New Hampshire – another state for my tally, although the addition actually happened over a week ago when we crossed through it on the way from Boston to Vermont. That time, we stopped for a hike in Rhododendron State Park (no need for explanations!) This time, we stopped in Littleton, an old mill town to the north of the White Mountains.
I discovered that Littleton was the birthplace of Eleanor H Porter, author of Pollyanna, and the public library (no keeping me away from those places) had a statue of the eponymous heroine outside.
The picture of me emulating her pose shall remain private! Pollyanna is actually my earliest film memory – the 1960 version with Hayley Mills. I had to be carried out screaming when she fell out of the tree (though I would only have been three at the time, so it was excusable). The film was on TV a few months ago – I confess to watching it, and that I have now downloaded the novel which has become my latest holiday reading. No mentions of second childhoods please.
We chose another lovely B&B Inn for our three nights in New Hampshire, in Lincoln on the southern edge of the White Mountains. At the Red Sleigh the owners are very hands on, rather than managing staff as in the other Inns we have visited – Loretta and Bill couldn’t have been more welcoming.
We spent some time hiking the trails in the nearby Franconia Notch State Park. There are beautiful (and cooling) waterfalls and cascades on and around the Pemigewasset River, the Basin and Flume Gorge. At the latter, we also notched up a couple more covered bridges.
My favourite visit, though, was to Castle in the Clouds, also known as the Lucknow Estate, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. The Arts and Crafts style house was built without nails and had all mod cons for the time – brine-cooled refrigerator, central vacuum system and several “needle” showers (which were not considered suitable for females who were advised not to shower without the advice of a physician). The owner, Tom Plant, spent $7m building this mountaintop mansion in 1913-14. A shoe-maker, he made his fortune with a lucky wager and bought the factory he worked in before retiring in his 50s with a new wife half his age. Unfortunately, his gambles didn’t continue to pay – he invested in Imperial Russia just before the revolution and then in the stock market in the 1920s. He lived till his 80s having remortgaged the estate, but died penniless, the estate was auctioned off and his wife, Olive, returned to her family. She didn’t seem very happy – copies of some of her letters were on display and she sounded quite lonely with nothing to do in her isolated home except garden and look after her husband. Maybe it was worth it for the view?
After touring the house, we walked a two mile trail which took you up to a viewpoint over it, the lake and the mountains beyond.
So just one stopover in New Hampshire. We’ll need to cross its short coastal section next week on our way back to Boston, but for now we’ve moved on to Maine via the Kancamagus Highway which had very pretty places to stop. Here we are at Falls Pond.
As you can possibly see, the very hot weather has broken. The forecast for Maine is rain!