The weather had cleared a little so we decided that we should re-trace part of our route through the White Mountains, back in New Hampshire, because even though it was raining and dreary on our first pass through, we wanted to try our luck at seeing them under better weather circumstances.
It doesn’t take long to get where you’re going in Vermont or New Hampshire so, stopping and walking around Woodstock, Vermont, which is another beautiful historic town with lots of classic architecture, we were back in New Hampshire by early afternoon.
Pictured are a couple of typical places in Woodstock.
Just before we crossed into New Hampshire we drove through Rutland where we saw the Dalhousie University football team run a couple of plays. The highway zigzagged back and forth between the two states, eventually spitting us out at Woodsville, New Hampshire, where we settled in for the night at Wal-Mart and watched the last of the ten movies we’d bought back in Manitoba - Superman 3, which was almost unbearable, but it was all we had.
This area of New England has produced a lot of famous people. I know we’re just touching on it because, just in the towns we’ve passed in the last few hours on the highway, we’ve seen the hometowns of Ansel Adams, Norman Rockwell, Calvin Coolidge and Robert Frost. Henry David Thoreau walked the same trails we bicycled today at Franconia Notch State Park, in the White Mountains, where we‘re camped. There are only seven camping spots available, with Echo Lake right beside us and Cannon Ski Hill, which looks something like Sun Peaks, towering over us.
Earlier in the day we had driven to Bath, where we met Mike, the owner of the oldest continuously operating general store in America. Next door he also has the At The Hop ice cream shop, mostly dedicated to his band, Rocking Chair, but full of interesting and collectable rock n’ roll memorabilia. Mike’s a drummer and his band just returned from a tour in England. I think they do a lot of Beatles stuff.
Pictured are the oldest general store in America, with Mike walking by and, inside the ice cream shop. Also at Bath is the longest covered bridge in New Hampshire, which is somewhat of an architectural marvel - the dual arches have something to do with it.
We got to Franconia Notch State Park in the early afternoon and got out the bikes because there is an eight-mile long walk/bike trail that follows the Pemigewasett River - which translates into fast running water. It’s a great trail, if steep at times, that took us by some truly amazing locations. Franconia is an excellent vacation area for outdoors oriented people.
Pictured are: A fly fisherman on the Pemigewasset River at Franconia Notch Park as well as The Basin, formed by a glacier about 25,000 years ago and finessed by the river ever since. The Basin was much mused upon by Thoreau.
Later in the afternoon we drove back to Littleton where we had fries and coffees in the eighty-year-old Littleton Diner, famed for countless Gubernatorial and Presidential campaign ‘stump’ speeches.
We had planned on a campfire but the weather turned really ugly, with sheets of rain and high winds whipping down over the mountain. Luckily for us there were a couple of TV stations available.
The weather was the same in the morning so we passed time with me reading Memoirs of a Geisha and Janice cleaning the trailer, with Good Morning America running in the background. We waited until noon, at which time we pulled up camp and then, as soon as we were on the road, the weather cleared. We couldn’t have kept our campsite anyway because there were three major events going on in the area: The Scottish Games, a two-hundred mile in twenty-four hours run with thousands participating and a NASCAR race just outside the park.
Reluctantly, we left the White Mountains behind and headed south and ended up at the Tilton Wal-Mart.
We stopped at Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, for lunch and walked around downtown where we went to a farmer’s market and an art market before having lunch and then heading for Portsmouth.
Pictured is the State Capital Building at Concord.
We toured around Portsmouth by bike before looking for a campsite. Of course, Portsmouth is on the water and the price for camping reflected it. The first place we stopped was Libby’s Campsite where they wanted $85 per night, plus taxes. Instead, we crossed the boarder into Maine and drove to York Harbour, about ten miles up the road from Portsmouth, and checked into Dixon’s Coastal Campsite where we paid $38, plus tax, for the same thing. OK, so it wasn’t waterfront.
Pictured is the main intersection in downtown Portsmouth.
Today we’re going to figure out how we can camp somewhere near Boston so that, hopefully, we can take the Amtrak, from somewhere near our campsite, into the heart of the city.