America through the Windshield--Getting to Know the First Americans travel blog

New Hampshire is now our favorite New England state. Could it be because we were there as the leaves changed into their multicolored majesty? We camped just out of a little mountain town, Ashland, in the White Mountains. Our campsite was very centrally located; we were not too far from any of the areas we wanted to visit. Squam Lake was only a hop, skip and jump away from our home base. It was the lake that was the location for the movie On Golden Pond. That was a really neat thing to learn. It was more beautiful in person than on the “big screen”. The buildings, the bridges, the piers, the little town of Holderness, the inn and the hotel were all there. We just watched the movie again a few weeks ago when it was on TV—a rainy day when we stayed at home.

The Franconia Notch, the primary passage through the White Mountains was one of our favorite drives. The Old Man in the Mountain (a profile of a man) was part of the mountain. Unfortunately, it no longer exists, it literally disintegrated one spring night, even though many human efforts had been made to stabilize the movement of the rock ledges that continued to shift as a result of gravity, ice and water. We were truly “drawn” to this area. The majestic beauty of the mountains, the lakes between the mountains, the winding roads, the rock out-croppings, the rocky streams, the glacier boulders dropped by the glacier of long ago, the many waterfalls, the gorges cut many millions of years ago, the hiking trails, the focus on Nature’s gifts continued to inspire us each time we there.

One of the highlights of the trip was hiking through the Flume Gorge. The hike was a path cut over the mountains, through the gorges, over covered foot and traffic bridges and up steps and board walks. The views were breath taking. The moss covered granite, the saplings and trees growing from solid rocks, the water rushing down the gorges, and the sound of the water on its way to a lower level was deafening! We could hardly contain our excitement as we drew closer and closer to the top of the waterfall. We attempted to capture the beauty with pictures, however, that was not possible. We will always treasure the anticipation and the fulfillment of reaching the peak. The walk back to the Visitors Center was not a disappointment after witnessing such majesty. Our route was different and it allowed us to experience more of the mountains, the gorges, the streams, the caves, the split rocks, the crooked roots around boulders and the glacier stones left behind a millennium ago.

A second wonderful experience after the Flume Gorge was our stop in the valley at The Basin. It was a mountain stream with a waterfall; however, at the bottom of this waterfall (only a few feet) was a magnificent site, a glacial pot hole, 20 feet in diameter. We have learned so much about glacier potholes. They are circular holes in granite (hard, hard stone—very difficult to cut) that have been worn down over thousands of years by small stones being driven by the moving water. Those little stones just go round and round and eventually wash out, wear down or just stay in the pot hole for eternity.

We found super breakfast restaurants, Polly’s Pancakes and Waterwheel Restaurant. Plus two great state chains (without the chain appearance). The Common Man had a phenomenal menu for lunch and dinner—cheese and cracker appetizers and white chocolates after dinner with each meal on top of fantastic food and service. The second restaurant T-Bones had a more typical menu, more all American. We were most impressed with their bread before dinner—warm whole wheat and nut bread with butter—really good enough to be the meal.

We plan to go back next year. We never made it to the two museums that had Native American artifacts and there are so many more small towns that we wanted to visit. One of the towns where we spent a full day was Littleton, the hometown of Eleanor H. Porter, author of Pollyanna. Plus, Greg played golf at the local golf course and had a super time playing with the grandson of the Schlotzskys Deli founder (a superb deli found in the southern states that we love to visit when in Tennessee!).

We looked and looked for bears and moose, but, to no avail. Signs were everywhere reminding drivers to “break for moose—it saves lives”. Even when we were deep in the mountains, near bogs, walking and biking in the woods; we never saw either. We were positive when Greg slammed on the brakes and said, “Did you see the moose?” We turned around and went back, getting closer by getting on a narrow side street to get as close as possible. “Yep! That’s a moose. He’s just standing there!”. And, then we realized that our moose was made of metal. Some farmer was having a good laugh on tourists by placing a piece of sculpture near the fencerow of this pasture. We are sure that the farmer gets a big laugh whenever he looks out of his window and sees a tourist snapping pictures of his cutout moose.

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