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New England Foliage Blog

Fall foliage enjoyment by avoiding the traffic Part 1

Finding treasures on the road less traveled

by Jeff "Foliage" Folger

frost
Credit: Jeff Folger

Frost on a fallen morning maple leaf

Chocorua_Lake_fog
Credit: Jeff Folger

Fog flows about the feet of Mount Chocorua

Explosion_of_wings
Credit: Jeff Folger

Ducks, geese and a Heron take flight upon my approach

saco-covered-bridge
Credit: Jeff Folger

Saco river covered bridge

Swift_River_Covered_Bridge
Credit: Jeff Folger

The Swift River Covered Bridge is one of two bridges in North Conway.

everyday_view
Credit: Jeff Folger

This is the normal view most people walk away with.

conway-map
Credit: Jeff Folger

This is the map of the route the article talks about. The bridges are circled.

Taking the road less traveled.

You might ask how taking the road less traveled will Increase your fall foliage enjoyment. I'm glad you asked, and I want you to imagine this!

It's early morning and as you head out your door, you breathe in the cool crisp air, and you look over the landscape of your yard at the telltale signs that fall has arrived. The maple across the way is showing tinges of color and the grass in the yard has that white edge coloring of a nighttime frost that will soon be gone with the rising sun. You're ready to hit the road and head north. You've planned out your route and you are heading into New Hampshire's White Mountains via route 16.

The sun hasn't quite risen yet but the day looks to be promising, a great day to be traveling in search of fall foliage.

As you drive, you pass through Tamworth NH, you note the pond next to the ice cream shop and you look to see if there is decent color there and would it give a good reflection.

The next place to look for color is Lake Chocorua which is just up the road. You pull in at the little parking lot on the left at the bottom of the hill. As you walk over the wooden bridge separating the pond from the lake you look right and you can see a heavy fog rolling in over the feet of Mount Chocorua. The water is as still as a mirror and you take a shot or ten of that.

Next you turn to the other side of the bridge and raise your camera up as you approach the railing, suddenly a diverse flock of birds take flight with an explosion of wings slapping the water and you manage to shoot 3-5 shots, hoping that in one or two frames the camera actually focuses on the birds.

You leave here reluctantly and proceed up 16. A few miles up 16 you pass the turn off for route 112, the Kancamagus Highway, or the "Kanc". You could follow that well traveled route but today we're heading further up 16. So you pass up 112 and come into Center Conway. There you will find a confusing left turn. To stay on 16 you take the second left and this will take you through the entire outlet shopping area to get to the other side of North Conway.

Now if you were taking the Conway scenic railway or looking for shopping then you would want to go this way. But as I want to avoid the traffic that this route carries, we will take the first left back in center Conway and this takes us on West side road in order to sidestep most of the traffic. Don't worry we will join up with 16 on the other side of North Conway. There are many reasons to take this route besides just traffic avoidance.

The first object of our camera is just a few hundred yards up this road. You come to the first of Conway's two covered bridges. The Saco River Bridge is on the right at the triangle of the small park where East side road and West side road diverge. I?ve been stalking this bridge for many years, looking for just the right light (which I think is early morning) so as you look at the bridge the big maple tree to the right is back/side lit with that early morning light. Most years when I?ve hit the bridge I?ve seen it in the late afternoon when I didn't like the light as much or the trees around it were low color or worse, already bare.

Once you are done here you get back on the west side road and go less than a hundred yards. Here you will come to a small parking lot for the Swift river covered bridge, again on the right side. Cars don't drive through this bridge anymore so you can take your time photographing it. The downside of shooting this bridge from either end is that it's difficult to get a colorful tree into a shot of the bridge.

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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