Looking for a late summer holiday or escape into the colours of fall? An escape that delivers excellent choices in dining, accommodation and a fun-filled holiday?

Whether it’s an up-scale hotel, a romantic getaway, or something sports/nature oriented, New Hampshire offers it up on a golden platter. There are few places more colourful than New Hampshire in the fall.

About three and a half hours from Montreal, nestled on 13-acres in Holderness, is The Manor on Golden Pond. It is here, amongst stunning views of the foothills of the White Mountains, that the movie On Golden Pond was filmed. The cabin still exists on Squam Lake. Some locals have anecdotes to share.

The Manor is equipped with a tennis court, pool and Spa. The rooms are personally designed by the owner, each with a different decor and character, all British named. For a romantic tryst, the Avon Room, secreted up in the attic, has been renovated to include a huge king size bed in the centre of the room, an oversized Jacuzzi and a wood burning fireplace. With fall fast approaching, I can imagine the lure of this exquisite hideaway, complete with roaring fire. There’s the Buckingham Room, with a balcony overlooking the mountains and lake, a shower and tub combination and a wood burning fireplace. What more could you ask for? Spa packages? They have those, too.

Dining in the Manor’s elegant Four Diamond Award winning Van Horn Dining Room is a sensuous event of its own. The cuisine created by Chef Peter Sheedy is a delight to the pallet, artfully presented with just the right colour and textures.

There’s much to enjoy around the Manor: The Sandwich Creamery, hidden away on a bumpy dirt road, is a must visit for its cheeses and ice cream. Here, everything is on the honour system. No one is there to take your money; you drop it through a letterbox! Nearby, you’ll find The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen selling the creative wares of the surrounding communities’ artisans – baskets, leather, iron work and colourful glass articles.

Deeper into New Hampshire is an experience for all ages. Gunstock Mountain Resort is a must for anyone who likes outdoor adventure – like camping and zip lining. It’s extreme, challenging and tremendous fun. This is not an amusement park; rather an experience in nature of physical endurance. Imagine zipping thousands of feet over the crimson and gold fall foliage!

The Avon Room – A romantic dream. Photo courtesy of Manor on Golden Pond

The Naswa Resort, with its private beach and marina, is situated in Laconia on Lake Winnipesaukee. The resort has been in the same family since 1939 and is run with great care and attention to the individual needs of ‘its family’ of visitors.

Few ‘do fun and relaxation’ better than Naswa. There’s kayaking, boating and bonfires at night with s’mores. Parasailing with Tony and Keith of Weirs Beach Parasailing, is an ‘uplifting’ experience. The soul soars above the waters. There is an extraordinary feeling of freedom – Dare to do! – You won’t regret it.

Dining at the Naswa is a casual affair. The Nazbar and Grill on the beach serves up hamburgers, fries, smoothies and alcoholic beverages.

About an hour and a half away from Laconia is Portsmouth. The picturesque drive along Route 1A North takes you through the beach communities of Hampton and Rye, lined with New England homes and colourful gardens overlooking the sea.

Portsmouth is a significant stopover in New Hampshire. This quaint yet up-to-date city has something for everyone. The newly renovated Music Hall, right out of the vaudeville era, is the cultural mecca for the area. Then there’s Portsmouth Kayak Tours. It provides two and a half hours of history on the water – a novice can do this. Visit Portsmouth’s glorious past at the extraordinary Strawberry Banke; or sail on the Piscataqua Gundalow.

There are so many restaurants in Portsmouth. So hard to chose. A favourite is the Agave Mexican Bistro: The Shrimp Quesadillas and Grilled Salad are to die for…along with specialty Margaritas. Light mariachi music plays in the background adding to the ambience, and the service is very attentive and warm. Agave is fast becoming one of the hot spots in Portsmouth.

The Buckingham Room – where autumn tweaks the hearth. Photo courtesy of Manor on Golden Pond

A visit is incomplete without dining at the Salt Kitchen & Bar in The Wentworth by the Sea. This is a culinary experience unparalleled: Imagine a salad of Roasted Asparagus, Olive Oil Fried Croutons, Crispy Parma Prosciutto, Seven Minute Egg and Saffron Rouilli. For a main course, Organic Farmed Salmon, Myer Lemon Butter, Sea Salted Capers, Parmesan Risotto, Blistered Tomatoes and Bloomsdale Spinach Leaves. Oh my – This newly renovated dining room is a visual, tasteful experience. Interior designer, Kim Deetjen, has created a room in varying shades of blue, so in tune with the bygone era of the Wentworth, yet within modern parameters. It, too, is a feast to behold!

Where to stay in Portsmouth? Convenient to downtown is the Port Inn, the longest operating Inn facility in Portsmouth. Its cozy self-contained suites, friendly staff, outdoor pool and umbrella-covered snack area, surrounded by lush greenery, make for a most pleasant stay.

Plan your trip for the fall and you will be surrounded by an array of colours, the friendliest of people, a variety of culinary experiences, activities beyond compare and places of great historic interest.  You will want to return to New Hampshire again and again.

Travel Planner

New Hampshire Tourism

Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce

Manor On Golden Pond

Wentworth by the Sea

Gunstock Inn

Naswa Inn

The Port Inn

Weirs Beach Parasail

The Music Hall

Portsmouth Kayak

Strawberry Banke

Gundalow Company

Agave Mexican Bistro

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