06 October 2018

Jen's East Coast Adventures - New Hampshire

The Norvell Pack went in different directions for the last half of September.  Doug, Finn, and Mookie stayed with the RV out West, while Sunday and I flew out to the East Coast.

Sunday and I flew from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine on 11 September and, after a few hours of sleep at an airport hotel, we headed west in a rental car to New Hampshire. The first stop was the Saco River for some swimming.  This was Sunday's first time here, but Maggie's spirit told her all about it.

Sunday meets the Saco River!

Then I checked on my house in East Conway, which is now a rental.  It's still standing, and that's all I needed to know.  My neighbor and friend, Lisa, was out doing yard work around her home, so we stood in her driveway and chatted for a few hours (yes, hours). 

NH friends are the best friends!

I was so lucky to be able to use my friend Stephanie's house for the whole time I was in NH.  We got lost a few times in all the rooms of a big 4-BR house, and I kept trying to flush the toilet with my foot, but it was great to have a familiar place to stay right in town! 

My main project on this leg of the trip was to get our cabin squared away.  It's been vacant since we moved out in 2008, and its high time to get serious about selling it.  It is heartbreaking to let it go, though, because it is absolutely perfect in every way.  Situated on 40 acres of undeveloped land in a small mountain town, it is everything we'd want to retire to ..... if we weren't hopeless nomads. 

View of the White Mountains from the road to the cabin.

The cabin.

I spent several days running back and forth from one side of the mountains to the other, gathering stuff from the cabin that I could donate to non-profits; going through boxes and boxes of books and photos; and meeting with the neighbor who is going to become our live-in caretaker until he can get financing to hopefully buy the cabin. 

There are 3 Dunkins between North Conway and Whitefield and I became a regular at all of them!

Sunday was rewarded with a swim every time we drove through Crawford Notch State Park.

The cabin is technically in the town of Whitefield, but the closest real town is Lancaster.  When we left in 2008, there was a little tiny market, a sporting goods store, a bank, and not much else.  Now, that tiny market is a large grocery store (with a big Organics section and a beer cave); the once-vacant restaurant is now an Irish Pub; and there is a brewery.  Yes, a brewery.  With a dog-friendly deck overlooking the river.  We could almost live here now.  😏

Beer for me and water for Sunday.

When we weren't tending to the cabin, or driving back and forth through the notch, I showed Sunday all of Maggie's favorite trails in the North Conway area.  Literally nothing has changed there in the past 10 years, which made me very happy!

Chasing squirrels in Whitaker Woods.
Cooling off in the stream at the end of the "Sticks & Stones" trail.
Hot and tired on top of Peaked Mountain.

View of Middle Mountain from Peaked Mountain summit.

I also got to re-connect with several friends whom I haven't seen in years.  Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take pictures with all of them, because I was just having too much fun catching up!  This also meant I got to visit all my old haunts, from the Moat, to May Kellys, to Flatbreads

Dinner at Flatbreads with Patti and Lisa.

Dinner at the Moat with Pam-a-lam.

All the hiking, swimming, and socializing tired her right out!
All in all, we spent 9 days in the place that will always feel like "home" to me - North Conway - and 2 more days visiting my best friend over on the other side of the state.  There were so many other trails I wanted to hike, friends I wanted to see, and memories I wanted to revisit, but it was time to move on. 

Fall in NH is beautiful, but it also brings all the "leaf peeper" tourists - this leaf told me it was time to move on!

Considering that the Valley (short for "Mount Washington Valley") hasn't changed at all in the past ten years, it's a pretty good bet that it will be mostly the same when I go back to visit again.  Until then, I'll leave you with a picture of one of my favorite views in the Valley.

View of Mt. Washington from my favorite spot in Whitaker Woods.