By: Michael Cousineau, NH Union Leader
The foliage may be a little slower than usual in turning this year, but that isn’t bothering the folks at the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain in Lincoln.
“It’s just going to help push us into late October (with more bookings),” General Manager Renee Blood said this week. “From a business perspective, it’s great all the way around.”
State travel officials on Wednesday predicted a record number of visitors and spending for the upcoming Columbus Day Weekend, the state’s third-busiest travel weekend of the year. The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development expects more than 300,000 out-of-state, overnight visitors will spend more than $115 million in New Hampshire over the long weekend — a 5 percent increase in both spending and visitor totals over last year.
“Huge; it’s a really big weekend,” said Mary Ellen Delaney, co-owner of Delaney’s Hole in the Wall, a North Conway restaurant.
“Consistently over the past couple of years, the fall is very busy and people start coming in the first week in September and will continue to come in until the middle of November,” Delaney said. “That hasn’t changed in the last five years. It stays very, very busy. Weekends, it escalates.”
The state is predicting a record fall season as a whole: 3 million out-of-state overnight visitors spending $1.4 billion.
“I think it’s a little bit later out there this year,” said Brenda Campagna, general manager for Golden Eagle Lodge in Waterville Valley. “October is looking very strong for us.”
Charyl Reardon, operations and marketing manager for the White Mountains Attractions Association, estimated the fall colors are a week to 10 days behind their normal timetable.
“I think it will extend the season for us,” she said. “Instead of ending after Columbus Day weekend, we’ll probably extend the foliage season to almost the end of the month.”
Advance bookings are about 5 percent ahead of this time last year, she said.
Read the complete article on newhampshire.com.