The last big weekend

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If you aren’t from around here you might wonder what the big deal is. Columbus Day? What’s that? Why all the fairs, festivals, and events and why is this such an anticipated three-day weekend? Why is this the third busiest travel weekend of the year in New Hampshire, and why are we expecting 645,000 people to boost the state coffers by millions?

Leaves. Lots of colored leaves.

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The traffic report Friday night was dismal – it was a slow crawl up from Massachusetts. It’s the last long weekend to enjoy the lake, or the camp, or the seacoast before winter; people are closing up their summer places and saying goodbye until spring. As if to render a proper sendoff, Mother Nature has cranked up the volume and supplied us with a long string of gorgeous autumn days that include chilly mornings, sunny afternoons, and a profusion of colorful trees.

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IMG_2614 (Large)Another leaf-peeping trip seemed like the thing to do today … foliage color is at its peak and it does not last long. Purposely avoiding the crowds, we set out for the dirt roads in the North Sandwich area – places that no fall foliage tour bus has ever been. Definitely off the beaten path, we took a little trip back in time … a valley floor lined with farmhouses – some dating back to the 1700s, over a covered bridge, through tunnels of brightly colored maples, and high up along ridges that offered wonderful views.

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IMG_2593 (Large)We found old cemeteries, a Quaker meetinghouse that is on the National Register, beautifully proportioned antique Capes, old farmhouses and barns, and we had lunch at the North Sandwich General Store. It’s a combination general store/antique shop/post office, with tables in the back to sit and chat with a cup of coffee amid the vintage snowshoes and canned tomatoes. It was perfect.

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Photo Oct 11, 1 11 46 PM (Large)Photo Oct 11, 2 37 16 PM (Large)IMG_2575 (Large)We ended up in the pretty little town of Tamworth, which I haven’t explored much (but I should). There were great views of the church as we came down the hill into town. The strangest find of the day was an obelisk set on top of a huge boulder next to the road, a set of stone steps leading to the top. Known as Ordination Rock, it was where Samuel Hidden was ordained as Tamworth’s first minister in 1792 (I read on the obelisk). He must have been successful, as the monument was also inscribed, “He came into the Wilderness and left it a Fruitful field.”

Only in New England.

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Photo Oct 11, 3 45 24 PM (Large)Happy Columbus Day – named after an explorer, it seemed only fitting to do a little exploring ourselves. Although many others may be doing the same this weekend in New Hampshire, around the Sandwich Fair or along the Kanc, I’m guessing we’re the only ones who visited tiny Weed’s Mills Cemetery. In backroading terms, this was a very good day.

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10 responses to “The last big weekend

  1. All I can say is “wow”..absolutely breathtaking.

  2. How absolutely beautiful, Paige! And I did not even have to leave my computer chair to have somewhat, well yes, just somewhat of a look 🙂 ! Will begin from the top again!!

  3. Oh how beautiful is New Hampshire in the Aurumn!
    Such lovely photos which exclude calm and tranquility and bring back wonderful memories of the countryside.
    Thanks for such great post!
    Brian

  4. As usual, Paige, absolutely beautiful and so well written.

  5. Some of the best foliage is in the next two weeks, after half of the leaves have already fallen and the majority of the tourists have departed. November, of course, is a different story, even with some gloriously sunny days in the mix.

  6. It is so, so gorgeous there. Great shots!

  7. Love, love, love your pictures!! You make me want to be there with you as you explore and discover new areas and vistas. I have definitely missed our visit this year with you. Thanks for letting us experience it vicariously, as an alternative, though. xxoo

  8. I totally would’ve loved doing this with you! Gorgeous area. And your Fall color looks a bit perkier than ours. And the photos–awesome as usual. I really like the one with the blackbirds on the porch.

  9. I had a lot of catching up to do on your blog and spent some time on your glorious adventures. You are so lucky to live in an area with so much history! We lack that here on the West Coast. I love your pictures of leaves and everything autumn. I really enjoyed your Sunday Trip blog and pix. So you finally explored the Chinook dogs! Yea!! Thanks for sharing, Love everything!

  10. What a lovely post and fantastic images!

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