The holidays are the busiest time of the year for a lot of us. Not only are we balancing work, school, friends, and family, but we also need to buy or make presents, bake cookies, decorate the house, hang wreaths, and trim the tree. It can turn into a pine-scented frenzy, even in a postcard-ready, rural city, like Keene, NH.
Though we know that the holiday hustle is real, we’ve found the secret to making memorable holidays in Keene, NH is actually to slow things down and enjoy things at your own pace. If you look around when you’re heading down Main Street, you’ll find all the charm of a classic New England Christmas. Wreaths and garlands hang from lamp posts. Lights are strung up on trees in the common. All the shops are looking jolly and festive.
It’s the perfect time to take a winter hike with some friends, enjoy a relaxing, Jazz Age tea party at the local library, drive around and take in the lights, or just have a cozy night in with family or friends. Whatever you choose, take some of the stress out of the holidays by taking your foot off the gas. You’ll be glad you did.
A Stroll Among the Pines
Keene, NH and the surrounding Monadnock Region are famous for breathtaking natural beauty. Around every corner are trees, streams, lakes, and a view of Grand Monadnock on the horizon. During the holidays, though, something magical happens to the trails that crisscross this region.
A light dusting of wintertime snow can turn any old hiking trail into a place of serenity and deeper beauty. So why not take a break from the holiday stress and take your family, or some friends, out for a relaxing, snowy hike?
Instead of trying to tackle Monadnock, we recommend simple hikes at local parks and trails that have easy access and are well maintained. The Cheshire County Rail Trail is just that! This 42-mile trail runs northwards from Fitzwilliam, through Troy, Keene, and Westmorland, and ending in North Walpole. It tracks the same route as the old Boston-Maine Railroad. Most sections are an easy walk with plenty of access points along the road. Plus, the trail is exceedingly well maintained by several organizations, including Pathways for Keene, and the Monadnock Sno-Moles.
Another great spot is the Ashuelot River Park right in the heart of Keene. It’s a great, lightly wooded area with trails that runs through 157 acres of Ashuelot River wetlands and conservation area. There is easy parking access on West Street in Keene. So you can take a breather after you’ve gone grocery shopping at the nearby Hannaford for the umpteenth time.
Other great, easy trails are the loop through Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam and Miller State Park in Peterborough, which includes an access road to the top of Pack Monadnock. There, you can see sweeping views of the entire region. So put down those shopping bags and lace up your shoes for a relaxing wintertime hike with your favorite people.
Take a Bright Evening Drive or Enjoy Some Cookies
Who doesn’t love nighttime driving during the holidays? Seeing houses, lawns, town commons, and trees all lit up in the spirit of the season is nothing short of magical, especially for