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Autumn festivities are in full swing, as New Hampshire weathers another pandemic fall

A horse-drawn carriage makes the rounds at Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook.
Mara Hoplamazian
A horse-drawn carriage makes the rounds at Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook.

Tis’ the season for apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and cider donuts, as visitors and Granite Staters find ways to get outside this fall.

At Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook, they have nearly picked the apple orchard clean, as the season winds down.

Travelers from as far as Missouri were up for the holiday weekend, looking to find apples to turn into pies and cobblers.

Tim Bassett, who owns Gould Hill Farm with his wife Amy, said every apple season is different. The pandemic was good for the farm last year, he said, and they had one of their best years ever. But things are beginning to return to normal.

“This year’s back to more like a 2019. We did have several rainy weekends, which did not help. People don’t like to come out in the rain,” he said.

But a few clouds over the holiday weekend didn’t stop visitors from coming out with apple-picking bags in hand to enjoy the farm, along with their cider, donuts, and live music.

“We’re just trying to hold on to fall and hold on to those outdoor activities for as long as we can,” said Bradley Vigars, who drove 45 minutes with his family for the second year of a new tradition.

“I love the fall, so I’m always ready to go out there, pick some apples, pumpkins, do all the things,” said Denver Hinton, who drove in from Massachusetts. “We know New Hampshire is known for its foliage, so just wanted to get out here and experience that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the tourism sector the hardest in New Hampshire, according to the state’s economic recovery and expansion strategy. The industry lost nearly 17,000 jobs.

Earlier this year, New Hampshire officials predicted a busy autumn, with tourism beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels.

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