The leaves are turning and camera-toting travelers are arriving as the approach of Columbus Day weekend signals the high point of the state’s second-busiest tourism season. This week has seen foliage at its most splendid throughout central New Hampshire, especially in the White Mountain region, with color peaking in southern New Hampshire this coming week. Rest stops and overlooks along the Kancamagus Highway are getting full early, and experienced New Hampshire residents know to avoid the “Kanc” this coming weekend, when an influx of tourists will turn it into the proverbial parking lot.
The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development has projected that more than 3 million out-of-state, overnight visitors will come to New Hampshire sometime during the fall, spending more than $1.5 billion. Thanks mostly to the seasonal departure of chlorophyll from the leaves of hardwood trees, allowing reds and oranges and yellows to show through, fall is the second-busiest tourism period of the year for the time, only behind mid-summer.
Unfortunately, the end of the week and the weekend are pro jected to be rainy and gray. Sunday should be better, however. For those who want to stay a little closer to home, this weekend is also the 72nd Warner Fall Foliage Festival, with events, music, food, and of course lots of colorful leaves to see on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.