Explore the Picturesque New Hampshire Region of Monadnock
The Monadnock region of New Hampshire looms just left and south of the central part of the state. Its landscape is dominated by one beautiful, isolated mountain for which the region is named. Monadnock has a vibrant arts community and plenty of picturesque parks. Over a hundred years ago, both Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson scaled the peak of Mount Monadnock for poetic inspiration. This region encapsulates all of the quaint features of historic New England towns.
What are Monadnock’s notable outdoor activities?
The most common outdoors activity in the area is scaling Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey. From its towering 3,165 foot summit, a hiker can view all six New England states! It also has forty miles of variable terrain of various skill levels for both novice and expert hikers. This is the perfect place to plan a healthy hike and pack a delicious picnic.
Bear Den in Gilsum is another beautiful natural attraction. Thousands of years ago, glaciers all of the state of New Hampshire. Bear Den features ancient glacial “pot holes” and ledges that were once a denning area for bears. It is also a great area to hike, sightsee and take pictures.
Otter Brook Dam and Lake in Roxbury, offers an escape from the summer heat. The cool, refreshing waters of Otter Brook beckon visitors and locals alike to put on their swimsuits and bask in the sun. They also have designated areas for picnics, nice lush green lawns and a sandy man-made beach.
Monadnock sounds great! What else is there to see?
Another very unique attraction to visit is the Cathedral of the Pines. Noted as one of the most spiritual and emotionally moving places in the state, the Cathedral of the Pines is a non-denominational sanctuary that sits at the top of Mount Monadnock. It is a place for people of all faiths to reflect, meditate and feel harmoniously connected to their surroundings.
One of the more notable attractions is MacDowell Colony in Peterborough. MacDowell Colony was originally founded in 1896 by the composer Edward MacDowell. He had a vision of making a community where artists could work in peaceful and inspirational harmony. Some of the more notable artists/composers that have lived and worked at MacDowell Colony are Leonard Bernstein, James Baldwin and Alice Walker!
If you love pickles, then the Pickle Festival in Winchester is the place for you! Every September, Winchester hosts an old-fashioned fair revolving exclusively around this vinegar treat. The fair features pickle eating contests, pickle themed floats, pickle costumes, best pickle contests, pickle marching bands, and plenty of pickles for visitors to eat for free! It also features live music, other vendors and other fun activities.
For other notable attractions, please visit the Monadnock region’s information website: Monadnock Regional Information. Also, if you are seeking a place to stay, this link will be useful: Lodging and Accommodations
What can you do for free in the Monadnock Region?
If you are a New England architectural enthusiast, the Monadnock region is known for its antique wood-covered bridges. The town of Swanzey has many such examples in particular, and they are all maintained with historic information available for those interested in learning more.
Although there are plenty of things to do for free, including antiquing, sightseeing, and general exploring, this region does have its fair share of free parks and hiking areas. Annet State Park in Rindge is one such park with free admission that has plenty of shaded picnic sites, rivers and lakes for canoeing and lovely trails for hiking.
The Stonewall Farm in Keene is a free-of-charge, non-profit working farm. Their goal is to connect everyday people to agricultural farming and the land. They have cow milking sessions, show maple syrup collection and have plenty of hiking trails. This farm is open year round.
Where are the good places to eat?
Monadnock is one of those regions where restaurants tend to be in city clusters as opposed to out in the “middle of nowhere.” With this in mind, if you do intend on going on a long hike on the mountain or elsewhere, please remember to pack provisions. After you are finished exploring and have built up an appetite, here are some examples of good places to eat in the area:
If you are looking for a good meal right by the mountain that’s not too expensive, give Jaffrey Pizza Barn in Jaffrey a try. They have delicious hand-tossed pizzas, subs, hot pasta and plenty of other inexpensive menu choices.
Two other cities a bit farther away from the mountain are Keene and Petersborough. Both are restaurant-oriented towns that have many options to choose from. In Keene we recommend Nicola’s Trattoria. It has flavorful antipasto, robust Italian dishes and delectable desserts. In Petersborough, the Pearl Restaurant and Oyster Bar demands our attention. It is an Asian fusion restaurant that features bold and tantalizing Asian faire with an American seafood twist. They seek to build flavors on local ingredients so their menu changes in accordance with the season.
For other restaurant options in the Monadnock region, check out this link:
I love being outdoors, but I want to shop as well. Where are the good places to go?
The Monadnock region has some unique shopping locations that are sure to please everyone. One of the more notable places is Depot Square in Peterborough. It features more than twenty one-of-a-kind shops, has art galleries, pubs with live music and more. Plus, it is located right in the heart of historic downtown.
Another interesting place to shop is Frye’s Measure Mill. The mill has been featuring fine woodworkers and excellent craftsmanship since 1858. Its seven beautiful rooms are filled with New England country furnishings, antiques and collectibles.
For those that love locally made jewelry, baskets, soap, specialty items and more, Hannah Grimes in Keene is the perfect marketplace to visit. It is a dynamic shopping area for local artisans to display their finest wares.
If interested, here is a link to more shopping options: Shopping/Outdoor Businesses
Where can I see a good show or live performance?
The Colonial Theater in Keene, is one of the most unique theaters in all of New England. It was first opened in 1924 and has since been placed on the New Hampshire registrar of historic places. It has both live performances and film viewings and hosts many unique cinema events.
Another great option is the Edge Ensemble Theater Company in Keene. It was originally comprised of a group of twenty or more actors and actresses who found one local home now in Keene. They boast of being more edgy, funny and “daring” in their theater productions than others around.
- Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey
- Bear Den, Gilsum
- Otter Brook Dam and Lake, Roxbury
- McDowell Colony, Peterborough
- Cathedral of the Pines, Jaffrey
- Pickle Festival, Winchester
- Annet State Park, Rindge
- Stonewell Farm, Keene
- Antique wood-covered bridges, Swanzey
- Jaffrey Pizza Barn, Jaffrey
- Nicola’s Trattoria, Keene
- The Pearl Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Peterborough
- Depot Square, Peterborough
- Frye’s Measure Mill, Frye
- Hannah Grimes, Keene
- Colonial Theater, Keene
- The Edge Ensemble Theater Company, Keene
- Friendly Farm Dublin
- Harris Center for Conservation Education Hancock
- Hillsborough Balloon Festival Hillsborough
- Monadnock Speedway Winchester
- Parkers Maple Barn Mason
- Winchester Speedpark Winchester