NH is having plenty of company for Labor Day weekend

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
August 31. 2017 11:16PM
Lifeguard Jim DeLuca watches swimmers at Hampton Beach. State tourism officials are expecting 640,000 people to visit the Granite State over Labor Day weekend. (UNION LEADER FILE)

Some 640,000 people are expected to visit New Hampshire on Labor Day weekend, a record-breaking number for the holiday second only to Independence Day in terms of tourism, state officials said.

“Historically, it’s worked out to be the last hurrah for the summer,” said Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Division of Travel and Tourism.

For many, that means the last chance for boating, swimming, camping or visiting kid-fueled attractions such as Santa’s Village and Canobie Lake Park.

It also marks the unofficial beginning of fall and opportunities for fairs, cooler-weather hiking, and apple-picking.

For example, the Lancaster Fair is holding its 147th fair over the weekend. Gunstock ski resort hosts a craft fair. And early pick-your-own operations have started at orchards throughout the state.

State officials expect that visitors will drop $91 million for lodging, meals, shopping and other visitor-related spending this weekend.

At Sun Valley Resort at Weirs Beach, all cottages are booked for Saturday night, and only a couple are available for tonight and Sunday, said Dave Doyle, the owner.

Doyle said a lot of his guests stay because of proximity to local events or attractions — the nearby Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, NASCAR races at Loudon, and Motorcycle Week.

Overall, this has been a very good year, he said.

“Generally, when we’ve been busy two years in a row, I start worrying about a recession, and we’ve been busy two years in a row,” Doyle said.

New Hampshire State Police issued a statement Thursday urging people to be responsible when it comes to alcohol and driving.

Granite State and Green Mountain state police plan to start the weekend with a joint traffic patrol on Interstates 89 and 91.

New Hampshire State Police will use an aviation unit to monitor speed, and troopers will focus on speed, aggressive driving, distracted driving and impaired driving.

In the 130 fatal crashes in New Hampshire last year, 70 involved drivers or passengers who did not wear safety belts. Fifty-six percent involved drugs or alcohol, and 26 of the crashes were on Fridays, state police said.

Qwen Higgin, co-owner of the Jefferson Inn, said August was a strong month because nice weather attracted families to nearby Santa’s Village.

After the weekend, most in the tourism business exhale. But only briefly.

“It’s the end of the summer,” Higgin said. “We have a couple of weeks to regroup and get ready for foliage.”


mhayward@unionleader.com


Public SafetyHoliday or vacationNew Hampshire

FOLLOW US
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required