Exploring fall foliage in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region! And some cool spots for photo opps!

View looking out over forest at Pawtuckaway State Park

What a beautiful fall this year in New Hampshire, despite it arriving a little later than usual. While peak foliage has come and gone in many regions of the state, the change of seasons typically happens last on the Seacoast.  That seems to be holding true again this year.  Certainly with the most recent storm many of the leaves are off the trees, even in this area, but the beauty of the season has not fallen from view.  Come along as we explore the foliage and highlight some great spots for photo opps.

Trail through the woods with stone stairway

View out to the surrounding forest from South Mountain Fire Tower

We started our tour of the Seacoast from the top of the South Mountain Fire Tower at Pawtuckaway State Park.  On the trail we took, it’s only about a 15 minute hike up to the tower, and from that spot you get prime 360 degree views of the surrounding area and Pawtuckaway Lake too!  In addition to many hiking trails, Pawtuckaway has a family beach, camping, a marsh with great wildlife viewing of things such as beavers, deer and great blue herons, and there’s a boulder field – where large boulders, called glacial erratics, were deposited when glacial ice melted near the end of the Ice Age thousands of years ago.

Historic wagon on top of a hill with person walking into view

Walking along shoreline looking out at Great Bay with foliage on trees

From Pawtuckaway, we drove to Durham, and what a drive!  The leaves that are still on the trees are beautiful shades of coral, orange and yellow.  In Durham, we stopped to check out Wagon Hill Farm.  I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I’ve driven by this iconic spot along Route 4.  You know the place I’m talking about, the one with the historic wagon at the top of the hill.  It’s a perfect photo opp.  And who knew there was a great trail system here too! The farm sits on about 139 acres and includes grassland habitats, oak forests, an old apple orchard and a shoreline that overlooks Great Bay offering up some pretty spectacular ocean views.

Hay bale with Live Free with Kris standing on top of it

From Durham, we headed to Dover and on the way came upon this quintessential fall scene.  Stone walls lining the roadside and wide open fields with humongous hay bales, and well, we just had to stop.

Sound waves exhibit inside Children's Museum of New Hampshire

Exhibit inside Children's Museum

Submarine exhibit at Children's Museum of New Hampshire

 It was a quick drive from Durham to Dover for our next stop at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. There are dozens of interactive, hands on exhibits and activities here, all aimed at inspiring innovation and creative thinking.   The exhibits really give kids a chance to get engaged in hands-on learning.  But you don’t have to be a kid to have fun here.  The museum recently started hosting what they’re calling Throwback Thursdays.  These are ‘grown-up’ play dates for adults to come and feel like a kid again. Be sure to check their calendar of events for the scoop!

Exterior image of Henry's Cafe in New Castle

Menu board inside Henry's Cafe

From Dover, we drove to New Castle after hearing there was a great little café in town that we just had to check out. So, we did!  Henry’s Café offers a variety of delicious sounding breakfast and lunch items as well as a relaxing vibe that seems fitting given its location: the Island of New Castle.  We grabbed a cappuccino and a pumpkin cream cheese cupcake to enjoy as we continued down the road.

Entrance area to Fort Constitution Historic Site

Inside fort area of Fort Constitution

Brick tunnel at Fort Constitution Historic Site

Just down the road from Henry’s is Fort Constitution Historic Site, the next stop on our route.  It’s located on the northeast corner of New Castle.  Fun fact about New Castle, it’s the only NH town made up entirely of islands!  This site overlooks both the Piscataqua River and the Atlantic Ocean. The original name of the site was Fort William and Mary –  after the king and queen of England.  Walking the grounds you can get a sense of the military history here.  This is the site of the first victory of the American Revolution led by Captain John Langdon and Major John Sullivan.  There’s a couple underground tunnels that are still open to the public!

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

And how cool is this: Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse is located here – and there’s no arguing this is a beautiful place for a photo opp.

Great Island Common Park with ocean view

Picnic area at Great Island Common

From the Fort, we came down the road to Great Island Common to wrap up our day… this 32 acres park is situated right on the Atlantic Ocean.  And would you believe, another iconic photo spot?!?  Historically, the changing of the leaves happens last on the Seacoast – and this year is no exception.  We did see some beautiful color around the region, even leaves that have fallen from the trees have created a colorful carpet on the ground below.  With the fall foliage coming to a close in New Hampshire this will be our last foliage tour for the season.  But be sure to follow @LiveFreeWithKris on Facebook and Instagram to see what we’re highlighting during the holiday season! Until next time LFWK.

 

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