Stoddard. NH, first known as Monadnock Number 7, grew as one of the country’s premier glass manufacturing towns throughout the early 19th century. The picturesque town sitting at the northern edge of the Monadnock region once was home to 4 different glass factories. These factories produced everything from whiskey flasks to ink wells and at their peak each produced over a million pieces a year. Today, these pieces of glass first made in Stoddard are highly valuable and collectible antiques.
Encapsulating what a true Monadnock town should be like, Stoddard is one of the most naturally beautiful and distinct towns around. Here’s our list of the top 5 things to do there:
1. Highland Lake Marina
Located on the six mile long Highland Lake that runs between Stoddard and Washington, Highland Lake Marina is a great place to start your trip. The warm and inviting Marina has a built in restaurant and bar that allows patrons to sit on the deck, take in the water and enjoy a great meal.
The marina also has jet ski, paddle boat, fishing boat and pontoon boat rentals, so that after grabbing a bite you can go out and enjoy the water at whatever speed you like. During the winter, the marina also has snowmobile rentals, in case you stop in while there’s snow on the ground. It’s certainly a great place to be on a warm day to enjoy the outdoors and have some fun.
2. Pierce Reserve
The Pierce Reserve is a conservation site with over six miles of hiking trails surrounded by memorable scenery. Along the reserve’s two major trails, hikers can take in the panoramic view from the top of Beacon Ledge that displays Mount Monadnock to the south and Vermont’s Green Mountains to the west. Further along the trail, sits Trout Pond a small and tranquil fixture amongst the Reserve’s dense forest. As the hikers continue on, they will be able to take in Lakefalls Lodge, a privately owned Adirondack camp that is often used as a wedding venue and is an incredible sight to behold.
The Pierce Reserve is a great and relatively easy place to hike and take in a quiet picnic.
3. Stone Arch Bridge
Stoddard, NH is home to one of the more fascinating bridges in the country, pictured left. Built without any mortar, the bridge is composed of and relies structurally only on its two twin arches that had to be expertly crafted out of of stone. This unique style of architecture was used for a very short time during the 19th century, mostly in the Contoocook River Valley. Now considered a piece of our national architectural heritage, the bridge is a great place to stop in and experience its extraordinary design.
4. Pitcher Mountain
Pitcher Mountain is Stoddard’s own small monadnock mountain. At only one fourth of mile to the summit, the hike up is truly a gently walk. But, this relaxing climb does not disappoint at its end. The peak of Pitcher Mountain, like Beacon Ledge, has a full 360 degree panoramic view of the surroundings area, especially Highland Lake, which can be seen in full from the top. With such little effort to get to the top and the ability to look out into the gorgeous earthly plains and mountains of the area, Pitcher Mountain is a great place to hike for the entire family.
5. Stoddard Historical Society
The Stoddard Historical Society is a great place to learn more about Stoddard’s fascinating history. The building the society is located in is an artificat in and of itself. The building was a originally as a shoe shop by Nathan Morse in the early 19th century. It would be re-purposed as a milliner’s shop, grocery store, and library before becoming the home for the historical society. Now, it is a great location to experience the vivid culture of a Monadnock, town.
With so many diverse things to do, Stoddard is a great off-the-beaten-path stop on your visit to the Monadnock region.