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Look at 'Live Free or Die' state before traveling

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2002

Think about spending your next vacation relaxing or playing amid the farms, forests and mountains of New Hampshire, the historic ''Live Free or Die'' state.

Start exploring the possibilities at the state's official Visit New Hampshire -- http://www.visitnh.gov/ -- where you click on Tour NH to get acquainted with the tourist regions and read brief descriptions of towns. Then get into Things to Do for scenic and walking tours, covered bridges, fall foliage and things to do on the water.

Visit New Hampshire's Trip Planner can supply you with maps, and Quick Trips & Itineraries has suggested road trips. Once you figure out where you want to go, they'll also help you pick out campgrounds, inns or hotels.

Take in the forested scenery of the White Mountains -- http://-www.whitemtn.org/ -- a big swath of mountains and valleys in the northern part of the state. You can canoe, explore hiking trails and photograph covered bridges. They also offer maps to help you get there, and guides to motels and campgrounds.

If you want to camp elsewhere in the state, New Hampshire Campgrounds -- http://www.-ucampnh.com/ -- has a directory of places to pitch a tent or park an RV.

The White Mountains region includes 6,288-foot Mount Washington, highest point in the Northeast. It's the home of the Mountain Washington Observ-atory -- http://www.mountwashington.org/ -- a unique weather laboratory, which also provides a wealth of information for visitors. Leaf through their Photo Gallery. And be sure to read Surviving Mount Washington; the weather can be extreme.

You don't have to hike to reach the top. Drive the Mount Washington Auto Road -- http://www.mountwashingtonautoroad.com/ -- a toll road with scenic vistas at every turn. Before you go, click on FAQs and look for Vehicle Limitations. If you don't care to drive, head for the summit aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway -- http://www.thecog.-com/ -- the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway.

There's more to see in the White Mountain National Forest -- http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/white/ -- including the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area. Look under Things to Do and then Photography to learn about the gorge, and then dig into Recreation for detailed descriptions of hiking trails.

Don't pass up the scenic Franconia Notch area. The local Chamber of Commerce -- http://www.franconianotch.org/ -- has links to the area's attractions, including the Flume Gorge and Franconia Notch State Park, home of the Old Man of the Mountain formation.

Plan to fish, or do just about anything else outdoors? NH Outdoors -- http://www.nhoutdoors.com/ -- has fishing reports, the lowdown on fishing licenses, even spots for skateboarding.

Need a break from the mountains and forest? Visit SeacoastNH -- http://www.seacoastnh.com/ -- to see what you can do along the state's 18-mile-long seacoast, the nation's smallest.

Finally, plan a winter visit with the help of Ski New Hampshire -- http://www.skinh.com/ -- which also outlines summer activities at the state's ski resorts. Or, look up Alpine Zone -- http://www.alpinezone.com/ -- to learn about mountain fun in other parts of New England.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: E-mail comments and tips to cybertrip(at)ap.org.



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