Franconia and Sugar Hill
Between Twin Mountain (at the junction of US-302 and US-3) and where US-3 merges with I-93, you’ll find the aging face of the area’s long association with tourism: a variety of motel courts and “housekeeping cottages” at least as old as you are. Despite their outward dowdiness, several make a virtue of the rustic, but given their prime location most are hardly the bargains you might hope for. More interesting and historic lodging may be had on a 200-acre working farm in Franconia (pop. 1,104), where, since 1899, the friendly Sherburn family’s Pinestead Farm Lodge (603/823-8121, $50 and up with shared bath and kitchen), on Route 116 south of town, has offered simple rooms and warm hospitality at reasonable rates.
Just west of Franconia on Route 117 is Sugar Hill. The township is aptly named: The sugarbush (a grove of sugar maples) on Hildex Maple Sugar Farm contributes its unforgettable essence to breakfasts at the very popular Polly’s Pancake Parlor (603/823-5575, daily 7am-2pm, closed in winter). Polly’s is located in the farm’s thrice-expanded 1830 carriage shed. Warning: After trying real maple syrup, you may never be able togo back to Mrs. Butterworth’s again.
The most famous farm in the vicinity is certainly The Frost Place (603/823-5510, $5 adults) on Route 116 south of the Franconia village intersection. Besides the 1.5-mile Poetry Trail and the displays of Robert Frost memorabilia from his five-year full-time residency and 19 summers here, there’s a regular program of readings by the current poet-in-residence.