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“John Hay Historic Estate and Gardens”

John Hay National Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #6 of 8 things to do in Newbury
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Reviewed June 25, 2018 via mobile

If you are close to Newberry, Lake Sunapee or Newport News Hampshire you should stop by the John Hay Summer Home and Gardens called THE FELLS. This lovely property was established in 1891 by John Milton Hay who had been a private secretary to Abraham Lincoln. All ages can enjoy the house and grounds. Learn more about history with a house tour, ecology and horticulture with a garden tour, art (sculpture in garden and paintings in house), walk trails, enjoy a self-guided Poetry Walk. My favorite was the large rock garden on the side of a hill with stone pathways leading down to a pond. Lovely!

Date of experience: June 2018
Thank Jeanette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed June 20, 2017

We have been to the John Hay Refuge many times, but this is my first review. If you want to "stop and smell the roses" then The fels shoreline. Bring your canoe ashore and walk the grounds.

Date of experience: June 2017
Thank OutdoorSteveNH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 22, 2016

This is a really nice estate that preserves the charm of the house and surrounding land, back tot he days John Hay owned and lived there.
The house has been meticulously cared for, the surrounding grounds are beautiful with gardens native to the area and almost always in bloom during the growing seasons.
They offer tours and special events for both young and old, and there are loads of trails through out the estate to wander and check out the native flora and fauna.

Date of experience: June 2016
Thank Bryant W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 16, 2016

We enjoyed this site as well. John Hay was (I believe) an assistant to Abe Lincoln. the grounds and home are beautiful. I would recomend going there when the flowers are blooming.

Date of experience: July 2015
Thank Sheila D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed August 23, 2015

John Hay National Wildlife Refuge has no formal street address. It’s south of The Fells, the John Hay Estate which is at 456 NH State Route 103A. It’s on the same side of NH State Route 103A.

This refuge’s purpose is conservation of the forest and wildlife; consequently, the only activities allowed are hiking, wildlife observation, photography, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and environmental education. Dogs, running, jogging, hunting, camping, bicycling, geocaching, horseback riding, and motorized vehicles are all strictly prohibited as they are damaging to the habitat and disturbing of the wildlife.

Parking is at The Fells at 456 NH State Route 103A. The staffer at the Gate House at The Fells has trail guides for the John Hay Forest Ecology Trail.

There is no visitor center here. This refuge is managed by the staff of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Sunderland, MA.

The only developed area here is the John Hay Forest Ecology Trail. It is 9/10 of a mile long. It is not a loop trail; it’s one way. It ends at the property line with The Fells. Returning to one’s vehicle through The Fells requires paying The Fells admission fee.

Trail hikers should bring insect repellent, trekking poles or a hiking stick, and drinking water. Sturdy hiking boots are advisable. This is wild land so one can expect the full array of insects and woodland creatures.

Hikers should be prepared to deal with uneven, slippery terrain, most notably near and along Beech Brook. There are two footbridges across Beech Brook. Beyond the brook, the trail levels off and provides steadier footing.

During my visit, I hiked down with new acquaintances Carole and her friend. Carole knew the trail well. We went down to the Lake Sunapee shore. It had rained off and on during the week before our visit. The trail was wet and slippery in spots. Carole said that this was the largest parcel of land with the most undeveloped footage of shoreline on Lake Sunapee. One gets very nice views of the lake here.

I rate this trail as moderately difficult in very wet conditions.

There were a lot of common loons and several species of ducks at the lake and lots of wood thrushes in the woods along with a few dark-eyed juncos, and several species of sparrows and warblers. Carole said that over 75 species of birds have been spotted at the refuge.

The visit to the refuge capped off my visit to The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens which was once all one parcel of land with the refuge. I would not have done this hike alone so I was glad that I met Carole and her friend.

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Date of experience: July 2015
8  Thank Maurene_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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