My boyfriend surprised me with news that he had Columbus Day off. It’s not a holiday for my company, but having a few vacation days left to burn I put in for the day so we could spend it together.
There is always debate about the celebration of Columbus Day. I remember learning in school that Columbus “discovered” America, yet outside of school the talk was that the Vikings had been coming here long before Columbus. I guess teach young and impressionable elementary school children about the rape and pillaging ways of the Vikings was probably a bit frowned upon, whereas Columbus had the backing of the Spanish Queen.
You could go back and forth all day about whether it was right or wrong for us to come here and how we eventually treated the Native Americans. As far as I’m concerned, if it wasn’t for Columbus and those who followed, I likely would not be living in one of the more beautiful places in the world right now.
We are often reminded that New England isn’t the only place in the world where the trees change color and there are many places just as beautiful. Still, there is something about the rolling hills and mountains ablaze in yellows, oranges and reds that just take your breath away.
So that morning after taking care of the farm critters, we made a leisurely fried egg breakfast. The “girls” are laying well now and we have eggs to use up. Maybe it’s just me, but I still think fresh eggs taste the best.
Originally, we planned to head to the coast and up to Kittery in Maine to do a little outlet shopping and eat seafood. Upon awakening that morning, my boyfriend changed his mind and we decided to head north instead. It was a perfect day, very sunny and warm.
I had always heard about how beautiful Sugar Hill was but had never ventured to that little town. With a destination in mind, we hopped in the truck and hit the highway.
We stopped in Lincoln for a rest stop and to check out the visitors’ area. I love to pick out the brochures with all the touristy things you can do. They had one brochure on scenic fall drives that I picked up and another with a map of all the tourist traps along Rt93.
Being the peak foliage weekend there were a ton of people, many of them Asian. A group of Asians that appeared to be late teens or early twenties were laughing and chatting and taking pictures with a giant stuffed black bear that was standing on his hind legs, claws and teeth bared. Truth is black bears are quiet creatures. They don’t fear too much, but they aren’t aggressive unless you mess with their cubs. Generally speaking, they stay away from people. They are mostly dangerous to bird feeders or beehives.
From Lincoln we stayed north and stopped at another spot with great views. The parking lot was full so we ended up pulling over on the side of the highway with everyone else. It was the north side where you could park and check out profile rock. We decided to keep heading north and hit profile rock on our way back.
We drove through Franconia Notch and on the other side headed northwest to Sugar Hill. Sugar Hill is the second youngest incorporated town in New Hampshire having been incorporated in 1963. It’s a very small town with some spectacular views overlooking the Notch.
We stopped along one side road and enjoyed the amazing color. In the springtime this area is covered in lupine and people drive from all over to see the lupine fields. This time of year it is the colors people are looking for. Still we were the only ones on this road. Our own little secluded piece of heaven. We contemplated what it would be like to have a house right there in the field and to wake up to that amazing view every morning. We both agreed that we would not like the winter months. It must get pretty cold with the wind that zips through that Notch.
From there we headed back south and stopped at Profile Lake and the granite cliff where the “Old Man of the Mountain” once made his home. The Old Man was a stern almost presidential face carved by nature into the side of the mountain. It lasted (so they say) for over 14,000 years, though I wonder how anyone really knows that. Still, it was something both my boyfriend and I grew up with. You always said hello or goodbye to the Old Man on your way up or down through the Notch. Back in 2004, the Old Man gave way to Mother Nature and crumbled down the mountain side. It was a very sad day for all of us. The emblem of the Old Man can be seen on almost anything related to New Hampshire including our license plates.
There is a nice set up in place now where you can stand and see what the Old Man would have looked like. My boyfriend did his best impression of the Old Man, too.
We stopped further down the highway at the Basin. The Basin is like a bowl that has been worn into the rock by water. A quaint little river flows down the mountain and through trees and over granite worn smooth over the years. The waterfalls are lovely and the water was very clear. There are several trails you can follow. We made our way to the basin taking several pictures along the way.
The whole day was absolutely amazing. It was great just to pick up and go and not worry about where we were headed or where we would end up. I just love those kinds of days. We stopped in Tilton and had country fried steak for dinner at the Tilton Diner. It was already almost four o’clock and the eggs we had for breakfast had long stopped holding off hunger.
After a long day out in the fresh air and a great big dinner, it was back home to hang out with the goats and sheep, a glass of wine and early to bed. A very satisfying day.