With its White Mountains, 18 miles of coastline and beautiful lakes, New Hampshire is a four-season state . . . winter skiing, summer beaching, spring hiking, and of course, the famous leaf-peeping in the fall. (Note: You simply cannot get lost in New Hampshire. The state is meticulous about its roads and signs.)
NEW HAMPSHIRE TOURIST INFORMATION: (800) 944-1117
STATE HOUSE, Main Street, Concord (603) 271-2154
Open year round, Mon. - Fri., 8:30-4. Closed Holidays.
Surrounded by the State Flower, the aromatic purple lilac, this building of native New Hampshrie granite is the oldest capitol building in the nation in which the legislature still meets in its original chambers. More then 200 paintings and murals throughout the building depict New Hampshire landscapes, military leaders, governaors and other historical figures.
Tip: Reservations are necessary for guided tours.
FRANKLIN PIERCE HOMESTEAD, Hillsboro (603) 478-3165
Open May - October
Franklin Pierce's father, Benjamin, built this house which also served as a tavern in the early years. A Revolutionary War veteran and former Governor of New Hampshire, Benjamin, the father is just as interesting as his famous son. (Maybe even more interesting.)
Tip: Make sure you get a good look upstairs in the "Campaign" Room. It tells more about Pierce than the living quarters below.
Check it out . . . Don't miss the old map of the United States during Pierce's day. It's right beside the Campaign Room. Looking at the territories and how they got divided into states makes one wonder why there weren't more border disputes. How this country ever survived its growing pains is remarkable.
CANTERBURY SHAKER VILLAGE, Canterbury (603) 783-9511
Established in 1792, members of this religious colony of farmers designed elegantly simple, but highly functional tools, textiles,utensils, and furniture. Now a living museum and historic site, visitors can tour the original 24 buildings and see demonstrations of Shaker craftsmanship, such as broom making, oval box making and weaving. Nature trails wind around the herb garden and mill ponds.
Special events during the year include:
May -- Wood Day and Herb Garden Day
August -- Antique Show
September -- Wool Day
October -- Harvest Day
Check it out . . . The gift shop has two-stories of unusual gifts, gadgets and books.
MOUNT WASHINGTON COG RAILWAY, Bretton Woods (603) 278-5404 or (800) 922-8825. Open May-October
Tip: We had been to the Cog Railway twice before at peak season during the summer, and now in late October. We think the cold weather visit offers the greatest sensation. It's got a threatening feel to it, and an element of danger and excitement. Plus the crowd seems hardier and more fun-loving.
Check it out . . . The gift shop has a 24-page, full color, glossy booklet entitled simply, "Cog Railway." It tells the story of Sylvester Marsh, a 54-year old retired businessman from the meatpacking industry who dreamed of creating a railway to take tourists to the top of his beloved Mount Washington. When he applied for a charter at the State Legislature he was met with a roomful of scornful laughter. However, since he was using his own money and asked for no help from the State, they granted him the charter and he began building his dream. He endured 11 years of setbacks, ridicule, and almost went broke before the first train rolled to the summit on July 3, 1869. The advertisements read "Railway to the Moon . . . A timeless adventure." President Ulysses S. Grant was one of its first passengers.