HILLSBOROUGH, N.H. -- If riding the breeze above the Monadnock hills of southern New Hampshire sounds like your idea of heaven, head up here to board a hot air balloon -- or to admire just the sight of them.
Balloonists will be offering rides, tethered and free-floating, at the annual, four-day Hillsborough Balloon Festival and Fair Thursday through Sunday.
Earth-bound types can take in fairground events at Grimes Field like Hillsborough's answer to NASCAR: a four-wheeler (ATV) drag race through a mud bog. The popular tractor pull and its spin-off, the lawn-tractor pull, answer that age-old question of what country people do on weekends. A 5K road race, live music, parades, and what organizers describe as "a wide assortment of fire apparatus from all over New Hampshire" make for wall-to-wall entertainment. A boffo fireworks display on Saturday night will rock the region.
Before heading home, grab an ice cream cone and browse this Colonial town's antiques shops, take a drive past its landmark stone bridges, or check out Kemp's Museum, an open-air Mack truck museum.
Hillsborough (population 5,500) gets about 30,000 visitors for the festival, so check local lodging options on the festival's excellent website if you plan to make a weekend of it.
Hillsborough Balloon Festival and Fair, July 12-15, Grimes Field, Hillsborough, N.H. 603-464-0377. balloonfes tival.org. Admission free (some events charge small fees); parking $5 per car; no pets allowed. Directions: Hillsborough is about 70 miles or over an hour from Boston. Take Interstate 93 north into New Hampshire. Take I-89 at Concord to exit 5 onto Routes 202 and 9 west. In about 15 miles, take the first Hillsborough exit (to West Main Street). At the end of the ramp, turn left and follow Henniker Street for about 2 miles. The fairground and parking will be on your left.