While hikers along the Appalachian Trail have to struggle up and over several mountaintops, we drivers get to amble along a few miles to the west, following scenic Route 10 along the east banks of the lazy Connecticut River. Winding past pastures and cornfields, Route 10 is a nonstop pleasure to drive (or cycle); uneventful perhaps, but giving seemingly endless pastoral views framed by white rail fences, occasional farmhouses, and the voluptuous peaks that rise to the east and west. The first hamlet you reach along this part of Route 10, North Haverhill, is a real museum piece, with a necklace of distinctive colonial-era homes flanking an oval town green, and one of New Hampshire’s oldest cemeteries close by.
Further south spreads Loch Lyme, where the fine restaurant, rustic lodge, and cabins of Loch Lyme Lodge ($80 and up; 603/795-2141 or 800/423-2141) have been welcoming generations of New Englanders since 1946. Swim, sail, or float out on the small lake, which has an idyllic location between the mountains and the river.
A mile south of Loch Lyme, eight miles north of Hanover, the tidy town of Lyme presents yet another Kodak-worthy scene, with a Soldiers and Sailors Monument standing at the center of a slender green, a large church at one end and an equally large stable at the other.
Lyme, which feels more like a part of the Virginia hunt country than New England, also has a fully stocked general store and a pair of nice places to stop for a night or three. The 1809 Alden Country Inn ($100 and up; 603/795-2222) has period-decorated rooms, a very fine restaurant, and a cozy pub with a heartwarming fireplace. If you want to build up an appetite before dinner, the innkeepers will rent you a bike and point you toward some of the area’s best routes. The equally pleasant white clapboard Dowd’s Country Inn ($100 and up; 603/795-4712) is right across the green.
courtesy of RoadTripUSA