New Hampshire is known as the Granite State, and the nickname is certainly an appropriate one. The jagged granite mass of the White Mountains, the only range in the Northeast over 5,000 feet, is the state's dominant physical feature as well as the most popular attraction.
Protected by state and national forests and webbed by hiking trails laid out by nature lovers more than a century ago, the mountains--massive, dramatic, and often snowcapped--are an oasis of natural beauty. Attractions and beauty spots like Crawford Notch, the Old Man of the Mountain, and the Flume were discovered here by the traveling public in the mid-19th century. Towns like North Conway, Jackson, and Franconia were known back then as health resorts for hay fever sufferers.
Interstate 93 runs through the heart of the mountains. In the interest of scenic preservation, it narrows to two lanes as it passes through beautiful Crawford Notch. Scenic railways and trams ascend the mountain slopes, and ski areas such as Cannon operate lifts in summer and fall as well as winter.
New Hampshire's other great vacation area is the lakes region in the central part of the state. There are a number of lakes and ponds in the region, but the dominant one is Lake Winnipesaukee. Wolfeboro, one of the main towns on the lake, has been a resort for more than two centuries. Excursion boats ply the lake regularly.
Another popular visitor area is the Monadnock region, in the southwest corner of the state. Known for its charming, picture-book villages such as Dublin, Jaffrey, and Peterborough, the region takes its name from Mount Monadnock--dramatic in appearance but modest in size and one of the most climbed mountains in America.
New Hampshire's Atlantic Ocean coastline is short, only about 18 miles long, but it is scenic. Portsmouth is a historic port with an attractive dining and shopping district. The original settlement on the old waterfront is now a historic restoration called Strawberry Banke. Hampton Beach, midway between the Massachusetts and Maine borders, is a popular resort area.