New Hampshire... You Really Will Love It Here

When the sun goes down on a hot July day, how do you describe that summer’s night smell

When the sun goes down on a hot July day, how do you describe that summer’s night smell?  Damp but warm with a hint of sunscreen and mosquito spray and then add a touch of barbeque and sweet fresh lake water?  That is what I can smell when I think back on one of my most treasured childhood memories.  Ever since I was a baby, my parents traveled to the Lakes’ Region in New Hampshire with my brother and me.  Although the car ride was not the most enjoyable part of the trip since my brother could not stand the fact that my hair was on his side of the car or that his little sister was smart enough to remember to bring an extra set of batteries for her walkman and he didn’t, when we crossed the New Hampshire border, it was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting.  My brother and I knew that when we crossed over the small but familiar Winnisquam Bridge, we knew we were getting close.  That meant we were getting closer to the “make your own sundaes” ice cream shoppe, the drive-in movie theater, swinging from tires into the lake, and watching fireworks while sitting on the dock, dangling our feet in the water.  My parents always rented a vacation home on an island so we had to travel by boat to get to the shore.  That was the best because my dad would always let me drive when we got out into the wide-open area of the lake on the way to get bagels.  I thought I was the best captain any ship had ever seen; however, years later my dad told me how he was really steering without me knowing.


I know what you are going to ask next…  What else is there to do in New Hampshire, right?  Okay, you are more likely wondering who I am instead, but having a bout of writers’ block right now, I could not think of a more creative segue into my “New Hampshire Top 5”.  With that said, here are the best places in New Hampshire that I think everyone should visit.  And, no, I really am nobody.  I am just a girl that loves to travel and hold’s New Hampshire near and dear in her heart. 


#1 – Lakes’ Region

At less than 2 hours from Boston, MA, the Lakes’ Region of New Hampshire is New England's Vacation Destination.  With nearly 300 lakes, ponds and streams and surrounding mountain ranges, the area provides the most diverse vacation experience around.  During the winter months, ski, snowshoe and snowmobile on some of the Northeast’s largest trail systems or rent a lake house & enjoy spectacular views of the Lakes & Mountains. Sit and relax on our pristine beaches, hike to enjoy spectacular views, get a rush on a zip-line, explore the coves and rivers by kayak, play at the large selection of attractions, cruise the lake, ride an historic train along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee…  you name it, it is here.  This is actually a hard blog for me to right since part of my heart lives here.  In a way, I am nervous that I will not do the region and the state of NH justice.  In my eyes, you have to just book a trip there and experience it for yourself. 


#2 – The Seacoast

As I got older, going away with my parents was no longer cool.  I lived near the Jersey Shore and there were many more boys to walk passed 10 times before they noticed us there, then there were in New Hampshire.  That was until my parents dragged me to the shore towns of New Hampshire.  Hampton Beach, Portsmouth, York Beach  Wait a second…  New England boys!  I begged my parents to “drag” my best friend with us so we could spend the 6 hour car ride together talking all about what we will wear to the beach in the morning so that the lifeguards would notice us.  When I think about it, I now can see why my parents always bought new cds to listen to in the car.  Six hours of “oh my god” and “no way” could numb anyone’s mind!  (It is currently biting me in the toosh now that I have my own daughters).  Besides boy-chasing, we did venture down the boardwalk for salt-water taffy and enjoyed the Lobster rolls made fresh from the neighboring state of Maine. 





#3 – Keene, NH

The home of the World Famous Pumpkin Festival.  In the past 20 years, Keene received 8 Guinness Book World Record titles for the most jack-o’-lanterns lit at one time.  When you enter the quaint college town of Keene, you instantly feel the spirit of community and comradery.  The entire town sets up booths all over Main Street selling everything from baked potatoes with all the fixins to maple syrup-crepes.  Candied apples and popcorn are among the most popular and as the sun sets, the glow of the jack-o’-lanterns stacked 2-3 stories high light up the sky.  Kids can stop into the movie theater, open free to the public and watch old school cartoons while the college students flood the local breweries dressed in Halloween costumes.  It is an amazing experience because you cannot imagine what 29,000+ pumpkins looks like


#4 – The White Mountains

When I was in grade school I joined the Girl Scouts with my best friend because I found out they were going to Switzerland to go skiing and I wanted in.  Never been skiing before but I figured I could sit in the lodge drinking hot chocolate making googly-eyes at European boys.  My parents had a different plan.  Sending their teenage daughter to Switzerland to ski was not an option and they really thought I was gunning for this trip for the skiing!  They decided that we should go buy all new ski equipment and then take a lesson at a ski mountain.  So, there we were all lined up with our shiny new skis and fluorescent colored ski jackets – at the time that was in, trust me – waiting for our first experience at skiing.  It did not take us long to get the hang of skiing and we decided to take our new found hobby to the next level… the White Mountains.  In the White Mountains, winter is a white carpet of fluffy snow awaiting a cross country skier, frosty blue sky mornings and snow that squeaks when you walk on it, a snow covered field written over with the tracks of browsing deer and curious foxes, fresh powder and a ski pass.  Winter is the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 


#5 – Laconia, NH

If you know anything about NH geography, you would know that I am putting the Lakes’ Region in my top 5 list, twice.  Laconia, NH is located in the center of the Lakes’ Region, but I am not listing it again to tell you how it really is like the movie “On Golden Pond” which was filmed in the area.  I am listing Laconia separately because it is the home of the country’s oldest motorcycle week.  Usually commencing on the 2nd week of June, between 200,000-500,000 motorcycles roll into the town of Laconia, which during any other time of the year, the town’s population amounts to about 5-10% of that.  For 10 days straight there are bike runs, concerts, showcases, patriotic ceremonies for fallen veterans, and basically it gives anyone a chance to throw on some leathers and feel as free as the wings on the Harley Davidson emblem.  When I got married, I first moved to this area with my husband and we opened a bar in Laconia 3 weeks before Laconia Bike Week.  Picture any Daytona Spring Break with a lot of more leather!  It was the most amazing 10 days of our lives and something we will never forget.  Even if you do not ride, rent a condo or home along the main drag and sit outside listening to the roar of bikes, feel their rumble, and see sights that you never knew existed. 


A few years ago the people of New Hampshire we upset because the state decided to change the “Welcome to NH” sign.  The state motto is “Live Free or Die”.  They took the motto off and replaced it with “Welcome to NH…  You’re Gonna Love It Here!”  The people of NH are some of the most friendly and genuine that I have ever come across and I truly believe it is because they live their lives free and embrace the land.  No, it is not a place where you will rent a 5-star beachfront villa, but I can honestly say with no uncertainty that you will love it here! 


This blog was written by Villa4vacation staff 3/12/2010 3:34 PM

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