Fall Foliage and "The Elusive Moose"

Trip Start Sep 14, 2010
Trip End Nov 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Friday, September 24, 2010

Leaving Boston, we headed for inland New England - New Hampshire and Vermont. We made it to Maine as well - twice. And both times accidentally!

Our destination was Errol, northern New Hampshire and not far from the Canadian border. As the trip to New England was for the fall foliage, we were a bit worried that we would miss out, given the long, hot summer America has had. We were pleasantly surprised to see the leaves changing colour and some already brilliant reds and yellows.

New Hampshire was beautiful - small towns, lovely people and you can see why outdoor enthusiats of all types flock here - skiing in winter and hiking in summer, - moose and black bears, white-water rafting and backcountry camping. I think the state mantra ringing from every number plate, "Live free or die" sums up their fierce belief in constitutional rights.

Heading further north in New Hampshire, the foliage became more spectacular, the lakes and rivers so still they were like mirrors, and more and more pick-ups were seen on the roads. We passed some beautiful covered bridges and saw some amazing tracks for hiking.

Arriving in Errol, a tiny town, we were a little worried about our accommodation for the night. Finding The Errol Motel, our fears increased slightly but the hotel could not have been more comfortable or clean and the owner more friendly. The owners had renovated the hotel themselves and could not have been more proud of it.

During our drvie we had stopped and spoken with a park ranger who told us about a huge hotel called The Balsams that was not to be missed, just past Errol, at Dixville Notch. We took a drive and came across this large, magnificent hotel that reminded us all of the resort out of Dirty Dancing! Beautiful buildings, grounds and lovely staff. Activities were planned for the day - you could go hiking, mountain bike riding or kayaking with guides, have tennis lessons, play chess, and there was even a culinary appreciation center! As much as we all would have liked to have stayed there for a week, it was WAY out of our budget, so back to The Errol Motel it was. Dinner was 8 miles down the road, at The Bull Moose Restaurant, a dodgy looking place but with super-friendly staff and locals and good food - they even had a Weight-Watchers section!!!!!

Apparently moose are in abundance in northern New Hampshire, "You'll see one" was what many locals told us. Three separate searches and the moose still eluded us. we looked early evening, late evening and again at 5am the next morning - nothing. The only thing we managed to find was some wet moose tracks going across the road and a stuffed one in the general store!

Errol, like most of New Hampshire and Maine is big on the outdoors  - hunting, skiing, hiking etc and you can understand why looking at the beautiful forest surrounding it. But with temperatures getting down to -45 degrees farenheit (-43 degrees celcius), there is plenty of snow! Pickups with snow ploughs are in abundance and every house had at least one skidoo or All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) outside. One ATV that Courtney saw was particularly impressive and came complete with gun carrier!

The next day, we went to the US/Canadian Border so Courtney can now say that technically, she has been to Canada as well. There was an old dilapidated building in the middle of the two border crossings. The US custom official told us that it was called the old line house and a tavern and during the days of prohibition when it was illegal for buy alcohol in America. People would walk in one door, buy their alcohol on the Canadian side and then go and drink it on the American side!

From there, it was south to get back to Brooklyn to spend a few more days with Jordan. We came down through Vermont and got a surprise to see a gun shop at a Mobil Service Station. unable to resist, we went for a look where we were told that Vermont has absolutely zero gun laws. Apart from passing a quick check, we all could've walked out with a gun, whatever we wanted including automatics. No gun licence required, no concealement laws and you can shoot to kill if you are protecting yourself or your property. Needless to say, Vermont is one of the safest places in the country!!

We are now back in Brooklyn and Pete has done a great job driving through New York, police and firetrucks everywhere, and we have to pay special mention to the sat nav - we would be literally lost without it! We are staying with Jordan for a couple of nights. It's lovely to spend some time with him and we have also been able to catch up again with Pete's nephew Christian and his wife Carrie. Staying with Jordan is giving us a real 'New York' living experience - trains going past the window and all!! The area has a large community of Hasidic Jews and we have never seen so many sets of twins!! Off now to brave the wind and rain to walk the Brooklyn Bridge!

We hear the weather at home has been lovely, hope you are all enjoying it. Next stop, heading south to Pennsylvania and Washington DC.
Love Courtney, Dawn and Pete.
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