Hello fall! Mother Nature turned down the temps just a bit and turned up the fall colors! Spent some time out and about scouting for signs of those colors along the landscape in the Monadnock Region and lo and behold we found them! Yellow, orange, red and green. We saw them all and more! Just happened to scout out a few fall photo opps too.
What a view from the summit of Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park, New Hampshire’s oldest State Park. I’ve never been to Miller before this trip and was wowed by what I saw at the top. There are hiking trails up, but we opted for the auto road this time and were greeted with magnificent scenery. A fantastic view of nearby Mount Monadnock, and on a clear day you can see up to Mount Washington, down to the Boston Skyline and into Vermont. On a side note, this park is pet friendly. Leashed pets are welcome and staff have treats for man’s best friend and you’ll find a water bowl on the summit ready to quench your pups thirst.
From Miller, we headed west on Route 101 into the picturesque town of Peterborough. I heard about a great local coffee house, so just had to stop. Rest assured, Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting did not disappoint. The hot mocha latte and homemade blueberry muffin hit the spot. Parker and Sons makes pretty much everything from scratch from their breads and English muffins to all their baked goods and as their name suggests, they roast their own beans too. If you have a few minutes to spare, sit outside on the deck and enjoy the view.
After leaving Parker’s we continued along Route 101 West, toward Dublin and saw some beautiful color on the way! We found ourselves making multiple stops for foliage opps. Particularly picturesque were the ponds framed by fall foliage.
The nice pops of color continued as we made our way to Swanzey and the historic Sawyer’s Crossing Covered Bridge. New Hampshire’s Covered Bridges are a great photo opp and they’re a really neat part of the state’s history. There’s only 54 left, and four of them are located right in the town of Swanzey.
The next stop on our route was the Stone Arch Bridge in Keene. Growing up in the Monadnock Region, I’ve always been intrigued by this bridge, but hadn’t ever taken the time to stop at it. Driving by the arch looks huge, but then when you are right in front of it, it’s massive! The bridge spans the Branch River, and historically speaking was one of the most impressive masonry arches built in the US before 1850. It was a crucial link in the former Cheshire Railroad – providing a connection to Keene from the south. Now this bridge is part of the Cheshire Rail Trail and we’re heading into Keene to ride a section of it.
We found a good spot to pull out the bikes so we could hop on the Cheshire Rail Trail. The trail is about 40 miles long, extending down to Fitzwilliam, and north to Walpole. On this day we biked into downtown Keene to check out some cool spots for photo opps.
Once in downtown Keene, we biked over to the Parrish Shoe Sign. It’s painted on one of the most visible corners of downtown. It’s actually a fictional business from the movie Jumanji starring the late Robin Williams. Many of the outdoor scenes from the movie were filmed in the downtown area. Originally the mural was supposed to be temporary but after filming there was a lot of interest in keeping it so it was painted again to be permanent.
Diagonally across from the sign, is the city’s iconic Central Square. It’s located in the heard of downtown, and is where three streets, Main, Court and Washington come form the shape of a Y. It’s served as a town common so to speak since the 1700’s. It’s a great place to sit and read a book, have a cup of coffee or just watch the downtown activity. It often serves as a host location for special events. And from here you have a picture perfect view down Main Street.
Once we wrapped up in downtown, we biked back to the car, loaded up and headed north on Route 12 to Walpole. Another very colorful part of our trip today, with lots of reds and oranges popping in the trees along the roadway. I always love coming to this part of the state, and have a bit of a soft spot for Walpole since it is the town where I grew up. Once we got to town, we stopped at Boggy Meadow Farm. I’ve long known this as a dairy farm, but in recent years they started producing cheese – using milk from the cows here at the farm. If you time it right, when you stop in you might even be able to see them making it.
From the farm, we headed to downtown Walpole and Burdick’s Chocolate. Just had to wrap up their day with a Burdick’s Mocha (their signature hot cocoa + expresso), and some of their signature chocolate mice to go. Adorable and delicious all wrapped up in one!
Had to make one final stop on the way out of town, from high on a hill, what a view! Some great foliage throughout our travels in the region. With the color changing like this, peak is probably not far away! Look below for the driving directions of the route we took and a reminder to follow @LiveFreeWithKris on Facebook and Instagram for updates throughout the fall season. Until next time Live Free With Kris!
Starting at Miller State Park in Peterborough, take 101 West into Peterborough. In Peterborough, turn left onto Grove Street to Jaffrey Road and Parker and Sons Coffee House. From the Coffee House, get back out to Route 101 and head west through Dublin. (There are a lot of great places along this stretch to stop for foliage pics). Stay on Route 101, until NH Route 32 South, then take Sawyers Crossing Road. From the Sawyers Crossing Covered Bridge, take a right onto Matthews Road. Follow the road to Winchester Street, turn right and follow road to Route 101 East/ Route 12 South. Follow this road and the Stone Arch Bridge will be on your right, heading out of Keene toward Marlboro. From the Stone Arch Bridge, head into downtown Keene and park anywhere along Main Street, from there you can get out and explore downtown. Leaving Keene, get to Route 12 North and head to Walpole. Take River Road North (left hand turn right before Major Leonard Keep Sign) off Route 12. Follow this road until you get to Boggy Meadow Farm. From here, follow River Road South northeast and turn left onto Route 12. Then turn right onto South Street. Stay on South Street until you come to a stop sign, turn left onto Main Street, Burdick’s will be on your left once you reach downtown.