Book Review: Fun on Foot in New England

New England?has a trail for every foot. Give in to the beauty of Old Cape Cod, the majesty of the White Mountains, the ruggedness of the Maine coastline or the quaintness of many villages that dot the countryside. New England has some of the best places in the country to run, jog or walk.

Until now finding these places has been challenging. Authors Warwick and Nola Ford have simplified this process with a guide called Fun on Foot in New England, a compilation of the best places to run, jog or walk in New England.

I won a copy of Fun on Foot?at a local road race, then placed the book on my bookcase for future reading. It wasn't until a trip to Portland, Maine that I picked the book up again and found a real treasure of information. The book is well organized and gives a thorough account of numerous running routes throughout the six-state region.

Organized by geographic area, the first four chapters are devoted to Massachusetts because, as the authors point out, this is where roughly half the population?of New England lives. The remaining five chapters cover Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Fords use comfort, attractions, convenience and destination as their guide for selecting each route. The routes have to be easy to find, scenic, interesting and safe from traffic. The ones that are "too good to miss" are flagged as?Fun on Foot classics.

While on my recent visit to Maine, I tried the Peaks Island course located in Casco Bay, about one-mile off the coast of Portland. The Fords flagged this route as a Fun on Foot Classic and with good reason. The run around the island offered a traffic-free course with spectacular views of the ocean and the city of Portland.

Just about every detail imaginable was included in their trip description. I particularly enjoyed the tips on places to eat?and followed some good?advice on where to get a cocktail following the run.

Each route description includes an easy-to-read map, a chart describing the high points of the selection criteria--comfort, attractions, convenience and destination--and photographs.

There is a good mix of urban and suburban routes and they are thorough when covering the more popular routes, such as the Charles River loop in Boston. But care was taken to cover many off-the-beaten paths as well.

I was thrilled to see Mine Falls Park in Nashua, New Hampshire detailed. This is one of my favorite running spots and the Fords deemed it a Fun on Foot Classic. I have been running in Mine Falls Park for years, but never knew the actual distances of the various trails. The map and chart in the book provide this information. Anyone visiting Mine Falls for the first time would have little trouble finding their way around if they have a copy of the book with them.?

Fun on Foot is a great companion for anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of running, jogging or walking in New England. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

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