The lupine festival runs through this Sunday, June 21st. While it had been on my "wish list" for a few years, this is the first time we made it to the Franconia area to check out some magnificent fields of these pinkish-purple flowers in bloom. (I just learned from the official guidebook that "lupine" is pronounced LOO-PIN, not LOO-PINE. Oops!)
Since my flower photos are underwhelming, I'll try to post some links later to sites with nice lupine photos. For now, here's a slideshow of some of the places we saw and things we did while in Sugar Hill and surrounding towns. Be sure to scroll all the way down under the slideshow to "Read More" about the Franconia area.
A quick word to those planning to attend the festival for the first time
The word "festival" is relative. There's not a whole lot going on in these small New Hampshire towns, even during the festival. Unless you're happy to spend hours gazing at fields of flowers, I recommend you plan your own adventures. With so many natural attractions in the area, it's not hard to do!
Here are some of the highlights from our weekend, just to give you an idea of what's available during the festival and at other times:
I already wrote about kayaking Streeter Pond. We also paddled on Echo Lake at the base of Cannon Mountain, which I'll post about in more detail soon. Profile Lake is in the area, too. For a list of potential kayak and canoe sites, check out http://www.franconianotch.org/.
We Rode the Aerial Tram up Cannon Mountain
An 80-passenger car brings you to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain in under ten minutes. On a clear day, you can see the mountains of four states (New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York) and Canada. Once you get to the top, you can walk a short scenic path to a 360-degree observation deck. We didn't have a clear view of all four states and Canada, but there was plenty to see. Our state really is beautiful!
We Ate Dinner in Downtown Littleton
Neither one of us had ever visited Littleton before and we were both pleasantly surprised. It's a small town with a decent-sized Main Street, filled with shops and restaurants. We didn't take advantage of it, but there's a self-guided walking tour of historic sites.
We Attended the Firemen's Barbecue and Craft Fair in Sugar Hill
This was a festival-related event held at the Meeting House. Hotdogs, chili, chicken -- all the usual fare and live bluegrass music, too. We bought a jar of homemade Danish ginger pickles that were reminiscent of the ones Doug's grandmother used to make. The woman who sold them to us invited us to call her when we make them on our own so she can "walk us through." Gotta love it!
We "Meditated" on the White Mountains from our Inn
We stayed at the Sunset Hill Inn. I'll be honest here and say the Inn itself isn't all that impressive, mostly because there's a lot of deferred maintainence (peeling paint, stained carpets, dripping faucets -- you get the picture). But for me, the wonderful location cancelled out all of that. Sunset Hill has great mountain views, both from the well-landscaped grounds and from the formal dining room.
So those are highlights from our short weekend, but there are so many more outdoor hiking and walking trails, waterfalls, zip lines, you name it. If you've visited the Franconia area, why don't you write and let us know your favorites?