Suggestions of route to see fall foliage and anything interesting? Lunch stop ?
What date and how much time do you have?
Sat Oct 27 - Sunday Oct 28 flying out of Manchester 5pm
Thanks for the reply. I am still a little confused. Are you talking bout a two day drive, with an overnight stop along the way? Keene to MHT is an hour and a half drive, straight along Rte 101 to Manchester. You can easily make a lovely day of it, either by making long stops along the way, or by taking an intentionally indirect route. But if you are going to drive on the day of your flight, that puts some limits on the drive.
For the full day drive, I would take Rte 12 north out of Keene to Walpole. Stop in Burdick's for amazing chocolates and pastries, coffee too. This may be too early for your lunch stop, unless you leave Keene well after breakfast. Lunch at Burdick's is incredible. There is also great diner out the north end of town, The Hungry Diner. It is all locally sourced and the food is excellent. But if you are not ready for lunch, yet, don't worry. There is plenty of good food to be had in this region of the state.
From Walpole, find your way to Rte 123 East, through the towns of Marlow, Alstead, past Pitcher Mountain (an easy hike up with a great view, if you are so inclined), through Stoddard past Highland Lake and Island Pond and out to Rte 9. Turn south on Rte 9, which actually keeps you on 123, and turn left about a mile or two down to stay on 123 into Hancock, a picturesque New England town. Stop at Fiddlehead's for lunch (counter service, high quality food), or get a sandwich at the Hancock Market and take it over to Norway Pond or the Town Green to eat, if the weather is nice. The Hancock Inn across the street has excellent food, but I don't recall if they serve lunch on the weekend. Dinner for sure.
From Hancock, continue on Rte 123 out the other end of town. If you want to take the quicker route, or are tiring of winding roads, turn south on Rte 202 into Peterborough. This is a good option, regardless. Great dining at Harlow's (relaxed, great beer choices), Cooper's Hill Public House, Waterhouse (a bit pricier, but excellent) in town. Check out Sharon Arts Shop and Gallery, as well as other galleries and shops, and the excellent bookshop Toadstool. Other excellent dining options are available just south of town, a bit south of Rte 101. In the shopping center that comes up on the right are two excellent restaurants - Pearl and Bantam Grill. Unique menus. A little farther down the road (1/2 mile or less) on the left is Noone Falls, and old mill, with an excellent Japanese/Sushi/Chinese restaurant - Kogetsu. If you instead turn left onto 101 coming out of town, there is an excellent Mexican restaurant in the plaza on the right - Mi Jalisco.
If you continue on 101 East, it will take you through (or around) Milford. Milfor is a large ton with a lovely town center. Continue on 101 through Amherst and Bedford to Manchester. Follow the signs to the Airport. Along Rte 101 between Amherst and Bedford, is La Belle Winery. They offer wine tastings and an excellent menu.
Back to the original route leaving Hancock on Rte 123, about a mile out of town, the road will curve and Forest Road will bear off to the left. Take Forest Road, follow it across Rte 202. In about 2 miles it will cross a covered bridge and continue another couple of miles to Greenfield. In Greenfield, follow Rte 136 east to Francestown, and then stay on 136 through Francestown to the town of New Boston, a lovely winding route through beautiful countryside. As you get to New Boston, you will get to a Stop sign at Rte 77. Turn right, and then left to go through the center of town and onto Rte 13. Rte 13 will wind along a lovely small river and take you to Rte 114 in Goffstown. Turn right to go east on 114. At this point you are getting closer to Manchester. Commerce will pick up, but the ride is still pretty nice. Follow 114 until it joins 101, which becomes part of I-293. Follow the signs to the Airport, which will take you onto the Everett Turnpike south. A couple of miles down is the turn off to the Airport Access road.
Driving either of these routes straight without stops is probzbly bout 2 and a half to three hours, or a bit more. Add stops for meals and exploring and it cn take as much of the dy as you want to invest. Bail out in Peterborough and you will be an hour from the airport.
By the way, Oct 27/28 will probably be past fall color, though there could be a scattering of lingering color. The area is beautiful regardless, and you will pass through some quintessential New England towns.
One more bail out, if you need it. When you come across Rte 123 from Walpole to Stoddard, coming out on Rte 9, you can turn left on 9 (instead of heading to Hancock), heading north and east to I-89 to Concord and then south on I-93 to Manchester. Fast roads all the way, you will be at MHT within an hour.
Thanks - we are just taking our time and want to see small towns with interesting charm.
I appreciate your detailed directions and suggestions.
We will leave Keen on Sat and have u til mid afternoon Sunday to see NH
Any ideas are appreciated. I love to explore and drive off the interstates. Seeing the countryside.
Most likely there will be little foliage left on the trees by that day, even though the season is late this year.
So you're taking 1+ day to make a 90 minute drive?
Girls have to shop!
Wasn’t sure how much there was to do in each town. We will find something to do along the way.
We are going to Wilton and stay overnight Sat. Anything interesting in that area? Or any further areas
We shld drive to.
Wilton is a curious choice. No commercial lodging that i know of. Small Main Street, with a great movie theater in the town hall. Kind of an arts cinema. Usually won't show the blockbusters. Other than that, not much there. Milford, next town over, is larger, some good restaurants, but again no lodging except for a very cheesy motel. Don't do it. Georgio's is a great restaurant for Italian and super cocktails.
Shopping, do check out Keene on Main Street. Peterborough has some nice shops. Most of the other towns i described have minimal commerce. You might want to plan some time at the Premium Outlets in Merrimack.
The Hilltop Cafe in Wilton is a very good place to breakfast/brunch/lunch. They have dinner on Friday and Saturday but I've never had dinner there so can't comment on that.
If your goal is to shop that's not a a good town to be in.
Staying in Air BNB. Great reviews I don’t care for commercial hotels.
I have Hilltop on my list. Sunday breakfast.