Yes, we love New Hampshire, but we're also partial to the neighboring state of Maine. In fact, we're headed to Long Island, Maine on vacation. (Year round population: 200; Summer population: 700.) We're not taking our kayaks or our car -- the island is only 1 mile wide by 3 miles long -- but we are taking our bikes. Before we unplug for a week, I thought I'd leave you with a list of cool ways to spend a summer day in New Hampshire.
We haven't experienced all of these mini-adventures yet. So if you've tried any of them, please write in and let us know. Enjoy! (Photo of Mt. Willard by Greg Paret.)
1.Kayak secluded Long Pond in Benton, NH
Aim for early morning, if you can. That's when you're more likely to see loons, bald eagles, beavers, and other wildlife. In the afternoon, visit nearby Lost River Gorge, where the brave-hearted are welcome to venture into cool, dark caves to see what they can see. You can read about our trip to Long Pond in 2007 here. Would love to make a return trip!
2. Plan a short visit to Madison Boulder
We're going to visit a rock, you ask? Well, this isn't just any rock; it's the largest erratic boulder in New England. We guarantee it's more impressive in size than the famed Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. To see for yourself, check out fellow New Hampshire blogger J.W. Ocker's video of his trip to the rock. (I love his site, O.T.I.S, which stands for "Odd Things I've Seen." ) Follow your stop at the rock with an afternoon at nearby White Lake State Park, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim under a canopy of pine trees.
3. Take a bike ride around Strafford-Bow Lake.
In her book, Bicycling Southern New Hampshire, Linda Chestney describes it as the "perfect family ride." There's little traffic and you'll be able to experience some of New Hampshire's simple allure: "stone walls, large maples, birches, tree-canopied roads, and old burial grounds." Add a place for picnicking and swimming at the end of the ride and what more could you ask for?
4. Kayak (or canoe) the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont.
If you're looking for peaceful and scenic flatwater paddling, check out North Star Canoe Rentals in Cornish for shuttle and trip information. You'll paddle beneath the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge (the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States) while enjoying views of Mount Ascutney. This one's on my wish list.
5. Hike Mount Willard for great views of Crawford Notch.
We haven't tried this yet, but one source calls it "the best view for the easiest hike" in the White Mountains. The hike is 3-miles round trip, with a gentle and steady climb to a wide open summit. Check out Hiking with Chuck's website for photos and all the details you need to plan your hike.