One of the southernmost trailheads for New Hampshire’s Northern Rail Trail is on Depot Street in Boscawen, just north of Concord. A little informational sign on the stretch of road shared by US 3 and US 4 points to the side street.
The trail surface invites biking, which means it’s fine for walking, too. The ambitious traveler with the right kind of bike could go clear to the other end of the trail in Lebanon in one trip.
I found the Depot Street trailhead on an overcast November afternoon that was warm enough for me to walk without my jacket. In the hour I was there, I covered about three miles. Along the way: a ball field, a farm with its big mown field, a bend in the low-flowing Merrimack River.
I was surprised and pleased to get a call a few months ago from Mr. Roche, a freelance writer. While researching the rail bridge article, he came across this blog and its posts about the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge in Manchester. He kindly sought permission to use some of my photos.
The resulting article features photos of several northeastern bridges of striking beauty. I’m honored that a few of my photos made the cut.
Mr. Roche spelled my name correctly in his text; it was left to a magazine editor to misspell it in the sidebar. But to err is human, and to publish photos of a New Hampshire treasure is divine.
Second Street bridge, just west of Hands Across the Merrimack Bridge, along the Pisacataquog trail.
This morning’s newspaper carries news of the passing of Helen Closson of Manchester, New Hampshire at the age of 94. The headline describes her as “a force for good.” The long list of her civic activities bears this out. As a Granite State walker, I will always think of her as the woman who brought us the Hands Across the Merrimack pedestrian bridge over the Merrimack River in Manchester.
The Hands Across the Merrimack bridge. Ellen Kolb photo.
The bridge is a gem, pleasant in itself, all the more valuable for its setting along a rail trail that now stretches from the south end of the Millyard well into Goffstown.
Turning an abandoned rail trestle into a pedestrian walkway is a team effort, and my gratitude for the bridge ought to be extended to many people. Mrs. Closson, though, was the team leader who saw the project through to the end.
I appreciate the gift.
Manchester, New Hampshire, as seen from the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge over the Merrimack River.
The Singer family’s behind many philanthropic efforts in the Manchester area. It’s fitting that the bridge carry the Singer name.
New Hampshire’s Piscataquog Rail Trail finally reaches across the Piscataquog River, connecting Manchester with Goffstown. I put off some workday tasks long enough to walk the trail from its east end all the way across the new bridge. With all due respect and gratitude to the many people who made the project happen (Manchester Moves and the Singer family, for starters), I didn’t stay for the ribbon-cutting and speechifyin’. Trails are for walking.
On the Manchester side, looking toward Goffstown, at long last.
On the Goffstown side.
I call this right neighborly.
It was a good morning to walk along the trail all the way to the Merrimack River flowing past Manchester’s millyard. It’s mid-autumn and the foliage might be considered past peak, but it’s still beautiful as far as I’m concerned.
Second Street bridge, near east end of Piscataquog Rail Trail.
New Hampshire’s Heritage Trail is actually a jumble of disconnected paths, many of them near the Merrimack River. I like Manchester’s segment through the Millyard along the Merrimack River. This overlook near the Amoskeag Dam is a fine spot for a brown-bag lunch. Sure, there are restaurants nearby, but for some days, only a view like this will do.
So how can I do a better job on my next visit of making my camera capture what my eye sees? I welcome your comments, as well as your reports of your own favorite Heritage Trail spots.
I was early for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats game a few days ago (that’s baseball, for all you out-of-towners). It’s been too long since my last stroll over the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge, part of the rail trail that begins behind the baseball stadium and extends a couple of miles west along the Piscataquog river, clear over to West Side Arena.
The Hands Across the Merrimack bridge over the Merrimack River, seen from the trail behind Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The bridge should be a good spot for seeing eagles. There’s a nesting pair about a mile south along the river. I’m always driving when I see one, so I’ve never gotten a photo of a bald eagle – but I’ll be in the right place at the right time someday.
Looking south toward the Queen City Avenue bridge.
The odd bit of graffiti aside, the bridge is in good shape structurally and aesthetically. And for crossing the Merrimack river, it sure beats dodging the auto traffic on the nearby Granite Street bridge.
Manchester, New Hampshire
View from the west end.
It’s good to see this acknowledgment of one of the people who made the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge project happen.