Nine miles south of Franconia Notch, North Woodstock is a good example of what White Mountains towns used to look like before vacation condos popped up like prairie dog colonies; neighboring Lincoln is the portrait of “after.”

Tiny North Woodstock (pop. 528) is a handful of mostly unpretentious businesses at the junction of US-3 and Route 112. In case you’re wondering what North Woodstock is north of, there is a much smaller hamlet called Woodstock, little more than a collection of cabins, about five miles or so south of North Woodstock along US-3.

Lincoln (pop. 1,662) seems to be nothing but a strip of ski-clothing stores, malls, and motels east of I-93 at the base of the Loon Mountain ski resort. When Loon’s condo-covered foothills fill to capacity during fall and winter holidays, the weekend population can mushroom to more than 30,000.

Diner fans will want to check out the Sunny Day Diner (603/745-4833, daily during summer, cash only), a stainless-steel 1950s icon at the north edge of North Woodstock in Lincoln on US-3. A classic breakfast and lunch place, the Sunny Day makes some fine French toast (including a deeply flavored banana variation that goes great with local maple syrup). The Sunny Day is just south of Clark’s Trading Post.