Cool nights and warm days mean the leaves are starting to turn, especially in higher elevations. Our foliage drive north past Mt. Washington this week showed early color through Pinkham Notch, and north toward Errol and Dixville Notch. For a scenic drive through the northern White Mountains, follow Route 16 north from the Inn at Ellis River to Gorham. Detour for a trip up the Mt. Washington Auto Road for wide scenic vistas if you wish. At Gorham, turn left on Route 2/Route 16, and continue on Route 16 along the Androscoggin River through Berlin and Milan to Errol. Make a stop if you wish at the Androscoggin Wayside Park just south of Errol. Then take Route 26 northwest through Dixville Notch ~ if you’re in the mood for a hike, stop at the state park where you will find a scenic gorge and waterfalls on two mountain brooks. Park hiking trails lead to Table Rock and mountain views. Continue on Route 26 to Colebrook. At Colebrook, Route 3 south follows the Connecticut River valley, so you’ll have views of both New Hampshire and Vermont. At Groveton, head east for higher elevations on Route 110, which will take you back to Route 16 at Berlin, where you can head south to return to the inn.
If you prefer a slightly longer loop that includes the colors turning in Crawford Notch, at Groveton continue on Route 3 south to Lancaster and Whitefield. You can follow Route 3 from Colebrook, or cross the Connecticut at several points (Colebrook, Northumberland) to follow Route 102 on the Vermont side, returning to Route 3 via Route 2 east to Lancaster. If you wish, make a detour from Route 102 to Guildhall, VT (via Grandby Road) with its typical New England architecture bordering the common. At Whitefield, NH, consider a short detour from Route 3 west on Mountain Grand Road to see the Mountain Grand Hotel and the views south from its portico. Continue on Route 3 south to Twin Mountain, where you turn left on Route 302 heading east, past the Mount Washington Hotel and through Crawford Notch. At Glen, turn north on Route 16 for your final few miles to the inn and the afternoon cookies that await you.