The Almost Complete Guide to Monadnock
West Swanzey, NH Main Street carried by historic covered bridge
Oct 31, 2019 at 8:00 AM in Things to Do by
Named after Mount Monadnock, a towering mountain that measures 3,165 feet above sea level, Monadnock the region is composed of a jumble of small New England towns sewn together by picturesque farmland, beautiful state parks and lots of lakes. Outdoor activities abound in this part of south-central New Hampshire all year long and best of all it is a place where both strident athletes and sightseers just taking in the scenery can find happiness.
As your Discovery Map shows, Mt. Monadnock ranks as the most frequently climbed mountain in North America. Yes, indeed. And on a worldwide scale, most rate it about as popular as Japan’s Mt. Fuji. Can you imagine that! The amazing panoramic views you enjoy from many vistas on the climb–and certainly at the summit– are some of the primary reasons for Mt. Monadnock’s appeal. On a clear day, you can see as far as Boston. Plus, you can access this monolith from numerous trailheads located in several towns, including Jaffrey. There’s a good route for just about everyone, since the degree of difficulty ranges from easy to––well, let’s just say better be in shape for that one. Mt. Monadnock is not the tallest peak within the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but it certainly is the most famous.
Almost as exciting as Mt. Monadnock itself is Mt. Monadnock State Park, a beauty of a place that consists of more than forty miles of hiking trails, a dozen Nordic ski trails, a visitor’s center and also a camp store. There’s everything you need to have a memorable communion with nature.
Indeed, you’ll find a plethora of state parks within the region, most of which have the necessary amenities for daytime- and overnight camping-fun dialed in. Most also have great scenic drives in case you choose to enjoy the nature from the comfort of a vehicle. Miller State Park, the oldest state park in New Hampshire, can be accessed from Peterborough. Pisgah State Park in Swanzey is the oldest. And Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, just south of Troy, is surely one of the most unique. Rhododendrons bloom from July through the end of summer within the sixteen acres of this tranquil park, a colorful vision accessible to all, including people with disabilities.
Being outdoors makes you hungry and fortunately the Monadnock region offers all kinds of eateries and food shops to satisfy just about every taste and budget. Up in Walpole you can delight in European-styled, handmade chocolates at L.A. Burdick. Thank goodness they also have an online boutique! The monsieur behind this brand is originally un chocolatier, however, he went one step further here by opening The Restaurant at Burdick’s, a bistro that’s worth checking out. He also own Walpole Grocery, a food shop stocked with fabulous wines, cheeses and other delicious provisions.
All the way down in the far righthand corner of your DM map, you’ll see Kimball Farm Ice Cream Restaurant. Yum-MEE. For over eighty years, this revered establishment has been supplying locals and visitors alike with some of the creamiest ice cream around. Best of all it comes in some forty flavors. They serve up fried seafood, too, and their lobster roll is as good as you what you find on the coast. The only downside is that they’re only open from mid-spring to mid-fall.
Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough stands out as a favorite gathering place for good brews, good pub fare and great live music many nights of the week. (There’s even an open-mic night on Wednesdays.) Or, you can just hang at their iconic wooden bar and sip a frosty.
Having fun outside can be about more than hiking a mountain or strolling through a park. You can also go out and pick your own berries. Best to do this at Monadnock Berries rather than out in the wild. Spend a delightful moment picking your own plump raspberries and other fruits of the bush on a beguiling property at the base of Mt. Monadnock. Now they even have a beer garden on their premises. Granite Roots Brewing sells a bushel-full of traditional brews and craft beers imbued with a hint of fruit from their farm.
The region is brimming with originality and tradition. New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery is a newer establishment in Winchester, an old town that was incorporated in 1753. A visit and tasting here offers the perfect wind-down from a day of touring within the Monadnock region. Kick back, sip some spirits and start planning your day for tomorrow, since this little summary only represents a fraction of all there is to experience within this beautiful part of the Northeast.