New Hampshire in a nutshell
Lakes and mountains dominate this picturesque state, which has 18 miles of seacoast and one photogenic village after another. Most inhabitants are in the south, so there are miles of quiet lanes to explore. The White Mountains provide great skiing and snowboarding in winter and fabulous hiking in summer and autumn. On vast Lake Winnipesaukee, you can paddle or boat, fish or swim. Its pine-clad islands provide a retreat from everyday life. As for shopping: there’s no state sales tax!
New Hampshire couldn't be more different from old Hampshire. The English county has barely a hill, while the coast is entwined with Britain's naval history. By contrast, New Hampshire has the massive White Mountains and only 17 miles of coastline, wedged between Massachusetts and Maine.
A century ago, the 'Granite State' was New England's Number 1 tourist state, where city folk escaped the summer heat at grand resort hotels. Several of these survive, restored to their former glory. Among them is the Mount Washington Hotel where rocking chairs along the porch look straight at Mount Washington (6,288 ft), the highest peak in the north-east.
In winter, there's top-class cross-country and downhill skiing and snowboarding; in autumn, the leaves change to spectacular colour in mid-September, next to the Canadian border, and continue south, peaking in mid-October. New Hampshire is, though, still farm country, with covered bridges and picture-perfect villages, such as Jackson, Bath and Hancock. Each has classic New England B&Bs, crammed with antiques and quilts. Waterfalls tumble from cliffs, moose pop out of the dense Great North Woods and making maple sugar is an annual tradition. For a feel of the past, visit Portsmouth where Strawbery Banke, one of America's finest living history museums, takes you back to 1695. For special presents, head for the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen shops. And remember, New Hampshire has no state sales tax! As for the ruggedly individualistic people, the car licence plate says it all - 'Live Free or Die'
UNMISSABLE: Hike the well-marked trails of White Mountain; drive the steep toll road to the summit of Mount Washington, or, even better, take the huffing, puffing 134-year-old cog railway (wrap up even in high summer). And don't miss New Hampshire's inland sea. Lake Winnipesaukee, at 72 square miles, is the sixth-largest natural lake inside US borders. See it from the deck of M/S Mount Washington. Or paddle a canoe on nearby Squam Lake, the setting for the Fonda-Hepburn classic, On Golden Pond.