The long holiday weekend is here, and foliage is popping just about everywhere. Why not make a trip to the Monadnock Region to see some stunning fall scenery framing some cool spots for photo opps.
To start our day we headed to the village of Ashuelot in the southwestern corner of the state. We were there to see what local historians call one of New Hampshire’s most elaborate covered bridges: the Ashuelot Bridge. Originally it was built as a way to get wood across the river for use by the Ashuelot Railroad as the railroad had a station located right in town.
With access to the Ashuelot Rail Trail located right next to the bridge we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to break out the bikes for a ride. The trail is about 22 miles long and stretches from Keene to Hinsdale – following the old Ashuelot Railroad. There’s plenty to see along the route from historical landmarks, abandoned mills, it passes right through several small towns and in some spots you can ride right along the river!
From there we made our way to Chesterfield to a favorite stop: Madame Sherri’s Forest. Take the short walk and you’ll come to the ruins of the old castle she built here back in the 1920s. Not much is left now, except the foundation, stone chimneys, the old stone staircase and the stories about the woman who came from New York City to build a castle deep in the woods. A cool stop for a photo opp and the miles of hiking trails you’ll find here.
Next up: Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area. Talk about a hidden gem! There’s a loop trail that’s just under a mile that leads down through the gorge and offers up great views to the many cascades of waterfalls. There’s several places where you can stop and simply enjoy the tranquility of the water rushing downstream. It’s a great walk in the fall, and with a canopy of trees, it’s mostly shaded so is great in the summertime too.
After the gorge it was onto charming downtown Keene – specifically this iconic spot: Central Square offering up a picture perfect view of the city’s Main Street. The small park with the gazebo and fountain is always decked out for the season and often bustling with activity for various community gatherings.
From there we headed to Terra Nova Organic Coffee Roasters located right near downtown. They have an amazing selection of coffees made from organically grown beans and roasted right no site. Or choose an espresso, specialty latte or drinking chocolate. I opted for the salted caramel latte – the perfect way to wrap up the day.