CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Traffic through the New Hampshire turnpike system was up for the four-day Labor Day weekend holiday — and so was business for a number of inns and attractions.
For some in the Mount Washington Valley, it was a welcome change from a year ago, when a number of businesses were closed or operated on a smaller scale after Tropical Storm Irene hit the area in late August.
This year, Irene was a distant memory, said Janice Crawford, executive director of the local chamber of commerce. The good weather and recent changes allowing Canadian visitors to bring more goods from the U.S. into Canada also helped visitor traffic at shops, she said. .
Snowvillage Inn owners Kevin Flynn and Jen Kovach in Eaton Center said there were a number of weddings in the region, helping to put "heads in beds." Kovach said there was a wide range of international visitors and domestic guests. She also said a number of travelers are doing a "New England swing" visiting Maine and Vermont, in addition to New Hampshire.
The Department of Transportation said total of over 1.3 million vehicles went through the state's turnpikes over the long weekend, a 3.6 percent average increase. Spokesman Bill Boynton said that's a positive sign. In recent years, the traffic figures have been relatively flat.
"Great weather surely helps, and many of the guests I talked to simply wanted to get to the village while the weather was still good so that they could enjoy the water park," said Bruce Hicks of Santa's Village.
Lori Harnois of the Division of Travel and Tourism said visitors came from all over the world, including Germany, Poland and Canada.
Not everyone experienced a surge in visitors this weekend, or even earlier this season.
"It was a very sporadic summer," said Mary Ellen Shields, owner of The Manner on Golden Pond in Holdnerness. She said July was down, but August was up.
Some businesses on Main Street in Nashua felt that a project to replace sidewalks this summer kept shoppers away. But others felt they got a boost when the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce premiered an outdoor movie series on Wednesday nights and the Nashua branch of Greater American Downtown held several outdoor music events, The Telegraph of Nashua reported.