The Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire is one of the best places to witness fall foliage in the Northeast United States. The area has the scenic byways, outdoor activities, and community events to turn any trip into a one-of-a-kind adventure.
New Hampshire's transition to fall is a can't-miss experience. One of the best ways to witness the area's unique scenery is by utilizing the local scenic byways. The Connecticut River Scenic Byway (CRSB) stretches over 140 miles along the western border of New Hampshire and is a great way to introduce yourself to the state. As you travel along the byway you’ll learn about the area's historic sites, witness the natural beauty at scenic rest stops, and experience the culture of the towns along the way. The Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway is another great option that runs 25 miles around Lake Sunapee. Slower paced than the CRSB, this byway is ideal if you're looking to step out of the vehicle to enjoy the wilderness.
Travelers in search of outdoor activities will love the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region, offering opportunities to partake in a multitude of different activities. Lake Sunapee and the Connecticut River offer everything from fishing to scenic boat tours. Mount Sunapee and Pillsbury State Parks are wonderful public parks great for activities like hiking, rock climbing, camping, and leaf peeping. Towns such as Claremont and Lebanon have outfitters that can help you find equipment and the best locations for your favorite activity.
The Claremont Brewfest is making a name for itself in only its third year. The event is a showcase of the best beers and ciders you’ll find in New England. Located in the town of Claremont, this 21+ event attracts nearly 1,500 people annually. You’ll encounter great food vendors, fun games, and the opportunity to participate in the Back to the Brewfest 5K. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is all about the beer and cider. This is an event for a great cause, helping the children of the Claremont community. We got to speak to Michael Dewey, Chairman of the Brewfest Committee, to talk about this fun beer-themed community event.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MD: This is the third annual Claremont Brewfest, and the second running of the Back to the Brewfest 5K.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MD: We draw approximately 1,500 to the Visitors Center Green in Claremont for our event. Some of them are locals, but many are not. We have attendees who have made the journey from Long Island the past two years to attend.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event?
MD: In the past children were allowed, but we changed to a 21 and over event for this year’s Brewfest. We do get a lot of couples and groups of friends. We chose to expand our offerings to include hard ciders, so if your significant other or friend doesn’t like beer they have another option.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MD: Our venue is a beautiful spot next to the Sugar River, and is a great environment for this event. We feature a large selection of beverages from New England breweries and cideries with only a couple from outside of the area. Most importantly, the hosting organization is the Claremont Kiwanis Club, so 100% of the proceeds go to children’s charities.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event...what can I expect as an attendee?
MD: The event starts at 12:00pm when the gates open for the VIP hour. This is when we’ll have a limited number of attendees in the venue, giving them easy access to the Brewers and the special brews available only during this hour. There will be hors d’oeuvres and special musical accompaniment. At 12:30pm, the 5K begins and by 1:15, the announcement of the Top Finishers will happen at the finish line. At 1:00pm the gates open to General Admission, and last pour is at 4:00pm.
RAL: What activities will people find at the event?
MD: Attendees can expect to spend the day listening to live entertainment, starting with Kyle Boisvert during the VIP Hour, followed by Moxley Union, and interspersed with entertainment by local comedian Chad Blodgett, Dan Gilbert, and Jose Casteneda. There will be Cornhole, Bucket Pong, and a ring toss table with beer bottles where attendees can try to win some prizes.
RAL: What dining options will people find?
MD: Food will be available for sale inside the venue. This year's food vendors are:
Salt Hill Pub
Sweet Fire Grill
Farm To Fire Pizza
RAL: What is the overall environment like?
MD: A beautiful spot in the middle of downtown Claremont wooded on one side, the Sugar River on the other, and turn of the century mill buildings occupying the other shore. It is a perfect blend of country and Urban New England peacefulness.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
MD: There is a foot bridge at one of the exits that crosses the Sugar River and deposits you in front of The Common Man, a five star hotel in one of the repurposed mill buildings.
RAL: What does the event mean to the community?
MD: This event draws a lot of people into the community, bringing revenue to area businesses. Most importantly it brings a lot of much needed financial support to the children of the greater Claremont area through the work of the Claremont Kiwanis Club.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MD: Absolutely, our attendees spend money in the community that day, but we have also provided a lot of exposure for our sponsors through the advertising we do for the event.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community? (School funds, etc.)
MD: The Claremont Kiwanis Club is the local chapter of the Kiwanis International organization. Kiwanis is a global network of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child at a time. Through annual fundraisers such as the spring auction, the Fall Brewfest, and our Ringing Bells fundraiser during the holiday season, all of the money raised is spent in ways that help children.
We have also sponsored other community events like the Diabetes Walk-a-Thon and a Bike Rodeo. We volunteer at local schools to help with things like playground projects, painting, etc.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MD: This is a great event where people can enjoy an early fall day visiting with friends, playing games, listening to live entertainment, all while sampling from a wide selection of craft brews and ciders from their area. This is a great social event right in the heart of Claremont.
For more information about the Claremont Brewfest, please visit their website.