August 2017

From Vermont I crossed the border into New Hampshire, land of billboards, liquor stores, and motorcyclists without helmets.

New Hampshire is one of three states that does not legislate the compulsory use of helmets in any way (Iowa and Illinois the other two), and people over the age of 18 are not required to wear seatbelts in moving vehicles; the Granite State’s motto really should be to “Live Free and probably die if you’re in an accident.” (I defended many auto and motorcycle accident cases over the years. Those types of cases are job security for attorneys like me.)

The liquor stores and billboards are byproducts of New Hampshire’s sales tax-free status, and there is no income tax either (except for interest on dividends and income from investments).

The White Mountains

The mountain town of Littleton, where resident author Eleanor H. Porter created the Pollyanna character in 1913, is absolutely brimming eith civic pride, natural beauty and unadulterated cheer.

Just look at this crosswalk:

As I pulled into the neighboring town of Bethlehem for my first temporary New Hampshire home, the concentration of Orthodox Jews immediately caught my attention. All along the sidewalks were men and boys in black clothes and yarmulkes with payot (curled sidelocks). Women wore demure clothing in muted colors, covering their heads with hats, scarves or wigs. It turns out that, in July and August, O Little Town of Bethlehem becomes the Chasidic capital of New Hampshire. Hundreds of Satmars and other Chasidim arrive from New York to enjoy the cool and clean mountain air.

Bethlehem was founded on Christmas Day 1799. A tree farm, the Rocks Estate, welcomes off-leash dogs, and Rocket and Pinkie and I spent several afternoons romping through the rows of Christmas trees and Sugar Maples.

From Bethelehem it was a quick jaunt to the town of Franconia and Frost Place, a former home of Robert Frost, now a museum and a nonprofit educational center for poetry.

In nearby Sugar Hill I ate at Polly’s Pancake Parlor, where they grind their own flour and have been making pancakes since 1938.

After spending a month in Vermont, this urban dweller was a bit outdoors-fatigued when I got to the campsite in Bethlehem. More mountains, more trees – New Hampshire felt like Vermont lite. Now, before I start getting hate mail from Granite Staters, let me finish by saying it took me a couple of days, but I changed my opinion. I am quick to judgment, but ever open to revising a first impression.

All that mica in the granite makes the elevations sparkle, and thus is one theory of how the White Mountains got their name. The White Mountains cover about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and are part of the Appalachian Mountains. They are older than the Rockies or the Himalayas. Nathaniel Hawthorne penned stories about them. Daniel Webster espoused their virtues. I found many ways to enjoy them.

On A Driving Tour:

The Kancamagus Highway, known by locals as “The Kanc,”, stretches across the White Mountains through the White Mountain National Forest for 35 miles east to west, from Lincoln to Conway.

While in Lincoln, you can stop near the spot on Highway 3 where Barney and Betty Hill were abducted by aliens!

From A Wicker Settee:

The Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods (1902) is one of the last grand dame hotels in the White Mountains. I sat with a glass of white wine on the porch overlooking the vistas.

In 1944, The Mount Washington hosted the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference. Delegates from 44 nations established the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, set the gold standard at $35 an ounce and designated the United States dollar as the backbone of international exchange. No small piece of history there.

On A Steam Train:

There are three ways to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire’s most famous mountain and the highest peak in the Northeast, at 6,288 feet. You can hike, drive, or take the railway. The Mount Washington Auto Road costs $29 per car/driver and winds its way on hair-raising switchbacks up the mountain. Some opt for a sightseeing van. Still others make the auto trip to the top themselves, only to hire someone to drive them back down again.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway was the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world. The first excursion was July 3, 1869. At the cog railway I came full circle, having seen remnants of the one on Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor; when they dismantled that line, they sold the cars and equipment to the folks in New Hampshire.

The railway now has a fleet of six biodiesel locomotives, but I wanted the vintage experience and booked passage on the coal-fired steam train. Someone has to use that Trump coal, am I right? Well, trust me – don’t do it. The smoke from the burning coal wafted over the car, raining down coal ash that covered everything and got into my eyes.

When we got to the top of Mount Washington I even had coal dust in my underwear. Nowadays the steam engine takes only two trips to the top per day, but back when all of the trains were fueled by coal, protesting hikers mooned the trains as they passed.

On A Hike:

Can you believe the city girl took a two-mile hike? Normally I would pass because the ice melts in my cocktail and there’s no one to replenish it. But, it was impossible to pass on the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. Franconia Notch is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen; I was surprised it’s not a National Park. At the base of Mount Liberty is a natural gorge extending 800 feet. Conway Granite rises perpendicularly, with heights of 70 to 90 feet.

The flume was “discovered” in 1808 by a 93-year-old granny. At first her family didn’t believe her, but she eventually persuaded them to come and see what she found while fishing.

Saying Hello (And Goodbye) To A Friend As Old As The Hills:

“You know that fell down, right?”

“It fell off. I didn’t know if you knew that.”

And so it went when I asked locals about The Old Man of the Mountain.

Resembling a Transformer, the facial profile in stone was first seen by non-indigenous people in 1805. It was made up of five granite ledges that, when viewed at the correct angle, created the Old Man. In 1852, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous short story, “The Great Stone Face,” was published in “Twice Told Tales.” I read it in my younger years, but I read the collection of short stories about the White Mountains again in preparation for my pilgrimage.

As early as 1876, it was recognized that the rocks of the profile were shifting and slipping. Valiant attempts were made at great personal risk to install tie rods and turnbuckles to secure the forehead, which worked fairly well for just shy of 100 years.

In 1945 the New Hampshire Legislature declared The Old Man of the Mountain the official state symbol, putting the profile on license plates, highway signs and dozens of other products. There is no question the profile was, and still is, beloved.

On May 3, 2003, the Old Man collapsed sometime overnight.

No one saw it happen. A local woman told me how she cried uncontrollably when she heard the news. Over the next few years a commemorative plaza was built, where steel rods were erected to recreate the profile when standing at the right vantage point.

The walk there is beautiful,

Profile Lake

but standing there looking up at something that no longer exists felt a bit silly. Here’s the parking lot at the visitor center, which tells you a lot of other people think it’s silly too.

Nevertheless, I had to pay my respects.

Like The Old Man, Tammy Goes Down

Maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of a long trip, alone, in unknown territory. Perhaps four months is too long to be on my own, away from people who know and love me best. Certainly the daily national damage report from social media and the news isn’t helping. Some of it, probably a larger part than I am willing to admit, is physical fatigue from the Constant Companion, and then there’s the mental and emotional fatigue which comes from not knowing my medical future, including health insurance. Whatever the reasons, I felt like cocooning, insulating, and hiding from the world for the first time since I’ve been in New England. (I got pretty depressed on my travels on Route 66, but I figured that had more to do with viewing the decaying American dream up close and personal.)

Except for walking the dogs, I retreated to the rig for two straight days – no shower, no cleaning or tidying up, no blogging or sightseeing. Lots of Netflix. I figured I would get up and do something when I felt like it and reminded myself that my former life in a sticks and bricks was not all go-go-go all the time either.

My good humor returned with an email from Steven & Linda, former Seattleites who have been full-timing about a year longer than me. As fate would have it, they were staying at the Elks Club just down the road in Littleton. We met for drinks and dinner (don’t miss The Beal House if you’re anywhere near Littleton) and communed like the oldest and dearest of friends. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when we are all in Massachusetts.

The Lakes Region

After a week up north I drove to The Lakes Region, mid-State, home to 273 lakes and ponds. The region abounds with charming towns, villages and bergs with names like Sandwich and Moltonborough.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire’s largest lake, named for a native American word meaning “smile of the great spirit.” It is glacier formed and spring fed, approximately 25 miles long and 15 miles wide. On a beautiful sunny, 78-degree day, I boarded the M/S Mount Washington, a former steamship, which cruises Lake Winnipesaukee daily.

I embarked at Weirs Beach in Laconia, home of the iconic boardwalk and neon sign,

bound for the town of Wolfeboro. (The Bill Murray movie “What About Bob” is set in the area, although it was not filmed there.)

Wolfeboro is situated among three lakes – Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Wentworth, and Crescent Lake. It has a charming downtown, and on the day I visited, “Paint Wolfeboro” was in full swing; artists set up all over the village, painting scenes of the town, which were available for purchase still wet, straight from the easel. What a great idea!

My affinity for New Hampshireites burgeoned while in Wolfeboro. As I sat waiting with 100 or so other people for the return boat, I heard a young man calling my name. He ran over from Black’s Paper Store on Main; I dropped my wallet in the store, and the receipt for the boat trip was inside. It all happened so quickly and the boat was boarding, so I barely had the chance to thank him. Once on board I telephoned the store for the employee’s name, then called the fabulous restaurant across the street where I had lunch to get him a gift certificate. When I gave the woman at the restaurant his name, she knew who he was! Small towns can be wonderful.

There are plenty of famous folk on Lake Winnipesaukee, including Jack Lemmon back in the day, and more recently, Mitt Romney. Jimmy Fallon’s parents-in-law have a place there, where he proposed to his wife. I heard tell their first daughter, Winnie, is named for the lake.

Squam Lake

In preparation for my tour of Squam Lake, I rented the DVD of “On Golden Pond” from the camp office.

The story about Norman and Ethel Thayer was filmed entirely on location in 1981 and garnered Academy Awards for both Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. A large part of what makes the movie so magical is the cinematography, which captured the natural beauty of the lake in lighting that was unmatched in movies up to that time.

My 90-minute Squam Lake cruise sponsored by the Natural Science Center in Holderness was vastly different from that big old former steamship on Lake Winnipesaukee. On Squam Lake we puttered along in a pontoon boat; a friend who owns one calls it “the minivan of boats.”

Life on Squam River, Little Squam, and Big Squam is a lot more serene than over on Lake Winnipesaukee. With regulations regarding setbacks, tree clearing, boathouses, and the like, they are doing a good job of keeping the Class A rating for the lake.

Many of the old style camps from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s are still there. There were loons and eagles.

And, I got my movie fix by seeing the fuel dock where Norman and Ethel get supplies,

and the infamous Purgatory Cove, where Norman and Billy got into an accident searching for Walter the Rainbow Trout.

Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region

My short time in the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region, in the midwest area of the state, fed my soul. First, I got to see Margot & Barry again, who made the trip from nearby Vermont.

Second, in Cornish we toured the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, then picnicked on the lawn on a sunny Sunday afternoon, listening to chamber music by Dvorak, Chopin, and Mendelssohn.

Auguste Saint-Gaudens was a sculptor who created monumental works in bronze, and his summer home in Cornish, New Hampshire was the center of life and creation for the Cornish Colony (1895 – 1918).

Saint-Gaudens was a master sculptor. Many of his works on the grounds were recast from molds; the originals are still in their respective locations. For example, his famous work commemorating Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th – the all-Black regiment that fought in the Civil War, as dramatized in the movie, “Glory:”

still stands in Boston.

Third, and certainly not least, in Plainfield we saw an original work of art by a world-famous 20th century painter, barely seen by the general public, and met the caretakers of this amazing piece.

In 1898, Maxfield Parrish moved to Plainfield, New Hampshire, where he lived for over 60 years until the end of his life. He was a key member of the Cornish Art Colony. He died at age 95 in 1966. I paid my respects at Plainfield Cemetery.

In 1916, New York stage designer, artist and Plainfield summer resident, William Howard Hart, commissioned Parrish to design the stage set for the Plainfield Town Hall. Hart donated the equipment for theatrical productions, including stage, curtain, and lighting.

Parrish painted a woodland scene with a lake (or the Connecticut River, unclear) and Mount Ascutney, Vermont in the center. The design includes backdrop, six wings, and three overhead drapes.

When I read about the set piece, I knew I had to see it. There are very few sets from pre-1920’s theater scenery left in the United States, and certainly none painted by Maxfield Parrish. Scouring the Internet, I could find no viewing hours, hours of operation, or admission prices!

I contacted the Plainfield Historical Society on Facebook, where I was fortunate to connect with Bev Widger. Bev explained that the next public viewing would be Columbus Day weekend. I explained that I would be long gone by Columbus Day weekend, and gave her the link to my website. Could I please, please, pretty please, see the set piece, in exchange for a small donation to the Historical Society? She responded favorably, and I’m so glad she did.

The Plainfield Town Hall (1798), originally used for church services and annual town meetings, is now home to fundraisers, plays, bingo, and art shows. The town was setting up for a church rummage sale when we were there.

Bev recalls having her elementary school graduation there, and at one time the building was even used for rifle practice!

In 1991 the town formed a committee and raised the funds to have the stage set cleaned, repaired, and preserved, and the work was completed in 1993. The Town Hall was renovated in 1995.

I saw the piece with Margot & Barry, and two men who work in the theater, from Manhattan. It is impossible to photograph all the parts of the set, to give you an idea of what it felt like to stand not just in front of, but IN, a Maxfield Parrish painting.

(Photos by permission of the Plainfield Historical Society; thanks, Bev!)

The Merrimack Valley

As you might’ve guessed from the name, the Merrimack Valley is dominated by the Merrimack River, running north to south through the lower part of New Hampshire for 117 miles. In Hooksett I strolled with the dogs on the Merrimack Riverfront Trails, a work in progress.

Hooksett holds one of the last large remaining undeveloped areas of Merrimack River frontage in southern New Hampshire. The Hooksett Conservation Commission acquired and conserved 127 acres along this area of the Merrimack, which includes 3,900 feet of scenic river frontage.

The State Capital – Concord

Concord is a small town of about 50,000 people, its Main Street lined with historic red brick buildings of shops and restaurants.

The State House, completed in 1819, is the oldest state house in which the legislature still sits in its original chambers.

Across the road from the state prison, I stopped at The Department of Corrections Retail Showroom, where inmates’ paintings, woodworking, leather tooling, jewelry making, and other artistic endeavors are for sale.

Concord has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the pre-Oval Office home and final resting place of 14th United States president, Franklin Pierce. Pierce is generally regarded as one of the worst presidents in United States history. He signed the Nebraska-Kansas act, undoing the Missouri Compromise, resulting in bloody battles between slaveowners and abolitionists in “Bloody Kansas.” Many historians point to Bloody Kansas as a precursor to the Civil War.

His former home sits on the Merrimack River, with the rather pompous and self-conscious name, “Pierce Manse,”

and he is interred in North Cemetery.

I caught up with General John Stark again at the New Hampshire State House in Concord.

(I am staying in Weare, New Hampshire, on the General John Stark Scenic Byway.)

In the day and age where almost every American knows who Jon Snow and Ned Stark are, wouldn’t it be lovely if they also knew about John Stark?

Speaking of Weare, a heartwarming phenomenon is afoot there. As I drove through the small village, I noticed pink flamingos everywhere – in front of almost every home and business.

Exactly one year ago, a Weare Middle School student was diagnosed with leukemia, and the flamingos were sold in a fundraiser for her.

I grew concerned when I learned the girl was diagnosed over one year ago; were the flamingos still being displayed in memory of her passing? Thank goodness for the Internet; I’m happy to report that Abby Van Dyke is doing well!

Manchester

Manchester was named for its sister city in Britain, and like that city, it was a bustling industrialized hub of mills and factories in the early 20th century. As you drive into town along the Merrimack River, the gargantuan red brick buildings from those days go on and on by the riverside, seemingly never-ending.

Enc. Britannica

But, they are not decaying hulks of times past; the area teems with students from the University of New Hampshire, employees of tech companies and startups, and apartment and loft dwellers.

Along with being the home of the first credit union, Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire – 110,000 in town, 187,000 in the metro area. The Palace Theater (1914) has been restored.

Over at The Red Arrow Diner (1922), Presidential candidates stump for votes during the New Hampshire Primaries.

A sure sign of Manchester’s rebirth and revitalization is the Currier Museum. Along with an amazing collection for such a small town, the Currier owns a residential home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and tours are offered. I skipped it, having been to both Taliesin and Taliesin West, and various and sundry other buildings designed by him. At this point the only FLW building on my bucket list is FallingWater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

Nashua And Salem

Another charming New Hampshire town, Main Street lined with red brick buildings, Nashua is split by the Nashua River, which runs under Main Street in the middle of town. Views from the Main Street Bridge are lovely.

From Nashua it’s a quick drive to Salem (no, not THAT Salem), home of “America’s Stonehenge.”

History or hoax? It was featured on Leonard Nimoy’s “In Search Of,” and mentioned, by Mulder of course, on “The X-Files.”

Having stood in the blustery wind and marveled at the stones on Salisbury Plain in Great Britain, I don’t care for the name; the place is not so much Stonehenge, but Bedrock from “The Flintstones.” Some believe the rock formations are between 1000 and 4000 years old, the work of pre-Columbian peoples. Others believe it was the doing of farmers in the 1800’s. By 1937 a buyer named it “Mystery Hill.” In the 1980’s it was changed to the $16 per adult roadside attraction you see you today.

Wherever the truth lies, it made for some pretty photos!

Portsmouth And The New Hampshire Seacoast

Ahhhh, the New Hampshire Seacoast – the country’s shortest coastline at 13 miles (18 if you add the islands – more on those later). After weeks in the woods I was more than ready for historic sites, waterfront views, craft cocktails, and good food, and the Portsmouth area did not disappoint! Combined with the fact that Margot & Barry hitched up their trailer in Vermont and joined me at the RV park, and Alice and Joanne stopped by for a visit, it was a perfect way to spend a week. I felt a bit like this dog in Market Square.

Food, Glorious Food

One of the first things I did was order a lobster roll. It was hard for me to imagine I had grown tired of them two months ago! I splurged on a pint of scallops and the 10-ounce roll at The Beach Plum.

What Anthony Bourdain said about Charleston, South Carolina, also holds true for Portsmouth: The food is better than it has to be. Portsmouth has remarkable restaurants, especially for a town of its size. Black Trumpet Bistro is the Seacoast’s original farm to table restaurant. Evan Mallet, owner/executive chef, is a James Beard semi-finalist who uses all parts of the animal, thus the menu is short, but varied. Cava features Mediterranean tapas and is situated at the head of Commercial Alley by the waterfront.

Oysters are a buck on Wednesdays at Demeter’s Steakhouse, where Margot, Barry, Margot’s sister Lisa and I noshed on salty Damariscottas.

There were cocktails at the Library Bar (voted one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine, but we weren’t quite sure why),

breakfast (including my first nitro cold brew coffee) at the fun and funky Friendly Toast,

Middle Eastern food at Habibi, and Eggs Bennie at a traditional Jewish New York-style deli, Bubby’s.

Alice and Joanne, fresh off their 58-Day RV tour of Canada, Nova Scotia, and beyond, stopped in Portsmouth for a night on their way home to Minneapolis. We had dinner at Lexie’s Joint, where two classically trained chefs are making drop dead delicious and inexpensive burgers and fries on Islington Street, in the hip, up and coming West End neighborhood of Portsmouth.

A Good Dose Of History

Portsmouth is one of the best small towns in the country to visit if you have a penchant for U.S. history. For example, the first real act of war against the British crown took place not at Lexington, or Concord, but in Portsmouth, when Fort William and Mary (now Fort Constitution) was taken over by locals, gun powder and munitions commandeered, and the British flag lowered.

On Chestnut Street, the African Burying Ground Memorial Park was completed in 2015. When coffins were discovered there during a city utilities project in 2003, the citizens of Portsmouth voted to close down Chestnut Street to vehicular traffic, and the city worked with religious and community leaders to create the park. It is really quite moving.

The spire of North Church in Market Square can be seen from almost every vantage point in Portsmouth. A plaque commemorates the members of its illustrious congregation.

You know what a sucker I am for cemeteries, and Portsmouth really delivers. It is one of the country’s oldest cities, after all.

Point of Graves is the town’s oldest graveyard, and isn’t that one of the coolest and eeriest sounding names for a cemetery ever?

Many colonial notables are buried in North Cemetery.

Titans of Portsmouth’s industrial era are buried in Union Cemetery.

At the Strawbery Banke Museum, a living history community on 10 acres, 32 buildings stand on the original sites, and four were moved to save them from demolition.

Portsmouth was originally named Strawbery Banke (old English spelling) by settlers when they saw wild strawberries growing by the Pisataqua River (pronounced “piss at a kwa”). Along with the restored and furnished houses are exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and costumed role players. Together, these elements bring to life the daily activities of New England people from European settlement in the 17th century to the mid-20th century – 400 years of history in one spot! My kind of place.

One of my favorite stories at the museum involves the Governor Ichabod Coolidge Mansion. Coolidge was Portsmouth’s Civil War Governor.

One of the members of house staff attended to his daughter. That maid later married a man who became Governor of New Hampshire. In 1963, when the mansion on Islington Street was slated for demolition, she was instrumental in saving the home and moving it to Strawbery Banke.

I am also a sucker for great old hotels, and the neighboring town of New Castle has a gem in the Wentworth by the Sea.

Built in 1874, it was the site of the signing of the treaty of Portsmouth between the Japanese and the Russians, as orchestrated by Theodore Roosevelt.

The Wentworth fell into a state of grave disrepair, closing in 1982.

A gawd-awful movie was filmed in the ruins in 1999 – “In Dreams” starring Annette Bening, Aidan Quinn, and Robert Downey, Jr. You would think with such a cast that it would be a decent film, but it’s really bloody terrible. I rented it on Amazon while in Portsmouth.

Glory hallelujah, the hotel was saved from the wrecking ball and re-opened in 2003. It is now an Omni Resort. I went there in both daytime and at night.

A Seafaring Tradition

Shipbuilding was an important maritime industry in Portsmouth.

Captain John Paul Jones stayed at a local boarding house on two occasions while picking up his ships – the Ranger in 1777, and the USS America in 1781.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, actually in Kittery, Maine, was founded by the US Congress in 1800. It built warships in the 1800s, and a record number of submarines during World War II.

Pictured in the Shipyard photo is a boat called a gundalow. Between 1690 and 1900, gundalows were the workhorses of the Piscataqua River, carrying goods for trade up and down the river. They are flat-bottomed cargo barges with a single sail that are poled or rowed along with the rising and falling tides.

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, originally built in 1771, is currently a cast iron tower that replaced the wooden lighthouse in 1878. It is the first lighthouse in the American colonies north of Boston.

Over at Union Cemetery, two rival shipbuilders in the 1800’s who died 17 days apart are now neighbors for all eternity.

Where the Piscataqua River meets the Atlantic Ocean sits the Portsmouth Naval Prison, which housed Navy and Coast Guard prisoners from 1908 to 1974.

Some say Humphrey Bogart brought a prisoner there during World War II, but that sounds more like a plot from one of his movies. The prison resembles a castle, in a state of ruin that is fascinating and mesmerizing and raises the hairs on your arms as you float by.

Known as “The Alcatraz of the East,” discussions were underway in 2000 with a developer to restore the property for public use, until the attacks on September 11. As the prison sits at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, still an active shipbuilding area, plans were halted.

I have the Portsmouth Naval Prison to thank for introducing me to a good film. Though none of the scenes were filmed at the prison, the 1973 Jack Nicholson movie, “The Last Detail,” is about it, in a way. Two Navy men escort a young seaman, played by Randy Quaid, from Norfolk to Portsmouth to serve an eight-year sentence for petty theft. En route they stop in Washington DC, New York and Boston, giving the young man first experiences he will never forget. There is a cameo by Gilda Radnor, and a very young Carole Kane plays a hooker. I guess the number of expletives in the film was a shocker 1973. I hardly noticed, but then again I’m no saint when it comes to that.

Those Thirteen Miles Of Sand

The Beach at Island Common in New Castle affords beautiful views of the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

and Whaleback Lighthouse.

At Hampton Beach, the Lady of the Sea, a memorial to lost mariners, overlooks the silky, sandy beaches.

We dined at Ron’s Landing on the boardwalk, a surf and turf joint in a restored 1920’s home.

The Isles Of Shoals

The Isles of Shoals were settled in the 1600’s, when Captain John Smith parked his fishing boat there (1614) before anyone tripped over Plymouth Rock. The Isles have served as an important fishing area, a hideout for pirates, a peaceful retreat, and a haven for artists in the 1800’s like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Childe Hassam, and Celia Thaxter.

There are nine islands in the Isles of Shoals, some in New Hampshire, and some in Maine.

Star Island, the second largest, was named by sailors because the island’s points spread out in all directions, like a distant star.

Caswell Cemetary is the burial ground of original fishing village families from the 1700’s; for 200 years, codfishing supported the community known as Gosport Village.

The Stone Chapel was constructed in 1800 at the site of two previous chapels, the first built in 1685. It has served as a school, town hall, and storehouse.

An obelisk is the gravesite of Reverend John Tucke, a minister, physician, educator, and judge who lived on the Isles of Shoals until his death in 1773. His descendants constructed the monument in 1914, using 15 tons of granite blocks. It is the tallest gravestone in New Hampshire.

The Oceanic Hotel was built in 1875. Its tradition of hosting summer conferences continues to this day, on a variety of topics including international affairs, arts, spirituality, yoga, birding, and history.

So Long, New Hampshire. Winter Is Coming!

What a difference two weeks make. Here’s me atop mount Washington on August 14, 2017, and a photo on the news, taken September 1, 2017.

It’s hard to believe I have only five weeks in Massachusetts to go before it will be time to leave New England. In my month in New Hampshire I visited five out of its seven regions, missing only the Great North Woods and the Monadnock Region. Thanks for everything, Granite State!

Next Stop: Massachusetts