I cannot keep up to share my adventures. Still I have not yet gotten to my Fall River report, and when asked why by a friend days ago, she said, “that’s right, it is CLARION time.” Yes, the September issue of my newspaper, THE WALPOLE CLARION, went to press this morning (23 August), so I can now write about other things. But before I report on surviving Fall River (teaser at the end), I want to encourage you to follow the roughly 20 mile trip I took on Sunday the 20th.
Sunday I met a bookseller friend in Hopkinton, NH. He was cleaning out the books in a house there, and invited me to pick what I wanted. Arriving there at 10, I finished up at noon. My plan, since I was already across the state (time for this adventure does not include time it took to arrive at the start, or travel home from the end), was to explore a few towns I have missed. DO NOT MISS Hopkinton – it is a delightful small colonial village lasting but a few blocks. Ultimately I wanted to see the Muster Field Farm Museum in North Sutton – and the back roads to take were NH 102 and 114. The first stop was Contoocook Village in Hopkinton where I had lunch.I realized that on this route I could share three covered bridges with you. You can click on the image to the right (above) to read the importance of the bridge below. Hopefully you get the sense of the height to accommodate a puffing steam locomotive.
This village is also charming. I stopped at Union House Oddities which was packed with colorful eye-candy accessories for the home. I struggled, but could not think where to put any of the items that caught my eye. In the center of town is the railroad station, and a car that a citizen bought and gave to the town to restore.
From Hopkinton to Warner I was on the Currier and Ives Byway (Route 103 – the old main road that I-89 now parallels. In recent years a number of states have designated scenic drives, and I hope to share those state websites with you in time . Sadly in Warner the New Hampshire Telephone Museum is closed on Sundays, but I walked around town, and drove up to the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, but decided to wait when I could visit both museums at once. Glad I did not go in, because I would not have made it to my final tour destination in time. You can click the image above left to read the sign about Warner.
Turning on Joppa Road, next to the post office, I came to the Dalton Covered Bridge built 1853 spanning the Warner River, and one of the oldest bridges still in use.
Leaving Warner on Route 103, and passing under I-89, I started looking for Newmarket Road to Waterloo. What a treat when I found it, first seeing the old train station.
and, then the Waterloo Bridge, again across the Warner River, built originally in 1840, rebuilt in 1857. Listed only for 6 tons, the clearance is 8 1/2 feet.
Just before you head down the hill to the river is this sign about Waterloo (you can click to enlarge for readability). This area was an important mill area, and on a stage route. The few homes extant are amazing, and a sample is below (please click to open up the gallery and enjoy the images).
Then I continued on Route 103 to Bradford to pick up Route 114 to Sutton. Ends up there is both a North Sutton, and a South Sutton. Arriving in South Sutton a few people were on the common, and a small cardboard sign said “Old Home Days 10-2” – I had just missed it. What a gorgeous village. Meeting house on the hill, obviously an old tavern to the left, and a fantastic old country store packed with original items. I clambered up onto the porch to peer inside the windows.
As I left the store’s porch two ladies called over to me. Yes, Old Home Days was over, and the store, owned by the historical society, had been open for its one day a year. They tried to think who could come back with a key, but I said it was alright. We chatted about the lovely area, and I learned the historical society owns the meeting house, old school, store, and a few other homes. Again – you need to visit there, and maybe bring a picnic to enjoy on the common.
I then continued on to North Sutton and Kezar Lake. I cannot wait to get back and re-
explore. Ends up this was a summer camp and resort area. If you look at the map you will see the area is on a parallel, and to the east, of Lake Sunapee. I turned off 114 keeping the lake to my left looking for the turn for Muster Field Farm Museum – an 18th century homestead, restored farm buildings, and bicentennial working farm. Of course there is a book MUSTER DAYS AT MUSTER FIELD FARM. I thought I had it, and just found it in my private New Hampshire collection, complete with notes I made when reading it in November 2014. Now on my writing list for a future article “New Hampshire’s Muster Day Tradition”.
Dating from the 1790s the home did serve as a tavern since it sat on one of the main turnpikes for drovers heading to Portsmouth.
Sundays in the summer the homestead is open for tours — I made it just in time. Original – I love it – owned by one family until the 1940s, then one last owner. Upstairs is a ballroom where the militia would have dances – yes, musters were held in a flat field across the street – thus the name. No pictures allowed inside (understandably so the treasures are not publicized) but I could shoot through this pane of wavy glass.
Around the fields…
are 17 farm buildings that have been moved and preserved here to create the museum, including this Mineral Spring House from the complex of buildings that were the Bradford Springs Hotel.
and the various buildings (I did not get into them all, wanting to save some for the next trip) are packed with 19th century treasures. I was thrilled to see this item below – you may guess. But a teaser (not the big one) this is an implement that I will mention in my Did You Know That… article in the December issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION. Already read two books researching the subject.
Back into the center of the village, small green, church, and store.
and at the corner of the lake is the Follansbee Inn – now “on the list.”
There is much more I could share about the farm, and its many events. But RAY RECOMMENDS that you visit during one of the special events. It is really very easy to get to off I-89 from a New London exit — BUT — RAY ALSO HIGHLY RECOMMENDS that you follow Routes 103 (starting at Hopkinton) and 114 (from Bradford) to visit Sutton.
Did I say there was a teaser???
THE VIEW FROM THE 7th STEP
YOURS TRULY – REENACTING THAT FATEFUL DAY
Yes, eventually to be posted a great three days – August 16, 17 and 18.
Thank you for getting this far, as always, yours, RAY