Friday, June 8, 2012

Rain, Rain Go Away..........

New Hampshire State Capitol - Concord, New Hampshire
June 4, 2012

Despite the rain, we have had a wonderful week in New Hampshire and have managed to do just about everything that was planned.   Our first glimpse of the sun was at 1:55 p.m. on Tuesday.  It lasted for exactly two minutes and then we did not see it again until that evening around sunset.  It has rained at some point every day, but somehow, we've managed to dodge the worst of it and haven't gotten drenched yet.  We could not have asked for a better place to "be" this week.  Our home is the lower level apartment of a lovely place that sits directly on Lake Winnipesaukee with a direct view back over the lake to the downtown area of Meredith making for a beautiful landscape every moment of the day and night.  We thought it was wonderful when all we could see were rain, fog and clouds, but STUNNING can only be used to describe our view under sunny skies.

From the end of the dock looking back, most of the lower level is ours.   Entrance is to the left under the overhang.  Four windows on the right are our bedroom and four on the left are living area and kitchen.  The little beach in front is "ours" and you can see just the end of the hammock at the top of the steps.  

Looking down the path from our parking spot, the entrance is just to the left of the patio dining set.   The homeowners, Dave and Marie are simply delightful and have been a pleasure getting to know both through the initial process of reserving and now in person.   With a travel motto of, "living life one day at a time, seeing the world one week at a time," it isn't often we feel compelled to return to the same place again and again, but I can say without a doubt, it's going to hard driving away from this in the morning.  I strongly suspect that much like our "home" in Flagler Beach, Florida, this is one we'll see again sooner rather than later. 

We did not see a sunset until our fifth night here.  This may have been a GOOD thing - I'm not sure we'd ever have been able to convince ourselves to leave to do anything else!!   No matter what time of day or really even the weather, the view is intoxicating! 

On Monday, we made our way down to Concord to visit state capital city #7 on this trip.  In the rain of course! It was also very windy and cold.  I always hesitate to put anything negative in the blog because I know how defensive I can easily become if I perceive an "outsider" viewing my state incorrectly.   So any New Hampshire readers or readers who visited and came away with different impressions, please feel free to chime in.   I thrive on differing opinions and would love someone to dispute our impressions!!

Every state capitol has had its unique beauty and New Hampshire was no different.  As in Vermont, we walked right in.   Although there was a security guard in the lobby, he did not even bother looking up from his newspaper to see who or what had entered the building.   There was NO information table so no brochure to guide us at all.  Truthfully, the entire building just had a very unfriendly vibe to it.   Around the corner, we finally saw a small room identified as a Visitor Center.  I went in, walked up to the desk and as I live and breathe, I stood there for at least 60 seconds and the woman NEVER LOOKED UP FROM THE BOOK SHE WAS READING.   She never acknowledged my presence.   I finally turned around and walked out.  She never said a word.   I'll not go into details about the conversation Bill and I had about the "whys" of that, but IMHO, no matter what her excuse might have been, there is NO ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE for that happening in the clearly marked Visitor Center of a state capitol building.  

Needless to say, we walked around quickly and left.   No one ever spoke to us or even acknowledged that we existed.   New Hampshire will not rank high on our list of delightful state capitol visits!!

The building itself is made of granite.   No surprise there with New Hampshire being "The Granite State."  With the Greek Revival style and granite walls, the building is quite austere.   Every footstep echoes and you always feel as if something might be "lurking" around the next corner. The one redeeming factor in the building is the Senate Chamber.   It is quite beautiful with lovely handpainted murals around the walls depicting New Hampshire's tribute to Education, History, Politics and the Arts.  

Beautiful senate chambers in the New Hampshire State Capitol
June 4, 2012  

On a prettier day, we might have enjoyed more walking in the downtown Concord area, but after our unfriendly experience in the state house, we were just ready to move on.   We had lunch at Panera Bread, took a look in a nearby L.L. Bean Outlet store (I'm a REI loyalist!!), stocked up at the last Sam's Club we'd see for awhile and headed back home.


(Circle Tour Map taken from website) We did the loop clockwise beinning and ending in Meredith.

The circle tour around Lake Winnipesaukee is a must-do with several stops along its shores to see different things.   We'd put it off as long as we could without having to start eliminating other things that were planned, so on Tuesday, we decided to go for it setting out in the rain.   Our first stop was the Loon Preservation Center in Moultonbourough.  We could've just stayed here I suppose, relieving each other of the trouble of bringing us back here thirty years from now to finish out our days!   LOL! - It's a joke!

All kidding aside, anyone who loves the sounds of nature can't help but be compelled by the haunting call of the loon.   We wanted to learn more about these beauitful birds which call this area their home and is something we don't have in Tennessee.   We knew there was a 30 minute movie we'd want to see and hoped there would be more to do.   The movie was excellent!  We made an attempt to walk the nature trail which led to a loon nesting site where the world is anxiously awaiting the hatching of two babies on June 18.   Unfortunately, we were both literally covered with mosquitoes (we'd been warned by the folks in the center - IMHO they should provide insect repellant), but bravely thought we could soldier on anyway.   WRONG!   But just seeing the movie made the stop well worth our time.

Next up was the Abenaki Tower Walk.  Not sure if we'd be able to do this or not, we were thrilled that it had stopped raining by the time we finished at the Loon Center.  The short jaunt to the tower felt good and the view from the tower itself was lovely as the clouds had begun to part and we actually had a nice view of Squam Lake as well as distant views of Lake Winnipesaukee.  I've been unable to find any information about the tower itself other than the fact that it is maintained by a group of "friends" in the area.  One forum said it was originally built as a lookout tower for planes during World War II.   Another said it was rebuilt in 1979.   Who knows if either of these statements is factual, but there was no info at the site and this is all I could find via Google.  No matter - it was worth our time simply for the view.

Abenaki Tower - June 5, 2012

 View to the southwest from the Abenaki Tower

View to the northwest from the Abenaki Tower

On to Wolfeboro where we'd hoped to find a fun lunch and chance to stroll around for awhile.  Our hopes were rewarded when we drove in to what, at first glance, would fit the bill perfectly for our half way rest stop.  For some reason (remember, it doesn't take much.......), I have always been enchanted by towns that turn their old train stations into the Visitor Center.  We have seen several on this trip and my favorites have been the Waterbury, Vermont station which held the Visitor Center plus the Green Mountain Coffee Company museum and store and this one, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. 

 Wolfeboro, NH former train depot and current Visitor Center

Wolfeboro bills itself as "the oldest summer resort in America" and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there strolling through a wonderful kitchen store, an amazingly well-stocked local bookstore, and then to our utter delight, this literally reached out and grabbed Bill................

Who could possibly resist lunch at a place called Crepes, Ooh La La especially with a sign on the door saying, "we now have fresh lobster crepes available?"   Not long after, this....................

 is HALF of what was set in front of us.   Oh my, was this ever yummy!

Enjoy a few more pics from our time in Wolfeboro.................................

We loved this little bridge, but cracked up at the sign saying, "yield to oncoming boats."  I'd be a lot more concerned about cracking my head on that clearing than yielding to oncoming boats!  It really was only about 18 inches.
Another one that cracked us up!  Neither of us fish, so haven't a clue what "dillies" are!

Leaving Wolfeboro, we rounded the southern tip of the lake at Afton and headed up the eastern edge toward Weirs Beach.  In our travels, a huge lesson learned is to refrain from arriving anywhere, anytime with preconceived notions about what a place, attraction, lodging, restaurant, etc. might be like.  It's just wasted brain activity.  And Weirs Beach is a good example.  Based on descriptions, Weirs Beach is promoted as the "popular family resort full of amusement parks, arcades and shopping always bustling with activity."  Based on those words, it's really hard for us not to picture the dreaded Pigeon Forge area (don't be offended if you LIKE Pigeon Forge - that would change if you lived near it) or perhaps Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!  Can't help it - it's what my mind sees when the words amusement parks, arcades and shopping come in.

Weirs Beach does indeed have all of that.  But they have it in proportions one might describe as quaint rather than garish.   ONE small amusement park, one BLOCK of shops and we never saw an arcade although I'm certain one was there.  There was a very large beach area and in total respect to fairness, we can imagine that in the summertime, the place looks and feels totally different than on the day we were there.  As a matter of fact, it will look totally different in less than one week when Laconia Bike Week descends on the entire area and we are told that all locals LEAVE! 

But on the day we drove through, it had begun raining again and quaint was the only word we could come up with.

The tents are being set up in preparation for Laconia Bike Week which, thankfully, is NEXT week!   We will be long gone!

From Weirs Beach, we only had a few miles remaining to complete the Lake Region Circle Tour.   Despite the gloomy conditions, we'd had a really fun day with lots of laughing and one or two glimpses of sunshine.   We had a last stop to make at Kellerhaus, supposedly a "can't miss" stopping place with their world famous ice cream sundae bar.  Thinking my timing was perfect for Bill's late afternoon ice cream treat, we whipped into the Kellerhaus parking lot wondering why in the world it was empty only to learn that it is closed on Tuesday!   Oh well!

Back at home in Meredith, we enjoyed a light dinner since we were still both very full from our Ooh La La Lobster Crepe.   It had been a great day.

My friend Karen, who blogs at grew up vacationing in this area.   She has lived elsewhere for many years, but recalls her time here fondly and with a wealth of knowledge.  Karen, I hope you enjoyed reading our impressions and if you want to chime in, I'd love to hear your feedback about any of the things I've said or anything you want to add!  

We spent Wednesday in Boston.   Thursday, we went north to the White Mountain Region.   Today, Friday, we are enjoying our traditionally quiet "day before leaving" routine.   Bill is doing some work for school and I will try my best to get the journal caught up.   Later, if the weather holds, we'll have the icing on the cake for the final episode of our Lake Winnipesaukee stay.   But I'll let that be a surprise for a later post! 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Oh ---you lucky gal, to be in such a gorgeous place (places)... Even with the rain, your trip sounds awesome.

    Love the way you search for state Capitols. Reminds me of my friend, Judy, who travels alot in search of National Parks. Bet you have done that too...

    Never heard of Dillies either...

    Have a great weekend.

  2. I am so enjoying your trip. A lot of this is familiar territory, and I am enjoying your fresh perspective. I need to add the fresh lobster crepes to my list of foods to find.