Bristol, New Hampshire is a tiny town filled with lush trees, rolling hills and breathtaking scenic heights. It is nestled at the southernmost tip of Grafton County in the state’s mountainous region. Like many of its neighbors, Bristol features much, if not all, of the iconic sights and sounds that make the northern part of this state so unique. However, Bristol has several beautiful points of interest that are quietly tucked away; you might never know they existed unless you lived there. And with a population of just over three thousand people, chances are, you don’t.
If you haven’t been to Wellington State Park, you should go.
Did you know that Bristol is home to Wellington State Park, one of the most scenic parks in the entire state? With one of the state’s largest lake beaches, Wellington State Park or “Wellie” as the locals call it, offers pavilions, walking and hiking trails, recreational areas, campground areas, picnic tables, grills, concession stands during the open season and public restrooms. The park is fully staffed from May 10th until September 21st, but the gates are always open. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages six to eleven and free for children younger than six and adults older than sixty-five. There is a publicly accessible boat launch and the park allows for guests to bring their own gas grills if desired. With spacious snack bars, a meticulously maintained beachfront, endless hiking trails, designated fishing areas and more, Wellington State Park may be “the” perfect state park and secret upstate summer getaway.
All farms vary in one way or the other. Some concentrate more on their produce, some on animals or a balanced combination of the two. Walker Farm is an impressive blend of both. Its recent New Hampshire Department of Agriculture award as “Farm of Distinction” rests as a testament to its stellar reputation. With its pristine fields, carefully maintained buildings, quiescent animals and healthy rows of crops, this farm is simply idyllic. Walker Farm has been a fully operational family owned and run farm since 1770. One of the farm’s current owners, Chet Walker believes that the farm is “pretty well diversified” and that he and his family “milks cows…grow[s] vegetables and sell[s] them at [his] farm stand.” He insists they do “everything else in between” to remain productive, healthy and happy. Try visiting in early March when the family gathers and makes more than 150 gallons of fresh, mahogany colored maple syrup, or during autumn when the fields are bursting with glistening globes of ghoulish orange. Go to Walker Farm for a tour of the grounds, to sample delicious baked treats from the kitchen, pet baby farm animals, eat juicy ripe berries picked fresh from the trees or to simply relax and know what a perfect, bucolic life would be like. Walker Farm is open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. throughout the year.
Cool off at the lake!
Bristol is also home to one of the cleanest, most crystal clear lakes in the entire country. Newfound Lake, with its 4,106 aquatic acres, it considered to be one of the deepest lakes in New Hampshire. The reason it is so clean is because it is continuously being “fed” by eight cool, freshwater springs that flush out any stagnant water. There is spectacular hiking around the lakes twenty-two miles of shoreline, and admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children six to eleven, and free for those over sixty-five or under six. This would be the perfect secluded getaway for those who want the tranquil setting of the forest as opposed to the glaring hot bustle of the state’s more frequented coastal beaches.
So, if you happen to be venturing near Bristol this summer, definitely take some time to visit. If you intend on staying overnight, check out this link for Lodging and Accommodations. You should also consider relaxing in some of the state’s best Campgrounds. You won’t regret it!