Last weekend, I headed up to the capital of New Hampshire, Concord for a weekend full of fall activities! I’m so eternally grateful that living in Massachusetts means there are so many states close by and also on the very short list of states we can visit without having to get tested or quarantine for 14 days when we return. Also, very thankful to my parents who drive their car over to me so my carless self has a way to getaway for a few days.
As some of you know, I’ve been trying to run a half marathon in all 50 states, with a goal of completing this before I turn 50. Covid has definitely messed up the timeline of this goal, depending how 2021 goes, the date to complete the goal may be pushed out. Anyways, I had been keeping my eye on smaller races to see which ones in the New England states I still had left might end up happening in person this year. As luck would have it, I found one in New Hampshire which was originally planned to be my final state, but I’m now going to do Rhode Island as my final state since my race there this year went virtual.
The New England Half Marathon was being held by Millenium Running who had just held a successful socially distant 10 miler the week before I signed up. On their website, they had a very detailed plan along with a video that showed all of their safety protocols. These included things like face mask requirements at the start and finish of the race, a time trial start where each runner would start by themselves every 10 seconds and marked cones 6 feet apart to line up at the start. After watching the video, I felt very comfortable with signing up for the race. State 32 here I come!
I am so glad that this was my New Hampshire race, October is the absolute perfect time to run a race in New Hampshire. Who wouldn’t want to run thru the beautiful fall foliage? It was like accomplishing two things at once, running a half marathon and leaf peeping at the same time. If you are planning to run all 50 states, definitely pick a fall race for New Hampshire.
Not only was the scenery amazing but the weather was great for running. It was pretty cold waiting to start, the temperature was 48 degrees and it was really windy, but once I started running, it was just perfect, in the 50s thru the entire race. It was good it was a cooler day, due to the timed trial start and me being on the slower side, it was almost 10:30am by the time I started, had it been a warm day, it would have been a little too warm by the time I finished after 1pm.
We were all given an estimated start time and a time to load the bus from the finish to the start area. It was all extremely organized and I never felt like there were too many people around me. Millenium Running definitely did an excellent job and have proven that smaller races can happen during this time.
Check out the gorgeous fall views during the race below:
The race started at Gould Hill Farm in Hopkinton, NH, not to be confused with Hopkinton, MA where the start line of the Boston Marathon is.
This beautiful farm has been around since the 1700s and is a great place to go for apple picking, checking out the farm store, getting some apple cider donuts and also cider samplings. I definitely have to get back there some day for the cider sampling!
The race ended in the state capital of Concord right in front of the New Hampshire State House. Opened in 1819, it is the oldest state capitol in which both houses of the legislature meet in their original chambers. It was a beautiful site to see at the end of the race. Oddly enough, even though it’s only located an hour drive from Boston, I think this may be the first time I’ve ever been to Concord. With the amount of time I’ve spent in New Hampshire over the years, it’s crazy to think of how many times I’ve driven right by the state capital without stopping.
Concord has that small town New England city feel. One of the striking features of this downtown that I saw was the clock tower.
In 1873, this clock was installed on the top of the 4 story Board of Trade Building on the corner of School and North Main Street. In 1950 the top two stories of the building were taken off the building and the parts of the clock were lost.
Years later, local architect Duncan McGowan decided to bring back the history of the downtown area and went for a search for the missing parts of the clock. The bell was found thousands of miles away at a flea market in Michigan. In December of 1998, the bells of the clock tolled once again 48 years after it’s removal. What an amazing story on how important history is to a city.
Now that the race was over, I was ready to celebrate with all the New England fall activities!
First up was my favorite fall activity, apple picking! Like everywhere else in New England there were multiple orchards to choose from. I checked out all the websites and settled on Carter Hill Orchard in Concord. Carter Hill is family owned and has been around since the 1700s. The current family that owns the orchards lives right on site. The orchard includes apple picking, farm stand, bakery (cider donuts!), observation tower, playground and a cider mill.
After picking apples I headed into the farm stand for my post race treat! What better way to celebrate finishing a half marathon than the true fall classic, an apple cider donut! (I also celebrated walking 4 miles today by having two of them, so running a half marathon not required to enjoy these delicious donuts lol) I also bought some fresh maple syrup and pancake mix, since I don’t feel comfortable going out to brunch, I started treating myself to brunch at home this weekend!
Another great fall activity which I have always wanted to try is a corn maze. Beech Hill Farm & Ice Cream Barn is a great place to check out in the Corncord, NH area.
Another family owned business, this farm has been owned by the Kimball family for 9 generations since 1800! If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we should all be supporting small family businesses more than ever.
There was so much to do at this farm! They have two corn mazes, an ice cream barn (which seems to be a big draw, it was in the high 50s and the line looked so long, you would have thought it was a hot 90 degree summer day!), country store, gardener’s barn, farm museum, picnic area and all sorts of farm animals! It’s definitely a great place for families to check out!
I had more fun than I thought I would in the corn mazes. They had signs within the maze to make it a little scavenger hunt where you learned some interesting facts on the theme of each maze. It definitely made it more fun and who doesn’t love learning some interesting facts? The corn mazes run from August thru October each year and are then harvested and fed to the cattle in the winter.
After finishing both corn mazes, I checked out the farm animals, they had cows, horses, sheep, goats, alpacas and even baby goats and a baby alpaca, they were so cute!
I’m a total city girl and I don’t have a car, so it’s rare that I make it out to a farm, but I must admit, I was very impressed with this farm it was just beautiful and definitely what I needed for me to be excited about fall since I’ve been spending too much time mourning summer ending.
If not for covid, I would have been doing my typical busy fall traveling and probably wouldn’t have been able to appreciate a true New England weekend. It was definitely a weekend I needed, along with the fall activities and the race, I also met a good friend for some shopping at the outlets. This was the first friend I’ve seen since March and it was definitely something I needed. What a great fall getaway!
Have you taken any wonderful local trips that you normally wouldn’t have taken if not for covid?