With the advent of summer, the roads of New Hampshire beckon to my family to explore and experience the natural wonders of our great state. From the seacoast to the White Mountains and on into the North Country, New Hampshire offers countless ways to reconnect with nature.
Old Man of the Mountain
Though the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed in May of 2003, the site continues to inspire state pride, nostalgia, and mourning for the thousands of visitors who come to pay homage each year. Located along the scenic byway of US 93 among the notches of central New Hampshire, the site is adjacent to Cannon Mountain and offers a vacation’s worth of hiking, museum exploration, and wonder.
The Flume Gorge
Most likely the second most recognizable natural wonder in New Hampshire after the Old Man, the Flume is a manicured walkway built along an 800 natural gorge hosting series of scenic waterfalls. Discovered by 93-year-old ‘Aunt’ Jess Guernsey in 1808, the gorge and its cascading waterfalls harkens to a time before man. Each year, the Flume hosts thousands of visitors looking to reconnect with nature.
Lower Falls on the Kancamagus Highway
Lower Falls on the 34.5 mile Kancamangus Highway (rte 112) is perhaps the best known secret among regulars to the Kanc scenic byway. At first, the rest stop where the falls are located seems a comfortable oasis with a view over the Swift River. But with a little exploration as the shore drops to the water, a small beach surrounded by boulders offers safe refreshment for weary feet. During the summer, swimmers brave the falls for invigorating dips in the cold, mountain water and enjoy the majesty of the river’s surroundings.
Odiorne State Park
Nestled along the northern stretch of the New Hampshire seacoast just before Portsmouth, Odiorne State Park once served as a military installation. Now, the munitions complex of caves and towers are overgrown with vegetation, a stark contrast to the manicured lawns and beaches perfect for a picnic lunch. Odiorne is unquestionably the place to visit for the seeking the perfect tide pool for study and exploration, as the point gradually enters the ocean replete with bowled-out granite ledges and tumbled boulders.
As the largest lake in New Hampshire and the only natural wonder in NH easily visible from space, Lake Winnipesaukee’s 233 miles of shore line is home to countless animals and birds, including NH’s iconic Loon population. No matter your beach preference, whether seeking quiet solitude of boardwalk gaiety, Winnipesaukee offers it all.