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Swimming Holes of the Upper Valley

Jul 25, 2013 12:53AM ● Published by Erin Frisch

It’s a boiling-hot summer day and you’re looking to cool down. But where to go? We unveil the best swimming holes of the Upper Valley; from pools to ponds, when you’re hot, these gems will do the trick. Enjoy!

• Meriden Swimming Hole: If you feel at home paddling around in the great outdoors, try this swimming hole for a rustic adventure. The swimming hole is just below the Meriden Covered Bridge; follow the steep path on the far side of the bridge. This woodsy oasis has been enjoyed by Meriden locals and Kimball Union Academy students alike for decades. In fact, the covered bridge itself was built in 1880! So as you splash around, enjoy the unwritten history of this (almost) sacred location.

• Mascoma Lake Rope Swing: The joy of this rope swing on a hot summer day is a reward only for those willing to bike, run, or walk along the Northern Rail Trail bike path that starts in Lebanon and extends to Concord. But don’t worry—you don’t have to go all the way! For an all-day adventure, start at the CCBA in Lebanon and take the Rail Trail for about 5 miles. Just past Ice House Road, as the trail swings around Mascoma Lake, you’ll find a well-loved rope swing hanging patiently above the water. Don’t fly by too fast or you might miss it. Climb up the dirt ledge, and swing out over the water to your heart’s content. If you are brave enough, you might even dare to try jumping—swing in hand—from the cinder block placed precariously at the top of the ledge. This swimming spot is popular among the local children and bikers who know where to find it.

• Norwich Pond: Although many refer to this as the “Norwich Pool,” it is truly a pond by definition. With beach areas, picnic tables, swings, and hiking trails, it’s a wonder that more folks don’t take advantage of this perfect location. Around the beach area, the water is not too deep, so it’s family friendly. To get there, drive along Beaver Meadow Road in Norwich, and then take the dirt road right after the Beaver Meadow Bed and Breakfast.

• Lebanon Memorial Pool: While this swimming hole is man-made, it is certainly an underrated location that more swimmers should take advantage of. If you prefer to enjoy the ruggedness of nature from a distance, the pool is for you. For just a few bucks per person per day (children 5 and under swim free), you and your family can enjoy a splash pool complete with a giant spraying mushroom and other fun features. A lap pool and several diving boards will make the older members of your family happy too. If you feel safer having your kids watched by certified lifeguards, you can sit back and relax knowing that they are being guarded. The Lebanon Pool is open seven days a week until August 24, 2013. For a complete list of times and special activities, visit this site.

Where do you cool down when the summer sizzles? (Of course, we understand if your favorites are just too good to share!)

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