliage, here are two posts from 2014 to check out:

A Week in New Hampshire

A Weekend in New Hampshire

And, if you can’t make it, do the next best thing and shop Laughing Frog Images.

A Week in New Hampshire

Following on the Weekend in New Hampshire post, here’s an actual itinerary from an October trip in which Mrs. Frog was introduced to what a “real” fall is.  We were very fortunate and timed the fall foliage almost perfectly.  This was even more remarkable given that the airline tickets were purchased in June.

This was a very busy week, and this itinerary was actually covered a couple of years before the weekend trip.  I’m not going to go into deep details about every thing and every place, rather I’m just going to lay out what we did so that you can take it for what it is and use it as your own itinerary, or for ideas to create your own trip.  This starts in Boston, MA late in the afternoon.

We tend not to stay at the high-dollar hotels/motels/inns as we’d rather put that money towards fine dining and meals we wouldn’t normally get or eat back home.

If you think that New Hampshire is a small state and there’s not a lot to do, this itinerary proves otherwise.

Images from this trip can be found on Laughing Frog Images here and here and here

DAY 1:

Dinner: Warren’s Lobster House, Kittery, ME.  Just because it’s been there forever and a day, and I first ate there back in 1971 or 1972.  It hasn’t changed much…

Stay: Your choice.  We based ourselves in the Fairfield Inn in Portsmouth for the first three nights.   Day 2 is backtracking, but at least we weren’t packing and unpacking…

DAY 2:

Tourist Day: Salem, MA.  The drive on Route 1 and detours along the coast are a journey of their own.  Witches.  Peabody Essex Museum.  House of Seven Gables.

Lunch: Red’s Sandwich Shop, Salem.

Dinner: Go to a lobstah pound.  Markey’s Lobster Pool or Brown’s Lobster Pound in Seabrook, NH.  Which one might be dictated by which line is the shortest…

Stay: See Day 1.

DAY 3:

Photo Stop: Cape Neddick Light / Nubble Light. York, ME.

Photo Stop & Walk: The Marginal Way.  Ogunquit, ME.

Lunch: Barnacle Billy’s.  Ogunquit, ME.

Cruise: Portsmouth Harbor Cruises.  Portsmouth, NH.

Dinner: Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe.  Portsmouth, NH.  If the mustard-crusted cod is on the menu that night….!

Stay: See Day 1.

DAY 4: Hit the road!  Early!

Drive to Conway, NH and make a left on the Kancamangus Highway (Route 112).  Photo stops as you wish.  Might want to get some snacks before you make that left, because once you do, there’s nothing ’til Lincoln.

Lunch (could be a late one): Gordi’s.

Train stop: The Hobo Railroad is in Lincoln.

Take I-93 north.  Consider the following along the way:  Clark’s Trading Post, The Flume Gorge, and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway if the weather is cooperating.

Stay on I-93 North to Littleton, NH.

Stay: Thayer’s Inn.  Littleton, NH.

Dinner and a Martini: Baliwick’s Fine Restaurant.   Littleton, NH.

DAY 5:

Breakfast: Littleton Diner.

Wander ’round Littleton: Chutters (world’s longest candy counter) or Fresh Salon and Day Spa for a (couples) massage.  Littleton is a great, friendly small town, and a reminder that there is life outside the city.

Train Ride:  Just outside of Bretton Woods, NH is the Mount Washington Cog Railway.  You have to once in your life!  They still run one trip a day with a steam engine!

Dinner: Libby’s Bistro (check days and hours first!)  Gorham, NH.

Stay: Somewhere in Gorham – just don’t drive back to Littleton like we did!  It’s too long of a drive after a fantastic meal.

DAY 6:

Train Ride: The Notch Train on the Conway Scenic Railroad.  If you can make it happen, get seats in the Dome Car.

Dinner: Bernerhof Inn (it was a German restaurant at that time, but still looks interesting).  Glen, NH.

Stay: Where we stayed has changed, so you could stay at the Bernerhof.  It looks like the Golden Apple Inn is within walking distance…

DAY 7:

Free-form day.  We spent it in Crawford Notch and along Route 16 on the east side of Mount Washington.

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Dinner: Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub.  Glen, NH.

DAY 8:

Breakfast: Glen Junction Family Restaurant.   Glen, NH

Next stop: We drove east to Portland, ME and checked out Portland Head Light and the surrounding parks.

Lunch: Don’t remember where we ate at back then, but now Eventide Oyster Company in Portland is a must!

Dinner: Kelly’s Roast beef on Route 1 in Saugus, MA, just north of Boston and Logan Airport.  Yes, we slept on the flight home…

We hope you find this helpful in planning your travels, now or whenever the time comes.

Weekend in New Hampshire

This itinerary is based on a trip to (1) photograph fall foliage, (2) eat well, and (3) relax, but it can work any time! It is a busy itinerary, so you can take it for what it is, or for some ideas for your own itinerary. You might decide this is a good week-long trip instead of a weekend.  Depending on where you live and how flexible your schedule is, there’s as much luck involved as there is planning to catch the leaves in their prime.

Starting point: Boston on a Friday morning (you can also start this trip in Portsmouth, NH instead of Boston – this gives you another hour or so to photograph on the first day of the trip).  Take Route 1 north and head to breakfast in Salem, MA at Red’s Sandwich Shop (insert website). If you’re lucky, you’ll find the lobster omelet on the menu. It’s decadent, and you’ve got to do it at least once in your life.  From there, make your way via Route 114 to I-95 and head north. You’ll be on 95 until you reach the Spaulding Turnpike / Route 16 in New Hampshire – and you’ll head north/northwest on that as well to Conway, NH.  You’ll soon enter the White Mountain National Forest.

Your next turn is a left on the Kancamangus Highway a.k.a. Route 112. There will be numerous photo opportunities on your right as you follow the Swift River. There are places where you can safely pull off the highway and make your way to the river’s edge for photos.  Three must do locations are: Albany Covered Bridge, Rocky Gorge Park (don’t think about swimming) and the Lower Falls Scenic Area . There’s also a scenic view near the summit that provides a broad vista.  Once your cross the summit, there aren’t as many opportunities, as the views tend to shift to the south side of the road, which would have you shooting into the sun.

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As you head into Lincoln, it might be time for lunch. While there are probably other great places to eat, we’ve had some great meals at Gordi’s.  If you’re into trains as well as leaves, the Hobo Railroad is in Lincoln.

Your next run is going to be a right: I-93 north.  Consider the following:  Clark’s Trading Post, which has a bear show and the White Mountain Central Railroad, The Flume Gorge (easy hike and well worth it), and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway if the weather is cooperating.

Take I-93 North to Littleton, NH.  The Frog has been staying at Thayer’s Inn in Littleton for over 20 years.  Thayer’s has been there since before the Civil War.  There’s probably not a square corner or a level floor in the place.  It’s neat, it’s quirky, it’s got stories, history, and some say, ghosts.  Baliwick’s Fine Restaurant features great food and an extensive Martini Menu! Dinner and a beverage followed by a short walk to your room are a great way to end the day.

Saturday morning can be spent wandering through Littleton. One can head to Chutters (world’s longest candy counter) or Fresh Salon and Day Spa for a massage – but start your morning at the Littleton Diner – their corned beef hash is without peer.  Last we heard, the Littleton Grist Mill store had closed (lost their lease) but they still have their website.  Littleton is a great, friendly small town, and a reminder that there is life outside the city.

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to move on, it’s time to head north and east to Lancaster via Route 116 and Route 3 where you can stop in at Fuller’s Sugar House where you can sample maple sugar in the same manner as some do wine! Hint: don’t look down your nose at Grade B maple syrup. Our first perception was it couldn’t be as good as Grade A if for no other reason than it was called “Grade B.” Well, we were wrong, and we left with a half-gallon of Grade B to prove it. It’s thicker, darker, and more dense, and preferred by many for cooking and baking purposes. And, a spoonful once in a while will cure any sweet tooth!

From Lancaster, it time to head southeast to Gorham via Route 2. Along the way, there will be several photo opportunities to capture the Presidential Range. You might even see Mount Washington in snow in early October!

The destination in Gorham is Libby’s Bistro (check days and hours first!) – a fantastic restaurant that you might expect to find in a trendy neighborhood in any major metropolitan area – but not necessarily in Gorham, NH.  Go, enjoy, and indulge. You’ll probably want to stay in Gorham, as driving will not be high on your list of things to do after your dinner.  We don’t have any specific recommendations for where to stay in Gorham, but after our first visit to Libby’s we learned that we didn’t want to have to drive back to Littleton after dinner!  There’s also a railroad display and museum at the old Grand Trunk depot in Gorham.

Next morning, you might want to eat breakfast in Gorham, especially if it is a nice day, as you can spend a lot of time photographing your way south along Route 16 as you head south to Conway to finish your circle trip.

Along the way, you’ll pass the Mount Washington Auto Road on your right – a drive of your life if you’re up to it. If you don’t want to drive, you can be driven up in a van. Either way – a trip to the top of Mount Washington is well worth it!  It’s the highest peak in the northeast, it’s got some of the worst weather in the world, and chances are, the weather will be different up top!

On your left will be the Glen Ellis Falls on the Ellis River in Pinkham Notch.  Well worth the stop and short and sometimes steep hike to the bottom of the falls. If you don’t want to head down to the base of the falls, there are photo opportunities along the river and at the top of the falls. If you do head down, be prepared for both you and your gear to get wet from the spray.

Continuing south, you’ll come to Glen, NH. Make a quick right and head to Glen Junction Family Restaurant for lunch. If they’re still serving breakfast, the pumpkin pancakes with maple cream are well worth the calories, whatever they may be.

From there, check the clock and figure out where you have to be and when.  You’ll continue south on Route 16 to Conway to complete the circle, and head back to your reality.  If you have time, the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway is worth the stop if time permits.

And that’s an example of a weekend in New Hampshire.  We’ve done it.  It’s busy, and it’s fun.  If you have never explored New Hampshire and the North Country, you could spend a week there.  But… that’s a separate post.

And, if you can’t make it – you can check out the image galleries and get a picture, a mug, a phone case, or an aluminum print from Laughing Frog Images and tell everyone what a great time you had in New Hampshire (but we’d appreciate you fessing up and referring your friends to the Frog!).