This past weekend we took a drive to Lincoln to celebrate Meredith’s bachelorette party.

We are blessed in this great state with one picturesque view after another, even when we are not looking for it. Every season brings with it different colors and sights.

Meredith’s maid of honor, her sister Mackensie, had decided that they would have an overnight at the beautiful Riverwalk Resort. Now I know it sounds a bit ritzy, but because it was right at the end of leaf-peeping season, the prices were as perfect as the views!

When we first arrived, the area where they would be staying wasn’t quite ready, so we went for a ride along the main street which led us right into the White Mountain National Forest, not four miles up the street. Once we got closer to the forest, cars were lining each side of the narrow, two-lane road. Some people were definitely parked to hike, but something has definitely changed with how tourists to our New Hampshire foliage explore our area.

We saw lots of cars, that isn’t unusual. But I never remember seeing so many people exploring within just a few feet of their cars. It seemed that many of the travelers were not from New Hampshire. Many looked as though it was the first time they had been “road close” to a national forest. Many were dressed very nicely, definitely not for hiking on our trails. We know safe, durable attire is best for that.

People had cameras in their hands, some quite large, and were bent over taking pictures. As we drove slowly by, finally we figured it out. They were close to their cars, taking pictures of leaves that were on the ground just feet away. There were just so many people doing the same thing with the same body posture.

After we figured it out, we headed back to the hotel to start our own Leaf Peeping Upcoming Wedding Adventure. If you’re looking for a wonderful place to take your family or visitors check out the Riverwalk Resort. They have one of those indoor-outdoor pools, heated and lit with beautiful colors. Hot tubs, a small vineyard with a walking path that will lead you and your family to the river running through the forest. A breathtaking two-minute walk.

I have to thank Melissa at the front desk who jumped right in to help Mackensie plan this affordable getaway for the wedding party weeks earlier. Many people love Loon Mountain and the downtown is just a short walk away.

Mackensie had arranged for an apple cider tasting located at the Seven Birches Winery just across the parking lot. What a fun thing to do with a small or large group. We tried local wines and ciders that were pressed right there in Lincoln.

The wines were made from grapes picked from the vineyard located at the hotel. Who said you can’t grow grapes in New Hampshire? My favorite was the mulled warm cider, and I wish I had a cup of it right now.

Another Shout Out needs to go to Brian who encouraged Mackensie to bring the group over when she drove up earlier to plan everything out. We were all so glad that Brian made the effort to tell her how wonderful and fun it would be and Brian made sure everything was ready to go when the group arrived. As we all know, a single person, especially in the customer service industry, can make or break your experience. He exceeded ours and we were grateful.

What I loved about the area was that you could relax, explore and enjoy so much recreation, food, fun and yes leaves, too!

Well ,many would say that our foliage season is just about over now and that does lead us into the cooler weather that we have had this week. When one thing ends a new season begins for us.

This time of year refreshes our thoughts on helping and serving others.

Just today Bonnie Ritvo of our senior center called to ask me to help her spread the word about a great annual holiday event. On Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Londonderry Senior Center hosts its famous holiday fair and cookie walk. From what I hear it will be bigger and better than ever.

Santa plans to visit between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. I’m hoping he will get to visit and learn about many Christmas wishes. You know I will be there not only for the gift basket raffles, New England crafters and to start my Christmas shopping early, but John and I look forward to our lunch each year, too. My favorite is the award-winning warm corn chowder, and so many other delicious delights. Did I mention the cookie walk, the meatballs, sausage, and so much more?

We keep hearing that this year it will be horribly difficult to locate presents we hope to purchase. Supplies are low, shipping is difficult, and prices are high for what is available. Start your shopping at the fair!

Another gift of this next season coming upon us is “giving.” Many of us seem to dig a little deeper in our pockets this time of year. Ralph Langone called me and asked that we all remember and support our New England Shriners Hospitals for Children. Instead of a gift why not donate in someone’s name and really make a difference in a child’s life? Sadly, I think we are starting to forget about our Shriners. Ralph doesn’t want that to happen. He had the chance to listen to a young mom’s story of what happened to her 18-month-old child. She shared with Ralph that the child had been severely burned as she turned her back for just a second. We have all been there. The child was scalded and spent the next 18 months fighting to recover from the burns she received.

Our Shriners Hospital in Wilmington, Massachusetts, cared for the child and the family, while the mom did not receive a bill. Remember that our Shriners are volunteers.

Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a longtime resident of New Hampshire.

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