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Once called Cherry Valley, the land that would become Pillsbury State Park was purchased in the early 1900s and officially established as a state park in the 1930s. Pillsbury State Park is named after the Pillsbury family of New Hampshire, who was prominent community leaders in the late 1700s, early 1800s. The Pillsbury family helped shape this region and brought jobs to the area by establishing a lumber industry. Today, Pillsbury State Park is considered an underrated gem that goes overlooked in favor of other larger parks. Escape the busy digital age, put away smartphones and laptops and relearn to enjoy the slower pace of life at Pillsbury State Park.
The closest town is Lempster, which has a grocery store and a few shops at which visitors can replenish their food stores. For more variety in shopping as well as access to a health center with an emergency room, Newport, NH, is about 10 miles to the north. Newport is famous for its abundant apple orchards and maple groves. Kickstart the perfect RV camping retreat when you search for an RV in Sullivan County, NH.
Skirt one of the dozens of ponds and wetlands, following the wood trail on a misty, quiet morning. Keep still, as a moose may emerge from the scrubs, casting a guarded eye about as it follows its nose toward the delicious aroma of fresh berries, mosses, and other greeneries. Fleet white-tailed deer travel in leaps and bounds, often only recognized by its tell-tale flash of whitetail. Though black bears are once again returning to the woods around Pillsbury State Park, they still are a rare sight because they are exceedingly shy. In the ponds and wetlands, otters and beavers swim, as sleek as a seal.
Set forth into a pond and paddle quietly. Loons, which were once endangered, have returned to the lakes and ponds of New Hampshire. Their distinctive calls ring out as they search for fish and other small snacks. Pillsbury State Park has canoes and kayaks available for rent, should an adventurer arrive empty-handed.
The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway is a trail that connects several state parks like pearls on a string. Meandering some 50-odd miles, it links several mounts, starting with Mount Monadnock and ending with Mount Sunapee. Patient hikers with plenty of time to spare are treated to glaciated lakes, open-space heath barrens, highlands, and dense hardwood forests. This trail is considered one of the more challenging treks in New Hampshire because there are stretches that take hikers precariously close to teetering cliffs, steep hill climbs, and extreme weather conditions on the summits of the mountaintops. Hikers are advised to be well prepared for scarce water and thick biting flies.
Eschew hotels and rent an RV to wake up surrounded by nature. In the mornings, birds herald the coming of the sun with merry songs. At night, stars blaze like diamonds, brighter than anywhere else. Pillsbury State Park RV campground has 14 sites, all accompanied by fire rings. Though the campground is primitive, there are restrooms and faucets with running water.
Should space run out, which does happen in summers, there are several other options in the area. RV camp near Hillsboro, at Oxbow Campground. The family-run facility has been in the business since 1972. With over 100 RV sites to choose from, there’s more elbow room. The campground also offers full or partial hookups, and some sites have waterfront views.
Northstar Campground, located near Newport, NH, is an old-fashioned, laid-back facility. The campground has around 70 partial-hookups sites, WiFi, and a fishing pond.
As remote as this region is, there’s plenty of sights to see in the area, and traveling along the twisting mountain roads is a breeze in a motorhome rental. The Fells Historic Estates and Gardens in Sunapee is a stunning historic Colonial Revival home that was built in the early 1900s. Visitors can either opt for a self-guided tour of the home’s interior and gardens or join a docent-led tour to get the in-depth history of the family who once lived in the Fells Estates.
Hop into a rental airstream and search for your favorite covered bridges. A charming artifact of a bygone era, many covered bridges were constructed entirely out of wood. The fact that they stand some-200 years later is a testament to the workmanship and state-of-art architecture. Grab a camera and aim to capture the most photogenic covered bridges in New Hampshire.
At the end of a long day of adventuring and exploring, retreat into a camper rental and enjoy the quiet New Hampshire evening.