Leaf Peeping in the White Mountains

Fall in New Hampshire is magical. While it’s a sign that winter is coming (BOO), the grace and beauty of this season makes me almost grateful for winter.  Fall days are wonderful. Indian Summer often springs days in the high 70’s, while the evenings are crisp.

When I first visited New England, Tom took me on a trip up to the Kancamagus Highway to see the fall foliage. Ever since then, this drive, spanning from Lincoln, NH to Conway, NH, has been my very favorite byway in New Hampshire. The road, NH Route 112, is a 56.39-mile-long east–west state highway in northern New Hampshire. This scenic byway skirts the Southern end of the White Mountain National Forest and reaches a peak elevation of around 2900 feet.

The day started out a bit grey, but it didn’t matter. The colors (while not quite at peak) were vibrant and lovely and the day was mild.

Kancamagus Highway Lincoln NH

The beginning of the Kancamagus Highway

There were a surprising number of visitors on the highway and in the parking areas for a weekday. However, we got in a groove and didn’t see much traffic.

Kancamagus Highway

Kancamagus Highway – Alive with color

Kancamagus Highway

Today’s open road

Even though the vista points were mobbed, we had to stop for the lovely views. Surprisingly, some of the area had already peaked, and many of the trees were bare. Others hadn’t peaked yet and were still green. Still, there was vibrant color everywhere, and the day really was a bit of food for the soul.

Kancamagus Highway

Panoramic Vista (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

After coming to the end of the highway, we continued meandering across New Hampshire, pointing the front of the car somewhat towards home. All in all, we drove over 250 miles over the course of six hours. A lovely way to spend the day.

Fall leaf

Souvenir from our drive

And yes, Jasmine and Juliet enjoyed the ride too.

Birthday Extravaganza Part II: Mid-Coast Maine

The day after we came back from my birthday celebration in Portsmouth, we headed back out on the road. This time, we headed up to mid-coast Maine. We had vacationed up there around the same time last year, and we loved it. Tom’s sister and brother-in-law own a house up in Northport, and they were gracious enough to let us stay again.

The main attraction for us to visit the area again was for the 10th Annual Belfast Wienerfest! For the last 9 years, Dachshunds of all shapes, sizes and colors have been gathering to celebrate their wiener-ness. We had happened upon the fest (thanks to Tom’s brother-in-law) last year, and we made it a point to attend again this year.

It’s a lot of fun. All the proceeds go to help fund the lovely dog park in Belfast. There were Wiener Dog Races, a costume contest (see below), a parade and more. Last year, I just put some purchased costumes on the girls. This year, I went all out and made them Geisha costumes.

Jasmine and Juliet Geisha Girls

Aren’t my Geisha Girls sweet?

We didn’t win the contest, but came in the top five (out of over 30 entries). If you want to read more about our time at the Wienerfest, check out the post on the Jasmine and Juliet blog!

We ate at all our favorite places and really enjoyed the area. Suzuki, a sushi restaurant in Rockland, Maine, has the freshest sushi I’ve had on the East coast. Of course, we had to visit!

Suzuki Rockland Omakase

Mmmm! Sushi!

We mainly hung out in our favorite town up there, Belfast. Relatively un-touristy, Belfast was once a town of ill repute. Chicken processing plants befouled the waters with ‘extra’ parts. Which is probably why the lobsters are so plentiful and good in Penobscott Bay! We really enjoyed the views and the lazy days.

Camden Maine

Camden Harbor

Northport Bayside Penobscott

Penobscott Bay view from Northport Bayside (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

We also explored new areas that we had not visited last year, including Deer Island and Castine. We really enjoyed Castine’s small shops and charm. This small harbor teems with tourists in the summer, so we were glad to miss the crowds!

Castine Maritime Academy

Maine Maritime Academy in Castine

As usual, the dogs were perfect travel companions. Hey, they’re pros at it by now! Of course, they were both glad to get back home.


Jasmine is happy to be home!

New England is a lovely area to explore. I’ll post more of our adventures soon!

The Adventure Continues: Birthday Extravaganza (Part I)

Even though the official ‘Lost in America’ trip is now over, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t stopped wandering. We love to discover new places and just wander through small towns across backroads. It’s no wonder that we’ve driven most of the major backroads in Southern New Hampshire since our move here, and we have continued that passion since our return from the ‘big’ trip. I have decided to continue blogging our travels, if only to give John Howell more trips to follow for his flight simulator!

One such adventure started on my birthday. Tom surprised me with a trip out of town. The whole day was a big surprise. I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. We got on the highway and headed East towards the Seacoast. However, when we didn’t take the exit for the expressway North, I thought we were going to Hampton Beach. Nope. We drove up through Hampton, but drove on. It was an absolutely crisp and lovely day, and we were driving along the shore. Lovely!

We approached Porstmouth, NH (that was my other guess as to our destination), but we just drove through and across the river to Maine. Hm. We drove around Kittery, did some shopping and then headed back down to Portsmouth. It did turn out that my guess was right, but sneaky Mr. Tom…he tried to hide it from me! We checked into our hotel and then headed out to walk around town with the dogs.

I love Portsmouth. It’s downtown area is filled with great restaurants, shops and galleries. The buildings are old andfunky, and I think the food is the best in New Hampshire. We ended up eating dinner at Mombo, an absolutely stellar casual fine dining restaurant (more props to Tom for picking this place!). The food was fabulous and the night was warm enough to dine on their patio.

Mombo Watermelon Feta Salad

Mombo – Watermelon and Whipped Feta Salad w/Balsamic Glaze and Pop Rocks!

Mombo Charcuterie

Mombo – Charcuterie Plate


Mombo Steak

Mombo – Wagu Kobe Hanger Steak

Given the number of drinks we both had, we staggered back to the hotel. It was a fine way to celebrate my birthday!

The next morning, we had a great breakfast at a local cafe and then headed up the coast. Once again, we just wanted to wander and decided to drive as far as we wanted. The drive up coastal Maine is spectacular. The houses are incredible, and the bright sunny day made the drive even more pleasant. We stopped at my very favorite lighthouse–the Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick. This picturesque lighthouse is the epitome of Maine lighthouses…quaint and beautiful.

Nubble Lighthouse

Nubble Lighthouse – Cape Neddick Maine

We continued up the coast and finally stopped for lunch at a wonderful little seafood shack.

After a few more hours, we turned back for home. It was a great couple of days, and just the beginning of a week and a half of travel! Stay tuned for Part II! (P.S. Will add pics here soon! Check back!)