New Hampshire Feature
New Hampshire Fall Foliage Drive
With its quaint villages graced with green commons, white town halls, and covered bridges, southwestern New Hampshire is dominated by the imposing rocky summit of Mt. Monadnock and brilliant colors in fall. Kancamagus Highway is another classic foliage route, but for more solitude and less traffic, try this more accessible route that peaks a few weeks later than the state's far north.
The Granite State is the second most forested state in the nation; by Columbus Day, the colors of the leaves of its maple, birch, elm, oak, beech, and ash trees range from green to gold, purple to red, and orange to auburn. Routes 12, 101, 202, and 124 compose a loop around Mt. Monadnock, named for its solitary type of mountain. Start in Keene with a cup of coffee at Prime Roast; for New Hampshire-made products, take a walk on Main Street or detour west on Route 9 to reach Stonewall Farm for something more country.
Best Time to Go
Early October is best time to view foliage in southern New Hampshire, but the time can vary by up to four weeks. Call or check online for daily leaf changes (www.visitnh.gov 800/258-3608).
Planning Your Time
Expect to travel about 55 mi. The journey can take up to a full day if you stop to explore along the way.
From Keene, travel east on Route 101 through Dublin and over Pack Monadnock, a 2,290-foot peak (not to be confused with the 3,165-foot Grand, or Mt. Monadnock). In quaint Peterborough, browse the local stores, whose attitude and selection matches the state's independent spirit.
Then turn south on Route 202, stopping at Colls Farmstand for some seasonal treats before reaching Jaffrey Village. Just west on 124, in historic Jaffrey Center, be sure to visit the Meeting House Cemetery on the common where author Willa Cather is buried. A side trip, 4 mi south on 202, leads to the majestic Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, one of the best places in the region for foliage viewing because the evergreens offset the brilliant shades of red.
Heading west on 124, you can take Dublin Road to the main entrance of Monadnock State Park or continue along to the Old Toll Road parking area for one of the most popular routes up the mountain, the Halfway House Trail. All of the hiking trails have great views, including the area's many lakes. Continuing on 124 you come to Fitzwilliam and Route 12; turn north back to Keene or, if your legs still have energy left to burn, continue west to Troy for some dancing at East Hill Farm.
Need a Break?
Stonewall Farm. Stonewall Farm is a nonprofit working farm that teaches visitors about the importance of agriculture. There's an active schedule of special events that feature maple sugaring, farm animals, and other farm activities such as horse-drawn hayrides and a pumpkin patch. 242 Chesterfield Rd., Keene, NH, 03431. 603/357-7278. www.stonewallfarm.org. Grounds dusk-dawn. Learning center and gift shop weekdays 8:30-4:30. Farm stand daily 9-4:30.
Colls Farmstand. Colls Farmstand carries maple syrup, jams, and other New Hampshire-made products, as well as fruit, vegetables, and an on-site deli for fresh meats and sandwiches. 16 Colls Farm Rd., Jaffrey, NH, 03452. 603/532-7540. www.collsfarmllc.com. Mon.-Sat. 9-6, Sun. 9-5.
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