Exploring the backroads of Sugar Hill.
In all my conversations with you, I always tell you to look for the back roads. To look for the views that don’t get photographed as often. I don’t mean to say ignore the iconic views like the Jenne farm in Vermont or the Lily pond on the Kancamagus highway. But to look for those back roads with funny names that may not have an Iconic farm or covered bridge but do have a view to make your eyes water.
But a word of warning, do this because you want to explore and be happy with what you find. I worry that I set your expectations to high and you may be disappointed. Take this journey not in hopes that the final iconic destination will make you happy. Take the journey because it’s the journey itself that makes you smile.
Much of the following suggestions are south of Sugar Hill and I will warn you now, make sure that you use common sense. I was traveling down a dirt road that kept closing in on me and the friend driving and he was asking, “are you sure this is a road?”. Soon it was leading across a farmers field and even though the gazetteer said this was a road, we turned around to try other roads. Don’t miss the last one, I think you will like that one a lot!
Toad Hill Road
This is one of those “funny named” roads that I look for. I “think” the rain slicked road shot from the last article was from somewhere along Toad Hill Rd. For the most part Toad hill Rd is just a back country lane with a few homes along it and while I don’t recall any real great pictures, you will see the that the road is tree lined with many different varieties of trees (heavy on the maples and birch). So if you don’t mind driving through a tunnel of fall color, you won’t mind driving along it.
All in all the drive along this road in quiet and unassuming and while I would love to say there was a great farm or other Iconic view to be found, In general Toad Hill, you will meander your way back to Sugar Hill Rd (Route 117) and come out one side or the other of Polly’s pancake Parlor. I never seem to be able to get away from there. 🙂
Sugar Hill Maple Farm
On Easton road you will find the Sugar Hill Maple Farm. This was one of my first finds back in 2008 when I found the Beaver pond on a cloudy, foggy morning. Continuing north from there I strayed onto the… (no… I did not mean, stayed on), on to the various roads like Sugar Hill Rd., Toad Hill., and then Easton Rd.
According to what I read, this is a conservation property and I pull my car to the side as far as I can and walk up and down the road looking for good compositions. There is the barn and there was an old truck down in the field near some trees. But to me the best feature is the hill at the back of the property that is covered in sugar maples.
This can give you a great backdrop for the foreground items, near the road. Either way I enjoyed finding this place.
Now let’s move to the North of Sugar Hill.
Coffin Pond or Streeter Pond road
You can follow Route 17 back down to Route 18 and head North. It’s only a short distance and be prepared to stop. There is a pull out on Route 18 but you should take the left onto Streeter Pond Rd. It’s slower and easier to get someone off your bumper once you make a left. (a right if you are coming south on Route 18 from Littleton.
Coffin Pond is a small pond that has a decent sized hill behind it, allowing for incredible reflections. The Gale river runs into the pond and this past year was very low so I didn’t stop for any pics. As you can see above and below, there are small hillocks in the pond with evergreens and grasses. I caught it on a cloudy day (so-so) but as sometimes happens, the sun broke out on the hill causing a burst of color on the hill and the pond was like glass… Nuff said.
I haven’t driven up the road to Streeter Pond which is further up the road. Maybe you have a picture of this pond and you can post it to the New England fall Foliage FaceBook page???
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I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
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I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.