Last week’s overnight adventure to North Woodstock, Vermont, was an outgrowth of my reviewing things to see and do around Lake Winnipesaukee which I have explored for 40 years, but not yet “done it all.” And even if I have done something (e.g. Clark’s Trading Post) often a follow-up visit is in order. The plan now was to use Wolfeboro as a two-night hub, accomplishing exploration on the way up to the Lake Region and back. I am now completing this post after a tad over 400 miles (sadly in the “new” car) from Monday through Wednesday night.
I knew very little about the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury (about 20 minutes northeast of Concord), other than I should some day visit. So I departed home on Labor Day to arrive at Canterbury before 11AM for a couple hour visit prior to meandering to Wolfeboro. My timing was perfect.
A guided tour of the grounds was commencing at 11, and I joined right in.
This introductory tour is an absolute must for historical background, plus you get to enter into the laundry, dwelling house, and chapel that are not open for the self-guided tours.
The Shakers (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing), so called because of their dancing during worship, are not to be mistaken with the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch. Celibate and living a simple communal life they were innovators and entrepreneurs. The innovation was to save time in work thus allowing more prayer time. Youth were taken in as orphans or from families who could not afford their children in the 1800s and up into the depression era. The youths, however, were given the opportunity, when coming of age, to leave the community or sign a covenant to stay. The Canterbury community was in existence for 200 years with the last brother passing in 1939 and last sister in 1992. You just have to go there.
Here is a gallery of some of the images I took around the village. Remember you can click on any to open a slideshow:
Noting there was an Innovations Tour at 1:30, when my introductory 1 1/2 hour tour was completed, I had a great soup and salad lunch at the snack barn, and then was the solo person on the 1:30 tour which, also lasting 1 1/2 hours, exposed me to new buildings and more historical information.
There is a reason for everything, and usually for efficiency and to save time. The chairs were hung to make space on the floor for cleaning and other activities. Hung upside down, so any dust would fall on the bottom and not what you would sit on.
Most cupboards, drawers, etc. were built into the walls. Then, there was no furniture taking floor space or needing dusting underneath.
I then continued on my self-guided tour, and following an in depth look at the infirmary I finished at the exhibition hall in the carriage barn. This building houses world-class exhibitions. My tour guides, Pat and Joanne, were tremendously knowledgeable, but when I was leaving the exhibition building I asked a question of Darryl who was tending there. I pulled up a chair, and listened for almost an hour. Darryl Thompson has encyclopedia first-hand knowledge of Canterbury Shaker Village having spent 31 years living there. His father started working for the community (receiving a home as partial salary) and in 1959-60 as I recall, began giving tours of the grounds. In 1969 Darryl’s Dad was instrumental in the establishment of the non-profit entity that has preserved the community buildings and grounds, and he continued to curate for a number of years. His collection of Shaker items formed the nucleus of the collection. Also collecting Native American artifacts, Mr. Thompson also established the Mt. Kearsage Indian Museum in Warner, NH. Walpole’s Hubbard family has contributed greatly to the preservation of the village. The Ken Burn’s film, The Shakers, was playing in the visitor center, but I will find it on-line or through inter-library loan.
What was thought to be a two hour visit tops lasted 5 1/2 hours.
RAY RECOMMENDS — Hurry to the Canterbury Shaker Village, and plan to arrive for the first general tour — then have lunch — and conclude with the innovations tour. A full day. Or hike some of their trails with a picnic lunch.
Now, following your map – which you had better have out for this shunpiking adventure – I continued north on Shaker Road past fantastic 18th and early 19th century homes, and tremendous vistas. I then headed east on NH 140 through Gilmanton and Gilmanton Ironworks (a nice ride) arriving in Alton. For near 40 years I have always toured the old camp meeting grounds in Alton Bay,
and had to see the devastation suffered from a 2009 fire which consumed over 40 of the small, quaint Victorian summer cottages. It was my learning about the early camp meeting grounds that lead to my study of the development of the summer vacation, summer resorts, and early tourism.
Below – view from the center of the camp meeting grounds to Alton Bay at the eastern most point of Lake Winnipesaukee.
From Alton Bay I headed north on NH 28 to my B&B in Wolfeboro – The Topsides.
You know I like to share my rooms — my room (actually a suite) was exceptional – I “do good” at finding B&Bs.
My “sitting room”
But I spent most of my two evenings on this porch. Only part of it seen here, and the image does not do it justice.
I had dinner the first evening on the lake itself.
TUESDAY – 2 SEPTEMBER
Before I start, did you ask why is Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro? Named for General James Wolfe who was victorious at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City during the French and Indian Wars in 1759. And, why is Wolfeboro called the first summer resort in America? NH Governor John Wentworth built the first “summer home” on Lake Wentworth in 1769
Now just a cellar hole, it burned in 1820.
Two places were on the agenda for Tuesday, The Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, and The Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough. Of course I had a shunpiking route to tie them together along with other routes I had not before followed.
I was at The Wright Museum when it opened at 10. Now about 20 years old, it is a must visit, and my visit lasted 2 1/2 hours, but more time could be spent. Begun as a collection of military vehicles, the museum portrays Home Front life and culture in the US as the war began, and next provides an interesting Time Tunnel for the years 1939-1945 detailing pop culture, news of the war and the mood of the nation. I love learning “popular culture” and here is a gallery of some images (click one to open the up bigger) of that room, and then the “time tunnel.”
Here is the main exhibition hall:
Upstairs was a temporary photo exhibit of D-Day. This 88 year old veteran landed there 70 years ago, and was relating his experiences to these visitors. He is still full of shrapnel having gone down 15 minutes after landing.
Went I left, I realized that to have lunch at The Castle in the Clouds that I should reverse the route that I had originally planned, and should head clockwise rather than counter-clockwise. So, map time. I headed north on NH 28 and then west on NH 171 towards Moultenborough. I had done the correct thing arriving just before 1PM at the Carriage House where I had lunch on the patio with vistas south to Lake Winnipesaukee.
The story about the building and life of the Castle in the Clouds, named Lucknow, and now 100 years old, is interesting and comes from a shoe fortune – check their website for some history. The relatively small Arts and Crafts “castle” is essentially original and untouched with the original furnishings.
This 50 foot waterfall – FALLS OF SONG – is but a short hike off the twisty tight drive up the mountain.
Here is another gallery of the Castle. The servant’s wing was fascinating, and I just realized I have no images to share – sorry.
Leaving the Castle I continued west to Route 25 and turned right towards Center Ossipee. Nothing to report along this route, other than the important fact that the snowmobile (Built as an accessory on a Model T Ford) was first built in Ossipee. Well, this was a nice post office in South Tamworth.
I was going to take Route 16 south to 109 to head back to Wolfeboro, but before I left home I looked at my “round-about bookshelf” on the porch and saw NEW HAMPSHIRE OFF THE BEATEN PATH. I collect items like this even if dated – someday I will write the penultimate guides. This guide said, “Route 153 is … a good alternative for shunpikers seeking to avoid the traffic of Route 16.” The book used shunpiking (would you believe?), and there was no traffic on 16, but off I headed for Route 153 first detouring to FREEDOM, NH – highly recommended for its architecture.
Route 153 touches the border with Maine at Taylor City – population 5 according to the sign posted by the Mayor.
Of course I stopped – you know me. I went into “Ye Olde Sale Shoppe” I visited with Bill Taylor.
His family started this shop in 1815 !!! “How do you survive?” I asked, “customers from Portland, Maine.” “No,” he replied, “people travel this route to avoid Route 16.” Wow, so glad to hear others are shunpiking.
Well, at Sanbornville I had a burger at the Poor People’s Pub and then headed west on Route 108 back to my B&B.
WEDNESDAY – 3 SEPTEMBER
The plan was to head west to Route 3 to then south, but with some circuitous routes. Only objective was the Lake Winnipesaukee Museum which I just recently discovered on the internet. At 9AM I headed out of Wolfeboro on remote Rt. 109A going through Center Tuftonboro and Melvin Village before connecting to Rt. 109 into Moultenborough.
Peacefully enjoying the scenery, I enter Melvin Village which is on the lake…
and proclaim, “what is this?” All of a sudden there were three replica 1920s gas stations, old cars and Model A Ford after Model A Ford.
Yes, (did you have to ask?) I stopped. I passed about 7 Model As in a garage and entered the immaculate museum like display area of Village Antique and Classic Cars – I could not believe my eyes – in the middle of basically nowhere. Feasting my eyes, I finally heard someone in the corner and struck up a conversation. He tells me there are 4 such set-ups here and many, many auto hobbyists living in the area with 10 plus/minus car garages packed with quality high end unique cars. In my reminiscing and sharing I mentioned having sat in the 1907 Thomas Flyer that won the round the world race when Henry Austin Clark owned it on Long Island before selling it to Harrah’s. “Oh,” my host said, “I think Richie next door owns it now, let me introduce him to you.”
We enter Richie’s garage, and there he is fine tuning the 1931 Chrysler Imperial Town Car that Walter P. Chrysler had Lebaron Bodyworks build specially for his wife — it was original to every detail including paint and upholstery.
I meet Richie Clyne, and find he has a Thomas Flyer, but Harrah’s still owns the round the world race winner. “Come into the office and let’s talk,” he invites me. Well, memory lane. Everyone my Dad knew, and I had great memories of (Ralph DeAngelis, Henry Austin Clark, the Tunick brothers), Ritchie also knew. I had so much fun. We exchanged cards. At 60, Richie’s card reads “Retired – Thanks for the Memories.” My host from next door told me that Richie is probably the preeminent car collector in the country. Having owned the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas he has some cars on display there.
He also built the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But visiting with this wonderful host, you would never know. May I invite you to read this piece I found on-line to learn of his contributions – Upon leaving, my original host kept encouraging me to write about this unknown center of collector car activity.
Route 109 joins with Route 25 in Moultonborough for a short distance before you need to turn right to follow 109 to Sandwich. And on the corner, one of my weaknesses, The Moultonboro Country Store and Museum which has been there since 1781.
Of course a stop (you know how I am about country stores) to enjoy the second floor museum and tour the sales floors.
More touristy gift type stuff — not the products you will find in the Vermont Country Store, but still when passing by do park in the rear and spend some eye time.
Heading through Sandwich to Center Sandwich the views are amazing and worth the trip. And, the lovely village of Center Sandwich is worth a trip. I found the historical society open and toured the barn and house. Great exhibits. Something I need to learn more about is the OCR scanners that gather a document from the internet so you can read more about an item on your smart phone (hint to Andrea and Christie). I want to get back to the area, and would love to go to The Sandwich Fair which has been in existence since 1886 – but it will not be this year.
Leaving town I headed west on Route 113 towards Holderness – another great drive. The past two days I have been constantly passing very small cemeteries that have been enclosed by stone walls – something I had not seen before. And, I passed another, and turned around to show you.
Just two stones were left. The first had the date of 1800, probably the date of birth, and the broken stone indicated the person had died in 1845.
Driving by the Squam Lakes, I arrived in Holderness and turned south on US 3. I passed the former Burlwood Antique Center building that Cathy and I used to visit. And, Rich and Scott, that is now where the American Police Motorcycle Museum in now located – I did not go in – waiting for you to join on a “road trip.”
The Lake Winnepesaukee Museum was slightly a disappointment, and I am glad that I did not rush, missing other adventures, to get there. Nicely done, with wonderful artifacts, a nice overview, but I like their website a tad more. Leaving the museum I headed back to an antique center. There was a postcard dealer in one booth. Would you believe I had to buy 8 Walpole postcards I had never seen before, including four I would have definitely had in the book.
Weirs Beach is always fun to stop at, but I have never been there with crowds or motorcycle week, and never will be. I would like to ride the Mount Washington, or at least tour the lake on the mailboat, and will do some day.
I could not believe all the tourist cabins, motels and the like in this area – now empty for the season. I bet it is impossible to move around in season.
Done at 5:30 – the hour long drive from Wolfeboro to Weirs Beach had taken me 9 1/2 hours – I am still doing well and meeting my shunpiking standards. The plan was to see what was on US3 from Franklin to Concord not having been on that stretch of road before. RAY RECOMMENDS – DON’T BOTHER. The time to get through Tilton to Franklin is hard, and there is nothing to get excited about between Franklin and Concord, other than maybe the NH Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.
I hope you got this far — but remember I do this for Ray, but I am well over 2,200 words, 67 images and one video. Just remember my recommendations, and happy shunpiking.