NH Days 1 & 2: Getting Settled

In the style of Anne, I've decided that blogging our trip to New Hampshire over the long weekend would best be accomplished by posting one day at a time, since I have a *lot* of pictures and want to go into detail without overwhelming anyone.

Gathered around the table this weekend were my mom and her husband Bill; my brother Chris and his wife Cat; my sister Morgan, her husband Brian, and their chihuahua Carlos; and Jack, Kent, and me. Jack and I were definitely the old married couple of the bunch, since we're going on six years, and all the other couples got married last year after Kent was born. We were staying at Bill's family's house in Grafton, NH, a place to which I will fondly refer as The House That Time Forgot because of the 1800s-style interior decorating and also its lack of modern conveniences like A/C, laundry facilities, TV, internet, and cell phone reception. Some of these things can be had at Sue (Bill's sister) and Tony's house down the road, but part of the rustic experience of this kind of vacation is, well, living rustically. It's a charming place to stay, and the weather was so pleasant that we kept the windows open the whole weekend, day and night, to enjoy the fresh air and the sounds of birds, breezes, and rain.

We got in pretty late on Friday, then ate dinner with Sue and Tony and got Kent to bed around, um, 10. Yes, a late night for him. I was grumpy that night because Kent had gotten carsick for the first time that afternoon, the house was pretty hot (no A/C and it had been sunny that day), and the room we had started out in had an old mattress that sagged so much, I knew we'd never get any sleep. So we sent off the carseat cushion parts and Jack's and Kent's clothes to be washed by Sue and Tony, we changed rooms, things cooled off with the windows open, and I went to bed a little less grumpy. The three of us had an early start on Saturday, since Kent was up around 6:15 (despite the late bedtime, which never seems to make him sleep any later), and I started off grumpy again until Jack suggested we go for a walk in the crisp morning air. Everyone else in the house was still asleep, and we didn't want to wake them with our noisy toddler who has not yet developed an Inside Voice, so off we went for a stroll on the land around the house.

We were trudging through weeds and dew when suddenly, Jack spotted some tiny blueberries growing close to the ground. They looked periwinkle in the morning light with the dew glistening off them — certainly not like any blueberries I'd seen before — and when we hesitatingly tasted them, they were very tender and sweet. We gave Kent one, and he gobbled it down and then reached for more. Thus began our daily ritual of berry picking.

While we were out walking, we realized that a fog was started to envelop us, and we looked back to the house to see it practically obscured by all the mist. Very cool. After photographing the berry picking and then the neat fog, I felt myself in quite an artistic mood, and I started noticing everything outside and inside the house in a different way than I had in my grumpiness of earlier. The most ordinary things outside began to call out to my lens. We went in for breakfast, French toast prepared by Bill (the Breakfast Chef for the whole trip) with maple syrup that had come from one of Sue's maple trees just down the street. Talk about eating local. We didn't have any major plans for the day, so I spent a lot of time just noticing the carefully placed older objects inside the house. Jack studied, everyone napped at various times, and we had a lovely day of relaxing and enjoying the sun pouring through the sheer curtains.

Lunch included a huge bowl of homemade guacamole and quesadillas cooked to order by Morgan. I happily played the role of waitress and sous-chef, taking orders on my chart and then doing some of the prepwork for the quesadillas while Morgan supervised and cooked. She's a big spinach eater (something Brian likes to tease her about), so among the many ingredients she thought to include in quesadillas was fresh spinach. Jack and I turned out to be the only ones who ordered our quesadillas all-the-way, so the cheese, spinach, corn, sautéed onions, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes did a little happy dance in each of our mouths.

In the mid-afternoon, Jack, Kent, and I took a stroll down to Sue and Tony's to retrieve the clean carseat bits from the clothesline, and since Sue and Tony were out for the day, we sat on their back porch swing and enjoyed their spectacular view of the mountains. A brief but revolutionary conversation ensued about the kind of life we want to live, inspired partly by the simplicity of vacationing in this manner and partly by the beauty of the mountains and greenness all around us. Basically, we're starting to care less and less about where we end up after Louisiana, and more about the kind of life we're going to live once we get there. Even if we lived in a tiny apartment in the middle of a big city, we could still have a lot of green around us and live a less cluttered, more deliberate existence. We have much time to ponder and plan this as we try to finish the things that are keeping us in Louisiana.

After a quick browse around the perimeter of Sue's impressive vegetable garden, we headed back down the road to hang out at the house and get ready for dinner. Cat dazzled us with a yummy chicken casserole, green beans, and brown rice cooked two ways, one dish with chicken gravy and a smaller pot without meaty bits for Jack. She's a good Southern girl and usually cooks beans with fatback, but she graciously amended her ways, as my very Southern grandmother also does, so that Jack could enjoy green beans with the rest of us. We had brownies for dessert, got Kent to bed only a little past his bedtime this time, and then played Taboo around the kitchen table. Morgan, Brian, Jack and I were winning when we stopped keeping score, and after a few rounds, I gradually remembered that the best way to play is *not* by giving general descriptions of the word, which is usually hard to do without using the taboo words. Rather, the most effective way to get people to guess your word is to use very specific phrases that rely on the common knowledge of the people in the room. For example, the way I got everyone to guess "mustard" was by saying, "Chris likes honey ___ !" Mom reminded us later that the best use of this was when we were younger and Morgan and Joanna were on a team together; nobody remembers what the actual word was, but Morgan got Joanna to guess it on the first try simply by saying, "Mommy has one!" Ah, shared experience. What would we do without it?

Next up: Sunday, wherein Jack accidentally eats meat. Stay tuned.

Labels: , , , ,



Great recap, great photos! It sounds like a lovely trip. I bet it would be great in the fall too, with all of the colors, and the no A/C would be a non-issue.

I'm grimacing thinking of Jack accidentally eating meat - oh no! Did it squeak?? :-)
Post a Comment

<< Home



what I read

where I go