Day 4 – Wednesday, July 27, 2011
All along, the plan had been to take the Cog Railroad up to the top of Mt. Washington on Wednesday, our final day at the hotel. We specifically waited because all the weather forecasts for a week had been saying that Wednesday would be the best day of the week and would be clear.
Well, let me tell you – Wednesday was anything but clear! It was very cloudy when we got up. Not only was the top of Mt. Washington in the clouds, so were all the other lower mountain tops around us. Then, it started to rain. Tickets for the cog railroad are $64, so we were not going to waste the money and the 3 hours going up into a cloud where we wouldn’t be able to see anything. At first we thought we could wait it out, but checks of the radar indicated that probably wasn’t going to work.
And so we went with Plan B. We checked out of the hotel and took a different route home than we had taken going up. Instead of taking I 93 down through the center of the state, we headed west and took Rt 10 down the western border of NH. That route took us through many little towns and gave us the opportunity to see antique shops and scenery that we otherwise would not have gotten to see.
The town of Bethlehem, NH has quite a few antique shops. We went in the first one we saw which, I think, was called the Hundred Acre Wood Antiques. Here is a photo of it. This place was really fun to explore. I picked up a few treasures at this place and so did my cousin. Two treasures I found there were cylinders for Edison phonographs, and the sleeves were different than those I already have with my phonograph. Also, the cylinders were not broken or chipped, which is hard to find. At $5 each, I couldn't pass those up. This is also where I found the postcard of the hotel from "back in the day" which I showed earlier.
The next shop we stopped in was near Lisbon and was called Corn Crib Antiques and Gifts. Also a fun place to stop, with a very nice proprietor! My big find here was a Vermont Maple Syrup bottle. It has a unique shape and is stamped with the name of the town on it, so I am adding that to my bottle collection.
Next came Bath. Bath, N.H. turned out to be a gold mine of finds. It has a gorgeous covered bridge which was still open to drive through.
It also has The Brick Store which is the oldest continuously operating general store in the country. What a cool place! The interior was a mix of new things for sale and antiques on display. They smoke their own meats and cheeses, and they sell fudge that is To-Die-For! I bought some of their smoked cheese, some Vermont cheddar and some fudge - YUM!
Next to the store is At The Hop. It’s an ice cream parlor that is decorated to the rafters with memorabilia from the 50's and 60’s – both music and TV. There are many signed posters and some original artwork. It is quite the fun place. I felt a little guilty looking and taking photos without buying any ice cream, but I think the girl who worked there was used to that.
Next to the ice cream parlor was an art gallery run by local artist Craig Pursley. He creates paintings of the area and people, and he does photography. I bought two matted photos of the Bath bridge – one taken in fall and one in winter with snow on the water. Check out his work at this link. I wanted a painting, but I will have to save up my pennies for the next trip.
Lunch that day was in the town of Woodsville, where we had a great meal at Shiloh’s.
After lunch, we mainly just rode along and enjoyed the scenery. I took lots of photos of local barns as we passed them. There really aren’t many mountain views in this part of the state, especially on a day that isn’t really clear. There is quite a bit of farmland, and more of what I would call rolling hills.
We passed through Hanover where Dartmouth is. There was some sort of art fair or something going on in the town square which was drawing a lot of people and traffic to the center of town. It was nice to see the lovely college buildings.
After Hanover was Lebanon where we picked up I-89 and headed back south and east toward the Manchester area where my family lives.
We did get off the highway one more time to check out Lake Sunapee. It was a little cool for swimming, so we didn’t see much activity at the lake, but it is a lovely vacation spot with the perfect situation – a ski resort for winter visitors and the lake for the summer.
After that it was back home to unpack, admire and show off souvenirs and process photos. I really had a great trip, and I look forward to going back again in the future. I would definitely recommend New Hampshire as a great vacation spot – it has something for everyone and the scenery just can’t be beat!