I’m reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt. A description of a jam-packed campaign tour that he undertook in 1912 via rail includes Nashua, New Hampshire and Ayer, Massachusetts on a list of stops.
Hello, Nashua River Rail Trail. It appeals to my inner history buff that whenever I’m there, I’m retracing a path that was once traveled by a former President.
Who knows how many other distinguished passengers were once conveyed by rail along paths I take today? I’m sure there are stories I haven’t heard yet.
The NRRT has long been my favorite local rail trail, but the Goffstown Rail Trail along with its Piscataquog cousin in Manchester has become a contender. The connection between the Goffstown and Manchester trails was worth the wait. I’m particularly fond of the segment between West Side Arena and Danis Park Road. I get to use the pedestrian bridge that finally replaced the abandoned trestle over the Piscataquog River, and then I walk with just enough people on the trail to make it a pleasant experience. It’s a place of peace and quiet but not isolation.
Second Street bridge, near east end of Piscataquog Rail Trail.
The Queen City: Manchester, New Hampshire, seen from the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge on the Piscataquog trail.
I call this right neighborly.
At long last, a trail bridge crosses the Piscataquog River to link Manchester with Goffstown.
On the Goffstown side.
I’ve yet to explore the full length of the Rockingham Recreational Trail between the Manchester/Auburn line and Newfields, but the westernmost segment alone does not disappoint with its views of Lake Massabesic.
View from the trail’s main parking area, just south of the Massabesic traffic circle.
Massabesic Lake seen from a boat launch along the trail: imagine the variety of birds to be seen and heard here.
My single visit to the trail along the old Troy-to-Fitzwilliam line left me determined to come back and explore more of Cheshire County’s rail trails.
Heading from Troy to Fitzwilliam on a foggy day: silent, eerie beauty.
The Presidential Rail Trail and its crown jewel, the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge, are too far away for me to visit more than once a year. An easy mile-and-a-half hike from Airport Road in Whitefield leads to one of New Hampshire’s hidden treasures.
View of the Presidential Range from Cherry Pond in the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge.
Presidential Rail Trail, leading to Cherry Pond: practically a boulevard.
A sign at the Airport Road trailhead lists the agencies that maintain the wildlife refuge reached via the rail trail.
For eight years, I’ve relied on Charles F. Martin’s comprehensive book New Hampshire Rail Trails for information about the location and history of these and other trails. You could order the book online, but I prefer finding my trail guides at local book shops. The browsing always yields new resources for planning future trips.