Nearly anywhere in New England is just beautiful in autumn. Lately, though, my husband and I have become smitten with Central New Hampshire, so this year, we headed off to that area for our fall getaway.
The weather was perfect, and since we were there in mid-September, we didn’t have to deal with the crowds of "leaf peepers" that visit during the peak of foliage season. The leaves were in the early stages of color, but still lovely.
There are plenty of activities in White Mountains and Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and fall is no exception. We were busy for the five days we were there, and we didn’t get to do half the things we wanted to do. Here are some of my top choices for attractions in Central New Hampshire.
I had a great time at Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln. This family-owned attraction features a variety of fun things to do and see – a Main Street with shops, museums and exhibits; a steam engine ride on the White Mountain Central Railroad; and a trained bear show.
If you ride on the White Mountain Central Train, you’ll get to see a crazy character – the Wolfman – that dresses like Fred Flintstone and drives an old jalopy car. He races to stops ahead of the train to terrorize the children on the train – but they only laugh at him.
I love loons, so I especially enjoyed The Loon Center and Markus Wildlife Sanctuary in Moultonborough. Even if you’re not especially fond of loons, you’ll enjoy a visit. I watched a captivating video about the lifespan of a Common Loon (Did you know that a loon chick can swim as soon as they are born? Or that a loon’s legs are located at the very back of their body, which is great for swimming, but makes it difficult to walk on land?), then toured the loon exhibit. There’s a wonderful little gift shop and also two trails to walk through. The Forest Walk Loop is short and easy and leads you through the woods. I took the Loon Nest Trail, which hugs Lake Winnipesaukee in places, and offers some wonderful views.
Like The Loon Center, the Squam Lake Natural Science Center in Holderness is another place where learning is fun. From the Welcome Center, you follow a trail that takes you through forest areas to exhibits of animals in their natural habitat. My husband and I saw Black Bears, Fishers, Bobcats, Bald Eagles, River Otters, and Mountain Lions, among others. Also along the way, there were hands-on Learning Centers, which made learning a pleasure. There was a 20 ft. rope spider web perfect for kids to crawl over, small doors that opened to reveal answers, and a (recreation of) a bears den with fake bears sleeping.
The Center also offers lake cruises on Squam Lake, which unfortunately we didn’t have time for.
We also rode several scenic train rides. If you like trains, see my article: Scenic Train Rides in Central New Hampshire for more attractions.
Need a place to stay? See my article:
Central New Hampshire Accommodations.
For More Information
Lakes Region Association Lakes Region Association
Phone:603-744-8664 or 800-60-LAKES
White Mountain Attractions
Phone:800-FIND-MTS or 603-745-8720
Clark's Trading Post
The Loon Center
Squam Lake Natural Science Center