7 Places to Picnic in the Upper Valley and 1 Beyond...


Submitted a year ago
Created by
Katie Donovan

There are many places to picnic in the Upper Valley.  I've selected some I've found in my wanderings that I hope you'll like.  The featured image is of Balch Hill, which has a bench to sit and eat on to enjoy the amazing view.  

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Quechee Gorge 

There is an awesome picnic area on a road right off Route 4 on Deweys Mill Road.  There's a turn off on the left.  This picnic area is cozy and woodsy and easy to get to.

Since the picnic area is off the Quechee Gorge Trail you can also park by the visitor's center across the street or Quechee Gorge Gifts and take the trail down to the picnic area.  

If you want to enjoy a walk with your picnic, this trail goes from the bottom of the gorge where people wade in the water and to the Quechee Dam on the other side of Route 4 (there's a path under the road so you don't have to cross traffic).  You can even continue a ways and see Dewey Pond.  

Dewey Pond

I like this quiet picnic spot.  There's just one picnic table and a lovely view of the pond.  To get there look for the sign that says Dewey's Landing almost across from Marshland Farms on Main Street in Quechee. To see a map of the Quechee Gorge Trail with directions click here.

Erwin Clifford Park

This park on the river is great for kids.  I could just see spending the day here!  There's a slide, swing set, and even restrooms.  Enjoy fishing, swimming, and just relaxing in one of their secluded picnic areas with grills. There's a path around the park too.  The park is off Route 14 in Hartford.  You turn left onto Westfield Dr. and then left onto Recreation Dr.  It was easy to find with these directions.

Riverside Park

This is such a cool little park that's great for families in West Lebanon on Glen Road by the Powerhouse Mall.  There's a skate park, a play structure, and tunnel for kids. There's also a walk along the river that goes to the Powerhouse Mall.  You have your choice of picnicking: under the trees in some shade or under the pavilion, both offer picnic tables.

Colburn Park

On the green in Lebanon, this park has picnic tables by the children's play area where there are swings and metal bouncy horses.  This would be a great place to wat your tasty fare from the farmer's market or enjoy a meal just before one of the concerts at night.  

Boston Lot Lake

So far my favorite spot to picnic and by far the most scenic.  You can't beat looking out at Boston Lot Lake! Enjoy a hike around the lake and then enjoy a swim.  You can also fish.  A ten minute or so walk up the access road (it's a bit of a workout) and you'll be rewarded with an amazing view.  You'll find it right off of Route 10 a bit north of the Wilder Dam.  You can read about the trail around the lake and pictures of the access road here.

Hurricane Forest Wildlife Refuge

In Hartford just past the VA off of Route 5 you'll want to turn onto Wright Resevoir Road.  There will be a parking turn off on the left.  There's a picnic table by the entrance.  Enjoy a walk on one of the trails in the Hurricane Forest and enjoy the views of the mountains while eating lunch or a snack. To read more about the trails, click here.

Moody Park

Outside of the Upper Valley is the beautiful park on Maple Ave. in Claremont.  As you enter there's a play structure for kids and a tennis court on the other side of the access road.  Continue along the access road and you'll see plenty of picnic tables throughout the wooded park.  There are trails for you to enjoy that have been newly constructed and include signage.  Drive up to the top of the access road and you'll find a picnic pavilion and a beautiful view of the mountains.

Other Recommendations

The Vermont side of Wilder Dam which has a picnic area.  You could also take one person's suggestion and get take out at The Station in Windsor then go to one of the summer concerts on the green.  You could also bring a blanket, lawn chair, or sit on a bench and eat at Paradise Park in Windsor or Balch Hill in Hanover.  Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy Sunday summer concerts at St. Gaudens in Cornish for a fee - I've been and loved it. Other people have recommended any of the state parks around to picnic at which are $5 per person. These are great places to picnic and spend the day.  Lake Sunapee has swimming, a boat launch, children's area, grills, and picnic tables in the shade, and flush toilets. The Hartland Dam has volley ball, horse shoe pits, swimming and boat access to Ottauquechee river, shaded picnic area, playground, flush toilets. Parks to picnic.  Storrs Pond is also a hit with tennis courts, a splash pad, swing set, snack bar, pool, trails, swimming in the pond, and more (enjoy for a small fee).  

It might not be a picnic, but one person also suggested eating outdoors by taking a dinner cruise: "I'm a big fan of the Lake Sunapee dinner cruise boat. Go on the second cruise of the evening."

You can also see places to eat in New Hampshire with amazing views for your foodie bucket list.  There were many I wanted to go to after reading this post (a lot of great recommendations in the comments below as well)!

Enjoy and add your favorites to the comments below.  

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