New England changes slowly . . . sometimes it scarcely seems to change at all. However, luxury tourism has hit the region, and the blue-plate diners and family-owned hotels of old are quietly, inexorably being replaced by upscale inns and resorts. Like it or not, the New England your parents and grandparents knew will never be quite the same again.
Here's a switch: Granite Staters approving government regulation and control of something. Since September 2007, there has been a statewide smoking ban -- not only in restaurants and bars, but also at any public event.
On Mount Washington, the Mount Washington Cog Railway (tel. 800/922-8825 or 603/278-5404; www.thecog.com) has added a winter excursion through the lovely snow-covered vistas -- shorter than the normal excursion, it takes an hour and costs $59 per adult, $54 for seniors, and $39 for children ages 4 to 12.
A new fancy restaurant, Victory 96 State Street (tel. 603/766-0960) has opened in downtown Portsmouth, just a stone's throw from the historic Strawbery Banke district. Its bar area is especially appealing.
Farther inland, at press time, the bulk of the wonderful Currier Museum of Art in Manchester (tel. 603/669-6144; www.currier.org) was closed for a major expansion that will rework the look and experience of the place. It reopened March 30, 2008, but call ahead to verify hours and admissions prices. This expansion does not affect the equally appealing annex property Zimmerman House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design nearby in the city. Van-transported tours of the Zimmerman home continue to depart regularly from the Currier's entrance.
Finally, the popular organic eatery Susty's (tel. 603/942-5862) in Northwood (between Concord and Portsmouth on Rte. 4), has just added brunches to its menu, every weekend from 8am.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.