The light disappeared as the bus from Boston trundled its way further north. Shimmers of mirrored light caught my eye as I passed giant lakes and rushing streams. The red glow of closed shop and restaurant signs lit up as we passed through villages and towns. Four hours later I arrived in North Conway, my feet disappeared into snow as I stepped out of the bus doors. Kate was there to great me. She was smothered behind layers of thick clothes and a waterproof.
North Conway and its surrounding landscape stayed hidden behind low lying clouds and mist for the first few days. Once the weather cleared it revealed New England’s astonishing landscape; endless roads winding through beautiful thick birch-covered forests that sprawled over rolling hills and climbed the towering summits. The the snow covered peaks of the ancient Appalachian Mountains looked like an acrylic painting against the jet blue sky. My mind couldn’t quiet compute the powerful scenery.
Spending the day skiing at Attitash in the snowy White Mountain’s felt extremely serial. Whilst riding the chair lift up to its peak, I sat thinking about how dramatically my life had changed over the last couple of months. After a year and a half of sailing the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and three Atlantic Crossings, suddenly I was 2300ft on top of a mountain in North America admiring the most beautiful, sun covered, panoramic landscape.
I have been pleasantly struck by how friendly the residents of New England are. Everyone I have met has been extremely generous and welcoming. Every shop, cafe and even petrol station I have entered, I would be asked where I was from, as they were curious about my accent. The conversations would always lead to recommendations on where I should visit during my stay. I drove to Jackson, a few miles north from North Conway. There I hiked an 11 mile loop; every car that passed me waved and smiled.
The difficulty with exploring the hiking trails around New Hampshire during the month of April is that you end up disappearing in snow with every step you take. However it is definitely still worth the sweat! I highly recommend visiting Diana’s Bath Waterfalls and Echo Lake if you are near the town of North Conway. Other worthwhile places to explore include Crawford Notch State Park and White Mountain National Forest which have endless hikes and trails to get lost along. Driving the 302 North Road out of North Conway is a lovely route that winds around Mount Washington. Along the road there are parking spots situated next to scenic viewpoints of waterfalls and rivers.
America’s countryside is just like you would imagine it to be. Every village and town is surrounded by a National Forest or State Park. Picture this, when walking along the roadside you pass the gate to a immaculate farm yard. In the gateway lies an oversized, crossbred, farm dog who’s chin is buried in the dust; the only movement the dog makes is his eyes that follow you across the driveway as you walk. I couldn’t help but admire the magnificent farm houses. Wooden rocking chairs swing in the breeze on the well swept porch that overlook the rolling hillsides. The striking traditional red barn stands boldly against the green fields; it is towered by a metal feed storage unit.
Every village and town has several antiques stores that are filled with a variety of rusty lanterns, vintage skis, wooden handled axes and tangled fishing rods and reels. Between the dreadful electric light covered food places, the places that sell 16inch pizzas and ketchup smothered hotdogs, I found quaint little cafes. The Sunrise Shack (302 North Road, North Conway) for a hearty breakfast, Peaches Restaurant (White Mountain Hwy, North Conway) for a beautifully displayed healthy salad, Autumn Nomad Cakes (18 Black Mountain Rd, Jackson) for a slice of key lime pie and a hot chocolate before an eleven mile loop hike from the centre of Jackson, down Dundee Rd and back up Thorn Hill Rd; followed by a well deserved dinner at the, Retro Ski decorated, Wildcat Inn & Tavern (Main St, Jackson) which offers fantastic local meat and fish dishes.
If you find yourself heading this way, make sure you tantalise your taste buds with succulent seafood and sweet maple syrup. The New Hampshire maple industry produces close to 90,000 gallons of maple syrup annually. Tapping the Maple Trees for their sweet sap is part of everyday school activities from mid-February to mid-April. Skiing is a compulsory sport during the snowy winter season at all schools located near the New Hampshire White Mountains.
New England by Eliza Brown