Hidden Gems of the Connecticut Lakes Region

There is so much to do in the Connecticut Lakes Region. Here are some hidden gems that may not get as much press.

  1. Swim and have a picnic lunch at Picnic Island. Rent a boat from a Lopstick Lodge on First Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg. Motor towardsHidden gems First Connecticut Lake Sailboating Magalloway Mountain where you’ll find two sheltered picnic areas on a peninsula of land. A great place for swimming and fishing.
  2. Start a family Christmas tradition! Choose and cut your own fresh Balsam Christmas tree at the Weir Tree Farm in Colebrook. Elevation 1648 N 44º 53.291’ W 071º 22.276’ Weir Tree Farm is famous for their “Fralsam™” fir. The Fralsam Fir is a hybrid cross between the Fraser and Balsam and was developed on their tree farm. Then choose the perfect new ornament at the Hallmark store Elevation 1057 N 44º 53.607’ W 071º 29.818 in downtown Colebrook.
  3. Watch the Old Home Day Parade in Pittsburg the third weekend in August. Just when you think the parade is over, it turns around and comes back by!
  4. Hike to the headwaters of the Connecticut River at Fourth Connecticut Lake. The 45 minute hike straddles the US and Canadian border and will have you stepping in and out of Canada. Pick up the trailhead behind US Custom on Rte 3 in Pittsburg. N 45º 15.125’ W 071º 12.318’ Trailhead elevation 2180’
  5. Grab some lawn chairs or a blanket and head to the Poore Family Homestead Historic Farm Museum in Stewartstown for an outdoor folk concert. N 44º 58.426’ W 071º 26.275’ elevation 1538’. If coming from Pittsburg on Rte 145, enjoy the roller-coaster like ride after cresting Ben Young Hill.
  6. Play a round of golf at the Balsams’ famous 18 hole Panorama course in Dixville Notch. The course is challenging and beautiful. Order a lobster roll for lunch at the club house and ask to sit by the big windows. The view from the club house of Mt Monadnock is spectacular. Elevation 2047’ N 44º 52.810’ W 071º 19.782’
  7. Hike to the top of Mt Magalloway in Pittsburg. Climb the fire tower at the top to take in the 360 degree view of NH, Canada and Maine. On a clear day you can see the Presidential Range. On your drive back down the tower road, stop and pick wildflowers on the road’s edge in early July.
  8. Take a 2 state, 2 country motorcycle trip! Starting in Pittsburg, drive north and cross into Canada. Travel to La Patrie then on the Woburn where you’ll return to the US and enter Maine. Drive to Rangeley and have lunch by the lake, shop the stores and head to Errol NH, cross Dixville Notch and head back to Pittsburg. Four hours of drive time brings you through a diverse countryside.
  9. Load the kayaks on the cars and head to East Inlet in Pittsburg to paddle this 60 acre pond. Moose are commonly seen in the water grazing on aquatic plants. The area is bordered by one of the few remaining virgin stands of forest in the US. Bring a fishing pole as the brook trout fishing can be good. Elevation 1954’ N 45º 10.766’ W 071º 09.673’
  10. Snowmobile to the top of Hedge Hog Nubble in Pittsburg to take in the views of the Great North Woods. Bring some Ritz crackers to feed the Canada Jays who will eat them right out of your hand!
  11. Enjoy some sugar-on-snow on the common in Canaan, VT during the Canaan-Stewartstown Day event. Held annually on first weekend in August, the 2-town, 2-state event has a parade, vendors and a 3 day mens softball tournament.
  12. Snap some pictures of Pittsburg’s three covered bridges. The bridges are located on Fletcher Road; elevation 1341’ N 45º 03.275’ W 071º 24.406’, River Road Elevation 1435 N 45º 04.352’ W 071º 18.347 and Hill Rd; elevation 1677’ N 45º 05.042’ W 071º 18.810’. The bridge on Hill Road is open to vehicular traffic.
  13. Take the dog for a walk. With so many places to walk and hike, an afternoon with man’s best friend is a true hidden gem.
  14. The 4th of July fireworks in Pittsburg is best seen from a boat on Lake Francis. After enjoying the chicken BBQ, launch your boat and head out on the lake to watch the fireworks explode overhead. Elevation 1419’ N 45º 02.974’ W 071º 21.807’
  15. Stop at the 45th parallel marker on either Rte 145 Elevation 1657 N 45º 00.000’ W 071º 25.168 or Rte 3 and you will be half way between the equator and the North Pole. Just 2 miles north of the parallel on Rte 3 is a great antique shop with lots of interesting glassware.
  16. Perfect your loon call at the First Lake Beach area. Loon commonly visit the area and will return your call if it is good enough. Elevation 1724’ N 45º 05.478 W 071º 17.086.
  17. Take a walk by the river at the Lake Francis State Park in Pittsburg. Park by the office and bath house and pick up the foot path that leads you up and along the Connecticut River. This short walk has some rocky areas that can be slippery. Trillium bloom in the spring along this woods path. Elevation 1433’ N 45º 03.589’ W 071º 18.117’
  18. Fly fish on one of the areas many Fly Fishing Only ponds. The local favorite fly? The hornberg in natural, yellow or brown.
  19. Take a test ride on a next year’s model snowmobile at the Sno-deo on Big Diamond Pond in March. Radar run, test rides, fun and food on a frozen lake occur during this 2 day event. Elevation 2285’ N 44º 56.678’ W 071º 19.683
  20. Snap pictures of the leaves as they change color on Hill Road; elevation 1627’ N 45º 03.536’ W 071º 19.871’, Kingfield Rd; Elevation 2015’ N 45º 06.054’ W 071º 18.503’or the Tarns in Pittsburg; elevation 1653’ 45º 03.348 W 071º 21.313’. The foliage season begins in mid September and lasts through early October.
  21. Try poutine at the Spa Restaurant in Stewartstown. This French Canadian dish is a local favorite. French fries smothered in gravy and topped with curd cheese from neighboring Quebec, Canada. Mmmmmm! Elevation 1450’ N 44º 59.608’ W 071º 31.929’
  22. Ride your motorcycle to Colebrook for the Blessing of the Bikes. This late June event occurs at the Shrine of Our Lady Grace and features, events, vendors and lots of leather. N 44º 52.575’ W 071º 30.544.
  23. Take a ski lesson at the Wilderness Ski Area in Dixville Notch. Learn new skills or take a first lesson. Elevation 1818’ N 44º 51.680 N 071º 19.418.
  24. Kayak the Connecticut River. Put in at the Canaan, VT Bridge Elevation 1064 N 44º 59.737’ W 071º 32.133 and take out at the bridge at Bridge St in Colebrook. Elevation 1036 N 44º 53.918’ W 071º 30.433 Ten miles of river takes you through the beautiful farm valley.
  25. Troll the Connecticut Lakes for landlocked salmon and lake trout. Use Mooselook warblers, spoons, Rapalas or pick up some live bait at Treats and Treasures before N 45º 06.260’ W 071º 16.675’ elevation 1832.0
  26. Visit a sugar shack in early spring to see how maple sugar is made.
  27. Ride ATVs in the rugged terrain of the Great North Woods. There are more than 100 miles of maintained trails. Park and Ride Trailhead Elevation 1612’ N 45º 05.318’ W 071º 19.930’  What trail to try? The Harris Pond Trail.
  28. Attend the annual Moose Festival in late August. The entire region puts on 3 days of events. Moose tours, car show, outdoor concerts and parades all honor the areas mascot, the moose.
  29. Go out for a delicious dinner of buffalo, ostrich, trout or elk at the Rainbow Grille on Back Lake in Pittsburg.  Elevation 1616’ N 45º 04.952’ W 071º 21.053’
  30. Skip rocks on the Second Connecticut Lake at the boat launch. The lakeshore is scattered with palm sized flat rocks just perfect for skipping! Examine the rocks well, they are truly hidden gems! Elevation 1872’ N 45º 09.020’ W 071º 10.465’
  31. Stop at Le Rendez Vous French Bakery in downtown Colebrook (N 44º 53.658’ W 071º 29.790’, elevation 1223’) and pick up lunch croissants and some chocolate and head to Beaver Brook Falls (elevation 1275’ N 44 º  55.206’ N 071º  27.884’) for a summer picnic.
  32. Grab your swimsuit and a towel and drive 12.2 miles out Magalloway Road in Pittsburg to the Garfield Falls trailhead. Elevation 1893 N 45º 01.793’ W 071º 07.048’A short ten hike brings you to the base of the fall. Swim beneath the falls then lay out on a big rock until the sun has dried you.
  33. Magnetic Hill lies just north of the US/Canadian border, Elevation 2372’    N 45º 15.144’ W 071º 12.269’. Cross into Canada from Pittsburg and dive to the bottom on the long hill. Turn around and head south. Pull over and put your car in neutral and be pulled up the hill by the magnetic force. Elevation 1982’   N 45º 15.924’ W 071º 12.301’
  34. Fire up your antique snowmobile and race! One lung-er races are held annually in Pittsburg in January and in February in Colebrook.
  35. Shoot video of moose in ‘Moose Alley’ elevation 1748’ N 45 º 07.651’ W 071 º 13.708’. Moose delight visitors every morning and evening along Rte 3 between First and Second Lake in Pittsburg. If you see other cars pulled over, chances are good they are watching a moose!
  36. Mountain bike along the Connecticut River in Clarksville in the Washburn Family Forest. Park at the trailhead just south of the Pittsburg/Clarksville town line. N 45º 01.208’ W 071º 27.830’ elevation 1200’. Bike the 5+ miles of logging road along the river to the covered bridge.
  37. Pick up “Grouse’ sandwiches at the Village Bakery in Pittsburg (45º 03.091’ W 071º 23.563’ elevation 1384’), cross the border into Canada (N 45º 15.144’ W 071º 12.269’)  and travel to Notre Dame du Bois. View the enormous stone Catholic Church before heading to the Parc du Mont Megantic. At the interpretive center, purchase a day pass and drive to the top of Mont St Joseph for a picnic lunch. Then drive the auto road to Mont Megantic and see the observatory.
  38. Take a stroll though the Johnson Memorial Forest in Pittsburg. Pick up the trail head across from the fire station take a self guided walk. N 45º 03.088’ W 071º 22.810’ elevation 1409’. Be sure to look for the osprey’s nest. Head into you head out on the water. Treats and Treasures, N 45º 06.260’ W 071º 16.675’ elevation 1832.0