Blog: Day Tripping from Hillsboro to Gilsum and everything in between

By GSA Margaret Minnon, Comfort Inn Concord Class of 2011

A happy jaunt for GSAs to suggest to tourists wanting an easy day trip through quintessential New England towns seeking bucolic farmland, rivers, lakes, valleys and quaint downtowns that NH has to offer.

Traveling West on Rt. 9, take the West Street exit leading into downtown Hillsborough, NH.  Meander Main Street looking for treasures, maybe a coffee break and admiring  village architectures.  Hillsborough is home to several old arched-stone bridges.  Great craftsmanship of years past.

In August, Hillsborough Historical Society organizes a weekend of events including historical reenactments, tours, exhibits and people mingling in historical costumes and all eager to assist you.

Next tour the Franklin Pierce Homestead State Park located on Rt 9/31 heading West out of town.  This historic house museum was built in 1834.  It was the childhood home of the 14th President of the United States.  Open Friday – Tuesday, 10 – 4 starting Memorial Day.

Continuing West on Rt 9, take right onto Rt 123 toward Stoddard viewing/stopping at Highland Lake.  7 miles long and good for boating of all sorts, fishing and swimming.  Highland Lake Marina is only establishment on lake having a restaurant on the pier, bar, convenient store and gas station.

Continuing onto the town of Stoddard.  A Civil War statue  standing in front of the church welcomes you to the town. Early Stoddard was known for its manufacturing of wood products and glass manufacturing, particularly the collectible brown Stoddard bottles.  Stoddard is a proud example of small town New England with homes dating back to the late 1700’s.

Can’t mention Stoddard without mentioning Pitcher Mountain and State Park.  Continue on Rt 123 and drive up and over Pitcher Mountain viewing pastures and distance mountains.  Take the 0.6 mile loop trail to view 360 degrees of beautiful scenery. Taking this easy hike in early August ensures picking of wild blueberries.

It has been said the 1940’s song “On Blueberry Hill” and made famous in the 50’s when Fats Domino sang the song was inspired by Pitcher Mountain.   Hearsay !!!! maybe.

Eventually leaving Rt. 123 for Rt 10 S head for the town of Gilsum, NH

THE SURPRISE ENDING FOR THIS TRIP, will be the W.S. Badger Company, located 728 Rt 10, Gilsum, NH.  Watch for the blue sign on right leading up a driveway into a plentiful parking lot and a welcoming brown building.

Founded in 1995 by Bill Whyte, a carpenter seeking a remedy for his rough hands and cracked fingers, experimented with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Beeswax producing the first ‘Badger Balm’.  This lead to continually introducing products custom formulated with care… organic made products rich in natural enzymes, Vitamin E and essential fatty acids from sunscreen, lip balm, organic bug repellent and other pure body care which are sold/shipped all over the world.

One needs to ‘visit the store and take the tour’.  In April, 2019 Ms. Caity took 20 NHGSA’s on such a tour.  Beginning down a windowed central aisle showing workers shipping, boxing and making the ‘products of the day’.  Second floor showed machinery for making the balms and huge storage areas.  Also we passed through the “Badger Den’s”; cubicles of the officer/sales personnel.

While you’re here check the store for items to purchase.  In August a TENT SALE is held discounting products up to 70% off.  Closed Saturday and Sunday, Open all other days of the week 8:30 – 4.

What a wonderful journey and hope you get to make it soon.