Bethlehem Stories and Tips

Driving the North Country

Huntington Falls in Dixville Notch Photo, Bethlehem, New Hampshire

If you'd like to get away from the crowd (relatively speaking--New Hampshire isn't a very crowded state), head north to experience the remote and beautiful North Country. Here you will find Coos County, the largest, poorest, and least populated county in the state, along with the Great North Woods and the Connecticut Lakes. We read about the scenic drive between the two small towns of Colebrook and Errol, so that was our first destination. There we drove through Dixville Notch. Though it's not the longest notch, it's perhaps the most dramatic one in the state. You know when you hit Dixville Notch, and when you're out of it, due to the sharp peaks above you and the steep descent of the road.

When passing through Dixville Notch State Park, look for a parking area with a sign that lists several sights. One of them is Huntington Falls, just a 15-minute hike from the parking area. The steep walk to the upper falls is worth it, because the thin stream of water drops daintily from here to there for about 40 feet. There is a small outcrop of rocks on which to sit and enjoy the sounds of nature, and we only encountered one other visitor as we were leaving.

Another trip from Colebrook takes you north into Pittsburg on Route 3, where there is an interesting bit of history to see. From 1832-1840, this area was actually named the Indian Stream Republic. The citizens here were frustrated with the constant dispute about their land (Canada and the US both claimed it), so they formed their own government, created their own constitution, and continued that way until 1840, when Pittsburg claimed them as its own with no lives lost. When entering Pittsburg, there is a small museum devoted to the town's history, and the sign outside notes that it is open on Saturdays in July and August only, and also "by chance." Across from the museum, there is a tiny town government building (the police are there, and the town council meets there) marked by the seal of the Indian Stream Republic.

North of Pittsburg on Route 3, you'll head into the Connecticut Lakes. In the summertime, the blue depths are surrounded by all sorts of green growth. The first lake, Lake Francis, is not actually one of the Connecticut lakes. You'll notice the hydroelectric power plant there. At the first Connecticut lake, we enjoyed sitting on a deserted public dock and watching a family of geese swim by. Further north, there are more beautiful views before running into the Quebec border.

When returning south, instead of taking Route 3 from Pittsburg to Colebrook, make sure to try route 145. This was the most amazing stretch of road that we traveled in New Hampshire. The views of green peaks and rolling fields are even more exciting as the road drops so quickly down steep hills that you feel like you're on a roller coaster. This road is great fun to drive! And before you get to Colebrook, you'll find Beaver Brook Falls on your left. It requires no hike, and there are few tourists in the area, so you may stay here for quite a while with no company.

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