Imagine hiking along a wooded trail in New England and stumbling upon the stone foundation of a crumbled building, the wooden slats of the walls caved in, the ironwork of the hinges still dangling on the burned out door. This discovery piques your interest—what is this? What’s its significance? How can you find out? Enter Hiking through History New England: Exploring the Northeast’s Past by Trail. The hiking guidebook, which profiles forty hikes (all trails, of varying degrees of difficulty), goes beyond simply stating miles and directions and GPS coordinates for each hike to include rich descriptions of the history underfoot.
This book is the perfect companion for any hiker with an interest in history. With it you can hike Weir Farm National Historic Site, the only national park dedicated to American painting. Contemplative reflections can be found trekking around Walden Pond, where Thoreau solidified his theses on nature and man. Aboriginal New Englanders are represented at Salt Bay Preserve, where a 2,400 year-old shell midden provides clues left by ancient Mainers. The Dalley Loop at Vermont’s Little River State Park takes you through a whole community of homesites on the slopes of Ricker Mountain, giving a snapshot of rural New England life in the 1800s.
And then there is the evolution of outdoor tourism and how popular natural destinations led to preservation that we can enjoy today. New Hampshire’s Flume Gorge is a great example of that. You can hike where tourists did 150 years ago – to see where water and rock morphed the mountains into a sight to behold. Other places like Newport’s Cliff Walk and Ogunquit, Maine’s Marginal Way let us humble folk walk along majestic oceanside cliffs near multi-million dollar historic mansions. Massachusetts’ Mount Holyoke was second only to Niagara Falls as an American tourist destination of the early 1800s. Today, you can scale its heights, learn about the hotel at the top, and walk the adjacent land, forever preserved.
Make no mistake—this is a hiking book first and foremost, complete with rich photos and detailed maps, but with added extras and sidebars detailing enough historical information to satisfy every curiosity along the way.