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New Hampshire Covered Bridges, Winnipesaukee

Adventurers in New England


Chapter Thirteen


New Hampshire Covered Bridges, Winnipesaukee Scenic RR &

Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train

by

Robin Bowers

June 21, 2015

Sunday


Text and Photos by Author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...   yr.mmxx@gmail.com






Vermont


    The crack of dawn was still ringing throughout the Green Mountains, when we skipped down the road out of Town Rutland. Our week's stay here was an once-in-a-lifetime experience but we were ready to start our two week road trip to see more of New England. Today we going to the Granite State, New Hampshire and leaving the Marble State.

    We were not more than eight minutes into the trip when we had our first  photo stop in East Clarendon.

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Ice Cream and Hamburger stand.

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    And then a short time later we found one more covered bridge in Windsor County, Vermont.


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The Downers or Upper Falls Covered Bridge is a 120 foot long Town Lattice Truss . It carries a Upper Falls Road over the Black River in Amsden. This bridge was built in about 1840.

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    About a hour into our trip we crossed over the Connecticut River. The Connecticut River serves as the border between New Hampshire and Vermont. It is the longest river in New England, flowing roughly north-south for 410 miles from near the Quebec border to Long Island Sound at Saybrook, Connecticut. Historian Edwin Bacon called the Connecticut River the Mississippi of New England. Its valley drains a watershed area of over 11,000 square miles. Every major city in Western New England sits on the banks of the Connecticut or one of its major tributaries.

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Crossing over the Connecticut River.

     New Hampshire

    New Hampshire was named after the southern English county of Hampshire, a unique situation since it was the first colony to break away from Great Britain in January 1776, and six months later was one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America. New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution and the first state to have its own state constitution. Today, the state motto is "Live Free or Die" and its nickname is "The Granite State" due to its extensive formations and quarries. Concord is the state capital, supported by no state sales tax or personal income tax. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest state, and the 9th least populated.

    Our first covered bridge in New Hampshire,

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Sugar River Trail - Pier Railroad Covered Bridge, Sullivan County.

One of two remaining Railroad covered bridges in the vicinity over the Sugar River. Built in 1907 to replaced an earlier bridge.


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    And just a few miles away was this great covered bridge.

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Corbin Covered Bridge.This beautiful bridge in Newport, NH was built in 1835 and rebuilt in 1994 by the master bridge wright Arnold Groton.

    We then made a stop to check out this old Newport station.
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Great adaptive reuse.

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Cilleyville Covered Bridge, Andover, Merrimack County.
Located at the intersection of N.H. Route 11 and NH Route 4A.


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Potter Place Station, Andover, NH.

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Boston and Maine freight house.


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Keniston Bridge

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    Leaving Andover, we head east on Rte 11 to Webster Lake so named because this is the area of Daniel Webster's birthplace.

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Covered bridge at Webster Lake.

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    Our next stop is a place with two names, Tilton and Northfield.

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Name on one side of the building.

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One of many cabooses we found at this unscheduled stop.



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The other side of the building.

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A plethora of refurbished cabooses. 


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They appear to be seasonal living quarters, like a summer cabin in the woods.

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There were as many as two dozen cabooses parked here to make a small community.

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We then drove a few miles to our next stop.

Laconia, NH

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Laconia Passenger Station is a historic railroad station in built for the Boston and Maine in 1892. Bradford Gilbert, the station's architect, is best known for designing the first steel-framed curtain wall building, the Tower Building in New York, but also designed a number of railroad stations, at least five of which are on the National Register.

At its dedication in August 1892, the Laconia Democrat described it as follows

The main features of the building are the porte-cochere at the entrance and the large general waiting room or rotunda, open to the roof, with clerestory windows on all sides. The floor of this room is of tile, and the wall to a height of ten feet are finished in quartered oak, and above that plastered and tinted in two shades of chrome.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.


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Leaving Laconia it was a short five mile hop to the next stop.

Meredith, NH

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Our train to Weirs Beach.

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The Hobo Railroad is the operator of Winnipesaukee RR.

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This weekend was part of the Laconia Motorcycle Week and today motorcycles only would be allowed at Weirs Beach so a way to the beach was by train.
June seems to be the month to travel the countryside of New England by motorcycle as we saw riders in Rutland staying at our motel.

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Views of Meredith Bay and  Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in the state and a major resort center.
The 72-square-mile lake is dotted with islands and surrounded by mountains.

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The many bays and deep coves create a 263-mile shoreline.

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Our turn around point on our train trip.
Weirs Beach lies on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Its name is thought to mean "Smile of the Great Spirit."
 This is New Hampshire's inland version of a seaside resort.

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Click here for info on Laconia Bike Week train rides. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.

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The car free street of Weirs Beach.

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Cab car for our return trip to Meredith.

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Then it was another short drive to our next stop.

Ashland, NH




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Freight House.

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Looking across the road to the freight house.

From here we drove about 30 miles north to Lincoln, NH

Hobo Railroad.


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This weekend there were no train rides offered.
Still early in the season for daily operation but Chris had received permission for us to look around on their property.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


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Hobo Railroad offers 15-mile excursions in vintage, restored coaches along the Pemigewasset River.

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Mysterious car under wraps.

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Click here for train ride info. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.

A big thank you to the Hobo Railroad for allowing us to visit and look around.


Our next stop was near by.

Clark's Trading Post



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We boarded for a train ride.

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New Water Coaster ride under construction.

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Into the White Mountain National Forest.

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Entering Wolfman country.

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The Wolfman.

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    The Wolfman finds trains and terrorizes the passengers. Two littlest passengers were very terrorized. They were 5 or 6 years old and one wanted to go back to the motel now and the other was ready to jump from the train. Chris went over to calm them and said he would protect them and they quieted down.


I really like this buggy that he drove around. It was noisy and loud.

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The Wolfman was wired for sound so he could talk to the train riders.
That was very effective in terrorizing the passengers.

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We have just passed the smoke bombs the Wolfman set off. Not a very nice dude.

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Once through the tunnel we would leave Wolfman country.

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Arriving back at the station. We then walked around park.

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Old Mill Pond Water Blaster Boats.


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The Old Man of Mountain Climbing Tower

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White Mountain Wheelin' Segway Park.

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Rider getting one on one instruction on operating the Segway.

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green arrowgreenWatch my video of train. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.


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Lurking in the background, the Wolfman stalks a fresh crowd of passengers to terrorize.

The folks at Clark's Trading Post were very helpful with this story and many thanks to them.

 
Click for more info on Clark's Trading Post. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.


After we finished exploring Clark's Trading Post, it was a short drive to our motel for the night.
Chris picked Parker's Motel on US Route 3 in Lincoln, NH for it's convenient location for today's and tomorrow's activities.
Our early check in gave us a few hours to relax and get ready for tonight's extra special repast.
 

Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train

When we were discussing and planing our trip, Chris asked if I had been on a dinner train. I replied that I was a virgin on that point. He said it was a great experience and I should try it. He had done a couple so far but said that there are only about a dozen in our country. Rare mileage, indeed. As he was going through several tourist books he found a dinner train in New Hampshire. As it was near where we were going to be traveling, why not check this one out. And so it was decided, tonight I was to lose my virginity on the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train.

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Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train, 3 Crossing at River Place (Rt 112), North Woodstock, NH


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As it was a short drive from our motel to tonight's venue, we arrived early and were able to take our pictures. I knew for my big night that it would be with dressy attire and as a traveler I thought a collared shirt and nice slacks would work and travel well. As I was waiting with fellow diners, I noticed that we were a nice, well dressed group.


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The Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train has been operating as a fine dining dinner train excursion since the spring of 1989. There are only 12 moving dinner trains in all of North America, making The Cafe Lafayette a very unique attraction. Running on original timber line rails, the 20 mile trip brings us south along the Pemigewasset River Valley, towards Thornton. Being one of only a handful of Dinner Trains worldwide with a complete kitchen car cooking fresh food to order while underway has earned us a spot in the Wall Street Journal’s feature of only four fine dining Dinner Trains worldwide "Dinner Trains Around the World". (September 2014)

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The "Granite Eagle". Originally built for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, operating from St. Louis Missouri to San Antonio Texas in the mid 1950's, she was soon acquired by the Illinois Central RR and run on train #1; "The City of New Orleans". The retired and unusual dome car was found sitting idle in Pittsburgh, Kansas in the late fall of 1995 and quickly purchased by the Café Lafayette. It was brought across the United States by rail and refurbished in the engine house of the Hobo Railroad during the winter of 1996, put into service for the spring season, and remains our flagship car. Only two of these original dome cars are known to have avoided the scrap yard and remain today.

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Chris waiting to ride the dinner train.

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Author.

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We were seated in the Granite Eagle, an unusual tri-level car that features an upper observation dome with surround windows and a sunken lounge.
Our table was on the middle level and near the kitchen car.

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Soft jazz played on the sound system.

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The door to the kitchen from our seat.

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Sunken lounge.

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White table cloth dining.


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Author waiting with great anticipation.

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Fan is part of table centerpiece

Normally this two hour, 20 mile round trip will take you on a spur of the historic Boston and Maine Railroad, which was laid in the 1880's, but not tonight.
Due to past storms, a bridge was washed out and parts of the track were out of service. So we were only going about five miles out but the ride would still take the two hours to complete. Our Hobo Railroad engineer held steady at 4.5 mph. The dinner train uses the Hobo locos for power.



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Pemigewasset River

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Chefs getting ready for tonight's dinner service.

And then they started serving a wonderful meal.

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We started out with crab-meat appetizers and was told everything on the plate was edible on this and every plate tonight.
So all my plates went to the clean plate club.
 

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Next came the mix greens with a fresh baked large roll.


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We noticed a lot of fern plants along this route.

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The blueberry sorbet. Took couple of bites before I could take the picture.


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And now the protein part of the meal.

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One of the best ever top sirloin. Excellent.

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Best part last. Key Lime Pie. Yum Yum.

For my first dinner train, this was a great feast to celebrate my virginity loss and I certainly will remember this first time experience forever.

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After dinner service, all the guests were invited to tour and visit all the cars in the train.

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Looking toward the kitchen car.

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Dome seating.


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Dome windows.

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The "Indian Waters". This beautifully restored 1924 Pullman dining car was originally built as a lunch and lounge car for the New York Central RR. This car, the first in the Café Lafayette’s history, was rebuilt from the trucks up in the Winnipesaukee Rail Yard by skilled craftsman and the original owner in the mid 1980's. It operated for two years on the Winnipesaukee Railroad before being moved to Lincoln in the summer of 1988, where it then operated for one year on the Hobo Railroad. The following year it was purchased and put into service for the Café Lafayette. We continue to operate the Indian Waters car through foliage season utilizing the original kitchen and bar for a truly unique dining experience.


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The "Algonquin". A 1954 Canadian National RR Cafe Coach, this car was purchased in 1995 from the Canadian Government. Refurbishment began in the summer of 1999, and now its spacious and open interior makes it perfect for private parties, corporate outings, and weddings


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Many thanks to the Cafe Layette Dinner Train for their great hospitality and making my first dinner train experience a lasting memory.

Click for Dinner Train info. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.

After we left the parking lot and heading to the motel, we made one more, our last stop.
Chris had found this site on Google Earth at home and hoped to find it. Good Golly, he did just that.

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RDC

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At the motel, we were ending our first post-convention day. I don't think you could squeeze any more daylight out of the day than we did. Tomorrow will start early with a trip up to the windiest place in the world.




Coming: New Hampshire - Mount Washington Cog RR: Maine - Sandy River & Rangeley Lake RR


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Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments appreciated at .... yr.mmxx@gmail.com

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