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Franconia Notch State Park

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Franconia Notch, New Hampshire - July 3, 2008

Rated one of America's top 10 most beautiful state parks -- Franconia Notch State Park is just a stone's throw away from Vermont, and is the perfect place to escape for a weekend getaway. From waterfalls, to a deep granite canyon, to incredible ridge line views, this park has it all. There are numerous ways to experience Franconia Notch State Park-- but no trip is complete without a stop at the Flume Gorge.

"It's just beautiful. When you come around the corner you can't see it, but you can hear it," says park manager Bill O'Connor. "I've been here 25 years and every day is different."

Discovered by a 93 year old woman in 1808, the 800 foot long chasm is one of the coolest spots in all of New England.

"It could be 100 degrees around us and you walk into the gorge it's 65 degrees at 800 feet," said O'Connor. "It's just so cool if you look at the plants on the side and the moss growing and how wildlife is just wherever it is," adds Janice Hall, visiting from Massachusetts

The gorge once looked much different. Debris and a large boulder once blocked most of the water from traveling through the canyon-- creating a 2 acre lake. The boulder was washed out in 1883.

"Once the boulder washed out people stopped coming. They thought there was nothing to see," said O'Connor. "

They stopped coming until they realized the beauty that had replaced it-- 25 foot tall Avalanche Falls. "It's really cool, especially how you get to walk right next to it and you feel it splashing and it's awesome," said Hall.

If a walk through the bottom of a canyon isn't your thing, you may want to consider soaring above the trees on the Cannon Mountain Aerial tramway. The tramway transports visitors to the top of 4,180 foot Cannon Mountain, offering incredible views into New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Quebec, and even New York. Built in 1938, the original tramway was the oldest in North America. The views get even better once you step off the tramway. A short 500 foot climb leads to an observation tower, providing 360 degree views of more than 100 miles away.

"We can see out by Mount Marcy, the highest mountain in the Adirondacks in New York," says Peter Clark of Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway. Visitors say it's an unbelievable sight in a one of a kind state park -- New Hampshire's own Franconia Notch State Park.

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

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