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Rhododendron State Park
Just off Route. 119, Fitzwilliam 271-3254 (P)
You'll find this National Natural Landmark 2.5 miles west of downtown Fitzwilliam. Rhododendron State Park has more than 16 acres of wild rhododendron, Rhododendron maximum. While most guidebooks suggest that the peak of bloom occurs in mid-July, Residents know that even late-blooming rhododendron are at their peak here in late June. Visitors arriving in mid-July should expect fewer blossoms than those arriving two or three weeks earlier. In bloom or not, this wonderful natural area with trails, wildflowers and breathtaking views of Mount Monadnock is a treat. This park is a great spot for picnics.
Monadnock State Park
Route. 124, Jaffrey 532-8862
Some Insiders might say that a visit to the Monadnock region is not complete without a climb up Mount Monadnock. It is the biggest draw in the region and the most-climbed mountain in the United States. (Numbers aren't available, but it is generally reported that Mount Monadnock has more people hike to the summit than any mountain in the world except for Mount Fuji in Japan.) The park and visitors center are open all year. Pick up a guide to the more than 40 miles of trails within the park - most leading to the 3,165-foot summit. It is a favorite spot for winter camping and a popular fair-weather picnic destination. No pets are allowed in Monadnock State Park.
Miller State Park
Route 101, Peterborough 924-3672
This park was established in 1891 and named for James Miller, a hero in the War of 1812. You can drive or hike to the 2,090-foot summit. The auto road up Pack Monadnock ("Pack" comes from the Indian word for little) leads up 2,090 feet to a outstanding view of the region. There are maps to help you know what you are looking at and nearby trails for hiking. In fall this is an excellent spot for watching migrating hawks. Admission to the park is $2.50 per person. Children younger than 12 are not charged.
Pisgah State Park
Old Chesterfield Rd., Winchester 239-8153
New Hampshire's largest state park is 13,800 acres of mostly undeveloped land. It's in the southwest corner of the Monadnock region. The park overlaps the towns of Winchester, Hinsdale and Chesterfield. The brand-new visitors center (funded by donation and built by volunteers) is not yet open, but the very well-informed and friendly staff is hoping to be installed in the center by fall 1997. Currently one gets information about the park at each of the nine trailheads. These trailheads are clearly marked, and all have an information board and map box. The excellent maps show short, medium and long hikes. From the top of Mount Pisgah (1,300 feet) you'll get a great view of the Connecticut River to the west and Mount Monadnock to the east. The camp does not allow camping, but you are welcome to bring your pets as long as they are on a leash.
This 15-mile ride circumvents about a third of a huge, undeveloped park. Three-quarters of the ride uses jeep trails; the remainder follows rougher trails with (often very muddy), and a mile or two of dirt roads.
These 13,000 acres of woods are full of rock outcroppings, wetlands, hemlock and birch trees, beaver ponds, swimming ponds, and wildlife (if you're quiet). Head west for more trails (but don't ride on paths marked as biking-restricted). An active volunteer group, Friends of Pisgah, helps rangers maintain the trails and bridges, and has an information center. They also sponsor open houses, picnics, and clean-ups (P.O. Box 1179, Keene, New Hampshire, 03431).
General location: In the southwestern tip of New Hampshire, between the towns of Chesterfield and Winchester.
Elevation change: The area is relatively flat with a fair amount of moderate climbing and descending on double and single-track trails.
Season: Any time between early June and fall is good for riding. Pisgah is closed to off-road biking during the winter. State parks in New Hampshire officially open on May 23. There is plenty of mud in the spring.
Services: All services are available along NH 9 to the north, and in Keene, 8 miles to the east. There is no camping in the park.
Hazards: Be prepared to change riding techniques when switching from smoother paths to more rugged trails with loose rock and obstructions. In autumn, obstructions can be hidden by leaves. Mosquitoes can appear in late spring and summer. Check with a ranger to find out when hunting season begins in late fall.
Rescue index: You are never more than 3 miles from assistance.
Land status: State park roads and trails.
Maps: USGS, Winchester, New Hampshire. Trail maps are available at trailheads.
Finding the trail: From NH 9, turn south on NH 63. In Chesterfield, between the town hall and school, turn left onto Old Chesterfield Road and follow brown signs for Pisgah State Park. After two-tenths of a mile turn right onto Horseshoe Road. After another 1.6 miles you'll reach a parking lot with information and maps. There are four other parking areas around the park.
Notes On The Trail
With a trail map you can follow many different loops in this large park, but not all the trails are open for biking. Obey signs restricting bikes. However, signs banning motorized dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) do not apply to mountain bikes.
Here is one large loop ride. Take the double-track trail heading downhill out of the parking area (watch for pedestrians). After a short distance veer left. You will pass a beaver pond on the right. If the trail is flooded, take a detour on a single-track trail on the left. At 2.5 miles, you pass a turn to the left toward Fullam Pond. This is where you'll come out at ride's end. (For a short out-and-back ride, turn left toward Fullam Pond.)
Veer right onto a dirt road (Old Chesterfield Road), which is maintained for vehicles bringing boats to Fullam Pond. (After about a mile you will pass a trail junction on the right marked "4." You can take this trail to the swimmable Pisgah Pond.) After another half mile or so you will reach a gate. Turn left onto an old asphalt road before you reach the gate. (If you go straight you will arrive at a parking lot and trailhead near the southern boundary of the park.) After about a mile you'll see a gate. Before reaching the gate, turn left onto a grassy trail. You will come out at another parking area on the east side of the park. Turn right out of the parking area and immediately left onto Old Spofford Road.
After about a mile, take a right fork downhill. The road may be flooded. If it is, take a single-track detour on the right, rejoin the road and go for about another half mile until you reach a break in a stone wall on the left. Turn left onto a trail that climbs, paralleling the road to avoid another flooded section. Rejoin the road, and when it veers right, turn left through a gate and onto an overgrown road going uphill. (You can ride back to the trailhead on easier roads by staying on the road, turning left on Old Swanzey Road, left again before NH 9, and left onto Horseshoe Road.)
Veer left at the junction with Trail 1. At the next fork you can turn right to reach Fullam Pond, or left to join Trail 12, then right on Trail 13, returning to the trailhead. Turning right toward the pond, you will cross a small dam and spillway. (There should be a log bridge across the spillway; if not, carry your bike across rocks just downstream from the spillway.) Ride around the southern shore of the pond and pick up a trail heading west that comes out on Trail 13--this is the junction you passed going the other way. Turn right and head uphill for about 2.5 miles to the parking area.
See the New
England Mountain Bike Association Website
sources of additional information:
Winchester, New Hampshire 03470
Keene, New Hampshire
Museum of Fine Arts
(465 Huntington Avenue) houses extensive collections of Asian, Egyptian and Classical Greek and Roman art as well as European and American paintings and sculpture. The West Wing, designed by I.M. Pei, is a light, airy space used primarily for traveling exhibitions. Open Tues-Sat 10-4:45, Wed until 9:45; Sun until 5:45. The West Wing is open until 9:45 on Thursday and Friday. 617-267-9300.
Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists
(300 Walnut Ave) is dedicated to Black visual arts heritage. Open Sept-June, Tues-Sun 1-5. Open July and Aug, Wed-Sun. 1-6. 617-442-8614. (Also, the Afro-American History Museum is located on Beacon Hill.)
Institute of Contemporary Art
(955 Boylston Street) founded in 1936, the ICA featured exhibits in contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, video, film and live performances. Open Wed, Thursday: 12-9; Friday through Sunday 12-5. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Telephone 617-266-5152 or 266-5151.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
(280 The Fenway) is a beautiful Venetian-style palazzo built by Mrs. Gardner at the turn of the century to house her extensive collection of European art. A Concert Series is offered September through May. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11-5:00. Call for summer hours. 617-566-1401.
The Museum of Science
(Science Park, Boston) one of the country's largest science museums, is filled with exciting features including hands-on exhibits, The Omni Theatre for a three-dimensional film experience, and the Charles Hayden Planetarium. Easily accessible by "T" on the Green Line. 617-723-2500.
The New England Aquarium
(Museum Wharf) is the largest aquarium in the country. The Aquarium rotates exhibits but a few favorites, such as the dolphin show and the friendly seals who greet visitors at the entrance are traditions. Easily accessible by "T" on the Blue Line. 617-973-5200.
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
(Columbia Point, off Morrissey Boulevard) This memorial to John F. Kennedy portrays the life and times of the former president through films and exhibits. Open 9-5. A free shuttle bus, which is wheelchair accessible, operates every twenty minutes from the JFK T stop. 617-929-4523.
The Sports Museum of New England
(Cambridgeside Galleria) features video and audio tapes; sports artifacts and memorabilia. Open mall hours. 617-787-7678.
See Boston.Com for maps and schedules.
(301 Massachusetts Avenue) Considered one of the world's greatest acoustic settings, Symphony Hall offers a wide range of cultural events. Home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the group performs here each year October through April. In May through June the Boston Pops play a lighter musical fare. Throughout the year, visiting orchestras, soloists and chamber groups perform here through the Bank of Boston Celebrity Series. (617)266-1492.
Wang Center for the Performing Arts
(270 Tremont Street) Located in the heart of Boston's theatre district, the Wang Center is the home of the Boston Ballet. In addition, it hosts Broadway plays, concerts, opera, contemporary ballet performances and a wide range of community and civic events. The center's architectural splendor and opulence are matched only by the caliber of the world-class artists who perform here each year. (617)482-9393.
The Huntington Theatre Company
(264 Huntington Ave.) This professional theatre presents classic works as well as contemporary plays. (617)266-0800.
The Handel and Haydn Society
(300 Massachusetts Ave.) The organization is best known for its annual performances of Handel's "Messiah." Also presented are a variety of choral and instrumental concerts using period instruments. (617)262-1815.
New England Sports Information<
Monadnock Sports (a comprehensive information resource for the Monadnock Region)
New England Revolution (soccer)
New England Patriots
Boston Red Sox
Sports Arenas, Boston
Kenmore Square, Boston Built in 1912, Fenway is one of the oldest and most beloved ball parks in the country. Home to the Boston Red Sox, it has scarcely changed since Babe Ruth played here in 1916. Home games are played in Fenway Park from April through October. The MBTA Commuter Rail offers service to Yawkey Station across from Fenway and the subway "T" stop is Kenmore on the Green Line. The Box Office is open Mon-Fri 9-5. Schedule and Ticket Information: 617-267-8661.
150 Causeway Street The new Fleet Center stands less than 150 feet from the original Boston Garden, located near North Station, and is where the Celtics play basketball and the Bruins play hockey. Other events offered here include Olympic and World Figure Skating, professional wrestling, concerts and the circus. The MBTA Commuter Rail Lines and the MBTA Green and Orange Lines stop at North Station. The Box Office is open Mon-Sat 11-7; Sun 1-7 when an event is scheduled. Schedule and Ticket Information: 617-227-3200.
See Boston.Com or Boston Sidewalk for maps and schedules.