Wells River and Woodsville joined by a bridge
across a dramatic narrows of the Connecticut River were once a major
station both in the Connecticuts long history of log drives and the railroad.
It's said they host the ghosts of river drivers and train wrecks. The rich intervale
meadows of the rivers flood plain drew settlers up the Connecticut River
and across the White Mountains from coastal New Hampshire in the late 1700s.
Two major tributaries swell the Connecticut here, providing some of the finest
white water in the Byway. Historic architecture graces village centers and residential
neighborhoods from the valleys to the hilltops. The Byway traces the routes
of some of the oldest roads in the Connecticut River Valley.
Wells River, VT, and Woodsville, NH, cooperatively provide the Waypoint community for an area that includes the towns of Haverhill, Piermont, Bath, NH, and Newbury, Bradford, and Ryegate, VT. They host a Waypoint Interpretive Center located on the banks of the Connecticut in Wells River, just west of the bridge leading to Woodsville. Another Waypoint Interpretive Center has opened in the 1846 Grafton County Courthouse, now known as Alumni Hall, located in historic Haverhill Corner on Route 10 south of Woodsville.
The designated Byway routes in the Wells River-Woodsville area in Vermont is Route 5. The Byway continues in New Hampshire on Route 135 from Woodsville to points north, Route 302 from Woodsville to Bath Upper Village, and Route 10 from Woodsville to Haverhill Corner and points south.
Nature & Scenery
Here the Connecticut takes a sinuous path across a broad flood plain between ridges in both states. Its large S-curves are known as "oxbows" for their resemblance to the shape of the wooden yokes used to harness oxen. Flooding periodically cuts new channels and fills in old ones. Between Bradford and Piermont is perhaps the only place on the river where one can walk between the two states. A flood in the 1950s cut off an oxbow, and part of Bradford became an island. Sediment has since built up, linking the island with the New Hampshire bank.
The Ammonoosuc River spills into the Connecticut near a scenic covered bridge, where the river takes a hard turn and dives through "the Narrows" to meet the Wells River, entering from the Vermont shore. No Man's Island, which stands between them, marks the border of two states and four towns.
Kinder Forest, Haverhill's municipal forest, includes hiking trails. Another natural area is Bedell Bridge State Park (see Recreation, below) where old stone bridge abutments stand amid farmlands. Here, just below the mouth of the Oliverian River, is a well-known birding area. For more information about birding and nature observation in the area, visit the Connecticut River Birding Trail.
The Museum of American Weather (603-989-3167) and the Oliverian Valley Wildlife Preserve (603-989-3351), are both located in Haverhill.
For more about Nature & Scenery on the Connecticut River Byway
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Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans farmed the floodplain in these bends of the river that became known as the Cohass Meadows, meaning "place of wide valleys." These rich soils prompted New Hampshire to lay out a road through its wild interior from Haverhill to the seacoast to bring food to its growing coastal population.
Several farms in the area retain historic round barns, constructed in that shape in an attempt to make their operation more efficient.
The North Haverhill Fair draws a crowd each July to the fairgrounds just south of Woodsville, where you can watch the competitions, judge the fruits and vegetables, and enjoy watching young 4-H students tend their animals. In the area of Wells River and Woodsville you can buy many agricultural products directly from the producers.
Farmers Markets | Farm Stands and Pick Your Own
For more about Farming on the Connecticut River Byway
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Early roads opened up the area variously known as Cohass, Cohase, and Coös to settlement. The Province Road was built about 1773 from Concord through the White Mountains to what is now Haverhill Corner. Returning veterans of the French and Indian Wars had brought back news of the area's agricultural possibilities as early as 1761, when it was discussed in the New Hampshire Assembly. By the early 1770s, there was regular mail service between Haverhill and Portsmouth, through Concord. Haverhill became the terminus of the Coos Turnpike in 1808, spurring the growth of a vigorous town center.
Just across the river from Haverhill, Newbury was settled in 1763 when General Jacob Bayley, veteran of the Indian wars, led a migration of settlers from Newbury, Massachusetts. In 1776-1779, Bayley constructed a road from Newbury 54 miles northwest, intending to create a better route for American Revolutionaries to invade Canada than through British-controlled Lake Champlain. It was never used for an invasion, but after Moses Hazen extended the road, the Bayley-Hazen Road became an avenue for trade and settlement. Resulting hilltop settlements along the highland roads remain like guide fossils to the early road that produced them.
Many of the villages are recognized historic districts. There are six in Newbury alone, one in Bradford, and one in Haverhill. Along Route 302, in Upper Bath Village, stands a fine collection of Federal-style residences made of brick and wood. One is a bow-front brick home that resembles the finest homes in historic Boston. These houses testify to the wealth and sophistication of the residents of this rural area as early as 1800. The Brick Store in Bath is one of the oldest country stores in the nation.
The town of Bath is also distinctive for the number of its surviving historic covered bridges. Two that span the Ammonoosuc River are the the oldest documented covered bridge in the United States, and the . The spans the Wild Ammonoosuc River.
For a closer look at the rich history
of the Lower Cohase region, take a driving
For more about History on the Connecticut River Byway
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The small but lively towns in the Wells River/Woodsville area maintain a busy schedule of events. Among them are the North Haverhill Fair and a summer garden walk in Haverhill Corner. The large North Country Chorus gives several concerts in the region every year.
Alumni Hall in Haverhill Corner is a
well-known arts center offering a rich program of exhibits, performances,
and community events.
For more about Culture on the Connecticut River Byway
The scenic river valley in this area is popular among boaters. The Connecticut River Joint Commissions provide a that identifies river access and other important aspects of boating.
The Cross Vermont Trail welcomes bicyclists to ride along a portion of former railroad bed leading west from Wells River. Hikers relish mountain trails, including the Appalachian Trail, on Moosilauke and Black Mountain. In winter, trails are opened for cross country skiers and some also for snowmobilers.
There are two state parks in this area:
, Haverhill NH
, Groton VT
For more about Recreation on the Connecticut River Byway
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An historic railroad bridge spans the Connecticut between Wells River and Woodsville, where the historic train station has been converted to a commercial building. The three-story wood-framed building is still called "Woodsville Station." Behind it and to the east, the large level area once teemed with activity where several railroad lines came together.
For more about Railroads on the Connecticut River Byway
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Lower Cohase Chamber of Commerce
Town of Haverhill
Local link for Wells River
Eastern Vermont Regional Marketing Organization
Lower Cohase Farmers' Market
Rt. 302, Central St., Woodsville, NH. Wednesdays, mid-May - October, 3-7pm. Locally grown produce, eggs, fruit, maple products, homemade specialty food products, handcrafted items, emu meat, oil and wood products. Rain or shine, 802-757-3803.
Grotons Happy Tourist Farmers Market
435 Scott Hwy, Groton, VT. (3/4 mi from General Store). Fridays, July - September, 3-6pm, 802-584-3881
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Below, you'll find listings of individual farm stands and farms where you can pick your own farm-fresh products in the Wells River-Woodsville-Haverhill waypoint region. For more, visit Valley Food and Farm's searchable site.
Windy Ridge Orchard & Christmas Tree Farm
Richard and Ann Fabrizio
Rt. 116 Box 157, N. Haverhill, NH 03774
10am-6pm, September 1-Christmas
Apples, cider, jams & jellies, gift shop, pumpkins, squash & Christmas trees
Special Events: Playground, petting zoo, nature walks & school tours
Piermont Plant Pantry
Abby and John Metcalf
143 Rt. 25, Piermont, NH 03779
dawn-dusk, April 1-October 31
Annual plants, hanging baskets, vegetable plants, pansies, geraniums, perennials, sweet corn, tomatoes, garden cut flowers, pumpkins, winter squash, gourds, munchkins, Indian corn, corn stalks, apples, balsam wreaths & roping
Special Events: May 6-Piermont Plant Pantry Open House; October 1-15-PYO Pumpkin (weather permitting); October 29-31-Halloween Pumpkin Lighting; walk around the farm buildings, through the fields to the Halloween trails, across the bridge to the field in back of the mountain." We recommend a small light when walking the trails (no cost); October 22, 10am-3pm, stop in & help us carve pumpkins for the three-day display (no appt. necessary); call for directions, details or questions
The Robie Family
25 Route 10, Piermont, NH 03779
Farm store; raw milk, artisan raw milk cheeses, farm-made ice cream, specialty meats, other local products.
Round Barn Shoppe
430 Rt. 10, Piermont, NH 03779
9am-5pm, Thursday-Monday, fall
Indian corn, ornamental popcorn, popcorn, winter squash & pumpkins, local crafts
Mountain Star Farms
Mike Garvan and Ben Hoyt
Rt. 112, Swiftwater 03785
Christmas trees, wreaths, ornaments & tree stands.
David & Sara Pierson
587 Waits River Road (Rte. 25), Bradford, VT 05033
Mid-May - October
Strawberries, vegetables, soldier beans, farm stand, PYO
4 Corners Farm
Bob & Kim Gray
306 Doe Hill Road, Newbury, VT 05051
(4 mi north of Bradford on US Rt 5)
May 1 - October 15
Blueberries, strawberries, vegetables, greenhouse tomatoes, farm stand, PYO
Sugar Mountain Farm
252 Riddle Pond Road, West Topsham, VT 05086
Naturally grown pigs and sheep
Waits River Farm
Gary & Rhonda Bicknell
10518 VT Rte 25, East Corinth, VT 05040
(9 mi west of Rte 91 on Rte 25)
August - October 31
Vegetables, pumpkins, squash, farm stand
Leete Meadow Farm
Jack & Brenda Highland
9297 Scotch Hollow Road, S. Ryegate, VT 05069
(Rte. 302, 1 mi. NW of P&H Truck Stop)
July 28 - October 31 week-ends
Vegetables, herbs, farm stand
Haverhill, NH EBENEZER MACKINTOSH (1737-1816)
Born in Boston and a veteran of the 1758 Battle of Ticonderoga. As a known participant in the Boston Tea Party, for his own and his children's safety, he walked to North Haverhill in early 1774. He later served in Northern Army under Gen. Gates in 1777. He was a shoemaker by trade and practiced his vocation here for the rest of his life. He is buried nearby in Horse Meadow Cemetery.
Located in North Haverhill, just east of Horse Meadow Cemetery, on the west side of NH 10, about 1.7 miles south of its junction with NH 135.
Haverhill, NH HAVERHILL CORNER HISTORIC DISTRICT
National Register of Historic Places, 1987.
Town of Haverhill granted 1763. "The Corner" was part of a mile-wide strip of land claimed by both Haverhill and Piermont and finally divided between them. Haverhill Corners architecture reflects its history as Grafton County seat, 1793-1891, home of Haverhill Academy, founded 1794, and the northern end of the first Province Road from the coast (later the Coos Turnpike, now Court Street). Colonel Charles Johnston settled here in 1769 and promoted village growth. His house and Governor John Pages still stand, with other notable dwellings, taverns, church, library, and school buildings.
Located at intersection of Court Street and Route 10.
Haverhill, NH ROGERS RANGERS
This rivers' junction two miles north was rendezvous for Rogers Rangers after their destruction of St. Francis, Que., October 4, 1759. Pursuing Indians and starvation had plagued their retreat and more tragedy awaited here. The expected rescue party bringing food had come and gone. Many Rangers perished and early settlers found their bones along these intervales.
Located on the west side of NH 10, about 2 miles south of Woodsville village.
Haverhill, NH THE BEDELL BRIDGE
The last of five 19th century bridges which have existed at this location was erected in 1866 by a local entrepreneur, Moody Bedell, who had operated a ferry service here prior to the first bridge in 1805. The 396-foot structure was the largest surviving example of a two-span covered bridge utilizing Burr truss and timber arch design. Following several years of human effort which corrected decades of deterioration, the newly-restored landmark was destroyed by a violent windstorm on September 14, 1979.
Located near the site of the old bridge, in Bedell Bridge State Park, which is on the west side of NH 1O, south of its junction with NH 25.
Bath, NH BATH
Settled in 1766 by Jaasiel Harriman whose cabin was near the Great Rock. His nine year old daughter Mercy carried dirt in her apron to the top of this unique rock formation. Here she planted corn, pumpkins, and cucumbers, making the first garden in town. Three well-preserved covered bridges are to be found here. Among its many fine homes is the Federal mansion built by Moses P. Payson in 1810.
Located on the west side of US 302, .5 mile south of the village of Bath.
Lisbon, NH OLD COAL KILN
A reminder of bygone days, this stone structure was used to make wood into charcoal for the nearby iron smelters. Pine knots, a waste material from the adjacent lumber mill, were a prime source for charcoal. Charcoal production through this kiln, built in the 1860's, was necessary to the iron mining industry.
Located on the east side of US 302, about 1.8 miles north of its junction with NH 117.
Littleton, NH KILBURN BROTHERS STEREOSCOPIC VIEW FACTORY
Here, from 1867 to 1909, the world famous Kilburn brothers, Benjamin and Edward, produced and distributed thousands of stereoscopic views. Their collection, largest in the world and collector's items today, provided popular parlor entertainment for generations.
Located on the lawn of the old factory, at the intersection of Kilburn and Cottage Streets (US 302), south of the river, in downtown Littleton.
Bradford, VT BRADFORD
Home of Maker of First Globes and Birthplace of Adm. Clark. James Wilson, a Bradford farmer and self-taught engraver, in early 1800s made and sold the first geographical globes in the U.S. Adm. Chas. Clark, born here in 1843, was Captain of the "Oregon" which sailed around Cape Horn to defeat Spanish at Santiago Bay in 1898.
Located on U.S. Route 5, North Main Street.
Bradford, VT JAMES WILSON, GLOBE MAKER
100 yards behind this marker is the site where James Wilson had his home and workshop. Between 1808 and 1810 Wilson made and sold the first terrestrial and celestial globes in North America. Wilson was a farmer and blacksmith b. 1736 in Londonderry N.H. who moved to Bradford in 1795. He taught himself astronomy and geography, studied with Amos Doolittle in CT to learn engraving, skills he needed to make globes. Wilson died in Bradford in 1855 at the age of 92.
Located at I-91 rest area in Bradford. back to top