Suggested Day Trips
New England is blessed with destinations of both natural beauty and cultural significance. And unlike the iconic American West, wherein sites are separated by several hundred miles, most New England destinations are merely an hour or two apart. Let the Bridges Inn be your home base and consider visiting these sites that are within arm’s reach.
Within an Hour’s Drive
Franklin Pierce Homestead State Historic Site, in Hillsborough, NH is the boyhood home of America’s fourteenth president and is a spacious and beautiful, federal style country home, built by Pierce’s father in 1804.
Kringle Candle Company, in Bernardston, MA offers candles in all shapes and sizes, scented and unscented, for every occasion. While you’re there, you’ll want to visit their restaurant, The Farm Table. A trip to Kringle Candle Company can easily be combined with a visit to the French King Bridge and the Bridge of Flowers.
Just over the border in Massachusetts you’ll find two unique bridges. The French King Bridge in Erving/Gill won the Most Beautiful Steel Bridge Award (1932) and the Massachusetts Historic Commission Preservation Award (1993). The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls is open from April until the end of October, when thousands of bulbs, perennials, annuals, and flowering shrubs come into bloom.
The New Hampshire Historical Society Museum & Library in the capital city of Concord, NH has a wealth of information about the history, culture, people, and art of New Hampshire. A trip to this museum can easily be combined with a visit to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.
New Hampshire Audubon, in Concord, NH, offers exhibits, trails, and a gift shop which will delight outdoor enthusiasts interested in birding, hiking, and the conservation of wildlife and habitat.
Also in Concord, NH the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center has an amazing collection of exhibits to explore the worlds of astronomy, aviation, Earth and space sciences, as well as a planetarium.
Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum, which bills itself as “the premier destination in New Hampshire, for people interested in Native American history and culture.” Warner, NH (could be combined with a day trip to Concord, NH).
Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, in So. Deerfield, Massachusetts features an indoor conservatory, home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies in a tropical environment. This beautiful sanctuary is a favorite of people of all ages. Also has a food court, Monarchs Restaurant, and gift shop on the grounds.
Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. Explore Emily Dickinson’s life and legacy at the Homestead and the Evergreens. Check hours, as they vary by season.
The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, VT provides a step back in time, offering penny candy, Vermont maple syrup, Vermont cheeses, personal care remedies, household problem solvers, clothing, and more. This is a great place to stop but if time permits, their flagship store in Weston, VT is worth the trip.
The Windsor-Cornish Area, about an Hour’s Drive
The American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT preserves the heritage of the mechanical arts, celebrates the ingenuity of our mechanical forebears, and explores the effects of their work on our everyday lives.
At Artisans Park in Windsor, VT, you will find a brewery, distillery, cheese shop, sculpture garden, glass factory, pottery, and river outfitter. The grounds are lovely.
The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge spans the Connecticut River, connecting the towns of Cornish, NH and Windsor, VT. It is the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world.
St. Gaudens National Historical Site in Cornish, NH is an opportunity to discover the home, studios, and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s greatest sculptors. See over 100 of his artworks, from heroic public monuments to expressive portrait reliefs, and the gold coins which changed the look of American coinage. Seasonal, open Memorial Day weekend through October 31.
Within 1.5 Hour’s Drive
In Bennington, VT, The Bennington Center for the Arts is a comprehensive arts center featuring multiple galleries, permanent Native American exhibits, and a Covered Bridge Museum, where you’ll discover the history and legends of covered bridges in the world’s only museum dedicated to their preservation.
Also in Bennington, VT, you’ll find the Bennington Battle Monument which could easily be combined with a visit to the Covered Bridge Museum and the Bennington Museum which features the artwork of Grandma Moses, Bennington pottery and glass, and more.
The Courier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH, is an internationally renowned art museum featuring European and American paintings, decorative arts, photographs and sculpture, including works by Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe, Wyeth, LeWitt and more.
The Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA is committed to sharing the unique perspectives of historical and contemporary artists.
The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH is a teaching museum whose mission is to create an ideal learning environment that fosters transformative encounters with works of art. The Hood and the Montshire could be combined into one trip.
The Montshire Museum of Science is a hands-on museum located in Norwich, VT, with more than 140 exhibits relating to the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. The Montshire and the Hood could be combined into one trip.
The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA, which includes more than 500 Russian icons and artifacts, is the largest collection of its kind in North America. Spanning six centuries, the collection includes important historical paintings dating from the earliest periods of icon “writing” to the present.
President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth, VT. America’s 30th president was born in 1872 in the house attached to his father’s general store. In 1876 the family moved across the street where Coolidge was sworn in as president by his father, a justice of the peace. The Coolidge Historical Site could be combined with a trip to the Vermont Country Store.
The Vermont Country Store in Weston, VT provides a step back in time and a leisurely stroll down memory lane, offering penny candy, Vermont maple syrup, Vermont cheeses, personal care remedies, household problem solvers, clothing, and more; plus the Bryant House Restaurant. If time doesn’t permit, a smaller Vermont Country Store is located in Rockingham, VT.
Hildene, in Manchester, VT. Home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood, became the home of Lincoln descendants. (Can be combined with a trip to the Vermont Country Store.)
Within 2 Hours’ Drive
The Atlantic coast. Portsmouth, NH and southern Maine are lovely coastal destinations. If your vacation schedule does not allow you to stay on the coast, it is possible to see Portsmouth and southern Maine in a day.
Boston, MA is known for museums, historical sites, colleges and universities, cultural and theatrical events, shopping, restaurants, and more. If your vacation schedule does not allow you to stay in Boston, it is possible to choose a couple of activities or sites that interest you, and make Boston a day trip.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA houses European and American painting, sculpture, works on paper, and decorative art from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. While there, also consider the Williams College Museum of Art, where you’ll find items from around the globe and representing several thousand years of history. Of particular interest is the collection of original documents from the founding of America.
27 Main Street, Swanzey, New Hampshire 03446 • (603) 357-6624