View from Stone Bridge in Milford, NH in the fall of 1981.
View from Stone Bridge in Milford, NH, in the fall of 1981.

Way, way back in time, I spent a fall living in beautiful New England … Exeter, New Hampshire, to be exact. It was a long way from San Diego and I got to experience the change of the seasons on a grand scale.

As with many things, the leaf season wasn’t the big tourist draw in those days. The locals called the tourists that would rubberneck during this time of year “leafers,” which was pronounced “leefahs.” It’s now called leaf peeping. Not sure which one I like better.

Anyhow, my leaf-peeping trip ran from Exeter due east to the small, onetime mill town of Milford. It ran over NH-101, which was somehow comforting to a kid from Southern California where US 101 is the coast highway. And, typical of the Granite State, the highways there are odd-numbered east and west, even numbered north-south. The rest of the country (and possibly the world) has it the other way.

Anyhow, NH-101 still looks much the same, thanks to Google Street View. The big change from back in 1981 was that the highway was only two lanes; it’s now a four-lane divided highway. This drive is about 50 miles each way. Exeter is about 7 miles east of I-95. If you’re able to take the full drive, enjoy exploring two classic New Hampshire towns, Exeter and Milford.

I remember turning around and heading home when I hit Milford, because of the photo I took crossing the old Stone Arch Bridge, which was the shot of the day for me. Again, thanks to Google Street View, it looks about the same as then.

The good news about this drive is that it’s much closer to metro Boston than if you head up to the White Mountains or Green Mountains or Maine. Then again, in New England, almost anywhere out of town you’ll see images like this. It’s a beautiful part of the country. I was fortunate to have spent a semester at the University of New Hampshire, then go back for a short time as a reporter for the Dover newspaper, Foster’s Daily Democrat.

If you’re lucky enough to be there, have a great drive.

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