NEW HAMPSHIRE, the Granite State

What to see

Portsmouth city tour - Strawberry Banke museum
Moultonborough Castle in the Clouds
Gorham Mount Washington Auto Road - the Cog Railway
Glen Heritage New Hampshire Museum
North Conway Scenic Railroad
Bretton Woods Gold Standard 1944
Franconia Flume Gorge - Old Man of the Mountains - Cannon Aerial Tramway
Article Castle in the Clouds
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cover new england

This is an extract of the main sights in this state, with small photos. You will find the full description and full-sized photos in my e-book View America: New England

In the travel series View America, this book describes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, points of interest and tourist attractions.

It is not a traditional travel story, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 100 full-sized photos.



NEW HAMPSHIRE is also called the Granite State, because of its mountainous surroundings. In 1622 Captain John Mason was one of the first to receive land in the area, and he named it after the English county of Hampshire from his youth. It is one of the thirteen original colonies and one of the six New England states. In 1788 New Hampshire joined the US as the ninth state. The capital is Concord, and the largest city is Manchester. New Hampshire has approximately 1.2 million inhabitants, with a density of 54 per km2.

The state's surface is 24,000 km2, and 86% of the state is forested. It has the highest mountains in New England (Mount Washington is 1,917 meters high), countless lakes and virgin forests. The animal kingdom is represented by deer, black bears and moose. More recently the largest New Hampshire industry has become the manufacture of machinery, supported by an attractive tax regime, and of course tourism.

The northern White Mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and they present the most spectacular panoramas in the eastern United States. The highest wind speed ever was recorded on Mount Washington, with an incredible 372 kilometers per hour (or 230 mph)!



Moultonborough : Castle in the Clouds

The entrance to the Castle in the Clouds can be found on route 171. The trail that gives access to the house is just a small, steep and winding path between the trees, and sometimes just a scant foot remains between the sides of the car and the trees... As a matter of fact, I'll tell you an anecdote about this particular access road ! Along the road you'll see the Castle Springs falls, and a scenic viewpoint for great pictures ! From the parking lot, a trolley leads to the Estate.

But let's get back to this rather peculiar access road. During the construction, Mr. Plant had ordered two roads to be built to the estate. The first one, the small and winding path, would lead from the main road to the house. The second one, a larger and more convenient road, was to lead from the house to the source, and then back to the main road. So, the workers built both roads with two wide and comfortable lanes. But when Mr. Plant returned from a trip from Europe, he wasn't pleased at all. He ordered the first road to be torn up, and instead had them build the present small and winding path ! His reasoning was that it would impress visitors more, during the long climb to the house...

** Read more about the Castle in the Clouds **

Moultonborough : Castle in the Clouds 1 Moultonborough : Castle in the Clouds 2

Gorham: Mount Washington Cog Railway

The Mount Washington Cog Railway is a very special train, that climbs up Mount Washington over extraordinarily steep slopes of up to thirty-seven degrees ! This steam train was specially built for this steep climb, and it has a most peculiar profile, because the boiler is lower than at the front of the cabin ! This profile was necessary to keep the boiler as level as possible on the steep slopes. Furthermore, the track itself is equipped with cogs, for safety reasons. Definitely a particular attraction !

Gorham : Mt Washington Cog railway 1 Gorham : Mt Washington Cog railway 2

Franconia: Old Man of the Mountains

Our next destination was the Old Man of the Mountains, a remarkable natural spectacle in the White Mountains, on top of Cannon Mountain. Seen from a certain angle, the profile of the mountain forms a human face, obviously of enormous proportions. Only in 1805, this view was accidentally discovered, when work was being done on the road to Franconia Notch ! In these regions, a pass through the mountains is called a Notch, whereas elsewhere in the US the word "Pass" or "Gap" is used.

So we swiftly drove to the viewing point, and looked all over the mountain tops to find this spectacular face... Nothing, zilch, nada, rien de knots (that's a Belgicism) !... After half an hour of searching, I discovered a small and unobtrusive sign, that delicately states that on May 03, 2003 the chin of the Old Man apparently dropped open in surprise, and the rest of the face of course fell down at the same time... Speak about losing face !... Everywhere you'll still find tons of postcards and reproductions of the famous Old Man of the Mountains, but unfortunately no one bothers to mention this little extra detail to the tourists...

Franconia : Old Man of the Mountains 1 Franconia : Old Man of the Mountains 4