Skip to main content

Sandwich Notch Road


Given its long standing position in American history, New England has its fair share of historic thoroughfares. Many of you are likely familiar with the Boston Post Road linking Boston with New York City, while others may know of the Bayley Hazen Military Road in northern Vermont. In the scenic White Mountains, the historic Sandwich Notch Road was at first a trading route in early 19th Century New Hampshire, linking Thornton and the Waterville Valley area with the town of Sandwich, and ultimately towards southern New Hampshire using roads of its day.

Originally built in 1801, the Sandwich Notch Road was the first major commercial road through the White Mountains, using the location of the Sandwich Notch as a shortcut to go to the Pemigawasset River Valley as goods like meat, hides and apples would work their way south and items like sugar, salt and molasses would work their way north. The Sandwich Notch Road was predominately used to transport goods during the winter in its early heyday, as the snow made the road the smoothest during the year. This is in contrast to today, where the Sandwich Notch Road is closed during the winter. The Sandwich Notch Road was also used during the summer months after mud season ended, as there were about 300 families that once made their homes along the road. As you drive the road today, you may see the stone walls and cellar holes are the evidence of former settlement. In addition to its residents, Sandwich Notch was also home to two sawmills, two schoolhouses and a still. Over time, as better farming and other economic opportunities became available, the number of families moved on and there is only one private residence still remaining along the road outside of Center Sandwich.

After the families of the Sandwich Notch had moved away, the land sat empty for many years until it was bought up by lumber companies and during the early 20th century, the Beebe Valley Railroad was constructed up the Beebe River Valley from Campton to Sandwich Notch to get the lumber out to the sawmills for production. In 1942, the railroad tracks were taken out and a portion of the land was sold to the White Mountain National Forest. During the 1970s and 1980s, there were concerns that the land around Sandwich Notch would be developed into condos and other vacation residences. As a result of conservation efforts, a successful campaign to "Save the Notch" was successful and led the owner to sell most of the remainder of the land to the White Mountain National Forest. Today, the entire length of the Sandwich Notch Road is along protected private property as well as local and federal government land.

Today, the Sandwich Notch Road is a 9 mile road that runs between NH 49 in Thornton to Center Sandwich. For the most part, it is a slow, rough and at times steep dirt road that meanders through the forest, with ample hiking opportunities and some scenic views of the White Mountains along the way. While I had no issues making my way up the road from south to north in low gear in my SUV, the Sandwich Notch Road could be difficult for some vehicles that are low to the ground.

The southern end of the Sandwich Notch Road in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire.

A patriotic painted barn in Center Sandwich.

A view of Squam Lake from Center Sandwich.

A warning to not trust your GPS on the Sandwich Notch Road. In winter, the road is used as a snowmobile trail.

Where the famed Sandwich Notch Road meets the White Mountain National Forest.

There are a number of hiking trails along the Sandwich Notch Road. The hike to Beede Falls and Cow Caves is a short hike, but a nice way to stretch your legs. As a hiker and waterfall enthusiast as well as a road enthusiast, I managed to get to the waterfall during low water flow.

Cow Caves.

Driving up Sandwich Notch Road. 

Driving north up the Sandwich Notch Road.

The only remaining residence still on Sandwich Notch Road. They receive U.S. Male here, apparently. 

White Mountains views.

Looking east towards Waterville Valley near the north end of the Sandwich Notch Road.


Sources and Links:
Sandwich Historical Society - Auto Tour of the Sandwich Notch
Waterville Valley Realty - Driving on Sandwich Notch Road
New England Waterfalls - Beede Falls
Scenic NH Photography by Erin Paul Donovan - Sandwich Notch Road, New Hampshire
The Heart of New England - Step Back in Time as you Travel Sandwich Notch in New Hampshire's White Mountains
Nutfield Genealogy - Sandwich Notch Road, New Hampshire (1801 to 2015)

Comments

Otto Yämamøto said…
I was disappointed by the lack of Sandwiches.

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Ben Hur Road/Road 613 to Raymond

While returning from the Mariposa Area this month I decided that I wanted to visit the quasi-ghost town of Raymond and take a "off the beaten path" roadway to get there.  I found just what I was looking for in Ben Hur Road in Mariposa County which reaches Raymond as Road 613 in Madera County.


Ben Hur Road begins on the outskirts of Mariposa near Mormon Bar at CA 49.  From CA 49 the route to Raymond is signed as being 23 miles to the south.


Interestingly Ben Hur Road isn't named after the famous 1959 movie but rather a ghost town along the roadway.  The community of Ben Hur has records showing it had a Post Office by said name in 1890 which obviously implies the community was named after the 1880 novel.  Unlike most roads of this kind the story of Ben Hur Road has been told previously by several newspapers in the 20th Century.

Oakland Tribune (September 1950) Trip to Mariposa via Ben Hur Road

Rock Fence is label of history on Quick Rance (Fresno Bee 1954)

The Oakland Tribu…

"Governor Hunt Cuts Ribbon on Doomsday" - The drawnout legal battle to build the I-95 Fayetteville Bypass

It is Monday, December 15, 1980.  North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt and many other dignitaries take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony opening a new 17 mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Cumberland County.  The new road bypasses Fayetteville to the east and completes Interstate 95 in North Carolina - closing a significant gap in what many consider the backbone highway of the East Coast.  The new road moved Interstate traffic from an at-grade, four lane US 301 lined with numerous motels and restaurants onto a fully controlled and traffic light-free limited access freeway. 

Meanwhile at a Quality Inn along US 301 in Fayetteville, a billboard read "Governor Hunt Cuts Ribbon on Doomsday."(1)

The ribbon cutting put an end to over a decade long heated battle over the routing of Interstate 95 around Fayetteville.  One that made it all the way to the steps of the United States Supreme Court.



Interstate 95 in North Carolina History:

The 181 mile Interstate 95 has a unique story in Nort…

California State Route 1 from Interstate 10 in Santa Monica to San Luis Obispo

A recent trip to California State Route 1 in Malibu spurred my interest in revisiting a trip I did in 2014 which included following the highway from Interstate 10 in Santa Monica northward to California State Route 68 in Monterey.  Since I have covered the segment of CA 1 through Big Sur northward to Monterey County so many times I thought it was time to tell the tale of the rest of the highway southward.


This article specifically will cover two segments of CA 1:

-  What was formerly the first CA 3 and later US 101A from San Juan Capistrano north to Oxnard.
-  CA 1 between Oxnard northward to San Luis Obispo.

As stated above the route of CA 1 has been extensively covered on Gribblenation previously.  The previous articles pertaining to CA 1 can be found below.  Suffice to say that CA 1 is highly intertwined with the history of US 101 and has a ton of roadside lore.

California State Route 1/Big Sur Slide Special Part 3; Ragged Point Closure south to US 101 in San Luis Obispo

California …