This past Sunday, Laura and I took a long drive through the hills of western Maine and into the Mountains of New Hampshire. I knew the drive would be long as I planned it that way. Due to the autumn weather being rainy, then sunny and then rainy again, we only had the day to enjoy the peak foliage that both of these New England states offered. And let me tell you, when they say “peak,” they mean peak. We went out for our road trip during peak colors. The trees were bright yellow, orange and red and the sky was perfectly sunny. Well, at the end of the day it was sunny. There was some cloud cover during the morning hours.
The plan was to drive straight to Pietree Orchards in Sweden, Maine and then over the mountains into North Conway, New Hampshire. We left bright and early so we’d make it to all of our destinations without running out of steam.
The first leg of our trip went well. We were making good time until we were stopped by a policeman standing in the middle of the street. He was directing a detour because there was a running race going on. We were directed to travel a few alternate roads to make it to the orchard, which was only a few miles away. We were so close and after getting slightly lost driving around this pond and that, we finally made it. Believe it or not, that little detour cost us at least a half an hour. I guess that’s what you get for not knowing the roads. The people directing us seemed to know the roads rather well. They kept telling us where to go, but we couldn’t understand them half the time. Ah, Maine. I do love you.
The orchard was packed. I’ll tell you, for a place that’s truly out in the middle of nowhere, it sure was popular. We parked the car and walked around a bit. Here’s a photo of some apples inside the store.
We didn’t actually go apple picking. We primarily focused on taking some photos of the area. This particular orchard offers some wonderful views of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. But f course, I had to snap some pictures of the apples on the trees. This first one is a regular ol’ apple pic.
This next photo is a tad more special. It’s of a cluster of McIntosh red apples, but it’s actually three photos in one, merged together to create an HDR photo.
I used this HDR (High Dynamic Range) trick for a few different scenes at this orchard. Because there was such a contrast between the bright sky and the much darker land, my camera either washed out or darkened too much of each image. By capturing three different shots; one too dark, one just right and one too bright, I was able to get the best of all worlds and merge them together.
This is an HDR image of the White Mountains. I was looking west and the scene was framed by some apple trees. I’d say this was the money shot.
Here’s a picture for you. I saw these leaves as we were walking around eating apples that we lifted from the trees. It’s a small plant that was situated near a stone wall.
These are just a few more classic signs from a pick-your-own apple orchard.
Great orchard. It’s beautiful and the apples were delicious. They were extraordinarily crunchy and sweet.
As we were walking back to the car, we spotted this awesome looking 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass Custom convertible. Take a look at these photos of it. I jazzed them up in Photoshop as well.
After we left the orchard, we began making our way toward New Hampshire. We drove through a few small towns and ultimately to Fryeburg. I will tell you this – there is nothing so beautiful as northern New England in the middle of autumn. Nothing at all. If the sun is shining and the air is warm, it makes the falling leaves and the colors on the trees all that more sweet. We had a wonderful ride to the edge of Maine.
One of the most enjoyable legs of our trip came as we began crossing the mountains from western Maine into New Hampshire. I believe the mountain we traveled over was named Hurricane Mountain. I’m not sure about that though. It’s slightly north of Fryeburg and east of North Conway. Beautiful paved road. Here are some photos we pulled over to take. There was no shortage of photo ops.
We’re going to be making another trip to the area soon because there were just so many places to stop to photograph. It pained me to drive right by without stopping at so many of them. It also pained me to drive by small parking areas where others had parked to go hiking. There were so many folks out for the Columbus Day weekend and they were enjoying themselves so much. Next time. I keep telling myself that. It’s perfect to have all of this right in our back yard.
The real goal was to drive down into North Conway and then drive north and then west toward Crawford Notch. This area is dead-center in the middle of the mountains and is nothing short of remarkable. There’s a small pond in the area and it’s nearly surrounded by very steep mountains. Take a look at these photos.
We drove around so much and saw so many things. The last area I’d like to show you is of the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. I’ve wanted to see this resort for the longest time and I finally saw it. Next time, we’ll either stay over for a night or two or at least walk around to see the inside. As it was, we were running out of time.
I’m grateful to have experienced northern New Hampshire twice now. I’d like to go back to see what the Christmas season is like and again, as I said, for the hiking. It’s a wonderful state and it may just be one of the prettiest in the union. Thanks for reading!