West Island

If you have not noticed yet from my reviews and blog posts, I love exploring New England and finding off the beaten path places. On a recent trip to Roger Williams Park we were driving home and wanted to check out a beach. We did not want to pay anything or have to deal with crowds. Once again I started googling to see what I could find. Thanks to All Trails I found the cutest beach. This is not your typical beach, it is defiantly off the beaten path and takes a little work and navigation to get to, but it is well worth it. West Island is located on Buzzards Bay in Fairhaven MA. There are a few miles of trails, one that leads to a secluded beach, which was my favorite part. I recommended using either the trail map on All Trails (which you need a login for) or this one as the trails are not well marked.

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The trailhead is located on Fir Street in Fairhaven, outside of New Bedford MA. This is a residential area with limited parking. There is a kiosk to mark the trailhead . We followed what looked like an old road for almost a mile until we got to the bay. From there we followed a sandy trail to the right and came upon a beautiful secluded beach. I was a little surprised at how peaceful and beautiful it was. There were two other couples there, one that looked like they brought their boat there and another that must have walked in. My guess is the beach is dog friendly as we saw a couple there.

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The sand was white and soft, the water was clear and very blue. There was a beautiful view looking wards the Cape. There were plenty of rocks, seashells and snails to keep kids entertain. The beach is very small, which is part of it’s charm.


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We tried to walk past the beach through the marsh, but lost the trail and ended up circling back to the beach. We also observed that when the trail got to the bay there was a large trash can overflowing with trash and smelled pretty bad. There was no trash on the beach or anywhere else.

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If you are looking for a little hike and/or some beach time and like to have some peace and quiet, I highly recommend you checking out West Island. It is an absolute gem.

Jaffrey Rindge Rail Trail

Our family are not big bike riders. For my daughters birthday she asked for a mountain bike. She has been riding around our house and the school parking lot, but has been asking to go on a family bike ride. Last weekend my husband and I dusted off our bikes and wanted to hit up a local trail, unknown how far she could actually go. We have walked the Jaffrey Rindge Rail Trail a few times mostly when our daughter was still in a stroller. Since this was close by and we know the trail we thought we would see how our daughter did on longer distance rides.

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The trail starts in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. We parked in a small parking lot behind Jaffrey Pizza Barn on Blake Street in Jaffrey. The trail is 7.5 miles one way to Winchendon, MA, a total of 15 miles if you do a roundtrip ride. There are various parking lots along the way if you do not want to park in Jaffrey. I like this trail because it is flat, well maintained and has some pretty views. If you are walking, I did see some benches along the way if you want to stop and take a break. I also saw some walking trails that veered of the bike path, I’m not sure if they go to peoples homes or other lookout areas.

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We did a seven mile roundtrip ride for our first longer distance ride, which I felt was pretty good. We saw other people running, walking and bike riding so I suspect it can be a busy trail.

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If you and your family live or are visiting the Monadnock Region and have your bikes, make sure you check out this trail. I know we will be back.

Clough State Park

On a day trip adventure this summer we stop at a cute little state park, Clough State Park.  We had done a hike not too far away at the Manchester Cedar Swamp Trail and were looking for a way to cool down.  We pulled into the nice little park.  The Gate Attendant was very friendly and helpful as we had never been there before.  By the time we had arrived it had gotten cloudy and cooler, therefore we decided not to swim, but wanted to check to the park anyway.  There was a fairly big sand beach, a lot of picnic tables, opportunity to bring your own kayak, paddle board or canoe for paddling around the lake.  

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Lincoln/Woodstock KOA Campground

I am a little embarrassed to admit that we only went camping once this year.  The trip that we did take was done with last minute planning.  For my daughters birthday she wanted to go camping.  We had rain checks for Whales Tail and wanted to do Santa's Village.  When planning a camping trip in August it can be hard to find available sites that do not cost a lot of money.  Since it was my daughters birthday weekend she requested a campground with a pool and some activities. After much looking we ended up booking a couple nights at the KOA Campground in Lincoln/Woodstock.  I am not going to lie I was a little hesitant to stay here.  I do not why, but I had in my mind that the KOA's were not the nicest campgrounds and had a lot of people who partied.  

Well I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised and I am regretful of the thoughts I had.  From the moment we arrived the staff was very nice and helpful whenever needed.  The grounds were very clean.  The campsites were a little close together where we stayed, but there are other sites that gave you a little more privacy. My favorite part was they had staff driving around in golf carts to make sure everyone was quiet at quiet hours.  Despite the campground being very full, it was very relaxing.  The first night we were there we sat in front of the fire watching shoot starts above us.  We had a perfect few of the night sky. 

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This was a great family campground with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained from a pool, large bounce mat, playground, basketball court, mini golf, fishing pond, walking paths, various lawn games and a general store with many items and homemade pizza which smelled very good.  On the weekends they have various activities and a ride on a older fire engine.  

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The was also a great area to be in as we were close to Lincoln and Whales Tail to use our Rain Check and we were only about an hour away from Santa's Village. Just down the road from the campground was a really cool swimming hole with a water fall and crystal clear mountain water. 

As I am writing this post I realize we must have had a great time because the only two pictures I have from camping are the ones my daughter took with my phone.  When planning our next camping trip I will absolutely consider either this KOA or other KOA's.    

Flume Gorge

When it comes to hiking I tend to stay away from "Tourist Traps" because if I am going to be outside hiking, I want to enjoy the peace and quiet that nature offers, not be hiking with a large group of people.  On a recent mini vacation to the White Mountains, I was interested in The Flume. My husband says we went when we were dating, but I do not remember, must have been because I was so much in love that I do not remember.  

We decided to arrive early and I am glad we did as there were not a lot of people there.  There is a fee to enter this facility.  Despite it being a big tourist destination it had some magical feeling to it.  Once you leave the entrance, you walk up a path and pass a series of waterfalls before you reach the start of the flume.  

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Once you reach the flume where you are hit with a cool feeling from the falls and are surrounded by beautiful rocks and plant life.  Due to all the rain and humidity we have had this summer there was an abundance of green.  

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I felt like I could have stood beside the falls forever.  I love the sound of a waterfall.  

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After you leave the flume you can loop back to the Visitors Center or you can complete a two miles loop, which I highly recommend doing as you do not want to miss out of views like below.  

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This pool looked very inviting, unfortunately you are not able to get down to it and there is now swimming at the Flume.  

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The nice thing about the Flume is there is something for everyone to keep them entertain from the boardwalks, covered bridges, various waterfalls and views and my daughters favorite, the cave you can climb though.  Or for the kids at heart like my husband and I who also like crawling through the cave.  

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The two mile loop is very doable for all abilities.  The paths are free of roots and was well maintained.  There are stairs and a narrow boardwalk on the flume so it is not stroller or wheelchair accessible. There are benches and huts along the way for resting if needed.  

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Once you reach the Visitors Center you are brought back through the gift shop, which I know can be a challenge if you have kids with you. 

When we reached the Visitors Center the parking lot was full and there as a long line to get into the Flume.  If you do want to check out this magical place I recommend you go early to beat the rush of the tourists.  Even though this is a popular tourist destination, I am glad that I went and feel everyone who visits this area should check it out at least once.   

Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve

I love when I can find good trails in urban area's.  When I explore trails near more populated areas I always worry that they could be trashed or unsafe. This trail was not like that at all.  If you live in Manchester or are near here I highly recommend checking it out.  Located on the Manchester/Goffstown lines is a great preserve.  Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve which is maintained by The Nature Conservancy.   We did a little over a mile loop out to the Cedar Swamp, but there is an option to do another loop, Rhododendron Loop Trail. We did not do this trail, but supposedly in the early summer it is covered with Rhododendron flowers.   

The Cedar Swamp Trail is fairly easy with a few small inclines and well marked.  The trail meanders through the forrest.  In the beginning there are some large boulders.   We saw lots of mushrooms due to how wet of a summer we have been having.  The cedar swamp itself is laid with boardwalks and reminds me of Loveren Mills Cedar Swamp Boardwalk in Antrim, but this trail through the swamp is a little longer.   

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I love walking through swamps like this as I feel like I am in a magical place where fairies could pop out at any moment.  It is also fun to explore because I do not believe there are not a lot of cedar trees in New Hampshire, especially so many in one place. With all the rain and humidity we have had this summer the greens really popped and make you feel like you are walking through a rainforest.  

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If you live in or around the Manchester area and are looking for a hiking trail this is a perfect one.  It is great for beginner hikers or for people with young children.  

Directions on how to get there: The preserve is in the Hackett Hill section of Manchester, on the west side of the Merrimack River.

  • From Interstate 93, take Exit 10 and head south on West River Road (a.k.a. Front Street).
  • Go about 1 mile (crossing the town line from Hooksett into Manchester) and turn right (west and north) onto Hackett Hill Road.
  • Go 0.7 miles and turn left (west) onto Countryside Boulevard.
  • Go about 0.5 miles to where the road starts to curve right.
  • You'll see the trailhead and sign on the left.
  • The parking area will be on the left.

Converse Meadow Trail

Are you looking for an easy hike that is just a couple miles.  I have a great one for you. Located off of Route 119 on Conversevelle Road in Rindge is a great beginner hike.  Converse Meadow Trail is managed by the Monadnock Conservancy.  The trail is about a mile and a half loop with the option of a couple side trails to various view points.  This adds on another roughly half mile.  

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The trails are relatively flat with a couple very small inclines throughout the trail. There are signs alone the trail pointing out various animals and plants.  A fun fact about the trail (I forgot to take a picture) is that in the 1940's it is rumored that a escape convict was living in a log cabin in these woods to hide from the authorities.  I wonder if his ghost haunts this area?!

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The trail is perfect if you are looking for an easy couple mile hike with young children or a beginner hiker. We did see a couple different birds, so I also think this would be a great wildlife viewing area.    

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Tower Hill Gardens

If you are looking for a fun day or night out with easy hiking, beautiful scenery, food and some adult beverages (on Thursday nights only),  you have to check out Tower Hill Gardens in Boylston, Massachusetts.  

I worked in the Leominster area for seven years and am disappointed that I never heard of this place before a few days ago.  During the summer months, June, July and August, every Thursday night it is free to get in.  I hate to pass up a free opportunity to check out a new place so we jumped in the car and took the drive down.   

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When I think about botanical gardens I think walking paths with a lot of various plants and flowers.  Tower Hill is so much more.

When you drive up to the property you get a glimpse of Wachusett Resevoir.  When you walk through the main enterance you are instantly surrounded by beautiful flowers, plants and water features.  

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In the Main building is a restaurant, gift shop, library and various meeting rooms.  To our surprise when we walked through the main building into the first garden there was a small beer and snack stand set up.  I think this is something they only do in Thursday’s nights as this is the only day of the week they are opened late.  They had a decent selection of beer, cider and wine.  They were also serving some appetizers.  For those of you who do not drink or if you have kids the night we visited they had a lavender blueberry lemonade which my daughter and I both loved. There is also a restaurant if you wish.     

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We spent about two to three hours exploring the grounds.  Which including a several varieties of plants, various water features, a very cool area for kids to explore made out of sticks, sculptures, lawn games and beautiful views. The night we visited they were doing yoga in one of the lawn areas.   

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We walked about three to four miles around the grounds exploring everything.  When you visit make sure you wear good walking shoes as there is a lot to see. I am not sure that we saw everything.  

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When you are exploring the trails be sure to take a map so you do not miss what is throughout the grounds.  

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Most of the trails are handicap and stroller accessible.  

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One of the best reasons to visit on a Thursday night...

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the sunset is amazing.  

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If you are looking for a girls day trip, a date day or night, a family outing, or you just have a love for beautiful things, you need to visit Tower Hill Botanical Gardens.  I know we will be going back.    

Horse Hill Nature Preserve

Located at 184 Amherst Road in Merrimack is a wonderful little Nature Preserve, well I saw little, but it's not that little as I feel you could spend a half a day exploring all the trails in this preserve.  I am alway looking for new hiking spots and came across this great area.  It is also nice to see towns have great hiking spots for residents who do not want to drive very far.  

My first impression was amazement in the parking area.  Every time I go hiking I feel parking is always a difficulty as a lot of trailheads do not have great parking.  This large parking area is wonderful for all types of vehicles.  

This nature preserve is open to various recreation activities hiking, biking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, hunting and snowmobiles.  During hunting season make sure you are wear hunter safety orange and in the winter be cautious of snowmobiles.  Dogs are allowed, you are  asked to clean up after them.   

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There are trail maps at the beginning and I recommended grabbing one on your first visit as there are a lot of different trails to explore.  The highest elevation is a little over 400 ft so not a lot of gain, but some very pretty scenery.  I also saw a lot of blueberries and blackberries.  

We did an almost four mile hike around the preserve and I was amazed of how beautiful it was and how well maintained the trails were.  We went over Blodgett Hill and Horse Hill Summit and around Long Pond and back to the parking lot. 

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We saw others riding bikes and out for an evening hike, but the trails were not too crowded.  If you live in or near Merrimack I hope you are taking advantage of these trails or if you are in the area, I highly recommended checking them out.  

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Sharon Ledges and More on the Wapack Trail

Located on Temple Road in Sharon, NH is an access point to the Wapck Trail.  There is a small parking lot, which is always nice to not have to park on the side of the road.  This is one of my favorite short hikes, with a good workout and beautiful views.  The trail starts out steep until you get to the ledges, which is about a half mile.  From the ledges you get a beautiful view looking towards Kidder Mountain and the south section of the Wapack Trail.  

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If this is enough of a hike or all you have time for it is a perfect place to stop and enjoy the view and head back to your car.  It is about a mile roundtrip.

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If you have time I recommend going further.  About  a mile down the trail a beautiful lookout point with beautiful views of Mt Monadnock.  The trail is relatively flat. Prior to reaching the lookout point is the Berry Pasture Trail, which starts on Mountain Road in Sharon, you can also reach the lookout point from there for a little less of a hike.   

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It is about three miles round trip back to where you parked your car.  If you are looking for a little longer hike you can go to Temple Mountain where here is a large parking lot.  It is over five miles from the parking lot on Temple Road to the parking lot on Rt 101 with some great views along the way.   

Guantlet Falls

During my teenage years living in Millnocket, Maine my friends and I spent a lot of time at various swimming holes around the Katahdin area. One of my favorite places to go was a little falls tucked away in the Jo-Mary Lakes Region.   About 15-20 miles southwest on Rt 11 out of Millinocket is the entrance to Jo-Mary Lake Campground.  You have to stop at the Gate House and pay a fee to get in.  Ask the attendant for a map and specific directions to the falls.  It is a dirt road and during the week they are logging, so take caution when driving.  

On a recent trip to Millinocket, I was having difficulty deciding where to take my family swimming as there are so many choices.  Since my daughter has become a better swimmer, I decided I wanted to take her to one of my favorite places, Guantlet Falls. I was a little concerned as the last time I was there, over 10 years ago, the road of close to impassible.  We decided to take the chance.  Also I was reading the Untamed Mainer's blog and she talked about a falls lower than Guantlet called Mud Falls, in the many times I went I never knew there was other falls so I wanted to check it out.  

We packed our picnic lunch for the day and my parents joined us for the day trip.  My father asked the gate attendant about Mud Falls and they had never heard of it either. To our surprise the road into the falls has been fixed up and was easy to get through.  We arrived at the falls and it was exactly as I remembered it.  

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Before jumping into the water I explored around to see if I could find the path to Mud Falls.  When you are standing on the rocks looking downstream there is a trail off to your left that leads down to Mud Falls.  About a quarter to a half mile down the trail to come to two small waterfalls.  My guess is the last one is Mud Falls, this does not look like a great area for swimming, but still pretty to check out.  

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We spend a few hours enjoying the falls jumping from various size cliffs. The water was cold, but we could still get in and enjoy it.  The day we visited the water had a good current to it.  I use to be able to swim up into the falls, but the current was too strong and my husband and I could not get up into the falls. It could also be that I have gotten weaker, but I am blaming it on the current.   

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While you are in the area make sure you stop and check out Jo Mary Lake and Campground.  There is a beautiful beach and view of Mt Katahdin.  

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Garwin Falls

When it is warm I am always looking for places to take my dog or myself for a dip.  Located on Issac Frye Highway near Putnam Hill Road in Wilton is a nice little walk to two sets of falls.  There is minimal parking here so arrive early or go on a weeknight when it is not as busy.  The path is well worn and easy to follow.  About a quarter of a mile down the path there is a path off to your left and this goes to Upper Garwin Falls. This is the small of the falls, but still worth checking out. This appears to be a swimming hole, but it looked a little murky and my family and I did not feel we would swim here, but there is evidence that others swim here and it was perfect for our dog.  

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Don't stop there, as there is more to see.  Back on the main trail you walk past a dam, there was not a lot of water behind it, but my guess is in the spring the water is pretty flowing. My dog enjoyed the views. 

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A little further down the trail is evidence of an old home or some form of building with a cool rock foundation.  

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From the old foundation it is just a short walk down a hill to the Lower Garwin Falls and these are some beautiful falls. They are easy to get under and there is a small pool where people were swimming.  I'm still not sold on swimming here as the water in the pool did not look very clear, but I have seen on line that this is a popular swimming hole.  My daughter and I did enjoy dunking my head under the falls.  

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It is just a half mile to the Lower Falls.  Perfect hike for families, people just getting into hiking or someone who loves waterfalls like me.  I'm so excited to have another waterfall in the Monadnock area on my list.  

Magic Tree House Survival Guide

I am always looking for outdoor adventure books for my daughter.  On a recent trip to our local library she found the book, Magic Tree House Survival Guide by Mary Pop Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce.  She really enjoys this series and I was excited they had a survival guide.  

 

She read this book in just a couple days and was excited to share various parts of the book with my husband and I.  Below is her review of the book.  

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"Hi my name is Olivia and I am here to tell you what I liked about this book. The number one thing liked about this book is that this book teach's kids and adults how to survive the outdoors. Some of the things that I had learned are, what to do if I get lost and how to read a compass. I recommend this book for ages 5+ ."

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As a parent I like that the book was broken up into short stories that are only a couple pages long that explain in a language that kids can understand what to do if you find yourself in various situations in the outdoors like what to do if you fall.  As well as teaches you various outdoor skills like knot tying or how to find water. 

Anyone who has children ages 6-12 who love the outdoors I would highly recommend getting his book for them.   

Purgatory Falls

Southern New Hampshire does not have a lot of waterfalls, so I love taking the opportunity to explore the ones we do have in our area.  

Purgatory Falls is a series of three waterfalls.  The Lower falls starts in Milford and then goes up to the Middle Falls and finally the Upper Falls located in Lyndeborough.  The trail is about three miles from one end to the other. There is also an option for a side trail to a view point area. There are various parking lots along the trail if you do not want to hike the whole trail.  Check out the map for more information.     

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When I hiked the trail with my hiking group, we parked at the Upper Falls Parking lot on Purgatory Falls Road in Lyndeborough.  The small parking lot is on a dirt road, which is not a thru road. From the parking lot we walked down to the Upper Falls and then the Middle Falls.  The first part of the hike there is a single plank boardwalk.  A few minutes down the trail you come to the first waterfall. Make sure you stop at the top and look across the waterfall to the "devils bean pot." 

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Since we have not had a lot of rain recently, the falls did not have a lot flow to them, but they were still pretty to look at.  The lush greenery was also stunning.  The trail is very rocky and some of the rocks are slippery when wet and the trail can be muddy, so make sure you wear appropriate footware.  

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In between the Upper and the Middle Falls is a smaller cascade that is not named, at least not that I know of.  

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Shortly after leaving the Middle Falls there is a trail to the left that is marked with orange blazes that has a steady incline up for about a half a mile.  You then come to a field and an old road.  Look behind you and you have a nice view of North Pack and Pack Monadnock Mountains.

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From the view point we looped back around the class VI road to our cars.  At this point I have not checked out the Lower Falls, but I am putting it on my list of hikes to check out.  I would probably park at the Lower Falls Parking lot past Fitches Corner in Milford.    

Lower Falls

When I moved to Nashua, NH for college I greatly missed living near the lakes and woods of Northern Maine.  My first summer spent in Nashua, my now husband wanted to show me his favorites outdoor spots.  We spent most of our free time in the North Conway/White Mountains area.  One of the places that we visited frequently was the Lower Falls along the Kancamagus Highway.  We loved swimming along the falls and in the cool river.  

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We have not been there in many years, I would say at least ten.  Recently we were visiting Storyland and decided to stop to cool off on our way home.  It has changed A LOT since we last visited.  

My daughter and I went into the restroom to change and I was horrified by the condition.  Trash, toilet paper and dirty feminine products were all over the bathroom.  I felt so gross changing in there, that when we were done we changed in our car.  

There is a small cost of $5 to park and visit the area.  A positive change is that they have put in a boardwalk overlooking the falls area.  There are also nice walking baths on the side of the river along with picnic tables. There are plenty of opportunities for a picnic.  I did notice there was a lot of trash laying around. There was an information booth, but I did not see anyone in it.   

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As for the river and falls itself, it was still a lot of fun to swim and play around.  My daughter enjoyed sliding down the rocks and swimming up under the waterfall.  I also found it very relaxing to sit under the waterfall.  The day we visited it was not very busy, but I can imagine that on hot days it can be a very popular and crowded place. As much as I love waterfalls and being able to swim I feel there are a lot better places to swim and relax in the White Mountains than the Lower Falls . 

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McCabe Forest

Located on Route 202 about a mile north of the center of Antrim, NH, is a nice little hiking trail.  McCabe Forest is part of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  There is a series of trails through the forest.

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They day I did the hike, a friend and  I did about a mile and a half loop through the woods, over wooden bridges, and along a river.  The trail is flat.  I did find the trails confusing to navigate due the multiple branches of trails and very little directions.  If I was not hiking with a friend it would have been difficult for me to figure out how to navigate, if it's your first time I would recommending bringing a map or taking a picture of the one at the beginning of the trail.

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 This is a great hike for someone wanting to get out for a easy hike. We did the roughly mile and half in 30 minutes.  The trails are perfect for families.  I liked the amount of wooden bridges, which are always fun for kids.  

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Cedar Swamp Boardwalk at Loverens Mills

Last winter my hiking group, Hike Like a Woman Monadnock, did a loop around Loverens Mills Trail in Antrim. A little over half mile from the start of the hiking trail is a side trail, Cedar Swamp Boardwalk.  I did not explore it during my winter hike as I knew it could be icy and wanted to save it for summer time, to enjoy the lush greenery.  

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Recently my daughter and I were hiking with friends thru McCabe Forest.  Since were were close by I wanted to take the opportunity to check out the boardwalk.  The parking lot is located off of Route 9 on Loverens Mill Road in Antrim.  The parking lot is across the bridge on the right.  The trailhead is across the street from the parking lot.  You follow the river up past an old dam, this is a great spot on the way back to stop for a small break.  If there is enough water, there is a small waterfall over the old dam.  

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As you walk past the old dam a few hundred feet the trail entrance for the Loverens Mill Trail is on your right. Walk less than a quarter of a mile and on the right is the trail entrance to the Cedar Swamp Boardwalk.  There is a trail sign on your left.  The boardwalk is starting to need some repairs as I found some of the boards were broken so use caution when walking through it  

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This place is magical.  The boardwalk is not very long, but the bright green moss and cedar trees are beautiful and worth the visit if you are in the area.  There is a sense of peacefulness when walking through here.  My daughter thought that fairy's lived there.   Click here to read more about Loverens Mills and the Cedar Swamp Boardwalk.  There are no pets allowed.  

Round trip was a little over a mile, but there is any option to do the 3 miles loop, which is a very nice hike as well.  The mile hike is great for young children and shows them the magic the forest can offer.    

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Trails at Willard Pond

I love a trails that provide an opportunity to cool off after a hike.  Willard Ponds offers an array of activities for the outdoor lover from various hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming.

My favorite trail is the Tutor Trail that goes a little over a mile along the pond to a point with a very small beach area.  Along the way there are several opportunities for swimming.  It's also my golden retriever's favorite trail as she spends most the of the time in the water. If there has been a good rain there is a small waterfall about 3/4 up the trail on the left.  If it is flowing, you can get under it.   We frequent this trail a lot in the evening when we are looking to cool off on a hot summer night.  

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In addition to the Tutor Trail, there are also trails that lead to the top of Bald Mountain and a trail that go off to the south side of Willard Pond. I have gone up Bald Mountain, but it has been a few years and I missed the cut off trail to the ledges and ended up doing a big loop from the parking lot back to the pond.  It is on my list of trails to do again.  For more information about the Trails at Willard Pond check out the NH Audubon Website.

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In the summer, this can be a popular spot for paddling fun, swimming and hiking, be aware that on the weekend the parking lot can fill out quickly.      

Directions to Willard Pond: From Hancock Village go west 3.7 miles on Route 123 to Davenport Road on right. Go 1.6 miles, continuing along Willard Pond Road, and bearing left at fork, to parking lot

Almost Somewhere Book Review

“I still wasn’t ready to climb into a tree in a windstorm—I may never be—but I now understood the impulse to feel the vibration of a storm, to hear the heartbeat of the worlds.  John Muir got it right when he said the beauty fo this place can only be felt, not explained.” 

When Suzanne Roberts sets out with her college friends on a 28 day trip of the John Muir Trail I do not think she knew what to expect.  To anyone who has done any type of hiking day trips or long distances, it is not easy, there are struggles and challenges,  physically and emotionally, but in the end you can find yourself within the beauty of the great outdoors along with learning what is important in life.  

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Almost Somewhere by Suzanne Roberts brings you along her journey with her college friends through the 211 mile Muir Trail in California.  The three of them coming from different backgrounds and abilities, but are sharing a celebration of graduating collage by embarking on this journey.  Along the way they meet various people who hike with them, they run into struggles, physically, emotionally and within their relationships with each other, because lets face it is not always easy for three women to spend every waking moment together especially on a difficult thru hike. They experience the beauty of the great outdoors all while trying to connect with John Muir’s vision of this land.  In the end they all learn something from this amazing experience, about themselves and each other.  If you are looking for a feel good story about woman empowerment all while the various emotions you can feel while hiking a beautiful terrain, I highly recommend that you check out this book. 

To purchase this book, click on the link below.  

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Porcupine Falls

When I was recently visiting Distance Hill Nature Trails, we had the opportunity to speak with the owner.  We were talking about local trails in the area and he told me about a local waterfall. I have a huge love of Waterfalls, so when I can find one in the Monadnock area, I have to check it out.  

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 Porcupine Falls is located in Gilsum and is part of the Monadnock Conservancy.  The trail head is located off of Route 10 on White Brook Road.  You follow the dirt road to the end, where there is a small parking lot.  There is a kiosk with trail information at the trail head.  It is a little under a half mile to the falls.  The trail is well marked and there are some bridges and boardwalks that appear fairly new.  

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Since we had had rain the day before we visited, there was a nice water flow.  My guess is that the falls sometimes dries up depending on the amount of rainfall we have had.  The best time to visit would be in the spring or after a heavy rainfall.  There is a nice pool a little bit downstream from the falls that could be a good opportunity for cooling off.  It is also easy access to get under the waterfall if you want to get a nice natural shower.

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Since it is a short trail I would recommend checking our other trails while in the area like Bears Den.