Friday, June 17, 2011

A wedding anniversary trip

Jeannine and i celebrated our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary this past week, and took a trip to an area of New Hampshire we'd driven through once or twice, but never explored to any significant degree -- the "lakes region", specifically Lake Winnepesauke. Searching online, I found an inn which looked like it had nice views of the lake, and got us a room with a balcony. And it turned out to have a beautiful view of the lake, as you can see here.

Unfortunately, the weather was not terribly cooperative -- it rained much of the time that we were there. And I had not realized until the morning we left for New Hampshire that it was the beginning of "Bike Week" in that area, so we had to put up with a greater-than-normal number of Harleys with modified exhaust systems (which seemed to be about ninety percent of them) blasting down the road by the inn.

So we didn't go swimming in the lake, which we'd had fantasies of doing during the warm and sunny day we drove up there (the ONLY warm and sunny day of our stay), but we still managed to have fun. 

On our first full day there, which was rainy, we took a drive north about fifty miles to Franconia, NH, to see the "Robert Frost Place", a small home once owned and lived in by the poet Robert Frost and his family, and now a museum devoted to Frost and his life and work. It's off in the woods down a dirt road, and probably a spot very conducive to writing poetry (or anything else). Here's a view of the house, with Jeannine taking a photo.

 (This image was made from several shots stitched together in Panorama Maker 5, and as such exhibits the odd distortion of perspective often typical of these things -- the road that Jeannine is standing on does not bend like that, but is instead a straight road.)

Her'e another view from the back side of the house.

And here are a few views of the inside of the house.

I'm pretty sure the desk in the center of this photo was Frost's writing desk.

There was also a short "poetry trail" in the woods behind the house, where every so often one would find markers with appropriate poems (or segments of poems) of Frost's. Jeannine and I took this walk…  

… and spotted these beautiful little flowers near the end of it.

This is the second Robert Frost home that we have visited in the last year -- now there's only one more to go, in Derry, NH. I suspect we'll get to that one soon.

(I have to include this photo -- I took it through the side window of the car as we were driving up to Franconia and saw this dramatic vista of raw mountain rock.)

The weather on the following day was nicer, though still intermittently sprinkling. I suggested we go to visit the so-called "Castle in the Clouds" in nearby Moultonborough, NH. The "Castle" is the main building on the former estate of shoe manufacturing magnate Thomas Gustave Plant and his wife Olive, and is now a tourist attraction. It is situated on top of a mountain which has spectacular views of Lake Winnipesauke. (For more information, go to

When we paid our admission at the bottom of the mountain, we were told of a beautiful waterfall not too far off the road about a quarter of a mile ahead of us. As both of us love waterfalls, this was something we had to see, so we parked and walked the short trail to the first waterfall, which you can see in these photos…

… and then decided to clamber up the steep and slippery stone path to the second waterfall, which I actually liked more than the first. Here's a shot of Jeannine taking a photo of that second waterfall.

Continuing our drive to the top, we stopped at a scenic overlook where I got several photos I used to create this panoramic view of the lake.

Actually, to say that we continued driving to the top is not entirely accurate. About four-fifths of the way up, all visitors have to stop and park near what was once the carriage house for the estate (now a visitors' center and cafe), and board a tram to complete the ascent to the "Castle".

The house was lovely, and although I don't think I would fairly call it a "castle", it was certainly distinctive, occupying a spot which afforded it commanding views of a landscape of great beauty. Here are some views of the house, inside and outside. Unfortunately, I only got one decent shot of the outside, and I am not sure why I didn't take another shot or two so you could see the whole house. But this image of the exterior shows about half of it, and gives you an idea of what kinds of views are to be had there. 

This is one of the guest rooms...

... and another bedroom...

I liked the pattern in this wooden flooring...

Jeannine pointed out to me the neat decorative painting of the ceiling in the dining room...

I'm not exactly sure WHY this kitchen sink is shaped the way it is, but I thought it looked cool...

Instead of waiting for the tram to take us back down to where our car was parked, Jeannine and I opted to walk the short trail back down to the carriage house, where we decided to try the cafe. And I'm glad we did, because it lived up to its billing as an "award-winning" eatery. 

The cafe is actually situated in the old horse stalls in the carriage house, and they have left many of the original fittings, including the iron bars separating the stalls…

 ... the drains in the floors…

 ... and even the horses' water troughs, one of which was right near our table. 

And the food was great! I highly recommend this as a place to visit, and eat.

We packed up the next day, and left the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee behind. But there was one more place Jeannine wanted to stop before we got home, and that was the Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH. It was an interesting place, and the people there were very willing to share their knowledge of the Shakers and their history. 

I wish I had some shots of interiors and Shaker artifacts I could share with you here, but they had some curious restrictions on photography. I asked a woman who was working in a woodshed, building the oval boxes the Shakers were known for, if she could explain the "no photos" rule, and she told us it was because of the potential for theft. As she explained it, the people running the museum were concerned that people could take photos of some of the valuable Shaker artifacts, post them on eBay for sale, then come back and steal them when they had sold. I asked if this was a big problem in reality, and I think she said that it had happened at least once… she wasn't too forthcoming with details.

I could sort of see the logic… sort of… but the restriction on the taking of photos for THAT reason seemed kind of, well, silly… given the nature of cameras these days, which can be easily concealed and surreptitiously operated. You can even get a camera which looks like a pen, stick it in your shirt pocket, and walk around taking video with no one the wiser. It seems to me that this "no photos" policy just punishes innocent people who have no intention of stealing anything, but just want a record of the interesting things they'd seen… and it does not at all prevent malefactors from sneaking photos if they really want to.

Regardless, it was an interesting place to visit. -- PL


margui118 said...

Nice pictures, Peter. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us. What kind of camera you used?

From Mary's Pen said...

How beautiful... The little blue flowers look like forget-me-nots... quite appropriate.

If you love waterfalls, I hope some day you have a chance to visit Watkin's Glen, NY. There's quite a lovely trail that winds up through the gorge, with amazing waterfalls. It's well worth the walk... and if you're not up to walking up stone steps about 3 miles, there's a shuttle to the top of the Glen, and you can walk down. Well worth the trip.

Happy travels.

Rejoicing in the day,