The SpaceThe Mill is situated on Blood Brook and is right on the convergence of the Appalachian and Long Trails, so if you like to hike, you'll be in serious company. It was built in 1766, and is 250 years old as of 2016. (Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!) As an industrial building, (the first structure in Norwich) it was never intended to be a house, and the stairs are ridiculously steep - so work those quads, keep that baby gate up and your hands on the stair railing! The wiring and plumbing are delicate, so you can't run multiple hair dryers and curling irons simultaneously, or flush random stuff down the toilets. The windows are old and hard to open (no problem in wintertime!). And the bathrooms and kitchen are old and small by today's standards. Electrical outlets are scarce. You will run out of hot water if you are the 6th person to shower (and the rest of your group got greedy and decided to take long showers before you woke up).
Make no mistake, this is not the Four Seasons! Staying here is more like very fancy indoor glamping in what is a truly unique part of early American history. Some of the exposed beams of this post and beam structure are actually whole trees that still have bark! That said, it is still very inviting: a warm and dry, cozy yet spacious spot with high ceilings and room to gather. And though it may be an old house, rest assured we can't live without fast internet either, so fear not! We do have decent bandwidth here. You might also like to know that since there is no longer state or federal money to rehab historic structures like the Old Mill, with every stay, you, beloved guest, will be helping us to restore her to her finest state! It really is a labor of love, and we hope you can forgive the quirks and shortcomings to marvel at and truly enjoy the many wonderful things that make this place so very special, while we work to make improvements.
To make your stay as comfortable as possible in the interim, we've made sure the beds are comfortable and hypoallergenic, and the bed linens are soft and of a high quality. Guests also enjoy warm, fluffy white robes and plush towels. The furnace really cranks heat in the winter and the roof is new, so you don't have to worry about being wet or chilly.
Of course, in any season, there are few things as special as being right in town, yet surrounded by private acreage, right next to your very own waterfall with its beautiful sounds and the amazing birds and wildlife it attracts. We've even had ambitious kayakers actually make their way over the falls and to the Connecticut River during the Spring thaw!
When you leave this local wilderness, it's just a short, easy walk to Main Street with a free shuttle to Dartmouth and all the intellectual stimulation at which you can shake an Oxford English Dictionary. You can't really blame us for falling madly in love with this quirky place, even if we couldn't run our hair dryers all at once! Guest AccessThere is a small manager's apartment on site with a separate entrance. Beyond that space, you have run of all three floors of the Mill and its surroundings. Please take caution and use common sense if climbing around on the waterfall. Rocks can be slippery and don't be fooled by the size of the brook. They put a mill here hundreds of years ago for a reason. Falling water is powerful! Explore only at your own risk! Interaction with GuestsThe on-site manager will be able to help with any immediate questions and with check in. Our sister Danielle is an Airbnb Superhost for her own home and is also Co-Hosting this listing, so she is available by phone or text, 24/7. The NeighborhoodWe are very, very close to King Arthur Flour Bakery and Cafe, in case you are enrolled in one of their many classes (do let us know if you are!). We are also within walking distance of the Montshire Museum, the Connecticut River, the Norwich Bookstore, Norwich Wine and Spirits, Jasper Murdoch's Alehouse, Carpenter and Main Restaurant, Norwich Square Cafe, and of course, Dan & Whit's General Store where their slogan, "If We Don't Have It, You Don't Need It" could not be more true.
You can also fuel your car at Dan & Whit's. While you're at it, if it's wintertime, pop inside, grab some Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey, some local beer or something from their excellent wine selection and lots of other VT goodies and take a peak at how they heat the entire place with wood. It is actually quite impressive!
The hallowed halls and ivied influence of Dartmouth are a mere mile away across the river in Hanover NH. The Hopkins Center for the Arts, the Hood Museum, Baker Library, The League of NH Craftsmen Gallery, and the Nugget movie Theater share the center of town with Simon Pearce, numerous fantastic restaurants, shops, live music venues, and local attractions. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is about 6 miles away.
In summer, head to the Connecticut River!
Go for a swim off the boat docks at Wilson's Landing or head to the Ledyard Canoe Club to rent kayaks and canoes to explore the Connecticut River
Or Take a hike!
Gile Mountain – Quick and easy hike that offers great views of the Hanover area. ~10 minutes from downtown Hanover in Norwich, VT; 1,873 ft peak / 1.4 mile hike / 1 hour rountrip.
Mount Cardigan – Panoramic views stretching from rural New Hampshire in the foreground to the summits of the White Mountains in the distance. ~30 minutes from downtown Hanover in Canaan, NH; 3,155 ft peak / 3.3 miles / 2.5 hours round trip.
Mount Mooselauke – A segment of the Appalachian Trail and part of the White Mountains, and by far the best views in the area. ~50 minutes from downtown Hanover in Benton, NH; Take the Gorge Brook Carriage Road Loop: 4,802 ft peak / 7.2 miles / 4.5 hours roundtrip
Recreation in Norwich tends to be of the outdoors variety. The Upper Valley Land Trust maintains about 4 miles of cross-country skiing and hiking trails on the old Cossingham Road Farm, as well as other trails in town. The Appalachian Trail cuts through Norwich right in front of the Old Mill, and heads across the Ledyard Bridge into Hanover, N.H. Pick up local trail guides in Norwich town offices in Tracy Hall (300 Main St.).
For children (and adults), the Montshire Museum (1 Montshire Road Adults $9, Children ages 3-17 $7) is a hands-on paradise. You can learn about physics by balancing a beach ball on a blast of air; or observe a glass-enclosed honeybee colony; or find out how long you would need to pedal a bike to power the museum's elevator one story. The museum also has a two-acre outdoor Science Park, which includes a walking tour of the solar system, with scale models of the planets, and miles of trails on its property and along the Connecticut River.
For the kitchen conscious, King Arthur Flour (135 US Route 5 south, ), the country's oldest flour company, offers classes in its Baking Education Center, from Beauty and the Baguette to the Twelve Days of Cookies.
There are also a few farms that sell vegetables, including Killdeer Farm Stand (163 US Route 5 south), open mid-May through October and weekends in November. The stand sells produce and plants from the farm, as well as locally produced cheese, maple syrup, and meat.
If you're in town on a Saturday between May and October, swing by the Norwich Farmers Market (Route 5 south, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.). Local producers sell their vegetables, fruit, plants, honey, and cheese, often there is live music, and you may get to see a sheep shearing.
Carpenter & Main (326 Main St. - Entrees in dining room $21-$40, in tavern $9-$14) combines local food and French cooking in two rooms, a more formal setting and a tavern, whose offerings span duck confit to burgers. The Norwich Inn (entrees $23-$33) also offers both a formal dining room and Jasper Murdock's Alehouse with smaller plates ($7-$14).
Allechante (289 Main St.) sells beautifully made pastries, fresh bread, and tasty sandwiches (try the one with tomato, goat cheese, and green olive spread). The cafe has a few seats, or sit outside on the Norwich Green in nice weather.
Night life here tends to be quiet as the woods in winter. Jasper Murdock's Alehouse at the Norwich Inn is the liveliest spot in town - and the only place that stays open later than 10 p.m. - with beer pumped in underground from the inn's microbrewery. The pub at Carpenter & Main, a little more formal, stays open until 10. In warmer weather, the Montshire Museum offers nighttime nature walks. For more boisterous options, drive across the river to Hanover, N.H., where hungry and thirsty Dartmouth students ensure that a handful of bars and restaurants stay open late.
The Norwich Bookstore (291 Main St., Monday-Wednesday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday till 8, Friday-Saturday till 6, Sunday noon to 5) makes a cozy retreat on a blustery winter day and has an impressive slate of author readings. The store's children's section is well stocked with both books and toys. Two quirky stores sit across from each other along a small green called Norwich Square. The J List (289 Main St., Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday till 7) is the more upscale of the two, with accessories from jewelry to cashmere socks to cotton robes. Zuzu's (295 Main St. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday till 5, Sunday noon to 5) is a bit funkier, with Marimekko designs, well-kept consigned clothes, and oversize purses.
Dan & Whit's general store (319 Main St. daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m.) is a Norwich institution, with its uneven wooden floors and eclectic offerings, from wine and fresh meat to long underwear and chicken grain. To get a sense of life in the Upper Valley, read the ads on the sprawling bulletin board outside. King Arthur Bakery also has a vast kitchen store, filled with essentials and luxuries, from cookie sheets to edible glitter.
For handmade, nontoxic toys, stop by the shop of Vermont Wooden Toys (31 Tilden Hill Road). Ronald Voake's showroom, in the garden-level basement of his house, is open most days, but call ahead to make sure he's there.
For a real treat, and if you are looking to replace an entire wall of your house with a gorgeous piece of floor to ceiling stained glass from the 1850's or some other old architectural marvel, don't miss Vermont Salvage in White River Jct. Just... WOW. The fellow who sources a great deal of the salvage, makes some very interesting modern furniture from his finds. His name is Fletcher and he has a separate shop called Fletcher's Creations, around the corner. Well worth a looksee.
As you drive through White River Jct., you may notice Northern Stage and
The Barrette Center for the Arts on 74-76 Gates Street. Support this theater! They are bastion of quality talent, and one of the few Actor's Equity Association approved LORT-D professional theater companies in New England. Getting AroundMany people will opt for renting a car while here, but you could actually get by with not having one. Take the Dartmouth Coach from Boston Logan Airport and then use the free shuttle between Hanover and Norwich. If you do have a car, you can park at street level and walk down the hill by the waterfall to the front door. If you have a 4WD vehicle, and ONLY if you have a 4WD vehicle, you can drive down the driveway and access the house that way. Seriously, you do not want to attempt the driveway without 4 or All Wheel Drive. Other Things to NoteAgain, this is an old building! Electrical outlets are scarce, the plumbing is delicate and we have a septic system, so we don't have a garbage disposal or use 2 ply toilet tissue. The dishwasher also requires being hooked up manually and we are careful about the kind of soap we use since we are so close to the brook. There is plenty of hot water if everyone is judicious about how long their showers are. (We have been in a drought, so please do try to conserve water anyway!) Also, it bears repeating: the stairs are very steep! There are a couple bedrooms on the main floor, so we can accommodate those who cannot climb stairs, but the house is not ADA compliant. Most rooms also have a desk, so you can let your inner Thoreau take over. The downstairs can also be transformed pretty easily into a yoga space for everyone. Just click the remote to turn on the electric wood stove (sorry, no real fires until we can get the chimney re-pointed - and they're booked until February!) and heat yourselves up with a few sun salutations. Thankfully, the house has a massive furnace so we no longer rely on a real wood stove anymore. Years ago we used to haul, chop and stack wood all summer long to keep the home fires burning throughout the winter months. Old school!
While you are downstairs, check out the bedrock protruding in to the laundry room under the house. The Old Mill is built right in to the rock. When it rains, a river (a trickle, really) does flow through the house. No worries, it's all by design and it has worked this way for 250 years!
Even in 2011, during Hurricane Irene, when tragically, so many old covered bridges were washed away and terrible flooding struck the entire state of Vermont, The Old Mill stayed warm and dry as a bone. A small corner of the lower field beyond the gazebo did flood, but if there were any question before, we learned at that point to accept the old timers really did know where to put this place!