Summer Wanderings Part 2: New Hampshire

From Sea Level to the Top of New Hampshire

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The summit of Mt Washington from the 5,000 foot mark of the Auto Road

Welcome to part two of our summer wanderings – featuring the great state of New Hampshire.  Full disclosure – I may be a bit partial to the ol’ Granite State, having been born and raised in southern New Hampshire.  I’ve got many fond memories – from evening picnics at Great Island Common to summer camps in the White Mountains, and a harrowing trip up the Mt. Washington Auto Road in and old Volvo 240 station wagon.  In fact, after a bit of convincing, we decided to reenact the later memory with our young family. And so, we piled into the Honda and ventured up the steep, eight-mile road to the clouds.  The Auto Road is actually billed as the oldest purpose-made tourist attraction in the US, opening in 1861 with carriage rides up to the summit.

On our trip up, things were pretty uneventful, aside from a cloud-covered summit and its sustained 50 mph winds with gusts to 70 mph – made all the more enjoyable by temperatures barely above 50 degrees.  I’ve got to say, it was a pleasant break from the rather stagnant 90 degree weather at the base of the mountain.  At 6,288 feet, Mt Washington is the tallest mountain in the Appalachians north of Virginia, and the highest place in New Hampshire.

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Whaleback Light – Kittery, ME – with the Victorian-era resort of Star Island in the background.

A few days earlier, we had gone to the shore at low tide to explore the tide pools with the kids.  You know what that means –  we managed to spend time at both the lowest and highest places in New Hampshire in one trip!  While along the coast, we visited Portsmouth Harbor Light – a steel and brick 19th century lighthouse welcoming ships at the entrance to the Piscatiqua River, which divides southern Maine from New Hampshire.  The light isn’t normally open to the public, but they have recently begun opening it for tours (for a nominal donation) during the summer on Sunday afternoons.  Though I lived in NH for 18 years and have been back every summer since, this was a first for us and well worth a couple of dollars to explore.  Come to think of it, there were a lot of first for us – but more on that later…

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Summer Wanderings Part 1: Maine

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