If the famed illustrator Maxfield Parrish ever needed a watery locale to inspire one of his neoclassical fantasies, he didnt have to drive far from his home in Cornish, N.H. Shaded by a stand of lofty cedars and white pines, the boulder-strewn pools of Dianas Bath in North Conway would make a suitable backdrop for Parrishs sprites and fairies. But you dont have to be an artist to enjoy this natural spa, which was once known as Oonahgemessuk Weegeet, or home of the water fairies, by Native Americans. Its particularly popular with families who make the half-mile trek up a wide gravel path from West Side Road. As you approach the site, youll hear it before you see it: The murmur of water tumbling over moss-draped granite slabs and eddying in shallows creates a sylvan sonata. A picnic table and bench overlook a choice view of the Bath, which is an appropriate description of the succession of scenic shallow pools, a soothing antidote for a hot day. I wouldnt call it swimming, said a beefy bather who was frolicking in the waters at the end of last season. Id call it splashing. Tom Long
Route 16 north to North Conway, left onto River Street, right onto West Side Road; well-marked parking lot is on the left.
(Mark Wilson/Globe Staff)