New England, America.
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 neon red glow of closed shop and restaurant signs lit up a
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 reached the towering summits. The the snow covered peaks of the ancient Appalachian Mountains looked like an acrylic painting against the deep blue sky. I was overwhelmed by the scale and rich colours of this picturesque scenery.
I spent the first few days skiing at Attitash in the snowy, White Mountains, where the contrast of landscape and temperature from my Caribbean travels felt extremely surreal. 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 dappled, panoramic views.
I have been warmed by the friendliness of the residents of New England. Everyone I have met has been extremely generous and welcoming. Patrons of every shop, cafe and even petrol station I have entered, I would be asked where I was from, 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 and every car that passed me the passengers 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! Diana’s Bath Waterfalls and Echo Lake are well worth a visit and not far from 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 investigate. Driving the 302 North Road out of North Conway is a picturesque route that winds around Mount Washington. Along the side of the road there are parking spots situated next to scenic viewpoints of waterfalls and rivers.
North American country is just as I had imagined it to be. America’s countryside is just like you would imagine it to be. Most villages and towns are 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 with his eyes that follow you across the driveway as you walk past. The magnificent timber farm houses with wooden rocking chairs swinging in the breeze on the well swept porch, overlooking the rolling hillsides. The striking traditional red barn stands as a bold contrast to the surrounding lush green fields. An enormous metal grain tower standing tall at its side.
It seams that most small towns have several antique stores that are filled with a variety of rusty lanterns, vintage skis, wood handled axes and tangled fishing rods and reels.
In between the gaudy, electric signs that cover fast food cafes, selling 16inch pizzas and ketchup smothered hotdogs, I found quaint little cafes. The Sunrise Shack (302 North Road, North Conway) was perfect 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, 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.