Catch the Colors
Begin in Groveton, north of Lancaster on Route 3, and follow Route 110 east to Stark Covered Bridge, one of the state's most perfectly set, beside a white church. Walk through the bridge to look back at a view that you'll recognize from postcards. Above, behind the village, is the ledge known as Devil's Slide.Farther on, an historic marker on the right marks the trail to a clearing, where the stone fireplace is all that remains of the Stark Prisoner of War Camp. It is now a poignant memorial to World War II German prisoners who worked in the woods and made lasting friendships in the town. Route 110 swings south to Berlin, where stone boom piers still dot the Androscoggin River, remnants of the annual log drives. The Northern Forest Heritage Park replicates the life and work in lumber camps. In the log buildings are interpretive exhibits on the region's paper mill history and the mix of immigrants who worked in the woods and mills. On Oct. 10 festivities begin at 3 p.m. and culminate after dark in the spectacular River Fire — bonfires on the Androscoggin. Don't leave town without driving up steep(!) Mount Forist Street to find the onion-domed Russian Holy Resurrection Church. Head north on Route 16, with a stop at the local favorite Northland Restaurant & Dairy Bar for lunch or a super-generous ice cream cone. On the left, before reaching the village of Milan, is the Nansen Ski Jump, built by Norwegian lumbermen. Route 16 follows the Androscoggin past a series of foliage-lined riverscapes. In the section known as Thirteen Mile Woods (watch for moose here), Androscoggin Wayside Park makes a good picnic stop.Or wait for Errol, just up the road, where you can have a venison burger and a wedge of their own fresh-baked pie at Errol Northern Exposure Restaurant. Across Main Street is another long-time north-country institution — L. L. Cote, home of everything connected with the outdoors. Even if you don't need dry flies or a new tent, don't miss the famed white moose in the back of the store. If a stop here makes you long for an up-close and personal wilderness experience, call Outdoor Escapes, whose guides lead wildlife watches and overnight canoe trips. From the center of Errol, turn west on Route 26, heading for Dixville Notch. You'll be traveling through prime moose-watching country, so be on the watch, and drive slowly. Moose have no fear of cars and do not make way for traffic. Narrow Dixville Notch is enclosed by vertical cliffs, and as you begin to climb, look for the Baby Flume on the right, a pretty little gorge carved by a rushing brook. Just over the height-of-land at the top of the notch, The Balsams appears above Lake Gloriette. Stop for a drink of cold water at the springhouseand to see the room where the first votes are cast in every presidential election. While The Balsams is hard to miss, only golfers know about the lovely little Arts & Crafts-style cottage at the top of their Donald Ross-designed course, now the Panorama Grille, well-named for the sweeping views on the patio, great for lunch. Route 26 continues on to Colebrook, so perhaps you should save dessert for Le Rendezvous French Bakery right in downtown. Also a chocolatier, it's an equally good stop for a little something to take back to people who couldn't be there to enjoy the foliage tour with you. Route 26 ends at Route 3 in Colebrook, where a left turn leads back to Groveton.