Madame Sherri Forest
The 488 acres of the Madame Sherri Forest was generously donated for conservation to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests by Ann Stokes. The forest is named for the eccentric Madame Antoinette Sherri. Madame Sherri, who had worked as a costume designer for the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1920s, had built her country "castle" in the woods of Chesterfield.
She became famous (or infamous) for the parties she threw for visitors from the city and was said to have driven about the town during the summer in her Packard touring car causing quite a spectacle in her fur coat, hats, pearls and laughter.
Madame Sherri died in 1965 at the age of 84 but for many years prior the castle had fallen to neglect and vandalism. On October 18, 1962 it was destroyed by fire. The foundation, chimneys and a grand stone staircase from the once magnificent house can be seen adjacent to the Madame Sherri Forest on a side trail close to the entrance off Gulf Road.
Due to the visitor increase during this pandemic, the Forest Society has posted
the following guidelines for the safety of all our hiking friends:
Group size limit: 10 people (excepting single families)
Maintain social distance of 6+ feet (animals too!)
Dogs must be leashed at all times
Dog waste must be picked up and packed out
The popular castle ruins in the forest have deteriorated to the point that the grand staircase is no longer safe to climb. "DO NOT CLIMB THE STAIRS" signs have been placed at the site. Please follow this precaution.
The Indian Pond Trail is an easy 45 minutes round trip hike to the secluded, beautiful mountain lake.
The Ann Stokes Loop is a 2 mile hike (1.5 hours) featuring varied terrain, rugged slopes and a stand of large hemlocks. East Hill provides exceptional views of the town of Chesterfield and Indian Pond.
The Daniels Mountain Loop is a 1.8 mile hike (1.5 hours) over moderate terrain with occasional steep sections. Special features are the tree covered summit of Daniels Mt. and two outstanding views (East Hill and Moon Ledge). The Daniels Mt. Loop is accessible from the Madame Sherri Parking Lot on the east leg of the Ann Stokes Loop (1/2 hour).
Daniels Mt. Trail is a 3/4 hour hike crossing small streams, passing by stone walls and through a magical forest of moss and hemlocks. This trail leads to the summit of the Daniels Mt. and links to the Daniels Mt. Loop
Also connected to these trails is the Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail
Bear Mt. Connector Trail is a moderately steep .7 mile hike to the Moon Ledge view on the Daniels Mt. Loop or 2.8 miles to Indian Pond on the Anne Stokes Loop and 1.1 miles to the Daniels Mt. summit (1230').
Bear Mt. Trail is a 1.7 mile trail to Rt. 63 and leads to the Kilburn Trailhead in Pisgah. It includes a view of the Vermont mountains.
Directions to Madame Sherri Forest:
Madame Sherri Forest is located on the Gulf Road. Coming from the east on Rt. 9 take Rt. 63 south through Chesterfield Village past the town hall. At approx. 1.6 miles from Rt. 9 take a right on Stage Rd. and then shortly after bear left onto Castle Rd. Castle Rd will join Gulf Rd and continues to the Madame Sherri Forest approx. 2.6 miles from Rt. 63. The entrance on the left is notable for a red steel gate. From the west take a right just after the Riverside Store along the Connecticut River. Gulf Rd. bears quickly off to the left and continues approx. 2.2 miles to the forest entrance. Overflow parking is available across the street, following the parking signs. Do not park on Gulf Road.