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.
Stay — The New London Inn (353 Main St., $139-$249 per night, thenewlondoninn.com) is a boutique hotel located in the heart of New London that dates back to 1792. Luxury suites and quaint, smaller rooms are available, as are options for both casual and fine dining. In nearby Bradford, the Rosewood Country Inn (67 Pleasant View Road, $185-$295 per night, rosewoodcountryinn.com) offers luxurious accommodations wrapped in the history of the area. The restaurant, Moments at the Rosewood, is now a supper club-style outlet with a pop-up dinner experience that rotates.
Eat — Breakfast buffets take place every Sunday morning at the Appleseed Restaurant (63 High St., Bradford, appleseedrestaurant.com), nestled in a cozy environment overlooking Lake Todd. Save room though for lakeside dining at the Anchorage (71 Main St., Sunapee, anchoragesunapee.com), a restaurant that has been around for 120 years and offers a variety of sandwiches, burgers, and seafood platers, food that will do for your stomach what the surroundings will do for your eyes. For a truly unique dinner experience, Sunapee Cruises offers a dinner cruise ($49.99 adults, $34.99 children 12 and under, sunapeecruises.com), a two-hour journey on Lake Sunapee that comes with a dinner buffet and dessert. Through Oct. 16. Check web site for specific dates and to make a reservation.
Offbeat attraction — Whether it’s homemade pottery, old-fashioned sodas, or luxurious quilts you’re looking for during your New England visit, the Wild Goose Country Store (77 Main St., Sunapee, 603-763-5516), nestled in the harbor, will likely have it. This is an old-school shopping experience, where browsing through the native products truly puts you in the heart of the Sunapee region.