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A tank away: Lincoln, N.H.

Camping, fishing, and moose sightings

The author and her father, Drew Cammorata, fishing for trout in the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, N.H. The author and her father, Drew Cammorata, fishing for trout in the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, N.H. (Jo-Anne Cammorata)
By Nicole Cammorata
Globe Staff / July 6, 2011

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Time to shake off the soot of the city and get back to nature by exploring the great outdoors here in the heart of the White Mountains. Pack your fishing gear and try your luck at snagging trout in the Pemigewasset River, explore glacial caves and miles of hiking trails, take in an old-time roadside attraction, and toss back some local brews in this scenic village that sprang up around a lumber yard and sawmill in the early 1900s.

STAY

Been dying to hear birds chirp as dawn breaks? Pitch a tent at Country Bumpkins Campground and Cottages (218 Route 3, 603-745-8837, $22-$29, www.countrybumpkins.com), which also offers RV hookups and cabins ($64.95-$109.95) if you don’t feel like roughing it. The cozy bunk houses at Pemi Cabins (460 Route 3, 603-745-8323, $59-$105, www.pemicabins.com) are pet-friendly and offer all the comforts of home. For a more luxurious stay, kick back in the jacuzzi while taking in views of the river and mountains at the Indian Head Resort (664 Route 3, 800-343-8000, rooms $149-$199, cabins $119-$149, www.indianheadresort.com).

DINE

Lincoln may be a small New England town but its tastes are eclectic. The Gypsy Cafe (117 Main St., 603-745-4395, $7-$20) serves dishes from around the globe, with a menu that includes falafel, chicken souvlaki, and one of the best burgers we’ve ever had. For a summery dessert, head next door to the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shoppe (121 Main St., 603-745-6668) for a sundae or maybe a couple of scoops of homemade ice cream in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone.

DURING THE DAY

Cast a line into the Pemigewasset River ($15 for a one- day fishing license), where stretches of rounded river rocks offer the ideal footing for fly fishing in the cool running waters. A still pool along the river, called “The Ladies’ Bathtub’’ by locals, is ideal for swimming and admiring the view. Loon Mountain Resort (60 Loon Mountain Road, 603-745-8111, www.loonmtn.com) in the off-season is just as lively as it is in winter, with gondola rides, zip lines, horseback riding, Segway tours, biking, a climbing wall, and more. Watch trained black bears jump through hoops, ride scooters, and perform other tricks at the family-friendly Clark’s Trading Post (110 Route 3, $16-$18, age 3 and under free, 603-745-8913, www.clarkstradingpost.com), in business for more than 80 years. Take the 10-minute drive on Route 112 to the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves (1712 Lost River Road, Route 112, 603-745-8031, adults $16, children $12, under 3 free, www.findlostriver.com) in Kinsman Notch, where you breathe in the smell of balsam fir while walking past the cool waters below. A series of caves carved by erosion and glacial melting dating to the Ice Age are yours to explore. Shimmy on your belly through tight crevices named things like “Devil’s Kitchen’’ and “Lemon Squeezer,’’ crawl beneath hanging rocks, and emerge into dark caverns where underground waterfalls are lighted by oil lanterns. In nearby North Woodstock there’s old-timey favorite Fadden’s General Store (109 Main St., North Woodstock, 603-745-8371, www.nhmaplesyrup.com), where you can learn about the Fadden family’s multigeneration maple sugaring business that dates to the 1930s. Natural rock slides in the Pemigewasset River called the Cascades, located across from Fadden’s and just behind Main Street, are the perfect place to cool down on a hot day.

AFTER DARK

Take the hour or so drive along the scenic Kancamagus Highway from Lincoln to Conway through the White Mountain National Forest at dusk, where it’s not uncommon to spot a moose (or three) - we saw a cow and her two young calves while passing through at twilight. For a guided tour that can (almost) guarantee a spotting of these elegant animals, there’s Moose Tours at Pemi Valley Excursions (36 Main St., 603-745-2744, $28 for adults, $18 for children under 12). The three-hour guided tour aboard a 34-passenger bus leaves Lincoln nightly and includes an informational video. Take in a show at the Papermill Theatre (23 Loon Brook Road, 603-745-2141, tickets $20-$30, www.papermilltheatre.org), where this summer’s productions include “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,’’ which is currently running, and “Rent,’’ which opens July 28. Just over the tracks in North Woodstock is Woodstock Station (135 Main St., North Woodstock, 603-745-3951, www.woodstockinnnh.com), where you can sample craft beers on tap from the Woodstock Inn Brewery. This brew pub and restaurant housed in a converted train station features live entertainment seven nights a week, including karaoke, trivia, and local bands. If you get a little too exuberant with your beer sampling, 745 Taxi, the local cab service ($10 around town, $50/hour or $3/mile for points farther out, 603-745-8294) will be more than happy to take you - and your dog - wherever you need to go.

Nicole Cammorata can be reached at ncammorata@boston.com.