Hike, bike, and drive your way to fall bliss.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Mountainous and woodsy, New Hampshire is blessed with seemingly endless parklands for experiencing fall foliage, both on foot and behind the wheel. Make a beeline for the White Mountain National Forest, hopping on the Kancamagus Highway (or the “Kanc” as locals call it). Northern New Hampshire’s claim to fame is this highly scenic 35-mile stretch of Route 112, which erupts with vibrant, changing leaves over multiple elevations. There are no gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and the like—nature takes center stage. Breathe in the fresh air and work on your landscape photography game. Enjoy your picnic lunch at one of the route’s many waterfalls, like "Sabbaday Falls" or "Rocky Gorge."
Next, beyond the White Mountain National Forest, embark on an oh-so-fall adventure: a cider donut crawl. In Loudon, savor piping-hot cider doughnuts at Meadow Ledge Farm—they’re so good they often command a 45-minute line. In Meredith, get lost in a mega-corn maze, pick your own pumpkins, and try “flavored” cider doughnuts (with various toppings like chocolate drizzle and sprinkles) at Moulton Farm. Alternatively, balance town and forest with overnights in the hip town of Portsmouth, just an hour's drive from most of the region's best hiking trails. For starters, summit Mount Kearsage in Wilmot, or explore a portion of the 40-plus miles of trails in nearby Bear Brook State Park.
Glen House Hotel
On Mount Washington, unpack at history-steeped Glen House Hotel. This new-fashioned take on classic New England architecture is actually the fifth iteration of its circa-1851 namesake—it has burned down and been rebuilt four times previously.
In Portsmouth, check into the cozy, inn-style Hotel Portsmouth, which screams Americana and is within walking distance to the town’s best restaurants, old-school coffee shops, and craft breweries. Plus, there’s a great complimentary breakfast spread in the morning to get you revved up for your hikes.
White Mountain Cider Company
In Mount Washington, gorge on breakfasts of maple syrup-drenched buttermilk pancakes and apple betty French toast at the Glen House. Consider a trek up to White Mountain Cider Company for dinner and dessert of warm cider doughnuts and ice cream.
Row 34 Portsmouth
In Portsmouth, book ahead for dinner at Row 34 Portsmouth where you’ll find briny local oysters (don’t miss the umami-rich Row 34 oysters, the most mature bivalves from Island Creek Oyster Farm, Duxbury Bay in neighboring Massachusetts) and the best lobster roll in all New England (yes, you read that correctly).