---Who wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
New Hampshire isn't a very large state, but it packs a tremendous variety into its small borders. I love the fact that from my home in Manchester, which is in the southern part of the state, if I want to walk on the beach, I can be at our eighteen mile long seacoast in about an hour. If I want mountains, the White Mountains are only two hours away. If I want the opportunities of a large city, Boston, MA is only an hour away. Our own major cities, Nashua, Manchester, and Concordoffer a variety of cultural events, sports, shopping, and thanks to a long history of welcoming immigrants, ethnic foods from many cultures.
New Hampshire is famed for its spectacular fall foliage. The season starts in mid-September, and generally peaks in early October. If you want to visit, make reservations early. If you do come to the White Mountains in the summer or fall, don't miss visiting Mount Washington. At 6,288 feet above sealevel, it's the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains. It's famous for its bad weather at the summit – until 2010 it held the world's record for highest surface wind speed with 234 MPH recorded at the summit observatory in 1934. For comparison, a category 5 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of more than 156 MPH.
There are many ways to visit the summit of Mount Washington. Personally I like the cog railway (http://www.thecog.com/ ) or the auto road (http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/). You can drive the auto road, weather permitting, or take a guided van tour. I recommend the van. The road is beautiful, but more than a little scary, even if you're used to curvy mountain roads and heights. Bear in mind that weather may throw a monkey wrench into your plans. On the day I'm writing this post, a beautiful, sunny day in late September, there's a 20 degree temperature difference between the base of the road and the summit. If it were a windy day, that difference would be greater. It's not unusual to have temperatures in the 80's in June or July in the valley, and snow squalls on the summit. So, if the road is closed on what looks like a nice day, there's probably an excellent reason for it. The weather observatory station web site is full of fascinating http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/details about the mountain and its history:
Hiking, either one way or round trip is possible too. There are Appalachian Mountain Club huts and numerous trails. Please, don't try it without doing your research, making good preparations and having good emergency equipment. Take the mountain very seriously. There have been 137 deaths on it since record keeping began in 1849, mostly from hypothermia, and many of those were not in the winter.
I've barely scratched the surface of all the wonders you'll find if you visit New Hampshire. I hope this has whetted your appetite.
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(All photos are copyright Kathryn Smith, with the exception of the tree next to the pond, which is copyright Michael MacDonald, used with his kind permission.)