New England Road Trip – New Hampshire

This is the third posting from a week-long road trip to New England.

The next leg of our road trip was New Hampshire.  Right in the center of the state is an area called the Lakes Region, where I grew up.  The first stop however was a bit short of that.

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This is “The Farm”. All my life this has been a magical place. It sits on the Merrimack River and is filled with beauty and history and memories.

This beautiful picture is a place known to the family simply as, “The Farm”.  My great grandparents raised 9 children here on the banks of the Merrimack river in Franklin, NH.  The oldest of those children was my grandmother; the youngest, my Great-Uncle Stan, lives there to this day.

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My strongest association with the Farm is my great grandmother, a Polish immigrant whom we called Babka.  Babka used to tend large gardens in these fields and then make amazing food with what came out of the gardens.  She made chicken soup, the likes of which I have never seen again.  She also made Polish food that I remember most fondly.

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This humble spot in Franklin, NH has been the site of some of my best memories. Vegetables picked minutes earlier, a view of the Merrimack River, and the connections of family, all enjoyed on this lawn.

In the years since Babka, Uncle Stan has made the place more beautiful than it ever was.  Stan retired from a career as a cardiologist and now he and Aunt Yvonne enjoy all this gorgeous spot has to offer.  Flowers, home-grown vegetables, natural beauty, wildlife.

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In New Hampshire the state flower is the lilac and in late May they are everywhere. The air is literally perfumed with lilac everywhere you go!

As a kid, there was no mystery to what made the farm so great.  Toward the end of Babka’s life, Uncle Stan bought her a golf cart to get around the farm.  As kids we put more miles on that golf cart than a long-haul trucker.  Stan saw the attraction and began adding to the motor pool with go-carts, mini-bikes, and eventually a 1980 Dodge Colt with manual transmission that we could literally drive anywhere on the farm we wanted!

I have a great memory of my then 13 year-old daughter learning to drive a stick in the middle of a field with Uncle Stan in the passenger seat!  It should have been a Ford Bronco because that thing lurched and bucked all over the field!

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Below the front lawn is the Merrimack River, the biggest in New Hampshire. It starts less than a mile upstream when the Winnipausakee River meets up with the Pemigewasset…or as I prefer to call it, “The mighty Pemi”.

We had lunch outdoors with Stan and Yvonne and caught up with them.  We sat under an open car-port  because rain was threatening.  It overlooked the Merrimack River about 30 feet below down a steep bank.  You could see birds swooping in for prey, and you could smell lilacs from every direction.  This spot on the front lawn of the house was the site of so many fond memories and it was so great to be back.

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As if to illustrate New Hampshire’s nickname of the Granite State!

We even took a golf cart ride around the property.  Living in the Washington, DC area, it’s a rare event to have a 12 acre field of open pasture all to yourself!  We saw blocks of granite from an old bridge abutment.  They have hauled up from the bank by Stan and let you know you’re in the Granite State!

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The only problem we were going to have was explaining to our kids that we had gone to the farm without them!

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Alice at the wheel as we toured the property by golf cart.

After a great lunch that included Yvonne’s Asparagus soup, potato salad and some barbecue, we said goodbye and headed to Laconia.

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My Great-Uncle Stan and Aunt Yvonne

The next stop was my mom’s house in Laconia.

π

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