Sue and I drove up for the annual Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill, NH today, 06/10/16. In particular, we wanted to see the "Inspirational Walk" on a specially mowed path through the Sugar Hill Sampler Lupine Fields, with poetry along the way.
We headed out about 11:15 am, doing a house drive-by in Barrington after a short stop to get coffee and donuts. We drove over to Concord to pick up I93 North, getting off at Exit 26. We just wanted to clear the highway as soon as we could and take the beautiful back roads.
We followed Route 3A just north of Plymouth, picking up Routes 25 and 118 through Rumney, Wentworth, and Warren where we took Route 116 west to just before North Woodstock where we swung onto Route 112. Then it was back on Route 116 through Easton, Franconia, and finally into Sugar Hill. Just a beautifully forested drive down narrow roads and though small villages.
Interestingly, we stopped for some pictures of the dam at Beaver Brook where we had stopped before on a trip Sue and I had taken 09/28/12: Fall Foliage Vacation to Sugar Hill, NH. As we got out of the car, we met Steve Kufman. We saw him walking along the trail and asked him about his van and how he liked it. He had recently completed an 11 month, 22,000 mile trip in it from his home base in Kentucky all the way up through Alaska and back! He was now touring the White Mountains of New Hampshire after driving over from Vermont.
He was kind enough to invite us into his home, a converted Dodge Ram ProMaster cargo van, and show us a true traveler's lifestyle. The caption on his blog, www.TakeTheLongWay.us says it all: "It's about the journey, not the destination."
Sue knows the area and just made me dizzy with all the turns and places we went to. She'd lock up the brakes and hop out for some shot. The lupines were everywhere. But the main display was on Sugar Hill road itself on a huge field across from The Sugar Hill Sampler.
The Sugar Hill Sampler, an over 200 year old barn the owner's ancestors built, is worth the visit alone. But their mowing of paths through their fields and staking numerous poetic quotes along the way was just such a wonderful experience. Sue and I wandered around through all of the trails, reading the quotes, and snapping pictures. A great time.
I am glad, however, that we came up to The Lupine Festival on a Friday as opposed to the weekend. There were quite a few folks doing as we were: driving all over the area to see the lupines. I can only imagine how crowded it would be on weekends....
In part of our wanderings around the area, Sue all of a sudden was bouncing around in her seat giggling for me to stop the car and back up. I had no clue, but just figured that it was some shot she wanted to take of a plant or something.
Well... I was the one that was ready to take a shot! A gun shot! There, just off the road in the dark woods, was a bear staring up at us, his eyes glistening through dim light! A bear! City boy is not in any way fond of bears other than in a picture! I told Sue to get her shot as I was not hanging around there for more than a couple more blinks of an eye. A bear? Really?
We headed back home around 6:00 pm figuring that we'd stop somewhere along the road for dinner. Then Sue mentioned Walter's Basin in Holderness, so we pealed off at the Ashaland exit and were seated in the dining room just before 7:00 pm.
Before going into Walters, Sue got a nice picture of the dock area where Henry Fonda pulled his boat up for gas in the great 1981 movie, On Golden Pond
What a terrific suggestion to stop at Walters! The main dining room windows look directly out on Little Squam Lake. With the sun just easing its way down in the west behind us, its golden rays made the lake and the far shore shimmer. Our meal was a wonderful finale to a busy but enjoyable day.