Road Trip: An Autumn Adventure

This month's trip is for those with a sense of adventure, a full gas tank (no gas stations here) and no fear of unpaved roads. Fall is the best time, when the multiple views of Mt. Chocorua are framed in color. Begin on Route 16 in Chocorua, possibly with an ice cream cone from The Dam Ice Cream Shop, overlooking the dam and millpond. Head north on Route 16, pausing at the hilltop to admire the view of Mt. Chocorua and the lakes below. At the bottom of the hill, turn left for another postcard view of Chocorua, framed in tall pines and reflected in the lake. Continue on Chocorua Lake Road, crossing the bridge between the two lakes and going straight on Fowlers Mill Road when Philbrook Road divides to the left. When this unpaved road through the woods finally climbs to a clearing, it reveals perhaps the closest view of Chocorua's rocky cone visible from any road, so close that you can spot individual trees just below the summit. Another view at the bottom of the hill is across a pond. When Fowlers Mill Road ends at Route 113A, go right, watching for a cemetery on the right with views of Chocorua. In less than a mile, turn left on Hemenway Road, past the trailhead into Big Pines Natural Area, where you can walk a level trail to one of New England's largest white pines. Go straight at the junction with Great Hill Road, where a trail to the left leads to its summit and fire tower for sweeping views. Great Hill Road drops into Tamworth, whose four-tiered white church steeple is first seen from above, across a stone wall and pastures. Just to the left in Tamworth are the Historical Society Museum, an antiques shop and two side-by-side village stores; to the right is The Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, a living museum that invites visitors to experience a 19th century farm. The Swift River Trail (trail guides are available in the museum) explores a riverside environment. Climb out of town on Cleveland Road, to a most unusual monument beside the stone enclosure of the 1801 Town Pound. There, atop a large glacial erratic, is a memorial to Tamworth's first minister, ordained on top of the boulder. Climb the 17 steps to read about it. Continue past tidy farms and more views, stopping to pick apples at Hollow Hill Farm. At the fork, stay on Cleveland Road, between stone posts and amazing stonewalls so precisely aligned that their tops are as even as clipped hedges. Partway up the hill is a magnificent shingle barn with two white birches framing a view back to Mt. Chocorua. From the top of Cleveland Hill is another view. Bear left and left again at the "Bridge View" sign to find the 1869 Durgin Bridge, a 96-foot Paddleford. Cross it and go right on Fellows Hill Road. Look for views of Whiteface Mountain before meeting Route 113A again, and turn right, leaving it almost immediately to go left on Wing Road. Sandwich Creamery is on the left, with some of the state's best ice cream. It's made from local milk and the fruits are all local, too, so look for seasonal flavors. Both the ice cream (which you can savor at picnic tables in the flower garden) and the farm's artisanal cheeses are sold 24/7 on the honor system. Return to Route 113A and go right, through North Sandwich into Sandwich Center, past the Quimby Barn Museum, home of the town's Concord Coach. In the village center are the Historical Society Museum, the League of N.H. Craftsmen's gallery and the Corner House Inn, where lunch, Sunday Brunch and dinner are served. Routes 113 and 25 will take you back to Route 16, at West Ossipee, just south of Chocorua Village. Length of trip: About 25 miles
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