Good morning and welcome to a new week–the first of my favorite, the US Open Tennis Championships! (We all know where I can be found during this fortnight and for whom I’ll be rooting!)
Heavy-duty note to self: next time one books an inn in a quaint New England town, remember to ask if diesel trucks pass under one’s window constantly and if the church bells pealing the hour ever go quiet, lol! (That was my waking though when I first heard the bells at 5 AM—maybe I am spending too much time worrying about what I’ll share on my blog? No, I don’t think so.)
Good-morning, all! One does not need to drink to feel hung-over. I developed a pretty massive headache from not having slept well due to the busyness of the great intersection just outside my door on my last night of vacation. Seriously, though, I was wonderfully surprised to happen onto the quaint, charming Fitzwilliam Inn, located smack in the center of the commons here in historic Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. When we drove up late last night, I thought I’d gone back in time. The post-American Revolution spirit of this lovely inn is beautifully preserved. I also got to enjoy a delicious continental breakfast with a lovely couple who immigrated from Laos and now live in New England. (The inn’s own peach crumble topped with fresh plain–or maybe vanilla–yogurt absolutely rocked. Zoe, the inn manager was kind enough to share the recipe. Can’t wait to try my hand at it!) Here are some of the photos I took. (If you hover with the mouse, you’ll get a caption.)
Anyway, we’ve been on vacation this week. As some of you know, we spent a few days up in the incredibly scenic White Mountains and climbed all 6,288 feet of Mount Washington by car. Let me tell you, driving up those no-guard-rail mountain roads had its anxiety-provoking moments! I tried to capture some of it in photos but nature’s grandeur can only be so lassoed with a shutter and a lens.
As awesome as that was though, my favorite part of this trip came yesterday, when we drove to East Hill Farm near Troy. A friend of mine discovered this gem about ten years ago when she noticed an ad in a magazine. She and her family spent a weekend there and came back raving about it. We booked a week the following summer. (Most of the time, you can only get in by cancellation, but once you’ve booked and stayed, you get to book the same week, days, etc for the following year at checkout and you get to keep that reservation until you cancel).
Like New Hampshire itself, the farm is the type of place that gets into your soul. As a mother with small children, I was thrilled to pack only our clothing, get in the car and drive. The second you set foot on the grounds, you are on vacation. Kids get a lot of freedom on a working farm. (Translation: parent gets to relax.) Three family-style meals, snacks all day and everything you could want on the grounds of a resort abound too: pools, hiking, tennis and a trip to a stunning lake nearby are all part of the package. For a fee, horseback riding is available as well. Minus the dirty dancing, the atmosphere is much like Kellerman’s in the feature film Dirty Dancing.
We spent the next four years vacationing there, until we purchased our cottage in PA. When we drove up, I can’t describe the rush of feelings we had! We were fortunate enough to have dinner (the staff was so kind to accommodate us 90 minutes prior) and blessed enough to run into some of the friends we made during our past visits. (Hi, Debra and Marlene!)
The farm holds another very special significance. This is where I spent every one of my early morning vacation hours drafting NO MATTER WHY and why I wound up setting the story in picturesque, stunningly scenic New Hampshire. (Trust me folks, the sky there is definitely bluer than where I live. J Hubby would move there in a heartbeat. I’m not so sure about the cold and snow, but I do find myself terribly depressed when we leave.) Mount Monadnock inspired Billy Jay’s beloved Mount Holly; the pond at Monadnock’s base is where I sat with a cup of coffee loving nature and learning the story-telling ropes. (And it just happens to be Billy Jay and Carrie’s favorite place to spend time together—and how cool that Rae Monet did such a beautiful job incorporating the mountain into the cover?)
Visit my Facebook page for some awesome views of and from Mount Washington and other areas of the White Mountains National State Park—again, the shutter only captures so much but what it does I’m happy to pass on. Seize the day and enjoy!