Sparsely populated and utterly remote, the lands between Dixville Notch and the Canadian border are known for their wild mountain scenery; for the grandeur of their lone luxury resort, the Balsams; and, every four years, for their votes. Traditionally, tiny Dixville Notch has been the first town to cast votes in the presidential primary, thus earning the town a momentary but recurring spot on the nation’s political map.
The beauty of the natural environment here has inspired countless pilgrims, so it’s not surprising that the Oblates of Mary Immaculate established a Catholic shrine here. The Shrine of Our Lady Grace (1992 Rte. 3, Colebrook, 603/237-5511, tours daily mid-May–mid-Oct.) has some 50 marble monuments in a tranquil spot on the banks of the Mohawk River.
A short distance away, the Columbia Covered Bridge is your last chance to cross from New Hampshire  to Vermont  in style before Canada. The 145-foot-span over the Connecticut  has an unusual half-sheathing that lets the light in on one side, while being fully sheathed on the other side.
If you haven’t yet bagged your moose, tote your camera along Route 3 north of Pittsburg to the Canadian border, known as Moose Alley for the frequency of the sightings here. Best times for sightings are in the early morning and at dusk.
Only in New Hampshire could there be an event called the Blessing of the Motorcycles (http://nhblessingofthebikes.tripod.com , late June). Road warriors bring their steeds to the Shrine of Our Lady Grace and wait in a long line to have the demons exorcised from their tailshafts.
Restaurants are few and very, very far between in North Country. If you’re famished, stop in at Buck Rub Pub & Connecticut Lakes Lodge (Rte. 3, Pittsburg, 603/538-6935, www.buckrubpub.com , $3–20), which is in the unenviable position of having been named for the process by which a male deer marks his territory during mating season. Fortunately, the only thing rubbed on at this lodge are spices—onto foods such as curly fries, fried mushrooms, BLTs, and fried chicken.