New England Waterfalls


Waterfall Fans Take Notice

By Barbara Radcliffe Rogers,

Friday, August 15, 2003


A new book has just joined the Delorme map book and the AMC White Mountain Guide in the canvas bag that lives in our car. New England Waterfalls, by Greg Parsons and Kate B. Watson, is a winner.

Like everyone else who picks up a travel-related book, I first flipped through to see if they had included my favorites, those hidden waterfalls that are known only to locals. They were all there, plus a few I'd never heard of.

Of course, I'd like the book because New Hampshire gets the lion's share, with 82 pages and 42 waterfalls. But the book is more than just a compendium. Each falls is described by its shape (a diagram in the front of the book shows the different forms waterfalls can take), height, geology, surrounding scenery and other considerations.

Trail descriptions are detailed and accurate; if you can read, you can find these waterfalls. Although many of the falls require hikes (maybe only 5 or 10 minutes), many are adjacent to roads, so the book is for everyone. If the falls has a pool, that's good for swimming (or currents that make it dangerous for swimmers) or is a good place for a picnic, readers are informed.

One thing I especially like is that the best times and perspectives for photographing are mentioned. That's something few writers think to mention, and these authors obviously have some expertise to offer here, since their photos throughout the book are excellent.

The book is well written, in a lively style that is never "cute" or straining to be clever. In fact, it puts many guidebooks to shame with its style. Which brings me to one of the remarkable things about the book: its authors are a pair of college undergraduates. They spent two years researching and writing the book, which clearly included visiting each falls and doing some homework on such details as the name of the source of water, historical and nature notes and a wealth of other details that make the waterfalls more interesting.

So if you want to see all six waterfalls at The Basin in Franconia Notch or find the 60-foot upper falls that most people miss when they go to Georgiana Falls in Lincoln, this is the book. I don't intend to leave home without it when my car heads northward -- or southward, either, since several dramatic waterfalls lie only a few miles south of my house, just over the Massachusetts border.

The Details

New England Waterfalls, by Greg Parsons and Kate B. Watson, $17.95, is published by The Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT, and is available from any bookstore. Of course, we hope you'll buy it from your local independently owned bookstore, to insure that these beleaguered businesses will provide us good browsing for many years.

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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the last 50 years. Never swim when the water currents seem like they are too high or strong. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! Be safe out there - and always use common sense!