A visit to Madame Sherri’s place

With a car and several hours at my disposal this weekend, I decided to head out to New Hampshire’s southwestern corner for a visit to the Madame Sherri forest in Chesterfield. I average about one hike there per decade. Believe me, it rates more. Only my distance from the area keeps me from more frequent visits.


The castle staircase: a signature spot in Madame Sherri Forest.

And who is the Madame Sherri who left us with the remnants of a castle? The Forest Society tells you all about it on a page that includes important information about the trails on the property.

I was a little concerned when I arrived at the trailhead and found the parking area filled and the roadside lined with “no parking” signs. I managed to find a tiny spot that accommodated my tiny car. Here’s a tip: the kiosk at the far side of the parking lot has a little notice card informing visitors that overflow parking is available a short distance up the dead-end road across from the trailhead. Too bad the sign can’t be seen from the road, but I’ll remember the parking arrangements for next time.

Once on the trails, I crossed three bridges over dry streambeds. The area’s drought is not easing. All the more remarkable, then, that wildflowers continue to bloom. I love the icy-blue asters still flowering.

Indian Pond may be lower than usual, but it’s still a beautiful spot.


Indian Pond, Chesterfield, New Hampshire.

And then there’s the castle, which rates a respectful nod at each visit. Imagine what the full structure must have looked like in its glory days. The kiosk at the parking area actually has some good photos and historical information about the site.

I picked a wonderful day for a drive, with Monadnock dominating the scene between Dublin and Keene. I had actually planned to make several stops yesterday: Madame Sherri, Gap Mountain, and a short visit to Monadnock’s lower slope. Once in Chesterfield, though, I decided to enjoy the forest. More trail time, less car time. I don’t regret the decision.


The Granite State Walker at Madame Sherri’s castle.