By: GSA Linda Duquette, Stark Brewing Company Class of 2017
Benson’s Animal Farm, Hudson, NH
A beautiful sunny day in February, as a family we took advantage of it and went snowshoeing at Benson’s Animal Farm in Hudson, NH, just of RTE 111. I’m sure most folks would remember this place as so many of us visited there in the summer months. They also have a playground for the children, a Veteran Monument. There is a restroom in the back of the Gorilla cage, open in the summer only. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed and you need to pick up after them.
The Farm still has the Gorilla cage, the camel area and the Old Lady in the shoe and of course in the center of it all, Swan Lake. All the trails end up at Swan Lake.
We took the Blue trail loop which is the longest trail, 2.5 miles. My 5yr old grandson handled that hike no problem. Most of the trails are flat. The Blue trail has some hilly areas, but nothing tough. At the beginning of the Blue trail, you do walk along RTE 111 for a short time and then you are back in the woods, enjoying the birds and all the streams. All the trails are well marked and you can also print a trail map from the web.
If you are looking for an easy hike and to be outdoors for a couple of hours, this is the hike for you. There is no cost. Recommended for all levels.
Odiorne Point, Rye, NH
Again, took advantage of a warm day in February and headed up to the Seacoast. Odiorne Point in Rye, NH is free in the winter months. You can bring your dog on the hiking trails in the winter only. They must be leashed and you need to pick up after them.
On this day, there wasn’t enough snow to snowshoe, so we put on the ice spikes. There were some areas that were muddy, but we needed the ice spikes for most of the hike. Where else can you hike by the ocean and still be in the woods. The World War 2 bunkers are there, and they are an interesting site to see. They are a bit overgrown with nature. You can hike to the top of them and look out over the ocean. Many trails lead right down to the beaches, where you can reflect or you can look for seaglass and/or shells. So many things wash up in the storms. Along the trails there are monuments, signs that this was once a farm. On one trail you are walking along RT1A, but it doesn’t take away from any of the wooded trail. There are 2 areas to park: you can park at the boat launch or at the Odiorne Park itself.
Also, the Science Center is there, as of now they are only open Sat. and Sunday, otherwise they would be open every day. When open you can use their facilities. Also come summer there is a fee to enter the park, Seniors get a discount. After or before your hike visit the Science Center, nice little sea museum. They also have a children’s playground area, picnic tables, and in the warmer months you can sunbathe. On one side of Odiorne Point, near the swings and out toward the beach are the 155 gun mounts and other artifacts. You can get a map on the Odiorne State Park website.
This is an easy, relaxing enjoyable hike for any level. Highly recommend.