The Newfound RV Park in Bridgewater, New Hampshire was our destination for the next four nights. We didn’t know much about NH, so opted for a fairly central location in the Lakes Region of the state, which is just about in the center. Our RV park was owned by a great couple that couldn’t have been any nicer, Paul checked on us daily. It was a fairly small park, but had everything we needed. After a long drive to get there, we decided to just have a relaxing evening by the campfire.
We weren’t quite sure what to do for the next day, so we headed out to explore with our maps. We had read about the covered bridges of the area. At one time there were over 10,000 covered bridges in the United States, and today 54 of the remaining 750 are located in New Hampshire. It was like a treasure hunt for us to find them on the map and gave us a chance to really see the area. It was very rural and foresty with lots of lakes and rivers. Each bridge is numbered and typically had a plaque out front giving the history. Most dating back to the 1800’s and unique in their own way, some have been restored and are still in use while others are out of commission. I think we found about 8 of them.
Another day we headed north to the White Mountains and Franconia Notch State Park and Flume Gorge. This area is big for skiing in the winter. We hiked up the flume and waterfall area, then around the backside for amazing views of the deep pools. NH is known as the granite state and this was very evident in this area. We saw huge granite boulders and sheer cliffs. I think I saw our old countertops! We also saw 2 more covered bridges. The rain started right as we got back to the car, perfect timing. Headed back to the MoHo for tacos and some itinerary planning. So nice to have a good wifi!
On our last day, it rained in the morning, so we got some to-do’s done around the MoHo. In fact, we didn’t unlock the door and step outside to leave until almost 1pm. Decided to head up north to Weirs Beach on the shores of the largest lake in the state, Lake Winnipesaukee. Walked down the boardwalk and stopped in at a little bar with a deck overlooking the lake, then at one of the many candy stores to get swedish fish. Drove through a few other lake towns, but nothing really inviting to stop at. A pretty sleepy area. We came to the conclusion that since their season is so short, they don’t really invest in a lot of infrastructure for summertime visitors. Seems like a lot of cabins for locals. Overall this stop was a pretty relaxing one and not a lot of must-sees, so we were able to just explore organically. Things seemed pretty spread out so we did do a lot of driving in the car, but I feel like we saw some cool places and got a feel for the area. We opted not to head south to the bigger cities of Concord and Manchester, rather focusing on the Lakes and White Mountain regions. We can’t do it all, so when unsure of an area, we have to just commit to a place and make the most of it rather than second guess ourselves.
Thursday, we were on the road to Vermont. We encountered some pretty bad roads, so were a bit spent by the time we arrived at the Lone Pines Campground just NE of Burlington. What a complete opposite experience we had from our last place. The spot they had us in was not ideal, so we asked to move, which usually is not a problem. This is one of the worst customer service displays we have encountered yet. They just didn’t care. Needless to say we didn’t get to move. The park was crowded with a lot of families with young screaming kids. We were very close to the Quebec border, so the majority seemed to be French speaking and not as considerate as we have experienced (sorry for the stereotype, just calling it as we saw it!). There was a Costco nearby which we haven’t seen for awhile, so loaded up on supplies and enjoyed a nice BBQ dinner and red wine to drown out our surroundings.
The next morning, we headed into Burlington to Starbucks, as we needed to use their free wifi since it was not provided at our park. After getting our business out of the way, we walked up and down Church Street, which is a pedestrian mall stretching about 5 blocks. It was very busy and many street performers including a string quartet of young kids. We had lunch at a great spot outside taking it all in. Then, we went down to the waterfront (Lake Champlain) and walked around. The big VT Brewfest was taking place, but was sold out, and tickets were not cheap through scalpers and brokers. We read that it sold out in 11 minutes! VT is a huge beer making state just behind OR and CO, so we were sorry to miss it. But we still managed to sample some local brews at restaurants. Burlington was a great town and a must visit in Vermont.
The next morning, we got rolling at a decent time and headed north toward the Champlain Islands, a grouping of islands flanked by Lake Champlain on either side with NY to the west and Quebec, Canada to the north. At Grand Isle we stopped at a nice farmer’s market and loaded up on some fresh veggies for din-din. Kept driving and reached the top pretty quickly then did a detour drive around Isla La Motte, the most secluded of the islands. Not a lot going on; mostly private homes/cabins and not a lot of public access to the water. Then, we decided to do another scenic drive between Jefferson and Stowe along Smugglers Notch. This drive went straight up the mountain with very narrow windy roads, then straight down, sometimes only room for one vehicle to pass. There were tons of cars parked along the side, so we figured some good hiking trails, but we weren’t prepared for a hike. We never saw the road to take us to the viewpoint we were hoping for, then all of a sudden we were down in Stowe. A bit disappointing to say the least. It was a beautiful area, surrounded by mountains and trees, but we were hoping to get out to take some pics. Stowe was a neat ski village town with a cute main street area, but there was a boy’s lacrosse tourney in town, so it was packed. We stopped at the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Waterbury, but the lines were huge, so we decided not to wait. Plus we were there on a weekend, so they were not actively producing the ice cream. The tour would have been a video rather than real action. We headed back to the MoHo for dinner and a campfire.
We were excited for our last day in VT! We had discovered another cool festival was happening while we were here. The Vermont Cheese Festival! Since we couldn’t do the beer fest, the cheese fest was right up our alley! It was a bit pricey at $50 each, but we thought why not since we were here and we definitely wanted to sample some VT cheese! It took place at Shelburne Farms, a huge 1,400-acre complex right on Lake Champlain, a great setting. Got a free bag, wine glass, then the sampling began. It was a great mix of cheese, wine, ciders, spirits, chocolates and other local food samples, including a lot of maple flavored items. It got pretty crowded but with some patience we were able to get to all the booths we wanted. We did a good job of loading up our bags with various items and felt like it was a great event and very glad we came. A definite highlight to sample some local specialties, especially cheese! We headed back to the MoHo to watch the final round of the British Open. We had no satellite, but were able to pick up a few channels from our antenna, so were able to watch (live TV is brutal!). We got packed up, as we would be up and out early the next morning for our long drive to Syracuse, NY. I think I enjoyed the area of VT better than NH, but we obviously liked the campground in NH better. Sad that our time in New England has come to an end. Time is flying by!