Last year, we assigned travel writer Barbara Rogers the challenge of identifying the Seven Natural Wonders of New Hampshire. Rogers is a well-known and respected authority on the back roads and attractions of the state, so while some may disagree with her choices, we consider them definitive — at least until someone comes up with a better list.
We then invited families to travel to all seven wonders and submit their photos. The winner is the Wells family of Bow, made up of Peter Wells (42), Kristin Wells (41), Lindsay Wells (15), Katrina Wells (9), and Dustin Wells (5). The award they received for their sense of adventure and great photos is a Getaway at the Mount Washington Resort with two nights in a family suite and one day of skiing at Bretton Woods, estimated value of $1,150.
The above photo is the Wells family at the Polar Caves.
Polar Caves: A mountainside of glacial debris — huge boulders form caves, which you can explore via subterranean stairs and narrow passageways. Look up to see the overhanging cliff these boulders fell from. ( www.polarcaves.com)
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves: What else can you ask for? Waterfalls, caves, creepy passages to wriggle through, plus a geology lesson and a wildflower garden. (www.findlostriver.com)
Loon Mountain Glacial Caves: Ride the gondola to the little-known talus field at the top of Loon Mountain (www.loonmtn.com), where wooden stairs lead almost straight down into a jumble of house-sized boulders. You can simply look at the boulders or join the kids wiggling through the small spaces.
The Flume: One of the White Mountains’ most beloved attractions, in Franconia Notch, a giant split in the rock with a river tumbling through. (603-745-8391)
Sabbaday Falls: A one-mile round trip trail walk from the Kancamagus Highway, this waterfall begins by dropping into a rock bowl, which spills into a 20-foot plunge that makes a right-angle turn and drops another 15 feet before reaching the pool at its base.
Sculptured Rocks: Immense potholes in the river gorge look as though a giant ice cream scoop had been at work in the rocks. This spot in Groton is a nice one for a picnic.
Madison Boulder: The mile-deep ice cube that once covered the White Mountains scraped off their tops and pulled away pieces to take with it. This is one of the world’s largest of these glacial erratics. It probably came from about four miles away, in Albany.
This article appears in the March 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine