New England Trip Part 4: Keene and Brattleboro

After two days in the city, we were ready for more nature.  Unfortunately, Friday was yet another grey day with yet another threatening sky.

Despite that, we opted for the long route between Portland, Maine and Keene, NH, traveling the  Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountain National Forest.  Sadly, our trip on this famous scenic byway coincided with massive amounts of rain.  The beginning of the fall foliage show was visible through the weather.

Kancamagus Highway

along the Kancamagus Highway

It rained all the way across New Hampshire and was still raining as we drove into downtown Keene.  Luckily, we parked directly in front of a café with the most delicious soup.

All souped up, we decided to head to Swanzy and the Ashuelot River Campground.  Our host assured us the rain would stop in time for a lovely weekend, and he turned out to be right.

Ashuelot River Campground

Ashuelot River Campground

Naturally, we tried the local brewpub, Elm City, for dinner.  Underwhelming.

Keene is another inviting New England town with a main street of retail, restaurants, and an old theatre.  Saturday is market day, so we picked up some end-of-season sweet corn to cook over the evening campfire.  After admiring the theatre marquis, browsing through Turn It Up, and indulging in a Pumpkin Spice latte (hey, it’s vacation), we drove across a mountain to Brattleboro, VT.

Keene's Colonial Theatre

Keene's Colonial Theatre

I fell in love with Brattleboro at first sight.  Just across the NH border, on the Connecticut River, the town is surrounded by hills and full of hippies.  The main street follows the same formula as Northampton and Keene—theater, restaurants, independent stores—but has a different feel.   Brattleboro is less refined than Northampton, and the mix of businesses is more diverse than Keene’s.

Brattleboro Food Co-op.   Local cheese, local beer, local produce, plus a bakery and prepared foods.  Possibly the best store ever.

Brattleboro Food Co-Op

Brattleboro Food Co-Op

On the way back to Keene, we stopped at Pisgah State Park for the only hike of the trip.  Actually, it was more like a walk in the woods.  The sound of guns firing in the distance was a bit unnerving.

Pisgah State Park

Pisgah State Park foliage

It was chilly back at the campground, so Type E procured five bundles of wood and made a raging fire, another first of the trip.  We cooked our corn and inaugurated the Amish pie iron by burning some organic, uncured turkey hot dogs from the co-op.

The raging fire begins

The raging fire begins

A beautiful way to end the trip, watching the stars appear and relaxing by the fire as the air turned from chilly to cold.

Leave a Reply