Visitors to the US state are immersing themselves further into the great outdoors finds Abra Dunsby
In New Hampshire, leaves are now developing hues of fiery red, burnt amber and rich plum. While road trips to the state to watch the changing autumn colours remain popular, New Hampshire also offers a plethora of options for clients wanting to stretch their legs and explore the great outdoors.
“There’s a trend towards immersive holidays, where visitors now stay in fewer New England states for longer so they can slow down enough to truly experience our culture,” explained Michele Cota, trade and industry relations manager at the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, during a recent trade lunch.
“Before, operators wanted to know suggested drives; now they want visitors to get out of their rental cars.”
Cota said UK tour operators are beginning to diversify their packages accordingly, including everything from guided ATV tours of pancake houses and sugar shacks, to wildlife boat rides in the most pristine parts of the state.
One new outdoor-focused itinerary is Grand American Adventures’ Appalachian Trail In-Depth trip, launching next year, where clients will venture into the White Mountains National Forest. Led by Appalachian Mountain Guides, clients will carry their own pack, stay in mountain huts and hike one of the most impressive sections of this famed trail.
Appalachian Mountain Club also offers commissionable, guided backpacking trips, plus hiking, canoeing and climbing. After the exercise, clients will have earned their supper, and New Hampshire offers a wealth of tasty options, from lobster rolls on the South Coast and historic yankee fare in the Lakes Region, to French crepes in the Merrimack Valley. One original company is Portsmouth Eats, offering guided tours by local chefs of downtown Portsmouth.
Kids will love visiting some of New Hampshire’s orchards and pumpkin patches in autumn, where they can often pick their own. There are regular harvest festivals, too – the Milford Pumpkin Festival features a craft fair, beer tastings, giant pumpkin weigh-in and seasonal food galore.
A scattering of new hotels across the state reflects the leaning towards authentic experiences. For luxury lovers, there’s the 65-suite Arlington Hotel in Bethlehem, in the northern White Mountains. The hotel is 15 minutes from Franconia Notch State Park, where clients can hike, bike, swim, or even snowshoe and ski.
Quirkier options include Huttopia in Albany, a mountain “glampground” with lakefront and forested tents; and Pickering House in Wolfeboro, a historic high-end barn conversion in the Lakes Region. In a state where the motto is “live free or die”, it’s clear that New Hampshire takes embracing the outdoors seriously.