A few months back doing some random research I put together a nice little trip exploring Northern New Hampshire and was anxious to do it. With a forecast of beautiful weather it seemed the perfect time to hit the road.
We were not in a rush Sunday morning but hit the road just after eight am taking our favorite drive to Gorham, New Hampshire. In the past we had always taken Route 16 south or Route 2 out of Gorham so to us Gorham is the small idyllic mountain town. However, when you take Route 16 north you find it's not quite that way with a huge 5 lane road, Wal-Mart and other box stores.
I don't recall ever traveling through Berlin before but it's quite a large city with active paper mills, hydro power plant, and more. Everything north of Berlin are very small towns and communities with basically no cell service.
First stop was in the small town of Stark and the Stank Covered Bridge. Spanning 151 feet over the Upper Ammonoosuc River this one lane bridge was built in 1862.
This bridge is unique to us as it is the first one we have seen with a pedestrian walkway on both sides of the bridge. Behind the bridge is a 750 foot cliff face called The Devil's Slide.
This is Wesley's favorite type of covered bridge to visit because he can run across it uninhibited which he truly enjoys.
Also located on the grounds is a old train engine and caboose.
Our next stop was the Columbia Covered Bridge, built in 1910 - 1911 it spans 146 feet over the Connecticut River which connects Columbia, New Hampshire and Lemington, Vermont. I was the only one to get out of the vehicle at this one, there was really no place to park for Wesley to run around so it didn't make sense.
We stayed on the Vermont side of the river for a few miles before returning to New Hampshire in the town of Colebrook. We were going to go to this french bakery I found, but it's closed on Sundays. After driving around a bit we found a place to eat our lunch on the lawn of Colebrook Academy. Even though there were picnic tables to sit at, we spread the blanket on the ground and dug in to our feast of bologna sandwiches, watermelons, and cherry's.
After lunch we continued out journey north on Route 3 to Stewartstown and a 45th parallel marker. We had seen one previously on our Honeymoon in Perry.
The Pittsburg-Clarksville Covered Bridge, also known as the Bacon Bridge, was built in 1876 spanning 88 1/2 feet over the Connecticut River connecting the towns of Pittsburg and Clarksville. This bridge is closed to vehicles and in-fact one side of the bridge is gated off and grass has covered whatever road there may have been.
The Connecticut river flowing under the bridge is beautiful with elevation drops and rapids.
Following the directions the directions Google gave me we next traveled to the River Road Covered Bridge in Pittsburg. It told us to take Cardinal Dr to the Philbrook Rd, not the sketchiest roads we've ever taken Vanna on but I was not a fan of Philbrook Rd, or the idea of climbing back up the steep rutted road. I asked a man mowing his lawn just down from the bridge and he instructed me just to drive 1 mile down the River Rd and we'll come out on Route 3.
Built in 1858 and spanning 50 1 /2 feet over Perry Stream it is the smallest covered bridge I have ever visited. It is closed to traffic, a replacement bridge deck was built next to it. The bridge decking was soft with loose boards, it needs some care.
The final covered of the day that we visited was also in Pittsburg. Built in 1869 the Happy Corner Covered Bridge spans 60 1/2 feet over Perry Stream and is open to vehicle traffic. Only I exited the vehicle to take some photos, again this bridge was not in an ideal spot to let the boy roam.
The last planned stop on the day was Beaver Brook Falls Wayside on route 145 in Colebrook. You pull into the parking area and it is right there in front of you, I mean technically you don't even need to leave your vehicle to enjoy it.
But if you want to there is nice trail going across a wooden foot bridge that leads you to the base of the falls. There is also a trail leading up the side of the falls to the top, had we not had Wesley we would have made the hike up.
Wesley enjoyed the falls, especially throwing rocks into the water.
Our journey home we took Route 26 through Dixville Notch State Park, New Hampshire and Grafton Notch State Park, Maine before landing in Bethel where he had dinner at the Crossroads Diner. We had eaten here twice before coming home from Santa's Village and we had burgers, which were delicious.
Along the way in Dixville Notch we passed this beautiful giant building that is The Balsams Resort which I have since learned closed in 2011. It had opened originally in just after the Civil War and became the structure we see today in 1918 with over 400 guest rooms and over 16 ski trails occupying over 11,000 acres.
Wesley was such a good boy all day, napping in the morning and enjoying his tablet on the ride home, of course falling asleep 10 minutes from the house.
I total we spent just over 11 hours on the road driving 340 miles. It was a great day!