Chesterfield is a lovely town in southwestern New Hampshire and has been my home for 37 years. It is actually a collection of three villages, my village of Spofford around Spofford Lake, West Chesterfield and the main center of Chesterfield. The town is a photographer’s delight with rolling hills, farms, classic buildings and dramatic waterfalls.
I have written articles illustrating many of the visual attractions of the town, but I have tended to focus on my home village of Spofford. It is time to spotlight some of the best features of Chesterfield Center.
Heading west on Route 9, a left turn onto Route 63 South will quickly bring you to Chesterfield’s understated center. The village has a classic stone town hall from 18--. With modest population growth, the annual town meetings have moved to the more spacious environment of the adjacent school gymnasium, but the town hall is still the historic center of Chesterfield and a great subject for photography, in all seasons.
In the 1960s, the building was used in the opening credits of the TV series Peyton Place, to represent the quintessential, although scandalous, New England town. In recent years, the town have done a creditable job trying to design newer town building to fit the feel of a classic New England village center. The impression is helped by the fact that there is no commercial development in the town center. The Town Hall is flanked by a small structure which matches the stone construction and is now the home of our active town historical society. On the other side is a lovely modern town library constructed in a similar style. Across the street, the small post office compliments the other structures.
To the south on Route 63 are the K – 8 school, the town offices and fire station. The school’s sports field provide nice areas of open space with the feel of an expansive town green.
The visual highlight of the drive through Chesterfield Center is its location perched along a high ridge with long dramatic views to the west and the Vermont mountains. From here Mt Snow is easily seen and the sunsets are frequently spectacular. All along this stretch of road, farms, pastures and grazing animals provide interesting foregrounds for the dramatically shifting colors. Turning away from the sunsets, the warm light can transform the village structures, especially the Town Hall and a position on top of this ridge can provide an excellent spot to catch the rainbows which form as storms pass to the east.
Chesterfield Center is just one of the opportunities for discovery in my town. Nearby are a number of active farms, Madame Sherri’s Castle and forest, Indian Pond, and Mt Wantastiquet, but a good start is to take that left turn off of Route 9 and step into a classic small New England Village.
For more information and pictures of Chesterfield’s attractions check out these links and my Chesterfield Center Gallery.
- Chesterfield Gorge
- Chesterfield’s 250th Anniversary
- Madame Sherri Album
- Great Hiking in Chesterfield
- The Mystery of Madame Sherr’s Castle
- No Good Hiking Trails