how to get a man to see Cornish NH?
September 4, 2009 6:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning a day trip to Cornish, NH to see where Salinger lives. Before you start bashing, let me state that, I have no intention of disturbing him but I would like to see the place.

The problem is, I'm clueless how to get there. I currently live in New Haven, CT and I don't have a car. I checked the Amtrak train routes, and couldn't figure out which station would be the closest. Or whether a day trip is actually feasible? if the train runs once a day, I would need to stay there and again I couldn't find any hotels.

Any suggestions?
posted by caelumluna to Travel & Transportation around Cornish, NH (12 answers total)
Without a car, you might be out of luck. This is the only Amtrack route that goes through New Hampshire, and its closest stop is about 2 hours away from Cornish.

One thing that could MAYBE work is taking the Dartmouth Coach from Logan airport up to Hanover, which is a 40 minute drive from Cornish, and then either taking a taxi or asking a student to drive you.

I kind of think the isolation was the point for Salinger.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:01 AM on September 4, 2009

Best answer: Concord Trailways runs buses through New Hampshire (and other parts of northern New England). I don't know New Hampshire geography well enough to spot the nearest stop to Cornish.

No offense, but you sound like a city person! Trains? Hotels? I encourage you to travel to Cornish or any other small New England town just so you can get some idea what life is like in the willywacks.

Your best bet may be to locate a New Hampshire B&B that is desperate for bookings in the time between Labor Day and leaf-peeping season. For a little off-season business and possibly an extra fee, an accommodating innkeeper might agree to drive you, or help you find a driver, from their door to wherever it is you want to go in Cornish. (Do you have a specific destination, or do you just want to be driven through the town? I assume you're not intending to lurk around Salinger's property.)

Alternatively, if you're a Yalie, use whatever ride boards or message systems are available to you to hook up with others who are headed home to northern NH for a long weekend or who share an interest in a NNH getaway. It's a beautiful area for outdoor sports like hiking in the White Mountains.
posted by Orinda at 7:23 AM on September 4, 2009

Amtrak's Vermonter runs up the very eastern edge of Vermont, along the Connecticut River. It looks like the Windsor-Mt. Ascutney station is closest. Trains only run once a day north of Springfield, MA though.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:24 AM on September 4, 2009

It's a 3-hour drive. Why not rent a car?
posted by Houstonian at 7:24 AM on September 4, 2009

Oops, I suffered a map-reading FAIL. Cornish is in western NH, close to the Vermont border, not up north. Well, the remarks re: Concord Trailways and B&Bs still apply, though it looks like you could also extend your search for transportation links and overnight accommodations to the adjacent areas of Vermont.
posted by Orinda at 7:31 AM on September 4, 2009

Best answer: I really would suggest renting a car. Northern NH is far more densely populated than, say, New Brunswick or parts of the Midwest but still does not have a high enough population density or sufficiently centralized destinations to support public transportation. If it was 1909 you might have managed to catch a stagecoach to Cornish along with the town's mail but in modern times you really will probably need your own wheels.

If the car isn't an option at all you can probably catch a bus to White River Junction / Hanover / Lebanon which would be the town north of Cornish. Dartmouth College is there, an expanding airport, and a large university hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which people come to from all over the country, so there are more facilities for the itinerant wanderer than most northern New England towns would have.

There will be a variety of hotels in the area and there is a youth hostel right over the border in White River Junction. But be warned all the lodging can be filled up by people going to the hospital so make arrangements ahead of time. Hosting Dartmouth College there are a number of fancy restaurants and other venues catering to rich visiting parents and alumni but there are just as many more pedestrian places in the surrounding area.

Googling, there are some taxi services out of Lebanon; it probably would make sense to call them and ask what kind of fare you'd be looking at. (Though again, personally I would go with the rental car.)

Also, oinopaponton is working with some messed up geography. Cornish is almost directly north of New Haven and U.S. Route 91 goes directly between them - with a car the driving would be simple. It would make no sense to travel all the way east into Logan in downtown Boston and then go back west to get to Cornish.
posted by XMLicious at 7:57 AM on September 4, 2009

Yes, rent a car. Train service into New Hampshire is essentially zero. Bus service is expensive and spotty. New Hampshire today is basically a big forest with town centers every ten miles or so, and you're going to need the car to get around.

(Incidentally, this wasn't true historically; trains ran to and from New Hampshire, bringing produce into Boston and tourists to the White Mountains. The tracks are now mostly disused or torn up entirely, and farm fields are now forested again. This is an excellent post about it.)
posted by Upton O'Good at 8:05 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

There is no way to get to Cornish other than by car.

If you can't drive, I second the recommendation of going to Hanover, where they have hotels/beds and breakfasts, bookstores, decent restaurants, etc., and getting a taxi, or offering to pay for a weekend car rental in return for a ride over and back from a Dartmouth student.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:21 AM on September 4, 2009

Train service into New Hampshire is essentially zero

The Down Easter offers excellent service to New Hampshire's coastline (Exeter, Durham, and Dover) but other than that I agree it's a washout.

You might try doing the same "take public transportation to college town and offer to pay for a car rental in return for a student driving you to Cornish" plan with Durham (home of the University of New Hampshire), but Hanover is a much more interesting place to stay.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:24 AM on September 4, 2009

Also, oinopaponton is working with some messed up geography. Cornish is almost directly north of New Haven and U.S. Route 91 goes directly between them

Right, but good luck getting to Hanover without a car from anywhere but Logan :-)
posted by oinopaponton at 4:58 PM on September 4, 2009

Right, but good luck getting to Hanover without a car from anywhere but Logan

I went to and typed in "New Haven" as the origin and "White River Junction" as the destination and got a schedule and a fare quote for if I wanted to leave from New Haven at 8AM tomorrow. All of the intermediate stops listed were straight along Route 91.

Evidently it doesn't require too much luck. ;^)
posted by XMLicious at 9:10 PM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: I appreciate all the answers. For the car rental, the last time I drove was in 2002, so I'm a bit hesitant on that front but greyhound option seems feasible. You see, I didn't even know Hanover the option. I'm still not sure about the final plan but I have a much better sense of my options now :)
posted by caelumluna at 5:50 AM on September 5, 2009

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