Errol: 40 miles NW of Bethel; 65 miles N of North Conway; 110 miles NW of Portland
New Hampshire's North Country is an ideal destination for those who find the White Mountains too commercialized. Tiny communities like Errol -- a speck of a settlement, at a crossing of two roads to nowhere -- regard change with high suspicion, just as they did during the real-estate boom of the go-go '80s. As a result, the region is an outpost of rugged grandeur that has been little compromised.
Of course, the flip side to lost-in-time areas like these is that, unless you're a true back-to-nature type, they sometimes suffer from "there's nothing to see or do here" syndrome. You can drive for miles and not see much more than spruce and pine trees, an infrequent bog, a glimpse of a shimmering lake, and -- if you're lucky -- a roadside moose chomping on some sedges.
If you're a self-motivated outdoorsy type, though, you can find plenty to do here, including white-water kayaking on the Androscoggin River, canoeing on quietly spectacular Lake Umbagog (whose piney shoreline was protected as a National Wildlife Refuge in the 1990s, and thus will theoretically remain in its more-or-less pristine condition for all time), and cycling along wide valley floors. You can also visit one of the Northeast's grandest, most improbable resorts, still thriving in this remote spot against the odds.