I longed for the region's sense-enlivening surprises whose rural mystique makes you want to pack up and move there. And so I returned.
The next four days were packed with experiences that pleased my senses, stimulated my mind and made my spirit soar as high as the bald eagle I spotted during Squam Lakes “Nature of the Lakes Cruise". Fortunately, all places were within an easy 10 to 30-minute reach by car. The route signs are excellent. No GPS needed!
Freedom at your feet, Heaven at your head, Scenery in between!
For summer adventure, hop on the mountain coaster ride.
An authentic rustic style country lodge has hosted many a wedding.
There’s even a mail boat delivery service – the only one of its kind in North America! A star attraction, Lake Winnipesaukee is best traveled in style. After all, its shores are lined with million-dollar “cottages” (estate mansions is more like it); and so the lake begs for prestige boat travel if you want to live like royalty for a moment.
And that’s exactly how I traveled when I was booked to ride the Miss Meredith. I pictured myself getting on a humungous cruise boat such as the Mount Washington that travels here, but my mode for riding its waves was even more illustrious. I was escorted onto a handsomely polished mahogany speed boat that was once owned by the wife of Chiang Kai-shek!
This happened at the Ekal Activity Centre in Meredith. They supply your own captain/guide to take you out. Leaving Church Landing where the Ekal Activity Centre is located, we traveled some 45 minutes along a part of Lake Winnipesaukee, to gape at the imperious houses on Governor’s Island – while pretending we owned one or two of them!
|Captain Jake, myself and the Miss Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee|
How thrilling it was to spot a mother loon swimming towards her chick. When they reunited, Margaret explained that the little chick was probably hiding out of sight to avoid danger that her mother had spotted.
We also saw a bald eagle, and some mergansers and a lone red throated loon that seemed lost in time. Squam Lake was formed by a deep glacier some 12,000 years ago. Its picturesque shoreline extends 60 miles. Margaret handed out a replica of a loon egg and the skull of a bald eagle.
The Loon Preservation Committee monitors loons on New Hampshire’s lakes, studying their habits, rescuing them, examining diseases and they even got the state’s fishing laws changed to prohibit lead jigs which kills loons once swallowed. (Click here to read about their work).
Educational and exhilarating, this cruise is unforgettable.
The gardens with their wild-like, non-manicured look are brimming with 1000 species of all kinds of flora sprawled out over five acres.
Every seed and bulb – count 1000 tulips among that - has been lovingly planted by Richard, a gifted horticulturist who began the garden back in 1978 after 40 bulldozers came in to do away with the massive tangle of trees.
Homemade scones with Devon clotted cream and jam are also served here. After all, this is an English garden! Bring on the tea!
One such creation includes an outdoor, mini-makeshift “kitchen” with a vintage aluminum sink, pots and pans and tiny antique "burner" for “cooking up” a truly organic meal made from leaves picked off the ground. How imaginative!
So events get more and more original as summer fades. Attend a cider pressing party, an acorn eating class, and don’t overlook the sugar shack where maple syrup is made.
Want to learn how to turn raw sheep’s wool into yarn? You can on October 28th. Bread and cheese- making are offered, along with sessions on wild forest foods and fall foraging. There was also a three-month herbal series on harvesting for food and medicine that I sure would have loved to have attended. This extraordinary farm is not only wholly dedicated to ecology and the environment, but is intent on integrating us humans into it all; and that’s what makes it special. Environmentally educational, it’s where nature and us all are harmoniously united.
One of the buildings is now used as a museum to display furniture and clothes the Shakers made.
Over 694 acres of outlying farm land, forests, ponds and trails spreads over this serene sanctuary of religious austerity.
The Shaker community practiced celibacy, communalism and confession in the presence of an elder. It’s described as “nuns and monks without the bolts and bars”.
Yet, despite its strict adherence to the three above-mentioned Cs, the Shaker community loved music, stomp dancing to religious songs, learning how to play all kinds of instruments, even putting on plays.
Theatrical presentations often took place inside the chapel , but they usually centered around religion.
Shakers were fascinated with technology, and so they developed innovative ways to be totally self-sufficient with the emphasis on efficiency.
Dental care, an infirmary and meeting houses for discussion, printing, box making using cherry wood, baking and spinning were part of a daily routine.
Expanding beautifully over 232 acres, the center is a paradise of sorts; you won't find any concrete buildings here. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, this center has cleverly turned science into a kind of natural Disneyland where games full of rich learning experiences leave an indelible imprint through hands-on participation. Although there are no rides as such, the amount of knob pulling, button pressing, ducking, scrambling and ear phone listening to get answers to all kind of challenging questions – all presented in super creative ways is exciting, even exhilarating.
There's a centerpiece of kinetic colored sand representing different geographical elements. You can actually play with the sand, molding it to shape your landscape. Hold your hand over it, and your hand becomes a rain maker changing topography. You’ll see how mountains, valleys and hills change as water flows into them. Of course, there really is no water; it’s all in your hand. That’s what I call magical learning.