Saturday, June 2, 2012
Goodbye Vermont, Hello New Hampshire
Mt. Tom Summit View - Woodstock, Vermont
May 31, 2012
Greetings from the shores of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, just outside the village of Meredith. We left Woodstock, Vermont in the pouring rain this morning and arrived in Meredith about four hours later in the pouring rain. Thankfully, the owners of our apartment in Meredith allowed us to arrive a couple of hours early because trust me, it is POURING rain and there was nothing we could think of to do on a travel day like this. We've been settled into our wonderful new "home" for a few hours now and it's STILL pouring rain. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the next several days does not look good. We will take it as it comes and try to make the best of it. What else can you do??
Our route from Woodstock to Meredith took us within just a few miles of King Arthur Flour and since we'd enjoyed our earlier visit so much, we decided to kill a little time by stopping there again. They were happy to see us again as they recognize suckers when they see them and knew we'd drop a few more dollars. And they were right! But we enjoyed it.
We stopped for lunch at Town Docks Restaurant just after arriving in Meredith. Bill had been researching seafood places and had settled on that as one we should try. We're glad we did and I expect we'll be eating there again. It was good and we were both happy to have some seafood, but we weren't able to eat outside and that's what makes this particular place special. So we'll try later in the week!
Our apartment here is everything we'd hoped and once again, Bill declared it "the best yet." We are directly on the shore of the Lake looking back across to the village of Meredith. The entire back of the apartment is windows and sitting inside one feels as if they are on a boat. If it will just stop raining...................
Before leaving Woodstock, we were able to get in two days of hiking, both of which were peaceful and invigorating. The ironic thing is that both days of hiking ended at the same place - the summit of Mt. Tom. A centerpiece of Woodstock, Mt. Tom can be reached by several different trails, so after completing one route last Monday and finding the summit so beautiful, we chose to go back via one of the other routes.
The first day, we went by way of the Faulkner Trail. It is the shorter route beginning in Faulkner Park on land donated by Marianne Faulkner in memory of her husband. The trail was patterned after exercise trails in Baden Baden, Germany where she and her husband had gone many years ago while he recovered from a stroke. The total distance covered isn't terribly long, but there are many long switchbacks which allow the trail to never be steep. Except for the last hundred yards or so, it's like a stroll in the park. But those last hundred yards are a challenge and require some serious rock climbing hanging on to a wire.
Lots of these very long switchbacks making the trail never steep. You hardly realized you were gaining elevation, yet you actually gain over 700 feet in 1.25 miles.
This is not the summit. It's a resting place before that last difficult rock climb to reach the top.
That's the trail for the last hundred yards or so. Not so easy any more!
On Thursday, we accessed the summit of Mt. Tom from a completely different direction on a totally different type of trail. The Marsh-Billings-Rockfeller National Historic Site is located just outside of Woodstock and was still within easy walking distance of our house. This short excerpt from its website explains a bit about it.
"Nestled among the rolling hills and pastures of eastern-central Vermont, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is the only national park to tell the story of conservation history and the evolving nature of land stewardship in America. The boyhood home of George Perkins Marsh, one of America's first conservationists, and later the home of Frederick Billings, the property was given to the American people by its most recent owners, Laurance S. and Mary F. Rockefeller. The park was created by an Act of Congress and signed into law by President George Bush on August 26, 1992."
We were primarily interested in the more than 20 miles of carriage roads which crisscross the property and provide miles of excellent hiking opportunities. We had originally planned to spend a day hiking the carriage trails, but not heading to the summit of Mt. Tom again since we'd already done that. But we found the summit so peaceful and beautiful the first time, both of us wanted to go again. I mapped out a route that would take us to the places we'd wanted to visit, but back up to the summit of Mt. Tom just in time for lunch. This hike took us up the north side of the mountain where the hike on Monday had followed the south side. This ended up being our longest hike during the two weeks in Vermont, but the carriage roads were so well maintained and easy to walk on, our seven miles really didn't seem like that at all. Enjoy of few pictures from this day's trek.
First stop after a couple of miles was the beautiful Pogue Lake
The trail made a complete circle around the lake.
After the lake, we headed up the carriage trail toward Mt. Tom.
Looking out over the town of Woodstock from the summit of Mt. Tom. You can see our house in this picture. It's in the upper center.
There were several resting benches around the summit The carriage trail made a large circle.
There are long range views to the east, south and west. This one is looking towards the west and picture at top of post is to the east.
We truly enjoyed our two weeks in Vermont and found much to like about the state. But it was time to move on and we are ready to do some exploring in New Hampshire. If only it will stop raining!!
Thanks for reading!!