Regional Historic Sites
Brattleboro is the Waypoint community for an area that includes the towns of Vernon, Guilford, Dummerston, and Putney, VT, and Hinsdale, Chesterfield and Westmoreland, NH. There is a Waypoint Welcome Center in the Strolling of the Heifers / River Garden on Main Street in Brattleboro. The designated Byway routes in the Brattleboro area are Routes 5 and 142 in Vermont and Route 63 in New Hampshire.
The Connecticut River narrows dramatically into a rocky gorge between Bellows Falls and Walpole. Native Americans gathered seasonally at the Great Falls to harvest migrating salmon and shad. Early bridge-builders took advantage of the short span, so the community became a crossroads for early turnpikes and a hub for railroads.
Mt. Ascutney, a “monadnock” or solitary mountain, dominates the landscape in the Windsor-Claremont area. Visible from downtown Claremont, as well as much of the valley, it includes a seasonal road to the summit. The Sugar River pours from Lake Sunapee and winds its way through Newport and Claremont before joining the Connecticut. Other tributaries of the Connecticut in the area are the little Sugar River in Charlestown, and the Black River, in Springfield, VT.
White River Junction was named for its location as a meeting place of rivers, railroads, and highways. Early travelers by water congregated here at the confluence of the Connecticut River and the White River, where early bridges over the Connecticut (1803) and the White (1815) created crossroads communities. Between 1847 and 1863, five new railroad lines converged on the banks of the two rivers. Today, the Vermont village continues to be the heart of a region where past meets present and where science, the arts, and business come together – at the Junction.
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 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.
St. Johnsbury has long been the cultural and commercial center for a forested and mountainous corner of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom, a distinctive name its residents use with pride. It stands at the heart of the Passumpsic River basin, one of the largest tributary watersheds of the upper Connecticut River. The largest of many hill towns in the region, “St. J” is home to one of the finest collections of Victorian-era architecture in northern New England. The Fairbanks family, whose legacy lives on in the museum, library, and school they founded, shaped much of the town’s industrial and social history and the architecture of the vibrant downtown they helped to build.
Lancaster is located in a broad floodplain of the Connecticut River between the high plateau of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and the peaks of the White Mountains of New Hamps
hire. Considered the Gateway to the Great North Woods, Lancaster is the largest population center south of one of the wildest and most scenic portions of northern New England. Traditions of working outdoors and opportunities for four-season recreation flavor regional life. Settlements founded on logging and farming still convey the feel of their 19th century roots while they also support a lively modern culture. Among them, Lancaster retains its historic architecture in its revitalized downtown.
In the Colebrook Region the Connecticut River rises in a little pond known as Fourth Connecticut Lake on the Canadian border, and there begins as a mere trickle its 410-mile journey to the sea. It proceeds through a series of lakes in a dense, spruce fir forest populated with moose and other woodland creatures. It’s still just a narrow stream where it reaches the town of Colebrook, NH, perched on the banks in the shadow of Monadnock Mountain rising on the Vermont shore. The proud people of the region – who once formed an independent republic early in the 19th century – continue the traditions of outdoor life represented by logging and backwoods recreation, where a short drive can take you over the border into another state or another country altogether.