Just over two miles up the Coppermine Trail is Bridal Veil Falls, an 80 foot waterfall, whose upper flow, a 30-foot plunge resembles a bridal veil. The flow pools beneath the initial fall before flowing to the right into another small pool, and then making its final plunge over flat, polished granite to the stream below. The falls is best view from the small island that requires and a few easy rock hops to cross.
After a fourth-tenths of a mile walk along Coppermine Road the trail branches off to the left and begins its 2.1 mile trek. The total elevation gain is 1100 feet making for an easy walk. The yellow blazes were for the most part absent, but the path is easily followed.
The trail head parking is on Coppermine Road just off Route 116 south of Franconia, New Hampshire an area nestled in the Easton Valley. Cannon Mountain and the Kinsman Range form the eastern side, while the smaller hills of Cooley, Cole, Bronson, Ore, Sugar and Garnet form the western horizon looking toward Vermont.
Once on the trail there is about 10-15 minutes of walking before you can hear the sounds of the Coppermine. Shortly the steam comes into view on the right rushing over rocks in cascades as it steps its way down from the western flank of Cannon Mountain.
In the late 1930’s screen legend Betty Davis discovered the beauty of the Easton Valley. Local legend has it that Davis became enamored with a local man who worked as an assistant manager at Peckett’s-on-Sugar-Hill, an inn near Franconia. Supposedly smitten by Arthur Farnsworth, Davis got herself lost in the woods, knowing that Farnsworth would be the one to come searching for her. He did and they fell in love. Davis and Farnsworth were married in 1940, for Davis it was her second husband. In 1943 Art Farnsworth fell down a flight of stairs hitting his head. A few days later, on a sidewalk in Hollywood, he collapsed and died.
After Farnsworth’s death, the film stars’ visits to Franconia became less frequent. In memory of her late husband, Davis had a plaque affixed to a large rock in Coppermine Brook that reads; “In memoriam to Arthur Farnsworth. The Keeper of Stray Ladies. Pecketts 1939. Presented by a Grateful One.”
About a quarter mile before the falls is a small wooded bridge that crosses the stream. Just beyond that on the left is an unusual tree with its root-structure wrapped around a large rock. The tree appears to b growing out of the top of the rock. There was a smaller example of this part way up the trail on the right, with a birch having stretched its long roots over and around a boulder.
Just before the falls come into view you come to the Coppermine shelter. Built of hand cut logs by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid 1940’s the shelter overlooks the tumbling Coppermine and with a spot for a campfire, it would make a nice overnight.
A quick stroll to the right, with one rock to climb over, and a few hops on the rocks over the stream and we were on the small rocky island that splits the flow from Bridal Veil Falls.
With all the rain of recent days and the mountain still experiencing some spring run-off, the water volume was high and the falls pounded the pools and rocks below.
Going downhill; the trip back took about half the time, making for a three hour round trip.
Turning right off Coppermine Road it’s a short drive to the Franconia farm of Poet Robert Frost, who I have to agree with, “it’s… restful just to think about New Hampshire.”
In 1915, after returning with his family from England, Frost determined that the mountains of New Hampshire were conducive to his work and began looking for a farm. He had previously summered in the Bethlehem area. He wanted a farm with a view of the mountains and found such a place with the broad expanse of the Kinsman Range looking east from his front door.
The Poet approached the farmer, who happened to be looking for a bigger place with more land and a price of $1,000 was agreed upon. Later when the farmer leaned who the poet was, he asked Frost to pay a little more, another one or two hundred. Frost agreed and the farm was his.
While Robert Frost lived at his Franconia farm he wrote many of his best and most famous poems, including “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
Franconia and the Easton Valley haven’t seen the crush of development that nearby towns like Lincoln, Woodstock, or Bethlehem have witnessed. Even in early summer it is still possible to enjoy a trail, a dirt road or a seat along side the Gale River, Meadow Brook or the Coppermine and be alone and think.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.