You probably drove a while to get here so the idea of getting back in your car isn’t exactly an attractive proposition. But if the yen to see more of the area hits you, here are a few nearby attractions that may hold your interest. Plus, the trip there and back is almost guaranteed to take you through breathtaking scenery.
April’s Maple, Canaan, VT
April was a partner at one of the big accounting firms in Boston when she started her maple sugaring business as a way of contributing to the community where she was raised. Now she’s back in the Northeast Kingdom full-time, taping some 13,000 maple trees on 800 acres that have been in her family for generations. Her sugarhouse/retail store is just east of Quimby Country on Rt. 114. She sells three grades of syrup and encourages customers to sample each before deciding which one to buy. Maple candy too. And if you’re interested, someone on the staff would be happy to show you how maple sap is collected from the trees and turned into some of the best syrup around. Phone: 802-266-9624.
Tillotson Center Gallery, Colebrook, NH
Stepping into the Tilly’s Gallery is like walking into an artist’s oasis. Thanks to the talented artists and craftspeople of the Connecticut River Artisan Group (CRAG), the Gallery is always festooned with displays of original works. Offerings can range from sketches to paintings, ceramics, photographs, and wood carvings all done by area people. The best part is that you don’t just have to look at these works of art. You can take them home as well because they are for sale. An important part of the Tillotson Center family, CRAG was formed in 2006 to create “opportunities for area artists and plays an important role in developing a creative economy in the north country.” according to its website. Visit the Tillotson Center Gallery at 14 Carriage Lane, Colebrook, NH. About 45 minutes from Quimby’s. Open 1 to 5 pm, Tuesday through Friday and before all events. For more information, call 603-237-8576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tillotson Center Museum, Colebrook, NH
Not only is the North Country blessed with the natural beauty of its lakes, mountains, and forests, it also has a rich heritage of people, places, and things that make this region what it is. With the help of the Colebrook Area Historical Society, the Tillotson Center celebrates this heritage with a special museum operated as an annex to the Society’s Town Hall Museum. Located in the Center’s lower level, the annex offers a glimpse into the region’s past through displays and dioramas that illustrate school rooms, kitchens, and farming techniques from the past. Each display features artifacts from a particular era, illustrating cutting-edge technology in those times. Perhaps the most exciting parts of the Annex exhibit are the displays of firefighting equipment, including a soda-acid wagon actually used by the Colebrook Fire Department in the 1880’s. Visit the Tillotson Center Museum at 14 Carriage Lane, Colebrook, NH. About 45 minutes from Quimby’s. Open Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 5 pm. For more information, call 603-237-8576 or email email@example.com.
The Beaulne Museum, Coaticook, Quebec
This beautiful Château-turned-museum is just 40 minutes over the border in Coaticook. It was built by Arthur-Osmore Norton who made his fortune manufacturing jacks for the railway industry. The collection spans from the work of regional artists to historical artifacts and men’s 19th century attire. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. In July and August, tea and scones are served on the veranda on Thursday and Friday from 1 pm to 7 pm, and on Saturdays from 1 pm to 5pm. Address: 96, rue de l’Union, Coaticook, Quebec. Visit the website or call 819-849-6560 for more information. Don’t forget your passport.
Alice M. Ward Memorial Library, Canaan, VT
The Alice M. Ward Memorial Library, originally known as Jacobs Stand, was the most northerly station in the United States on the Connecticut River route of the Underground Railroad. It was built in 1846 by a tannery owner. In 1930, the property was bequeathed to the town of Canaan to be used as a Public Library (and reading room). Guests can go upstairs in the main building, and see where it was once used as a residence, and learn some history on the local logging lore as well. Phone: 802-266-7135
Find out what farm life is like. Call Rebecca and Neal Perry at 802-723-4648 and make arrangements for a hay ride, horse and sheep dog demonstrations, or a tour of the farm.
Connecticut River Artisan Group, Canaan, VT and Colebrook, NH
The Connecticut River Artisan Group is a group of artists (photographers, wood carvers, basket makers, etc.) in the northern towns of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Coaticook, Quebec. The group exhibits its work in Colebrook, NH (about 45 minutes from Quimby’s) at the Interpretive Arts Center at the NH State Rest Area, on Rte. 3, North of Colebrook, NH, as well as in Colebrook itself at the Tillotson Center and at their group’s gallery in Fiddleheads on Main Street. In addition, they display their work during the Pittsburg Old Home Day Celebration on Saturday, August 18, at the Moose Festival in Colebrook on Friday, August 24, and in Canaan on Saturday, August 25. And they will be exhibiting their work all the month of August at the Stratford New Hampshire Art Festival (about 45 minutes away). For information on current exhibits, visit their website.
45th Parallel, Stewartstown, NH
At this point, you are exactly halfway between the North Pole and the equator. Located on Rt. 3, about five miles north of West Stewartstown. Worth a stop if you’re travelling between Quimby Country and just about anywhere in New Hampshire.
Foresta Lumina, Coaticook, Quebec
This is a multimedia nighttime experience along Coaticook’s 160-foot deep Great Gorge. A variety of theatrical effects create a moody but magical setting as visitors walk along the gorge’s trails. Note: not recommended for people with reduced mobility since there are several steps, the path goes both downhill and up, and visitors cross a suspended footbridge over the gorge. It is strongly recommended that you book your tickets online ahead of time, since they admit only about 215 people at each of three hours, between about 8:30 and 10:30 pm. Price: $16 for adults, $9 for children. Open every evening starting at 8:30 pm from June 24 to September 2. Only 30 minutes from Quimby Country, but you’ll have to bring your passport.
Coaticook Gorge, which is just 45 minutes from Quimby’s, has more than 12 miles of marked trails within three different areas. But the most popular is the Gorge “Canyon” Trail, which includes the longest suspended footbridge in North America. Printed panels along the path explain the local wildlife and plants. Treasure hunts allow visitors to make their way through the park in a way that makes it fun for the entire family. Bilingual guided tours are available. And dogs are allowed inside the park, but must be kept on a leash at all times. There’s a small charge for using the trails, which are open from 8 am to 6 pm. (Last entry at 5 pm.)
In English, the title of this pleasant walk would be something like “Friends of St. Venant-de-Paquette’s Heritage.” Outside, it’s an easy and well tended trail that passes breathtaking scenery, stone sculptures, and placards with examples of local poetry. Inside, it’s an art galley and reception area. Public outdoor library. Audio guide available. Picnic tables. Children’s play area. Free ice cream after your visit. Dogs on a leash allowed. Restaurant and washroom with changing table onsite. Downloadable trail map. Open Monday through Saturday from mid-June to mid-September: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance fee: Adult, $10. Student: (12-25 yrs old), $5. Family with children or students, maximum $20. Audioguide rental, $5. About 45 minutes from Quimby Country.
Bread and Puppet Theater, Glover, VT
The Bread and Puppet Theatre began on the lower East Side of New York, back in the 1960s, to protest “rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood.” In 1974, the whole counter-culture operation moved to a farm in Glover where it transformed a 140 year-old hay barn into a museum for its collection of life-sized and monumental puppets, formerly used in protests and marches. Visitors can tour the museum daily from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. from June through October. Performances are on Sunday afternoons from July 8 through August 26. About 90 minutes from Quimby’s and a good place to stop if you’re traveling up or back on Rt. 91. 753 Heights Rd
What may at first appear to be a collection of junk in a run-down barn is significant enough to warrant an entire article in the New York Times. The paper couldn’t resist using the museum’s official name — the “New England Barns Found Objects Collection: An Ever-Expanding Community Curated Archive.” Indeed, that is what it is a collection of junk that shows what life was like in a bygone era through the lens of “the mundane, utilitarian, insignificant objects of our existence.” The last exhibit focused on locks and keys; prior shows, on toothbrushes, safety pins, bells and whistles, and even dust. The Museum is self-service, open from 8 am to 8 pm. (Turn the lights on when you arrive and don’t forget to turn them on when you leave. About 90 minutes from Quimby’s and a good place to stop if you’re traveling up or back on Rt. 91. 3482 Dry Pond Road, Glover, VT.
Old Stone House Museum, Brownington, VT
Originally the dormitory for the first secondary school in Orleans County, this monumental granite structure was completed in 1836 by our nation’s first African-American college graduate, Alexander Twilight. Today it houses artifacts of the region’s past. The museum is open from May 15 through October 15, Wed. through Sun., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearby Lawrence Barn houses a collection of antique farm equipment, and the Observatory on Prospect Hill offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside. About one hour from Quimby Country at 109 Old Stone House Rd., Brownington, VT. For more, call 802-754-2022 or go to Old Stone House.
In Colebrook, NH. Step back into the past. The Poore Farm portrays one family’s life from the 1830’s to the 1980s. The house, barns, and out-buildings are all in authentic condition and reflect their original use and era. Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, 11 am to 3 pm, from June to September 30. Phone: 603-237-5500
The Great Vermont Maze, Danville, VT
This is the largest corn maze in New England. Admission ranges for free for children 4 years old and under; $10 for kids from 5 to 15 and adults over 60; $15 for everyone else. But in addition to the maze that includes a kid-sized village, real farm animals, barnyard golf, and 100 feet of tunnels they can crawl through. Open August to October, 10 am to 4 pm. The maze is about 90 minutes from Quimby Country. For details, call 802-748-1399 or go to Corn Maze.
The old Capelton Mine was first dug by pick and shovel and by candlelight back in 1863 when its copper deposits were in such great demand during the U.S. Civil War. Eventually, it turned into a 4,000-foot complex of tunnels and caverns. Visitors are guided through the underground galleries in an accurate and truthful interpretation of what mining was like between1860 and 1920. Visitors are outfitted with boots and appropriate clothing before taking the exhilarating ride up-mountain to the mine’s entrance. But the visit is not for those who suffer from claustrophobia. And there are a lot of steep steps to negotiate. About one hour from Quimby Country. For details, call 819-346-9545 or visit the Capelton Mine (French only; English coming soon).
Pick your own berries in July and August. Bring them back to the kitchen and Tessa will put them in a pie. There are blueberry patches along Rt. 114 just west of the Lake View store. If they have been picked clean by black bears and other critters, head over to one of these farms.
Haynes Homestead, Colebrook, NH. About 45 minutes from Quimby Country. Pick red raspberries, strawberries, and other fruit. For directions and to find out what’s ready to pick, call 603-237-4395.
M.R.’s Blueberry Heaven, West Milan, NH. About an hour from Quimby Country. For directions and to find out what’s ready to pick, phone: 1-603-449-2232.
Glacial Lake Blueberries, Westmore, VT. About an hour from Quimby Country. For directions and to find out what’s ready to pick, phone: 802-525-4069
Blueberry Ridge, North Troy, VT. About 90 minutes from Quimby Country. Blueberries are usually ready for picking in July and August. Call 802-988-4702 to check on the berry crop and to get directions.
Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center, Newport, VT.
Your car is clearly facing the top of a steep hill. Yet, when you put it in neutral, it coasts uphill defying gravity. You’re on the Magnetic Hill of Chartierville, a small community in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, famous enough to be listed in Vortexes, Mystery Spots and Gravity Hills. It’s about 90 minutes from Quimby Country about 1/4 mile from the New Hampshire border. If that seems like a long drive just to defy gravity, there are plenty of things to see on the way, including the Connecticut Lakes and the metropolis of Pittsburg.
Monastery of St-Benoit-du-Lac (Saint Benedict Abbey)
Built by French monks beginning in 1912, Saint Benedict Abbey commands a stunning setting on Lake Memphremagog, about 90 minutes from Quimby Country. There’s a small fee to visit the abbey, but if you’re lucky you’ll hear Gregorian chant during one of the monks’ regular services. A boutique also sells religious articles, cheese, chocolate, and spreads of all kinds from sweet to savory. The Abbey is open from 9 am to 6 pm. Guided visits are available on Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays.
May to October. While you’re in the area, take a brunch, lunch, happy hour, or dinner cruise over the waters of Lake Memphremagog on the Grand Cru. For details, phone 819-843-7000 or go to Escapades.
Wednesdays through Sundays, May to December. This is an alternative for those who get sea-sick. The Orford Express offers guided train outings through the Eastern Townships, with a gourmet meal served on board (brunch, lunch, or dinner). Reservations required. For details, call 866-575-8081 or go to Orford Express.
Village Farm, Island Pond
Beaulne Museum, Coaticook
Abbey of St. Benoit-du-Lac
Museum of Everyday Life
Bread and Puppet Theater