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What To See & Where To Stay On The Northern Rail Trail

September 19, 2017
By: Lindsay Elitharp
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Crossing rivers and rambling alongside lakes, the Northern Rail Trail offers pristine views of New Hampshire's wildlife and world-renown fall foliage.

The Northern Rail Trail

At 58 miles long, the Northern Rail Trail is New Hampshire's longest rail trail. This multi-use trail runs from Lebanon, near the Vermont border, all the way to Boscawen. Crossing rivers and rambling alongside lakes, the Northern Rail Trail offers pristine views of New Hampshire's wildlife and world-renown fall foliage.

Mascoma Lake

You'd be hard-pressed to miss Mascoma Lake on the rail trail. The trail follows the lakeshore for a mile as it enters Enfield. Home to the Dartmouth College sailing team, Mascoma Lake is also a popular trout-fishing spot.

Potter Place

The only preserved railroad station on the trail, Potter Place is a favorite stop for rail trail riders. This Victorian-style station dates back to 1874. Today, it functions as a museum, displaying much of the Andover Historical Society's collection.

The Keniston Bridge in Andover, NH is one of many points of interest along the Northern Rail Trail. Photo by Gianina Lindsey via Flickr.

The Keniston Bridge in Andover, NH is one of many points of interest along the Northern Rail Trail. Photo by Gianina Lindsey via Flickr.

Gravesite of Richard Potter

Richard Potter, for whom Potter Place is named, was the first African-American magician to gain fame in the United States. His gravesite lies just across the tracks from the station.

The Keniston Bridge

The trail crosses Bridge Street in Andover where this covered bridge carries Bridge Street over the Blackwater River. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Keniston Bridge features partially sheathed sides.

Tarte Cafe & Bakery

You'll have to venture into town in Andover for this stop, but it's worth the detour. Fresh sandwiches, quality coffee, soups and salads are all extremely well done, but the French baked goods are superb. Get a Kouign Amann and an almond croissant. You can walk or bike the calories off on the trail.

A pile of almond croissants from Tarte Cafe and Bakery. Tarte Cafe excels at crafting French pastry.

A pile of almond croissants from Tarte Cafe and Bakery. Tarte Cafe excels at crafting French pastry.

Hannah Duston Historic Site

Just past the trail head in Boscawen, look for the 35-foot statue on a small island where the rivers meet. Hannah Duston became a local folk hero after murdering and scalping her Native American captors (who murdered her infant child). Her statue was the first publicly-funded statue in New Hampshire.

Where To Stay on the Northern Rail Trail

Located in Andover, the Highland Lake Inn is an ideal stay for a rail trail visitor. Only a minute away from the trail, this bed and breakfast offers cozy New England hospitality and grounds that adjoin a 21-acre nature preserve.

The Highland Room at the Highland Lake Inn is the perfect cozy spot to rest after a long day on the Northern Rail Trail.

The Highland Room at the Highland Lake Inn is the perfect cozy spot to rest after a long day on the Northern Rail Trail. Photo courtesy of Highland Lake Inn.

If you're looking for a more rustic stay, Mascoma Lake Campground in Lebanon offers tent sites, RV sites, and cabin rentals only minutes away from the trail. Kayaks and canoes for enjoying the lake are available to campers free of charge.

Inn-to-Inn Bike & Stay Tours

These self-guided tours make biking from inn to inn easy with options for bike rentals and luggage transportation. The Common Man Inns in Claremont and Plymouth, and the Inn on Newfound Lake all feature hot tubs, perfect for a soak after a long day of biking.

 

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