Destination: Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Believe it or not, I didn’t always know what Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, was. I had heard folks talk about it but I had never been there. I was traveling up New Hampshire’s route 93 on a rainy, overcast day a few short years ago and, upon pulling off in Lincoln, NH, I stopped to fill up my tank and coffee cup (both are equally important to me!).
For some reason I decided not to do the “Kanc,” (the Kancamagus Highway, a 34-mile scenic byway through the heart of the White Mountains). Maybe it was the siren call of exploring a different route that led me to head west on route 112 towards Woodstock, NH. The road winds through Woodstock and can be a little difficult to follow but paying attention will serve you well. Route 112 is also called Lost River Road. If this route is at full peak color, you’ll want to stop for photos every two minutes; but if you can keep that in check for a few miles, there’s an incredible spot ahead.
First stop: the Beaver Pond lookout
From exit 32 off 93, set your trip counter to zero and head west. You will travel 6.2 miles to the Beaver Pond pull-off. It will be on your left with a parking lot for 10-15 cars.
Early morning or late afternoon provides some dramatic light here. I arrived at 9:30 am and it didn’t really do much for me even though it was a sunny day with blue skies.
After you leave here, continue to travel 4.6 miles to route 116 taking the right hand turn. The next 5.4 miles will be very scenic and you will be in the White Mountain National Forest for most of it. Along the way route 116 will also become Easton Road and when you hit the 5.4-mile mark, there will be a left hand turn onto Sugar Hill Road.
Next you will come to a T-intersection where you will make a right and then an immediate left onto Easton Road. Go about 2/3 of a mile to where there is a house on the hill to your right and their barns on the left.
Second stop: Farm and barns on Easton Road
There isn’t usually much traffic but it does happen, so pull off as far as you safely can. Here as you look left across the road, you will see the landscape climb sharply upwards to the top of Bronson Hill. If you time this right, your eyes should pop out of your head with the color since this valley is more than 80 percent sugar maples.
Now you may continue or, if you have a good map/GPS, you can explore the other two roads — Hadley and Toad Hill.
You will see on the map they all end up meeting on route 117. You are now in Sugar Hill, NH, and if you take a right and go 1,000 feet you’ll have the Sugar Hill Meeting house on your left.
Now, my purpose is to whet your appetite to explore this area on your own. There are many shops and B&Bs in this area and if you just look a little farther ahead on the left you will see the famous Polly’s Pancake House. So with that, I’ll leave you to think about all the maple syrupy goodness.
This drive has been adapted from Jeff Folger’s 2010 blog post on scenic Sugar Hill.