8 Tips for Family-Friendly ATV Adventures

Contributed by Wild Rock PR

ATV’s and side-by-sides are an awesome way explore! With over a thousand miles of interconnected trails through Ride the Wilds, Northern New Hampshire is an up-and-coming destination for families looking for a way to unplug and reconnect. Check out these 8 tips brought to you by Bear Rock Adventures on how to ensure you and your family have the best summer adventure:

Do your research and book a vehicle with a company you trust. It’s important to get a vehicle (or vehicles) that fit your family. Side-by-sides are a family favorite, as some can fit up to six people.

If you’re renting a vehicle, ask questions and feel comfortable before getting in the driver’s seat. Here are some helpful videos.

Wear the right gear. This includes helmets for all passengers under age 18, eyewear (sunglasses, glasses, goggles) and closed toe shoes for everyone – don’t forget to wear a seatbelt if available.

Rent a place to stay nearby. Consider lodging that backs up or is within ATV driving distance to trails (check local regulations on ATV use on main roads).

Plan a breakfast, lunch or dinner at a local restaurant. Relax and put cooking worries aside for a meal or two at these amazing eateries minutes away from trails. Some are even on the trails, so plan accordingly and pack snacks if-needed.

Know where you’re going. Maps are available to guide your ride and indicate the difficulty of each trail, giving you an idea of what terrain to expect. Keep an eye out for signs on the trails during your ride that can provide other helpful information.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Many animals call the area home, so be on the lookout for moose, deer, birds and more – keep your distance.

Check the weather and dress in layers. Be prepared for anything from warm sun to heavy rain. If you wear the right clothes, your adventure can be amazing in any weather.

Everyone has a trailblazer inside them. Whether the next family vacation is off-roading, boating or traveling to a new area, make sure you’re outside and embracing the inner trailblazer within.

Upper Ammonoosuc River Paddle-Hike


I plan on revisiting the Upper Ammonoosuc River this summer and combine a paddle with a hike of the Percy Peaks Loop. Bill Schomburg, a dear NFCT friend who passed away recently, told me about Percy Peaks and the Cohos Trail, which crosses the NFCT on the Upper Ammo, when I first met him in 2014. I think these two intersecting trips will make a great weekend.


I paddled the Upper Ammonoosuc from Gord’s Corner Store in West Milan to the new Stark Access (NFCT Map 7) in the spring 2015. The river in this stretch is quiet and meandering. In June, a canopy of soft spring green bends over the river along the way. I also have driven through the valley in fall and recommend it as an exceptional trip for foliage viewing.

A slow moving ten miles can take half a day with time to stop for lunch and enjoy the scenery. At normal flows wide golden sand bars pop up next to deep swimming holes making lovely picnic spots and good fishing. The river is road-side, but you don’t notice. In the last mile or so houses become visible until the leaves are fully flushed out.

The Stark access is a convenient take out with good parking on river left just above Stark Village. If you enjoy class II rapids as I do, you will want to continue downstream another quarter-mile to the Stark covered bridge to take advantage of some fun whitewater.

Put in at Gord’s Corner Store at the intersection of Routes 110 and 110-A. Here, NFCT constructed stairs lead down to the water, and you can park at the store. Gord also has a deli to supply your lunch, offers a shuttle service and rents canoes, so everything you need is right there!

If you haven’t had enough paddling, the river continues quietly for another five miles to Emerson Road (the way to Percy Peaks) or eight miles beyond that to the Connecticut River in Groveton. The character remains quiet with a few punctuated rapids and a number of dam carries. See the NFCT trip planner tool for details.


The Percy Peaks Loop is described in detail on the Hike New England web site and is recommended by the Cohos Trail as one of the Dozen Best Day Hikes. I have scouted these unique twin mountains from the river and roadside. Their broad granite slab-covered tops have captured my imagination every time. This 6.7 mile hike is reported to take a half day.

Where to Stay

  • Camp or take a room at Percy Lodge and Campground.
  • Paddle up and camp at one of the three NFCT campsites along the Upper Ammonoosuc (river access only). NFCT trip planner, NFCT Map 7 and the NFCT Guidebook for information.
  • Rent the Ammo Cabin situated right on the river from Gord’s Corner Store. Drive in or paddle up, this rustic cabin rental is a great place to hang out, fish and play in the river.
  • Stay at the Stark Village Inn for a charming, traditional Bed & Breakfast experience.

Mohawk Falls Kicks Off the Summer Season with Dixville Notch Music, Arts & Crafts Festival!

By Eileen Alexander

A brand new event will kick off Memorial Day weekend and the summer season in New Hampshire’s North Country. The setting for the 1st Annual Dixville Notch Music, Arts & Crafts Festival, on May 27 and 28, is the beautiful 40-acre Mohawk Falls estate, situated on the banks of the lovely Mohawk River in Colebrook, NH.

Open each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Festival will feature live performances, demonstrations, workshops, artisan vendors, and displays. Visitors are invited to stroll around the property and enjoy the idyllic outdoor setting that includes a post and beam Pavilion, Gazebo, waterfall, pond and covered bridge. Admission to the event is free.

Highlighted events include internationally applauded singer-songwriter Kyle Carey performing her Gaelic Americana music from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, chainsaw carving demonstrations all weekend long by Baker River Chainsaw Sculpture, and an outstanding exhibit by the artists of Connecticut River Artisan Group.

Several dozen vendors, a mix of talented artisans, crafters and food producers from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, will display their wares.

Mohawk Falls is located directly off Route 26 in Colebrook, NH. Look for roadside signage near Dixville Notch. Parking is free and available on site. Pets are not allowed.

Additional information can be found on the Mohawk Falls website: www.mohawkfalls.com, or contact Britni White, Mohawk Falls Event Coordinator, at (603) 237-1898 or [email protected].

Festival Schedule

Saturday, May 27

  • 9-11 a.m. –  Art Workshop with artist Michele Johnsen. Still life drawing & painting workshop. $10 per person. Pre-register online.
  • 10 a.m.-noon –  Live music by “Old Gold.” Rocks, blues & folk music from the ‘50s to today.
  • 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. –  Garden Flavors Culinary Demo by the Ecovillage Institute. Taste and learn about herbs.
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. –  The Graceful Piano Stylings of Sharon Pearson.
  • 4-5 p.m. –  Open Jam Session led by Bobie Bunnel of Roberta’s Studio. Festival-goers are invited to bring their instruments.

Sunday, May 28

  • 9-10 a.m. –  WhiteWolf & Friends, Playing the Blues. Featuring Ed Schoenly’s blues harp.
  • 10:15-11:15 a.m. –  Live Music by 3 Rivers. An eclectic mix of music by a local three-man band.
  • 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. –  Basket Weaving Workshop by Deeda’s Baskets of Vermont. Make a basket to take home. $20 per person. Pre-register online.
  • 12:30-1 p.m. –  Teen/Adult Jazz & Hip Hop by Step by Step School of Dance. Kick up your heels and learn to dance.
  • 1-3 p.m. –  Gaelic Americana Concert with singer-songwriter Kyle Carey.
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. –  Music from the ‘60s to today with Mario Marquis.
  • 3:15-4 p.m. –  Pottery Demo by local potter Linda Tase.
  • 4:15-5 p.m. –  “Golden Hour” Photography Workshop with Fran Bigney. A fun workshop to learn this art form by walking around the property. $10 per person. Pre-register online.

Exciting Rides & A Visit With Santa Make Wonderful Family Memories at Santa’s Village!

By Eileen Alexander

This summer, bring the family to visit Santa and his elves and reindeer at the jolly old elf’s vacation home in Jefferson, NH, and enjoy a fun-filled day of unlimited rides, shows, live professional performances, and outstanding attractions at Santa’s Village.

The Christmas-themed Santa’s Village is a premiere New England attraction and one of the nation’s outstanding amusement parks, recognized by Trip Advisor as one of the Top 25 Amusement Parks in the U. S., and the only one in New England. Trekaroo.com named Santa’s Village as one of the Top Ten Amusement Parks for Young Kids in the U.S.A.

Admission to Santa’s Village is your ticket to a “full day of joy and excitement.” The warm sunny days of summer are especially conducive to exploring all of the attractions the park has to offer, with hours and hours of fun for every member of the family, from toddlers, tweens and teens to their parents and grandparents.

Visiting with Santa and his reindeer in their summer home is complemented by dozens of additional attractions. Step aboard the Skyway Sleigh monorail for an overview of the park, take the exciting Yule Log Flume water ride, experience the thrilling Chimney Drop, ride the entrancing Reindeer Carousel, and get your thrills on Rudy’s Rapid Transit Rollercoaster. Cool off at the Ho, Ho, H2O water park with plenty of places to splish, splash, slide and climb, and prepare to get drenched by the giant bucket of water that fills and then spills every few minutes! Check out the rides here!

Kids will get a kick out of playing the Elfabet Game, searching out the elves in the park, and visiting the blacksmith shop to receive a special ring.

Lunch and ice cream are available at the Elfs Lodge all day, and other goodies to search out include pizza made to order at Nick’s Pizza Emporium, fresh fudge, mini Doe-Nuts made right before your eyes, and fresh-baked gingerbread cookies. Check out the places to eat here!

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out all the special Santa’s Village souvenirs in the gift shop, including a personalized letter from Santa, which will be delivered in December.

The daily admission rate in 2017 is $32 per person, and ages one, two, and three enter for free.

Receive $5 off the regular ticket price during Guest Appreciation Days: May 27 and 28, and June 3, 4, 10 and 11.

Santa’s Village is open every day from Father’s Day weekend (June 17 and 18) through Labor Day on September 4. It’s also open during fall weekends, and will be specially decorated for Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

Santa’s Village is located at 528 Presidential Highway (Route 2) in Jefferson. Visit the Santa’s Village website to learn more: www.santasvillage.com