Foliage drives are the perfect way to enjoy all the splendor of a New England fall, welcoming the kaleidoscope of color into your vehicle, as you marvel at the fleeting beauty that surrounds you.
Here is one of our favorite fall drives in New Hampshire, the Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway.
Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway: The White Mountains Trail, which includes Kancamagus Highway, gets top-of-the-fold billing every fall, and rightfully so. But it’s also only one of many foliage drives that make New Hampshire a leaf-peeping paradise. The Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway will deliver the same kaleidoscope of color as the ‘Kanc,’ but with more picturesque towns and vibrant communities to explore. The circular loop is approximately 39 miles of road that encircles Lake Sunapee. The stunning vistas are the main star here, but the journey through the cultural communities in this neck of New Hampshire are also one of the top reasons to take the path. Along the way, you’ll see majestic views of Mounts Sunapee and Kearsarge and scenic overlooks at Otter Pond, Little Sunapee Lake, and Pleasant Lake. You’ll also definitely want to make a stop at the harbor on the lake, surrounded by the colors of a Granite State autumn.
Points of interest — Winslow State Park (475 Kearsarge Mountain Road, Wilmot, www.nhstateparks.org), located on the northwest slope of Mount Kearsarge, promises hikers outstanding views of the White Mountains and nearby Vermont peaks as well as Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain, and Pleasant Lake. A one-mile trail leads from the picnic area (located on a 1,820-foot plateau) to the summit of Kearsarge. Through Oct. 8, you can take a scenic lift ride at Mount Sunapee (1398 NH Route 103, Newbury, $17 adults, $13 children ages 5-12, mountsunapee.com), or swing by the Mount Sunapee State Park Beach (86 Beach Access Road, Newbury, nhstateparks.com) to immerse yourself in the surrounding colors. For more exploring of the natural horizon, check out the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge (Route 103A, Newbury, www.fws.gov/refuge/john-hay), the former summer estate of John Hay, known best as the personal secretary to Abraham Lincoln.