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THE SINGING COWBOY AND THE SHAKERS
The Foliage Issue
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September / October 2021
CONTENTS features 80 /// 31 Ways to Fall for Autumn From late September to the end of October, New England puts on a seasonal show like nowhere else—and stunning foliage is just the beginning. By Kate Whouley 94 /// Living with Ghosts Even when the house you buy is old, it’s easy to feel it was somehow built just for you. But then comes a knock at the door, a stranger appears, and a story begins to unfold. By Oliver Broudy
98 /// One Day in October
Every year some 125,000 people trek up New England’s most-climbed mountain, Monadnock. But just who makes the journey, and why? We put on our hiking boots and started asking. By Ian Aldrich and Corey Hendrickson
106 /// The Man Who Loved Shakers A group of New Hampshire Shakers saw their way of life vanishing, until a singing cowboy came along. By Howard Mansfield
ON THE COVER
One of the easier White Mountains hikes, the Artist’s Bluff Trail in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park delivers a peerless foliage vista. Photo by Kyle Fredrickson
Yankee (ISSN 0044-0191). Bimonthly, Vol. 85 No. 5. Publication Office, Dublin, NH 03444-0520. Periodicals postage paid at Dublin, NH, and additional offices. Copyright 2021 by Yankee Publishing Incorporated; all rights reserved. Postmaster: Send address changes to Yankee, P.O. Box 37128, Boone, IA 50037-0128.
Hikers take in 360-degree views from the bare-rock summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock. Story, p. 98.
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DEAR YANKEE, CONTRIBUTORS & POETRY BY D.A.W.
32 /// A Living Art
Shaping trees into miniature miracles, bonsai can transform both plants and people alike. By Katy Kelleher
14 FIRST PERSON Twenty years onward, a veteran journalist comes to grips with remembering the day America will never forget. By Tatsha Robertson
40 /// Open Studio Connecticut’s Ben Wolff spins off a family tradition with his elegantly handcrafted pots for home and garden. By Annie Graves
WEEKENDS WITH YANKEE Q&A We catch up with Mark Richardson of Massachusetts’s Tower Hill Botanic Garden and learn how to see the autumn landscape with fresh eyes. By Courtney Hollands
60 /// In Season Native squash and apples plus quinoa equals autumn harvest in a bowl. By Amy Traverso In updating a classic Yankee dish, this honeycitrus chicken keeps the flavor but ditches the fuss. By Katherine Keenan
LIFE IN THE KINGDOM There may be no better way to start a day than by pedaling down a back road. By Ben Hewitt
74 /// The Best 5
Yankee foliage expert Jim Salge shares his favorite places to find peak color—and explains what makes them such bright spots.
UP CLOSE Celebrating the Vermont Country Store’s 75th anniversary with a look back to the very beginning. By Jenn Johnson
68 /// Weekend Away Getting high marks for shopping, dining, and outdoor diversions, Hanover, New Hampshire, is a college town for all to enjoy. By Meg Lukens Noonan
78 /// Day Hikes for Leaf Peepers Destinations in every New England state that offer just the right mix of effort and reward.
FIRST LIGHT Seeds of change are taking hold at a seventh-generation New England orchard. By Ian Aldrich
52 /// Tart Nouveau If you think of cranberries as only a side dish to turkey, these colorful treats will open your eyes. By Jessie Sheehan
62 /// Recipe Remake
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EDITORIAL Editor Mel Allen Managing Editor Jenn Johnson Senior Features Editor Ian Aldrich Senior Food Editor Amy Traverso Home & Garden Editor Annie Graves Associate Editor Joe Bills Senior Digital Editor Aimee Tucker Associate Digital Editor Katherine Keenan Contributing Editors Kim Knox Beckius, Sara Anne Donnelly, Ben Hewitt, Rowan Jacobsen, Nina MacLaughlin, Julia Shipley ART Art Director Katharine Van Itallie Photo Editor Heather Marcus Contributing Photographers Adam DeTour, Megan Haley, Corey Hendrickson, Michael Piazza, Greta Rybus PRODUCTION Director David Ziarnowski Manager Brian Johnson Senior Artists Jennifer Freeman, Rachel Kipka
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Ready to get your autumn on? To discover tips and travel ideas for New England’s famously colorful fall season, get forecasts from Yankee’s foliage expert, Jim Salge, and check out an up-to-date map of peak color, go to: newengland.com/foliage Jim Salge
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LE T TERS TO THE EDITOR
TAT S H A R O B E R T S O N Raised in Boston and South Carolina, Robertson always wanted to be a reporter—and ended up embarking on a 25-year-plus career working for the likes of The Boston Globe, Essence, and People. But one story she has left untold until now is her experience covering 9/11 [“The Day I Tried to Forget,” p. 14]. “After 20 years of saying nothing, I think it’s about time … in order to help people understand just how devastating this day was to all of us.” CIG HARVEY A fine-art photographer based in Rockport, Maine, Harvey has seen her work reviewed and featured by The New York Times, the BBC, and Vogue, among others, and most recently she was named a 2021 recipient of the Farnsworth Museum’s Maine in America Award. Of her Yankee assignment [“Living with Ghosts,” p. 94], she says she loved that it gave her the chance “to play with metaphor and symbolism, two of my favorite things.” K AT Y K E L L E H E R A native of Acton, Massachusetts, Kelleher remembers visiting the nearby Bonsai West nursery as a teenager [“A Living Art,” p. 32] and marveling at the forms and shapes on display there. “I’ve always been interested in art forms that are slow and deliberate,” she says, “and bonsai is a wonderful example of this.” The author of Handcrafted Maine, Kelleher is now working on a second book, The Ugly History of Beautiful Things, due out in 2023. O LI V E R BROU DY A veteran journalist who has written for Men’s Health, The New York Times, and Mother Jones, among others, Broudy didn’t have to go looking for inspiration for his Yankee essay—it literally showed up on the doorstep of his home in Western Massachusetts [“Living with Ghosts,” p. 94]. Broudy is also the author of The Sensitives: The Rise of Environmental Illness and the Search for America’s Last Pure Place, published this past July by Simon & Schuster. COREY HENDRICKSON For this frequent Yankee contributor, the most challenging part of his Mount Monadnock assignment [“One Day in October,” p. 98] was also one of the most rewarding: taking portraits of complete strangers. “Even after 15 years as a photographer I still get an adrenaline rush from it,” he says. “It’s a delicate interaction, and completely invigorating.” (But Hendrickson does equally well with inanimate subjects too—see “Meet the Press,” p. 24.) JESSIE SHEEHAN This Massachusetts-raised cookbook author, recipe developer, and baker has been eating cranberries her whole life but says creating recipes for this signature New England fruit [“Tart Nouveau,” p. 52] “really allowed me to stretch my imagination—for instance, I had never made an icebox cake with cranberries before, even though I wrote a whole book about icebox cakes!” Baking fans, take note: Her third cookbook is due out next spring. 10 |
In response to “The Storage Shed” [July/August]: Mel, don’t you worry about a thing! I have tried not to keep too much “stuff ” from my life as I age (60 years and counting), but certain things do bring me comfort, like the only photo of my grandparents from my father’s side. A script from The King and I that I starred in as Anna in high school. My first dog’s leash. Sheet music from my seven years performing in a cabaret group. I try to keep it small but meaningful. I loved that photo of your dad, and thanks for sharing! Denise Billow Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Links to the Past My thanks to Kate Whouley for her story about Cape Cod’s iconic “connectors” [“The Bridges of Barnstable County,” July/August], which helped me to reframe the start of summer, particularly as so many of us began to travel again after the year we endured. W houley’s mention of Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram, the designer of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges—the “Graceful Sisters”—also brings the view from another signature bridge to mind. Driving east over Rhode Island’s Pell/Newport Bridge, toward Aquidneck Island, you’ll spot in the distance the Gothic Revival pinnacles of the St. George’s School chapel, completed by Cram in 1928. Whether on a ride to Newport or Cape Cod, the dramatically different works of this little-known architectural gatekeeper bid us all “welcome.” For me, each time the “Sisters” or the chapel tower come into view, it’s like seeing old friends again. Bill Douglas Portsmouth, Rhode Island Thank you for this article about my three favorite bridges in the world. For much of my childhood I lived in the shadow of the Railroad Bridge. I rode the school bus across the Bourne Bridge NEWENGLAND.COM
7/21/21 2:00 PM
I L LUS T R AT I O N BY D. A .W.
A N D R E W P R I S E ( R O B E R T S O N ) ; A L I S S A H E S S L E R ( H A R V E Y ) ; C H A S LYO N S ( H E N D R I C K S O N ) ; J U L I A H E M B R E E S M I T H ( S H E E H A N )
October mischief in the breeze Brings toilet paper in the trees. As night grows long, and the day declines, We light our way with monkeyshines. —D.A.W. for years; then, after my folks purchased and ran a motel in Bournedale, I rode over the Cape Cod Canal on the Sagamore Bridge to Bourne High School. And every day I waved to sailors going past my home, often as I sat on the rocks studying Latin. I know how blessed I was to grow up having these marvelous bridges in sight. I miss them and often dream of living on the canal once again. Your article and photos brought back many wonderful memories! Nancy Cabisius Broberg Evansville, Wisconsin Too Much of a Good Thing
I L LUS T R AT I O N BY D. A .W.
J U L I A H E M B R E E S M I T H ( S H E E H A N ) ; C H A S LYO N S ( H E N D R I C K S O N ) ; A N D R E W P R I S E ( R O B E R T S O N ) ; A L I S S A H E S S L E R ( H A R V E Y )
TRICK OR TREAT
F R E E P O R T, P O R T L A N D A N D S C A R B O R O U G H | M A I N E C H I LT O N S . C O M
To the readers who attempted our Blueberry-Lime Snack Cake [July/ August] only to experience epic pan overflow, mea culpa! We should have specified using a 2-inch-deep cake pan; many older pans are shallower and therefore can’t handle all that scrumptiousness. We regret the omission—please do give it another try: newengland.com/snack-cake
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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begin my mornings scrolling through a host of New England newspapers online, just seeing what people are up to. One day in May I read in the Bangor Daily News about Woodland Consolidated School, in the small town of Woodland in Aroostook County, Maine. For years, educators there have emphasized teaching cursive writing, that all-but-forgotten skill many of us once possessed before we put aside pens and pencils for keyboards and, later, thumbs on a phone. They have taught it so well that recently Christian Vargas, a seventh grader, and Allison St. Peter, a third grader, each won a prize in a national competition for cursive writing that attracted some 80,000 entries. Allison’s mother, Carrie St. Peter, a teacher at Woodland Consolidated School, told The New York Times (which had quickly hopped onto the story), “It’s something that our school takes a lot of pride in.” Allison’s beautiful handwriting in the title of this page shows the art lives on. As I began to write this column— with fingers on a keyboard, alas—I thought about how many stories in this issue ref lect the traditions and rituals that stay with us. We visit a seventh-generation family apple orchard whose heritage will now continue with a non-family orchardist who also cherishes the land [“Seeds of Change,” p. 18]. Turn a few pages past that, and you will learn about one of the most extensive displays of the ancient art of bonsai to be found outside Japan [“A Living Art,” p. 32], and beyond that, discover new ways to enjoy cranberries, a fruit that was 12 |
first cultivated on Cape Cod in 1816 [“Tart Nouveau,” p. 52]. After Thoreau and Emerson climbed New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock, their passionate elegies to its beauty enticed others to follow—so many that Monadnock is now one of the most-climbed peaks in the world. “One Day in October” [p. 98] will introduce you to some of those who come to this mountain to find their own trail. And “The Man Who Loved Shakers” [p. 106] tells how Bud Thompson’s devotion to the elders of a spiritual sect nearing its end helped preserve its legacy and stories for people today to discover. There is a thread that I see from Thompson, with his belief in the importance of Shaker heritage, to a Woodland teacher named Alexandra Lord. She told the Times, “I always tell my students: ‘You should be proud of your name. You should be able to write it as beautifully as you can because it represents your spirit, and you, and what you can accomplish.’” Thompson and Lord both celebrate worthwhile endeavors even as they may seem to be dying out. And now here for all of us to see is Allison St. Peter’s young spirit, ref lected in her careful hand:
Mel Allen firstname.lastname@example.org
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TAT S H A R O B E R T S O N
The Day I Tried to Forget Twenty years ago, the world changed forever. ILLUS T R AT ION BY
ALICE YU DENG
ome 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001, as did many others afterward, from the long-term effects of exposure to various toxic substances released. I did not lose friends or family members that day—I merely covered the events, and the aftermath, as a Boston Globe reporter assigned at the time to New York. It is a day most Americans will never forget, but for 14 |
me, despite my avoidance of personal loss, it’s a day I’ve tried very hard not to remember. For nearly 20 years after I reported on the terrorist attacks, I stopped reading about them. I found myself avoiding the anniversaries and switching news channels when there was something on about September 11. During my first year as People’s crime editor, I called in sick the day my team was to get an
exclusive tour of the Freedom Tower. My avoidance had nothing to do with fatigue, but everything to do with a hopeless feeling I got in the pit of my stomach as I reported what I was seeing. I’m getting that sensation again as I write. There’s only one way to describe that day: It was like we were caught in the midst of World War III, and all we could do was wait for the next shoe to drop. NEWENGLAND.COM
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TAT S H A R O B E R T S O N
At the time, I was the Globe ’s national correspondent. It was my dream job, one that allowed me to travel all over the country to report either breaking stories or enterprise stories I came up with myself. A month before the attacks, Kenneth Cooper, the Globe’s national editor, called me and my colleague Cindy Rodriguez into his off ice for a brief meeting. Elections were happening in Los Angeles and New York City on September 11. He wanted to explore race and the election. As I was Black and Cindy was Puerto Rican, we were a perfect team to write about the voting experience in those cities. The question was, which place would we be reporting in? “I’ll let you guys figure that out,” Ken said. Cindy, a native New Yorker, wanted us in California, but I fought for New York City, which is still my favorite city in the world, and that’s where we went. I soon realized the decision may have saved our lives, since we took the train to New York instead of Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles, which hijackers took over and slammed into the north tower. The early morning of September 11, however, was anything but terrifying. It was beautiful and sunny; I remember one anchor, a morningshow host, prophetically calling it “quiet, almost too quiet.” We were staying in a bed-andbreakfast in Harlem. After a quick
morning jog, we returned just in time to see on television the second plane strike the south tower. We jumped onto a subway train, which eventually stopped in its tracks. We were trapped there when the buildings collapsed, f irst the south tower and then the
While reporting, I was able to block the grief. But it was when I sat in the quiet of the hotel that the sheer terror of it all would hit me. north. I had a transistor radio, which helped me and Cindy, and dozens of worried New Yorkers who stood around us, to piece together what was going on. When we emerged above ground, I was able to get fairly close to ground zero, where I couldn’t help but stare at the iconic remnants, the twisted and smoking steel, the bed of rubble and debris, the burning f ires. Rudy Giuliani, who was seen as a hero that day, gave me a lift to Midtown, where reporters waited for the injured to arrive at the hospital. They never did, because there were very few survivors.
Yankee Classic In September 2006, Yankee published one of its most powerful profiles ever, “The Maine Connection.” Mike Tuohey was the US Airways ticket agent in Portland, Maine, who sold Mohamed Atta and another Flight 11 hijacker their fateful tickets on the morning of September 11, 2001. In an interview with editor Mel Allen, Tuohey looks back on that day—“My whole being told me something was wrong, and I could not do anything about it”—and shares how his life was forever changed. To read the article, go to newengland.com/maine-connection.
I was used to covering shootings and plane crashes, but this was different. One television reporter correctly described what all of us were experiencing—the burning buildings, the thousands of photographs of victims pasted on walls, the ash falling on our bodies, the burning-tire smell that permeated the city—as an “orgy of terror.” For weeks I remained in New York, listening to the stories people told me about their loved ones calling from planes and from burning buildings, right before their deaths. W hile reporting, I was able to block the grief. But it was when I sat in the quiet of the hotel—and afterward, when I had returned to Boston—that the sheer terror of it all would hit me. I’ ll never forget inter viewing a woman whose identical twin sister died in the attacks. When I was alone, I couldn’t help but try to imagine what it must feel like to look in the mirror every day and be reminded of your sister’s tragic death. The famous photograph of a man jumping from one of the towers stuck in my head, too. Who was he? I wondered as I tried to go to sleep. What was he thinking as he dropped to his death? Exposed to these traumatic stories, I internalized them when I was alone. The voices of the victims reverberated in my head. The anxiety I felt in my stomach reminded me of something else. Although born in Boston, I grew up mostly in South Carolina, the heart of the Bible Belt, where my mother often talked about the end of the world. She talked about the fire and the pain that was coming our way. That hopeless feeling in my gut as I reported on September 11 and the days afterward was exactly what I felt when my mother warned of the end times. There was something about the attacks that had us all questioning the future. Life would go on, but it was definitely the end of the world I knew; changes were coming, and those changes I wouldn’t be able to avoid. NEWENGLAND.COM
7/15/21 11:01 AM
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The Clipper Ship Trade Wind Jewelry Collection Early December, 1868 – A man left Gardiner, Maine, traveled to New York City, boarded his clipper ship, sailed it as its captain around the tip of South America up to San Francisco, then on to Java, Burma, and China. Almost two years later with his ship laden with sugar and tea, he returned home first to New York then to Gardiner, Maine, and his loving family as he had done many times before. Captain Drew kept an unusually detailed handwritten account of his journeys. We have the captain’s log, a beautifully written document also illustrated by the captain. We are serializing this story on our website. The captain’s log was loaned to us by the captain’s great-great-grandson Keith, who goes on gem-buying expeditions to Southeast Asia each year to acquire gems in the on, cutting centers of the world. Keith brings these gems back to New England esti g?” u q n ed where he creates beautiful jewelry, making monthly additions to our ask peni alive tly e Clipper Ship Trade Wind Jewelry Collection.We have the journal n o e u ur e ar qu t fre e yo yet. W ite is o and Keith’s jewelry collection. Visit our website to see the s o s r t m b o a e n entire Trade Wind Jewelry Collection. hen er still is, ing. Our wazing job. W “ answ thriv n am y. a da The ell and oing every d l us w d s n d Cal a g n r n a e i o r h o t /7 USA st New Buy 24 where Right Now y k& g an Clic hippin 123 Trade Wind pieces on-line. eS Fre
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LIGHT Seeds of Change A seventh-generation farmer and a young outsider join forces to keep a Massachusetts apple orchard growing. BY IAN ALDRICH | PHOTOS BY MEGAN HALEY
ourtney Basil lifts a hand off the steering wheel and points forward. “I want to show you something,” she says over the rumble of her four-wheeler. It’s a Wednesday morning in early October, and Basil is leading me on a tour of Apex Orchards, the 380-acre fruit farm in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, that she co-manages with owner Tim Smith. She cuts across a large, sloping pasture with views that cut deep into Vermont and New Hampshire as we descend to “Three Corners,” a triangle-shaped plot with rows of Christmas trees of varying heights. We make a wide circle around the balsams before Basil turns around to head back to the larger pasture. “Most people love the view from above, at the store, which is understandable,” she says. “You have this whole view of the property and everything behind it. But this, this is my favorite spot.” The field before us holds its summertime greeniness, and at its crest sits the orchard ’s farm store, giving it an unexpected grandness. On either side of the building the land spills down into acres of fruit trees. Over the next hour Basil will motor
to other parts of the property—there are Cortlands and Macouns to check on, vines of grapes to sample, and the quinces need a set of eyes—but it’s down here in the valley where a kind of awe creeps into her voice about the land and its next chapter. During its nearly 200-year life, Apex has only been in Tim Smith’s family. But at age 64 and with no heirs, he’s turning over ownership to Basil, 32, who lives on the farm with her fiancé. Though the transition will take a few years to complete, the arrangement will work like this: Smith will continue to live in the family farmhouse, draw a salary, and work parttime. Basil will inherit the land and business for free. Apex will continue on as a farm, and its new owner won’t be saddled with mounds of debt as she keeps it going. “I don’t come from a family of farmers,” says Basil, who grew up in nearby Conway. “When I came here, it was because Tim had a job for me. But then this stunning thing hit me: I can do this for the rest of my life. It’s really something to work the land, to plant something, and then see that tree produce fruit. That’s satisfying. I knew Tim had been thinking about what
would happen next for the farm and that he wanted to keep it a farm, and so I made my pitch.” — In 1828 a Revolutionary War veteran by the name of Abner Peck Sr. relocated from his family home in Lyme, Connecticut, to a soil-rich hillside property in western Massachusetts. On a plot of land with views of Vermont and New Hampshire, Peck built his farm. He raised livestock, grew vegetables, and planted the land’s first apple trees. Over time the farm expanded, contracted, and expanded again. Shortly after World War II, Tim Smith ’s grandfather, Lyndon Peck, closed the dairy operation his father had built up and converted the land to orchards. By the time Smith returned to the farm in the early 1980s, Apex was one of the largest wholesale apple suppliers in Massachusetts. Over the next two decades, however, increasing expenses and regulations were never matched by an Over the decades, Tim Smith’s family land has been a farmstead, a dairy, and now a sprawling orchard, all while keeping a family member at the helm. But now Smith and Courtney Basil, shown at bottom left, are charting a new course in ownership.
7/15/21 11:16 AM
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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Visitors beeline it to Apex Orchards’ hilltop store for farm-fresh produce and expansive views.
increase in prof its. Smith turned to the burgeoning local-food movement and an expanded retail operation to keep the farm going. He sold his apples and honey out of a small store, opened a pick-your-own section of the orchard, and supplied local restaurants and farmers’ markets with his fruit. But Smith always preferred to be planting trees or mowing fields instead of leading wagon rides or making sales calls. He grew up working alongside his father and grandfather, and to see the land with him is like opening his family photo album. Here are the first blueberry bushes his grandfather planted in the 1920s. Here is where Smith set up his first beehives as a kid. Here is the pond where Smith’s father once described to his young son how beavers built their dams. All of which helps explain why Smith’s attachment to the orchard supersedes the dollars he could extract from it. Years ago conservation easements were placed on much of the property, cutting off any quick development money, and as he pushed closer to his own retirement Smith started considering options for his and the farm’s future. What he desired was both simple and complicated. He wanted to stay here, to work when he could, and to see his heritage remain a 20 |
working farm. Smith had talked with another farmhand about taking over from him; when those conversations ended, Basil, who began working for Smith in 2010, approached her boss. “In hindsight I should have gotten married and had kids,” says Smith. “But that didn’t work out, and even then you don’t know if the farm is going to be something your kids want to do. I want to continue to farm the rest of my life. As long as Courtney can put up with me, I’ll hop on a tractor and go mowing.” The two are quite different. Where Smith is tall and quiet, Basil is short with an easy laugh—by her own admission, an extrovert. And though Smith can converse with farm visitors, Basil relishes it. Their working relationship is relaxed, full of lighthearted sarcasm. When Smith built the new store, he charged his partner with overseeing its operation. It was Basil who was the face of the orchard as Apex experienced a 40 percent bump in visitor traffic during the pandemic, and it was Basil who found new outlets for the orchard’s apples after Covid wiped out the 2020 farmers’ market season. “We’ve been trying to walk that line between the [tourist experience] and wanting to keep it a farm,” says Smith. “It doesn’t really bother me
that we’ve had to make these changes, but I’m not the person who should be out in front.” Basil concedes that the stereotypical image of an orchard owner—older and male—exists for a reason. “It’s still a man’s world,” she says. But in a region at the core of New England’s biggest apple-producing state, Basil says she has felt welcomed by old-timers who see their industry begin to percolate with change. Two nearby orchards are also now headed by young women: Chelcie Martin at Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, and Elly Vaughan at Phoenix Fruit Farm in Belchertown. Which really shouldn’t be surprising. Successful farms always need to adapt; survival depends on it. Today, the big apple trees that Smith’s grandfather planted have been replaced by dwarf varieties that allow for easier care and greater production. Gone, too, are the days when Apex largely produced Macs. Some 50 different varieties are now grown at the orchard, as well as other fruit—nectarines, apricots, quinces, kiwifruit—that would have seemed unimaginable a few decades ago. Basil’s turn at the helm is just the latest iteration of a farm that is changing. “It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to think about it,” says Smith. “It’s a farm and it’s going to stay a farm. It’s good to know that it will continue.” It’s midmorning now, and he and Basil are standing around the store, which will open shortly. Earlier, Smith had remarked how quickly Basil had embraced the long days that come with the work. With some affection he’d called her an “old-fart farmer,” and I remind him of the comment. Basil laughs. “That’s not true! ” she exclaims, rolling her eyes. “Well, maybe it’s a little true—I can get a little stuck in my ways. This has all been a little unexpected. I never thought I could work on a tractor or help to open a store. It just shows you’re capable of anything if you really want to do it.” apexorchards.com NEWENGLAND.COM
7/15/21 11:20 AM
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W I T H YA N K E E Q & A A day at the office is a walk in the park for Mark Richardson, director of horticulture at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts.
its flowers as a fried egg: clear white outer petals and a bright yellow center. Stellaria also blooms pretty late, and of course there are asters and goldenrods. The typical New England meadowscape is just awash with color in the fall—lots of purples, pinks, yellows, and whites. Q. What can home gardeners do now to get their gardens in good shape for spring?
Catching up with a New England botanic garden guru and Weekends with Yankee featured guest.
ot only does autumn at Tower Hill Botanic Garden offer sweeping foliage views of the Wachusett Reservoir, but it also means there are still plenty of plants in bloom across the 171-acre property in Boylston, Massachusetts. “It’s a great time to visit a botanic garden, and it’s a little quieter,” says Mark Richardson, director of horticulture at Tower Hill. “You can look at any level and see fall color.” (Another reason to go? The garden hosts its popular Autumn Illuminated evening walking tours in October.) Here, Richardson shares some insights on the fall season—and weighs in on the great pumpkin-versus-apple debate. —Courtney Hollands Q. Everyone’s always looking up to see fall color. What are some good reasons to look down?
There’s an obscure native plant called 22 |
three-toothed cinquefoil, a tiny, shrubby ground cover that turns an amazing maroon, almost purple, in the fall and holds that color straight through winter. And one of my favorite ornamental grasses is little bluestem, which is light green during the growing season and then goes from rust to purple to silver in the fall; it’s showy for four to six weeks before it fades to light brown for the winter. Compared with spring, fall has a different pace— you have a lot more time to appreciate the color and the seasonal change. Q. What are your favorite late bloomers in New England?
Native witch hazel, which can bloom until Thanksgiving, is subtle and beautiful, with straplike yellow petals. There’s another plant we have that’s extinct in the wild called franklinia, a small tree with absolutely stunning fall color. Someone once described
Q. So, what should we do with all those raked leaves?
Use them to mulch your perennial beds—you can suck them through a shredder vacuum to break them down into smaller pieces, more like mulch material—or pack them into a cylinder made out of chicken wire, and within a year you’ll have a pretty rich compost. Leaves are like black gold. You definitely want to keep as many around as you can. Q. What’s the best fall flavor: pumpkin or apple?
Definitely apple. Pumpkin is sort of a special dessert or treat, but I eat at least a few apples a day in the fall. Tower Hill Botanic Garden is featured on season five of Weekends with Yankee. To find out how to watch, go to weekendswithyankee.com.
K AYA N A SZ Y M C Z A K
Fall is perfect for planting trees and shrubs. As long as the soil stays above 45 degrees, you’re still getting a lot of active root growth. It’s also a great time to do lawn renovations—people like to aerate and seed their lawns in the fall and maybe spread some compost. You should also make sure your planting beds are covered in a decent layer of mulch before the winter, to protect the root systems.
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Meet the Press The Vermont Country Store’s heavyweight champ of company history. BY JENN JOHNSON
f you were in the market for a printing press toward the end of the 19th century, your eye may have been caught by an ad from the Peerless Printing Press Company in Palmyra, New York. Headlined “That Smooth, Easy-Running ‘Peerless,’” it gets right to the point: Constructed substantially. Built to stand the test. High speed—no noise—no jar—is easily operated. Remember we have been building these machines for over 30 years, and each year have improved its mechanism. Straightforward and puffery-free, it’s the sort of sales pitch that would have appea led to the late Vrest Orton, founder of the Vermont Countr y Store, who learned the importance of less-is-more salesmanship from none other than Leon Leonwood Bean. In a 1979 radio interview, Vrest recalled the legendary Maine retailer telling him Looming large among the collection of artifacts at the Vermont Country Store’s headquarters, this 19th-century printing press cranked out the company’s first catalogs. PHOTO BY COREY HENDRICKSON
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left : Vrest Orton working the Peerless in his print shop in 1936, not long after he founded the Countryman Press (a name that was later revived by another Vermont publisher and is still in use today). above :
The inaugural edition of the Vermont Country Store Catalog.
The original store in Weston, which the Ortons hurried to open in 1946 on the heels of the catalog’s success.
early on, “When you write something in your catalog, don’t say the merchandise is better than it is. It’s much better for the customer who gets the merchandise to say it’s better than you said it was.” Vrest Orton was born in 1897, so he probably never saw the Peerless ad. 26 |
And by the time he embarked on his retail career in the 1940s, a Peerless press was a bona fide antique. But it’s fitting that this machine, its virtues plainly extolled, would churn out the first editions of Vrest’s catalog— a publication whose success selling products that were, above all else,
useful would help turn the Vermont Country Store into the multimilliondollar family company it is today, 75 years onward. — A visit to the Vermont Country Store headquarters in Manchester, Vermont, feels a little like stepping into a local historical society, albeit a particularly well-funded one. The lobby walls are f illed with museum-quality panels of vintage photos and Orton family lore. In an alcove next to the company archives is a display of technological artifacts ranging from Vrest’s 1930s Smith & Corona to his son Lyman’s 15-pound “laptop,” a 1989 Compaq. And at the foot of the main staircase sits the Peerless press, several hundred pounds of weathered cast iron, next to its similarly hulking paper cutter. Now 80, Lyman Orton is the patriarch of the company’s family storekeepers, a group rounded out by sons Cabot, Gardner, and Eliot. Lyman was only 4 when his father, spurred by memories of the country store run by his own father and grandfather in North Calais, Vermont, began laying the groundwork for the Vermont Country Store with his wife, Mildred, in 1945. In Weston, where the family lived, there was a suitable building (by coincidence, a virtual twin of the North Calais store), but because of war shortages, merchandise for stocking the shelves was hard to come by. So they began with mail-order. “My father had started a print shop called the Countryman Press in 1935, so he already had the printing presses, and he knew how to write and put out a catalog,” Lyman says. “So he gets some local products together, calls them ‘36 items you can buy now,’ and prints a little catalog to send to mainly people on the family Christmas card list.” Enlivened by Vrest’s conversational descriptions (The flavor is the best I have ever tasted, and I am a crabby fellow who insists on something pretty special in popcorn), the medley of local crafts,
COURTESY OF THE VERMONT COUNTRY STORE
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SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
7/21/21 10:21 AM
Even after Lyman Orton ( left) succeeded his father in 1975, he says, Vrest never officially retired, and continued helping out with the catalogs as well as greeting customers at the Weston store ( above ).
to a professor in neighboring South Londonderry, and it would not be seen by the Orton family again for more than half a century. — Lyman Orton is fond of saying that the Vermont Country Store today is actually three stores: online, wooden, and paper. Yet for all the convenience of the website and the yesteryear coziness of the physical shops in Weston and Rockingham, the catalog endures by offering both those lures at once. It’s a trip back in time—through seersucker and oilcloth, taffy and Teaberry gum, toiletries and remedies— that can be taken from a favorite armchair, unhurried. “People will even bring their catalogs into the store, with pages folded down on what they like,” Lyman says. “They tell us, ‘My gosh, I’ve been getting the catalog for 20 years!’” In millions of households, the Vermont Country Store catalog is an old friend—which means the Ortons, who frequently appear in its pages, are too. “Whenever I’m traveling and someone asks what I do, when I say I own the Vermont Country Store it’s amazing how people will take me into their closest confidence,” Lyman says.
“They feel like they know me, which is terrific.” That same feeling of goodwill toward Vermont’s famous family of storekeepers, in fact, may have led to the return of the prodigal Peerless. Or it could have been plain old smalltown connections. Lyman isn’t sure. But he does know that about 15 years ago, someone called to say that Vrest’s old printing equipment was down in his cellar, and the Ortons were welcome to it. Turns out, the Peerless hadn’t ever moved from the professor’s house in South Londonderry. It had only waited to be rediscovered. And after being scrubbed of decades of grime and r ust, the machine that once launched a tiny mail-order business from a garage took its place of honor at the Vermont Country Store’s headquarters—in its own way, a testament to the power of bringing back things remembered. To read more of Yankee’s recent conversation with Lyman Orton about life behind the scenes at the Vermont Country Store, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, go to newengland.com/lyman-orton.
rurally themed books, and wholegrain foodstuffs drew plenty of orders. “But my parents also got letters from people saying, ‘We’re coming up next summer and we want to see the store,’” Lyman says, and laughs. “There was no store yet!” The Ortons had rectified that by 1946, though, when they opened the Vermont Country Store in the heart of Weston. Lyman remembers learning how to sweep the wooden f loor with sawdust and kerosene, and how to open a barrel of pickles; at 6, he was already stamping endorsements on mail-order checks. As a kid he even helped with the catalog, hand-feeding the paper into the press alongside his father in the garage print shop. “Even to this day, when I pick up a ream of paper for the copy machine, I automatically flex it to break the pages apart, like this.” Lyman gives a vigorous twist to an invisible slab of paper, recalling the way his father would break reams of newsprint. By the 1950s, though, the Vermont Country Store catalog had grown in size and circulation to the point that the Peerless was retired in favor of newer technology. Along with its paper cutter, the press was off loaded
7/19/21 10:58 AM
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A LIVING ART Shaping trees into miniature miracles, bonsai can transform both plants and people alike. BY K AT Y K E L L E H E R | P H OTO S BY G R E TA RY B U S
7/21/21 2:15 PM
Bonsai West owner Michael Levin refines an azalea bonsai using scissors from Japan specially designed to make precise cuts. THIS PAGE : A modern pot by Midwestern artisan Sara Rayner complements this traditionally styled 25-year-old Chinese ficus.
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ight years ago, I picked up an umbrella tree at Bonsai West, a two-acre nursery in Littleton, Massachusetts, that boasts one of the most extensive bonsai collections outside Japan. The plant was around 15 years old, the cashier told me as I examined its shape. I was taken in by its twisty aerial roots, its seven-leaved green whorls, and its brown and crimson glazed pot. It looked like a piece of a miniature forest, whimsical and stately at once. It was, I thought, the perfect birthday gift for a plant-obsessed scientist I had been dating. After a few moments of deliberation, I bought the tropical bonsai, and it lives with us now, in Maine. The scientist and I have been married for going on six years. The bonsai, he says, remains the best gift he has ever received, and I do not try to top it.
Compared with some of the trees at Bonsai West, our umbrella tree is a youngster. Owner Michael Levin has stashed away thousands of specimens, ranging in age from seedling to centenarian, in five greenhouses, in the basement of the 250-year-old farmhouse, and on the landscaped grounds. Some are his creations, while others are trees he’s babysitting or nursing for clients. He has practiced the art for nearly 40 years, and while he doesn’t consider himself a “master” (you have to train in Japan under a special program for that), he does admit, “I hope I’m somewhat good at it.” When Levin first started in 1982, he grew his tiny juniper and pine trees in a 12-foot greenhouse in his Brookline, Massachusetts, backyard and sold them door to door from his VW Rabbit or set up on the sidewalk in Harvard Square. Americans were just becoming interested in bonsai, and Levin was on the cutting edge of a trend. As he expanded his collection, he moved from Brookline to Somerville, and eventually to Littleton. He also made frequent trips to California, where he could buy from first-generation Japanese-American bonsai growers. “They were already old-timers when I bought those trees in the 1980s,” he says. “There are trees here that I’ve had for 35 years. At the time, I thought, How could old man Yamasaki sell me a 30-year-old tree he’s grown? But now, 30 years have gone by. I understand.” NEWENGLAND.COM
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opposite , from left :
Levin with a traditionally styled five-needle pine bonsai, grown and trained in Japan; an array of bonsai tools, including a root hook and custommade chopsticks used to manipulate the soil around the tree’s root system. this page : The garden at Bonsai West, which is home to some of the oldest bonsai in the U.S., with several more than a century old.
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LEARN AND GROW Bonsai Gardens of Connecticut: Since the 1970s, Victor Eng has been teaching, creating, and selling bonsai. Visitors can also buy tools and pots. Manchester, CT; bonsaigardensofct.com Entwood Bonsai: A longtime member of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Ernie Glabau sells indoor and outdoor trees. Burnham, ME; 207-948-3244 New England Bonsai Gardens: The region’s largest bonsai nursery hosts numerous classes and events. Bellingham, MA; nebonsai.com
Some of Levin’s trees are familiar—miniature versions of the pines and maples we see every day—but others are wild and sculptural, twisted into forms that look ancient and magnificent. The oldest are a few hundred years, although there are also bonsai that have been trained to grow around 1,000-year-old pieces of bare wood, a more contemporary practice that roughly translates in English to “phoenix graft.” The goal of traditional bonsai, Levin explains, is to mimic the forms found in nature while providing a sense of composition. Although originally a Chinese art, the main structural rules come from 19th-century Japan. He shows me a redwood that is “being styled to look like a California redwood.” For traditional bonsai, there is a front to a tree and a back, and as you gaze at it, you begin to see the purposeful creation of depth through a layering of branches. “The Japanese would describe it like a cape flowing behind royalty.” Not only does Levin house trees sculpted by visiting artists, but he also has trees created by clients, students, and relative strangers. People bring their trees when they get sick, and he works to restore them, a process that can take months or years. “People form huge emotional
attachments to trees,” he says. Judy Duggan, a longtime volunteer at Bonsai West, keeps a dozen trees that were originally collected by her late husband. “When he passed away, the collection that I had only casually been part of became mine,” she says. “It was like a legacy.” And while some inherit trees or get them as gifts, others are simply bitten by the bonsai bug.” Although Levin has had a princess from the United Arab Emirates leave with a $7,000 bonsai, these big-ticket purchases aren’t what drive his business. “You’d be surprised at the number of people who are buying bonsai with their tip money,” Levin says. “They get struck by bonsai the way I did, and become passionate about it.” Over the years, he has bred his own competition, teaching bonsai artists who’ve gone on to start their own businesses, and he has watched the art form evolve from the work of the original California Japanese artists to today’s “young kids” who are pushing the genre. It’s an exciting time to be a part of bonsai. “The way bonsai are being created now, with deadwood and abstract In addition to creating and selling bonsai, Levin offers plant-sitting services and even “hospital“ stays to nurse clients’ ailing bonsai back to health.
Suthin Bonsai Studio: Awardwinning artist/teacher Suthin Sukosolvisit offers advanced instruction and a high-end collection. Stoughton, MA; suthinbonsaistudio.com Shin-Boku Nursery: For more than 50 years, this nursery has specialized in Japanese garden tree-trimming and landscape gardening. Wentworth, NH; shin-bokunursery.com
7/21/21 2:20 PM
“RACE POINT LIGHT”
Provincetown, Massachusetts Forrest Pirovano’s painting “Race Point Light” shows A Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Cod Race Point in Provincetown, MA is one of the worst stretches of land for shipwrecks along the entire Cape Cod Coast. Race Point’s name comes from the strong crosscurrent, known as the “race” that made navigation a nightmare for mariners. In 1816 the government built a lighthouse to protect them from danger. The site can be reached by walking about 45 minutes over sand or a Permitted four-wheel-drive vehicle can be used. Sunset at Race Point is one of the Cape’s most popular spectacles and at times humpback whales can be seen from the beach. This beautiful limited-edition print of an original oil painting, is individually numbered and signed by the artist.
This exquisite print is bordered by a museum-quality white-on-white double mat, measuring 11 X 14 inches. Framed in either a black or white 1½ inch deep wood frame, this limited-edition print measures 12¼ X 15¼ inches and is priced at only $149. Matted but unframed the price for this print is $109. Prices include shipping and packaging Forrest Pirovano is a Cape Cod artist. His paintings capture the picturesque landscape and seascapes of the Cape which have a universal appeal. His paintings often include the many antique wooden sailboats and picturesque lighthouses that are home to Cape Cod.
FORREST PIROVANO, artist P.O. Box 1011 • Mashpee, MA 02649 Visit our studio in Mashpee Commons, Cape Cod All major credit cards are welcome. Please send card name, card number, expiration date, code number & billing ZIP code. Checks are also accepted.…Or you can call Forrest at 781-858-3691.…Or you can pay through our website www.forrestcapecodpaintings.com
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A POT FOR EVERY PLANT Traditionally, bonsai are grown in graceful ceramic dishes that inhibit root growth. Bonsai West owner Michael Levin’s favorite New England sources include: Paul Olson: First, Olson fell in love with bonsai; then he began mastering pottery, earning second place at the 2015 National Juried Bonsai Pottery Exhibition. Playful and textured, his pots differ from the traditional sleek style. clamalleypots.bigcartel .com Jack Hoover: Hoover makes striking pottery, ranging in tone from slate blue to terracotta to glazed black, and also works as a bonsai artist. eaglevillebonsai.net Susan Ranck: A member of the League of NH Craftsmen, Ranck has been making pottery for decades; her custom pieces for Bonsai West are a new addition to her “mostly functional” line of work.
forms, that’s a 21st-century phenomenon,” he says. “I’ve seen a huge interest in bonsai among the younger generations.” Maybe it’s an aspect of what The New York Times has described as millennials’ “obsession” with houseplants—but deeper, given bonsai’s level of commitment. As Levin says, “There are few things in life this real and tangible. You put your hands on the soil, on the tree, and inevitably, it will grow. People crave this slow, honest connection with something living, something old, something beautiful.” Now, years after my first visit, I leave Bonsai West with another small tree, this time a juniper. Like many of his outdoor trees, this sixinch, winding plant has been spending its winter inside a bulkhead, where it gets no light and is sheltered from the freezing wind and snow. Levin is known in the bonsai community for his work with pines and junipers—two of the more “masculine” species, both of which can live outdoors in New England, though they must hiber-
Like frames awaiting their paintings, bonsai pots from Japan and China crowd the shelves at Bonsai West, along with handcrafted pieces by American artisans.
nate during the harshest months of the winter. This tree, Levin says, will grow alongside my unborn daughter. Earlier in the day, I revealed to him that we’re naming her Juniper. Before I leave, he instructs me on how to keep the tree alive in Maine: We have to water it only when it’s dry, and we have to stash it underground for a few weeks before we can bring it out into the light. It’s a metaphor for my swelling stomach. I manage not to cry until I get to my car, where, on the seat next to me, sits a twisted little tree in a ceramic pot, light green needles a soft halo around old, strong limbs—a gift I can give, when the time is right, to my Juniper. For more information, including a schedule of upcoming classes, go to bonsaiwest.com. NEWENGLAND.COM
7/15/21 12:03 PM
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Throwing His Own Way Ben Wolff spins off a family tradition with his elegantly handcrafted pots for home and garden. BY ANNIE GR AVES PHOTOS BY MEGAN HALEY
7/15/21 12:11 PM
Ben Wolff works on a “roped-rim” pot using a homemade pattern-making tool called a coggle. this page , clockwise from far left : Stacks of pots and saucers show Wolff’s signature unfussy style; the future potter in his father’s studio c. 1983; a detail of his own claystreaked work space in Goshen, Connecticut.
he music is twangy, languid, slow as a muddy river. It is a perfect foil to the action unfurling in the video—the rise and fall of a slippery chunk of clay, growing and collapsing, over and over, guided by sure fingers, until finally, in its last instant, it blooms, opening into a flowerpot. The pot is a handmade Ben Wolff pot; the bluesy song is called “Mud,” by Ben and his music partner Simon Biddle. Ben is equal parts potter and musician, just as his elegant pots are comfortable in the home or the garden. A thirdgeneration artist, he came to the craft early, as evidenced in a fading photo that captures a moment in amber: a beautiful 3-year-old up to his elbows in mud, standing confidently behind a potter’s wheel. “I doubt I had Play-Doh,” Ben muses, from his basement studio in the town of Goshen, Connecticut. “My parents probably gave me clay.” He’s kept some of his earliest pieces, including one that’s “ just a round blob with a hole in the middle.” His dad fired it, having written 1981 and Ben on the bottom, which means Ben was about 1 when he made it. But by the time that photo was snapped, “I already knew what the clay and the wheel felt like, the SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
7/21/21 2:35 PM
FROM LEFT :
Finished pots and planters, all stamped with Wolff’s name and a number that indicates the weight of the wet clay used (he also signs every one on the bottom); an array of pot saucers drying on their “bats,” the discs on which pottery is thrown.
sensation of it spinning, the wetness of the clay, and the smoothness.” So… Ben’s father is Guy Wolff. And as any serious gardener will tell you, Guy Wolff pots are the ne plus ultra, the pots that plants dream of occupying. Their lovely shapes, steeped in historical tradition and antique design, effortlessly enhance a garden’s beauty, and sometime in the 1990s, fervent gardeners took note, including Martha Stewart. Guy appeared on her TV show, and in later years, Ben, a potter in his own right, would appear too. “I fell into liking it,” Ben says about the pottery gig. “My dad didn’t teach me like an apprentice, because I think he feared that if he did that, I might not be so into it. We always called it ‘osmosis learning,’ and I give him props, because he could have been like, ‘Hey Ben, you gotta make a thousand mugs, and you gotta learn how to pull a thousand handles,’ but instead he was like, ‘Ben doesn’t like making mugs, let him 42 |
make the shapes he’s doing.’ He just let me go for it, and have fun.” They built other things too—looms, a dulcimer—and played lots of music. But sometime in high school, Ben realized he could make a living throwing pots. In 1999, he started his own business and began favoring a more contemporary look, working with a special gray wash he developed and a white that “takes on a crazy patina,” he says. And now, “I make pots in a boiler room! ” In the foreground lurks a Shimpo Whisperer electric pottery wheel. A backdrop of handmade tools hangs on the wall, most everything flecked with mud: coggles, also known as roulettes, that roll and leave behind decorative imprints; metal ribs, used to shape and smooth. He can’t pick up his iPhone without getting clay on it. And with orders pouring in, Ben’s scrambling to find time to move his studio from the basement to the garage, where his kiln is, so he doesn’t have to
carry 1,000 pounds of clay downstairs to make pots, then lug the pots back to the kiln, all while dodging an impressive quantity of bears. “We’re overrun,” he says. “They literally come up to the window. At first it was horrifying; now we’re naming them….” Meantime, orders are popping up, even as we speak. He just f inished filming a spot for Martha Knows Best. (At her farm in New York, Stewart has written, “I am reluctant to introduce other types of pots: no red terracotta, or colored glazed pots, just cement or gray stone or Wolff pots.”) Given a choice of throwing pots with his dad or playing music, he’s quick to say, “We could probably do both at the same time. That would be really cool. There were so many fun times when we would just stop and whip clay at each other. Pottery is very compressive, so your body is always tense. At certain moments, you need relief. And both of us have found that through music.” Mostly, though, he’s grateful. “There is something about a spinning wheel and your hands being connected to earth and changing the earth into an object. It makes you focus—makes you just a little more connected.” benwolffpottery.com NEWENGLAND.COM
7/15/21 12:24 PM
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from top : Hartness House as it stands today, as a 40-room inn and restaurant; original owners James Hartness and his wife, Lena; on the inn’s front lawn, a testament to Hartness’s role as tinkerer, businessman, and Vermont governor.
he Hartness House Inn is definitely haunted. For years there have been rumors of strange sightings in the tunnel and underground rooms secreted away beneath the front lawn. Even more persistent are the claims that the charming corner room where Charles Lindbergh once stayed is haunted by a young boy named Charlie. The presence to which I can attest, however, is of a different sort. Though he died in 1933, James Hartness—the inventor, industrial tycoon, and onetime Vermont governor for whom Hartness House was built in 1904—is still imprinted on the property, having
imbued it with reminders of his quirky personality and diverse passions. Perched on a hillside above downtown Springfield, Vermont, Hartness House, which became an inn in 1954, has been shuttered since late 2020. The grounds have grown shaggy, but the stone construction of the building’s first f loor gives the property a comfortable gravitas, something that is only amplified as I step into the stately front hall. Like the man for which it is named, however, the house’s dignified exterior overlays a fascinating character. Or so I’m thinking when my hosts, real estate agent Gary Gosselin and the inn’s former daily operations
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manager, Nina Bisciotti, lead me down into the cellar and through a locked door into the aforementioned tunnel, where I imagine the horror movie that could be filmed here. Hartness was just 27 when he had this house built. He and his wife, Lena, had two young daughters. Hartness had come to Springf ield f ive years earlier to serve as superintendent of a struggling machine tooling enterprise, the Jones and Lamson Machine Com-
pany, where he developed a reputation as a creative problem solver. He would ultimately patent a total of 119 inventions, including the one in 1921 that changed his life, the f lat turret lathe. The new machine proved so popular that for 13 years it became Jones and Lamson’s sole product. Having negotiated a commission on every lathe sold, Hartness amassed a fortune. Thanks in part to Hartness’s enterprise, the corridor of the Connecti-
cut River Valley between Springfield and Hartford, Connecticut, came to be known as Precision Valley, where master toolers created machines that powered American industry. During World War II, when Hitler was working on a plan to cripple American aviation, he listed 21 bombing targets; Springfield was included, along with three other Precision Valley locations. After James and Lena died, the Hartness family sold the house to three of the town’s machine shops, which used it to house their guests. The ballroom was added in 1954 and a restaurant in 1968. The utilitarian addition of a wing behind the mansion in 1971 brought the number of guest rooms to 40. Today, the ballroom comfortably accommodates 75 people, while the restaurant, twice renovated in recent years, seats 55. My guides lead me up a beautiful open staircase to the second-f loor guest rooms, where our f irst stop is the Lindbergh Room, bright and well appointed. On July 26, 1927, on a celebratory tour following his historic transatlantic f light, Charles Lindbergh stayed with the Hartnesses. Hartness himself had trained in a Wright biplane and been licensed in 1914, when there were fewer than 100 certified pilots in the nation.
clockwise from left : The tunnel leading to the underground observatory and work space; looking up at the turret-style telescope, designed and built by Hartness himself; original stonework in what is now the tavern.
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Bisciotti shared a story about some visitors who always stayed in the Lindbergh Room in order to communicate with its ghost, the boy Charlie. So firm was their belief in his presence that once when they were unable to make their scheduled visit, they asked Bisciotti to write a note of apology and leave it in the room, which she did. A fascination with astronomy led Hartness to build a state-of-the-art telescope in 1910 in a way that sheltered the operator from the elements, allowing for year-round viewing. The telescope still crouches near the edge of the inn’s front lawn. To facilitate access, Hartness connected the telescope’s control room to the house basement with a 240-foot-long, sevenfoot-tall cement tunnel. Hartness had difficulty working amid the distractions of the house, so he built a cabin in the woods behind it. But when the sounds of nature proved every bit as disruptive, he built a series of rooms under the front yard, accessible through his underground tunnel. There he could work in utter silence. His underground apartment consisted of a workshop, library, study, and lounge. Contrary to my somewhat ominous first impression, this underground suite is… pretty nice. Another story says that the tunnel once ran all the way into town. And sure enough, near the current terminus there is an opening in the f loor, revealing another tunnel beneath. But the inn’s former facilities supervisor, Tyler Goodrich, has done the legwork—or in this case hands-andknees work—to debunk the notion. “I went down and crawled through. It was very wet and pretty claustrophobic,” he says. “It is a utility tunnel for the electrical, plumbing, and sewage. The rumors of anything more are fun, but I think those are just stories.” Hartness House Inn is listed at $750,000. Contact Gary Gosselin of the Hearthside Group at 802-238-2121 or email@example.com. NEWENGLAND.COM
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Cheddar-Cranberry Popovers with Cranberry Butter
and compotes or baked into some seriously delicious treats. From mid-September through November, long-keeping cranberries are at their peak. The color alone makes them an ingredient worth embracing, but their sour flavor combined with the sweetness of, say, a cobbler with cream biscuits, a fluffy sugar-pecan pull-apart bread, an easy cinnamon-sugar snacking cake, or even a chocolate icebox cake is the reason I turn to them repeatedly through the fall. Yes, cranberries offer myriad health benefits, due to their high vitamin and antioxidant content. But for lovers of bold flavors and high contrast, they are simply a very tasty, stunningly beautiful fruit. The following recipes are mostly sweet, but we begin with a cheddar-infused popover served with a gorgeous cranberry compound butter.
he cranberry bogs of southeastern Massachusetts put on such a brilliant display every autumn, you could argue that the best fall color there can be found by looking down, not up. Growing on long, running vines in freshwater bogs, native cranberries are at their most beautiful when the bogs are flooded and the berries are loosened from their vines, causing them to float up and form a watery crimson carpet. This is the traditional harvest method for most growers, but about 10 percent of the Massachusetts crop is dry harvested with a mechanical picker, a practical but less eye-catching approach. The vast majority of cranberries are processed into sauce and juice, or dried. The rest of the crop is sold fresh to be cooked down into sauces
7/15/21 1:05 PM
CHEDDAR-CRANBERRY POPOVERS WITH CRANBERRY BUTTER
If you’ve never made popovers, get ready for something truly special. These could not be easier: All the ingredients get tossed together in a blender, and as long as you preheat your oven and popover pan (a worthy investment for the best shaped popovers), they are truly foolproof. F O R T H E C R A N B E R RY B U T T E R
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen ¼ cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons water ½ cup unsalted butter, softened F O R T H E P O P OV E R S
4 large eggs, at room temperature 1¹⁄ 3 cups whole milk, at room temperature 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for the pan 1¹⁄ 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon table salt 1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling ¹⁄ 3 cup fresh cranberries
To make the cranberry butter, place the cranberries, sugar, and water in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until most of the berries have burst, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature (sauce will thicken as it cools), then use a fork or immersion blender to combine the sauce with the butter. Preheat your oven to 450° and set a rack to the lower third position. Put a 6-cup popover pan in the oven to heat. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, milk, and butter in a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Add the f lour and salt and blend for another 15 seconds, scraping down the sides of the blender if necessary. Add 1 cup of cheese and the fresh cranberries, and stir in with a rubber spatula. SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
Chocolate-Cranberry Icebox Cake
Remove the hot pan from the oven. Brush the wells of the pan with butter (you can also spray with nonstick cooking spray). Evenly divide the batter among the cups; each one will be about ¾ full. Sprinkle each with a bit of cheese. Transfer pan to the lower oven rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and bake 15 minutes more. Do not open the oven while baking. Remove the popovers from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. They should slip out easily, but if not, run a small paring knife around the edges. Jab each one with a small paring knife to release steam. Serve immediately with cranberry butter.
Popovers are best eaten the day they are made. Yields 6 servings. CHOCOLATE-CRANBERRY ICEBOX CAKE
Cranberry and chocolate are a wonderful combination. Here, a jammy, vanillascented compote is folded into stiffly whipped cream and layered with crispy chocolate wafer cookies. After an overnight in the refrigerator, the cookies turn downright cakey, and the compote infuses the cream with a wonderful tangy flavor and pink hue. A dusting of dark Dutch-process cocoa powder is a lovely finishing touch. (Note: The cake is also delicious when frozen overnight.) | 55
7/15/21 1:06 PM
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup water 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups heavy cream ½ cup confectioners’ sugar 40 2-inch crispy chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco’s Dutch-process cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
Cook the cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to mediumlow and simmer until most of the
cranberries have burst and the liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, add 1 tablespoon vanilla and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature before using. To speed up the cooling, transfer the compote to a small bowl and refrigerate. Line a 9-by-3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap so that it hangs slightly over the sides of the pan. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the cooled compote into the cream.
Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on the bottom of the lined pan. Cover as much of the cream as possible with a layer of wafers, filling any gaps with broken wafers. Continue layering whipped cream and wafers until you run out or reach the top of the pan, ending with a layer of wafers. Gently cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate (or freeze) for at least 6 to 8 hours, or preferably overnight. Remove the cake from the refrigerator prior to serving and peel off the plastic wrap. Place a serving plate over the pan and invert the cake onto the plate. Carefully remove the pan and plastic wrap lining. Lightly dust with cocoa powder, if using. Cut the cake into slices with a long serrated knife and serve. The cake will keep, lightly wrapped with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Yields 8 to 10 servings. EASY-PEASY CINNAMON-SUGAR CRANBERRY TEA CAKE
Tea cakes are among our favorite kinds of cakes, as they are easy to assemble and can be enjoyed whenever the mood strikes. This particular version is tender and moist, filled with pockets of tart cinnamon-sugar-coated cranberries. It is lovely for breakfast and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Easy-Peasy Cinnamon-Sugar Cranberry Tea Cake
¹⁄ 3 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons plus 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped 2 cups all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon table salt ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom ¹⁄ 3 cup vegetable oil 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1¼ cups light brown sugar 1 large egg NEWENGLAND.COM
7/21/21 2:41 PM
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FOR THE FILLING
1½ cups granulated sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch Zest and juice of one orange 8 cups cranberries, either fresh or frozen 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract FOR THE BISCUITS
2 cups self-rising flour 1 tablespoon granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon table salt 1½ cups heavy cream 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water Turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Cranberry Cobbler with Cream Biscuits
1 large egg yolk cup buttermilk Turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling 2 /3
Preheat your oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position. Generously grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray or softened butter and line the bottom and two short sides with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the cranberries and toss to coat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and the remaining 1½ teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil, vanilla, and brown sugar and whisk vigorously to combine. Add the egg and yolk and whisk again. Add the buttermilk and whisk a final time. 58 |
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones using a rubber spatula. Add the cinnamon-sugar berries and fold to combine. Stop folding when there is still a streak of f lour or two. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Sprinkle the cake with sugar and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 40 minutes, rotating the cake halfway through baking. Let cool. Serve slices warm or at room temperature. Yields 12 servings. CRANBERRY COBBLER WITH CREAM BISCUITS
Tart and bright cranberries deserve a starring role in cobblers, especially when topped with these easy cream biscuits. The recipe is versatile, though, so if apples are a must for you when baking with cranberries, peel and chop 2 to 3 cups of apples and substitute for an equal amount of berries.
Preheat your oven to 375° and set a rack to the middle position. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the zest and use your fingers to rub it into the sugar mixture. Add the cranberries and toss to coat with a rubber spatula. Add the orange juice and vanilla and toss a final time. Transfer the cranberry mixture to a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Now make the biscuits: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the heavy cream and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times, until the dough just comes together. Roll out the dough into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle, about 1 inch thick, and use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out 18 biscuit rounds, rerolling the scraps if necessary. Place the biscuit rounds on top of the cranberry mixture, brush them with the egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the cranberries are bubbling in the center between the biscuits, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or a dribble of heavy cream. Yields about 14 servings. NEWENGLAND.COM
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Harvest Grain Bowl
Apples and squash meet Mediterranean flavors. BY A MY TR AVER SO ST YLED AND PHOTOGR APHED BY
L I Z N E I LY
Amy Traverso is Yankee’s senior food editor and cohost of our TV show, Weekends with Yankee.
his is the story of two local kids made good: the butternut squash and the Baldwin apple. The former is a native of Stow, Massachusetts, bred by a farmer named Charles Leggett. He named the butternut for its smooth-as-butter texture and nutty f lavor and introduced it to horticulturists at the nearby Waltham Field Station. They, in turn, marketed it as the Waltham Butternut, which remains wildly popular today. The Baldwin, meanwhile, was more of a happy accident, a chance seedling that sprouted in the hills of Wilmington, Massachusetts, in the mid-1700s and was propagated and popularized by Colonel Loammi Baldwin. The Baldwin is a wonderful apple, sweet-tart and firm, and it lends zingy notes to this hale and hearty grain bowl accented with roasted squash and chickpeas, feta, and a lime-honey dressing. But
you needn’t limit yourself to Baldwins, as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apples will also work beautifully here. I love this dish as a vegetarian main course, but I’ll also serve it with grilled chicken or fish. I also love how efficient it is to prepare: You prep and roast the vegetables and make the dressing while the quinoa cooks, so everything is ready to assemble at the same time. It’s cozy, healthy, and packed with flavor: autumn in a bowl. HARVEST GRAIN BOWL WITH ROASTED SQUASH & APPLES FOR THE GR AIN BOWL
1½ cups quinoa 3 cups water 1 pound butternut squash (neck part), peeled and cut into thin half-moons 2 large, firm sweet-tart apples NEWENGLAND.COM
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1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, divided 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
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FOR THE DRESSING
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes) 1 tablespoon honey 1 large clove garlic, minced ½ teaspoon kosher salt 3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat your oven to 425°. Put the quinoa in a f ine mesh strainer and rinse well. Put quinoa and water in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let quinoa cook until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Pull it off the heat and let steam, covered, until ready to use. Meanwhile, line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the squash, apple slices, and chickpeas with the olive oil, salt, and pepper, then divide them between the two baking sheets. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and flip the squash and apple slices over, then return to the oven and continue roasting until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Make the dressing: In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake the lime juice, honey, garlic, and salt. Add the olive oil and shake until combined. Pour half of the dressing over the cooked quinoa and add half of the chopped parsley. Stir with a fork to f luff and combine. Pour the quinoa into a wide serving bowl. When the vegetables and fruit are done roasting, arrange them atop the quinoa along with the feta and remaining parsley. Pour the remaining dressing over all and serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 8 servings. SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
7/20/21 10:21 AM
Honey-Citrus Chicken A classic Yankee recipe updated for today’s kitchens. STORY AND PHOTO BY
K AT HER INE K EEN AN
ndlessly versatile and nearly impossible to overcook, chicken thighs sit smack at the intersection of foods that are inexpensive, easy to make, and delicious. And speaking of culinary trifectas, the saltytangy-sweet fusion of soy, citrus, and honey (or sugar) is a delight well known to fans of, say, orange chicken or ponzu sauce. Drawing on all these virtues, this chicken thighs recipe is essentially foolproof. It’s inspired by an April 1969 reader-submitted recipe, dubbed Honey-Juiced Chicken, in which a whole bird is cut up, battered, fried, and doused with honey and orange juice. Here, we swap in the thighs, eliminate the battering and frying, and incorporate onions, peppers, and herbs for color and flavor. The result is a weeknight-friendly dinner that’s special enough to serve guests. The spice level in the sauce can be adjusted to your liking, but don’t skimp on the garnishes. Likewise, don’t omit the final broiling step, which gives the meat a beautiful burnishing. A meat thermometer is your friend here, as chicken thighs often still appear pink even when fully cooked. This dish would be delicious served with rice or atop leafy greens, where the sauce serves as a sweet, sticky dressing. HONEY-CITRUS CHICKEN A fried-chicken recipe from Yankee’s April 1969 issue (TOP) morphed into this simpler, skillet-baked version using chicken thighs.
FOR THE CHICKEN
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch-thick wedges 1–2 poblano peppers, seeded and sliced crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds NEWENGLAND.COM
7/15/21 12:54 PM
1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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FOR THE SAUCE
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges) ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes) 1 orange, zested and sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds ½ cup honey 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon sriracha (optional) FOR THE GARNISH
Chopped cilantro Sliced scallions Sesame seeds Lime wedges
Preheat your oven to 425° and set a rack to the top position. Combine the chicken, olive oil, onion, peppers, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Set aside. Now, make the sauce: In a large oven-safe skillet, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, orange zest, honey, soy sauce, and sriracha (if using) over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce has reduced and thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken and vegetables to the sauce, then top with the orange slices. Spoon the sauce evenly over the top. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake, occasionally spooning the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, until the meat is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the oven to broil and cook, watching carefully, until the sauce begins to bubble and the edges of the chicken have darkened and become crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro, scallions, and sesame seeds. Squeeze lime juice over all, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Yields 4 to 6 servings. SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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W EEK EN D AWAY
HANOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE
AN IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE TOWN GETS HIGH MARKS FOR SHOPPING, DINING, AND OUTDOOR DIVERSIONS. B Y M E G L U K E N S N O O N A N • P H O T O S B Y O L I V E R PA R I N I
7/16/21 11:03 AM
opposite , clockwise from top
X X X Xleft X X: Hands-on XX learning at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont; braised short ribs at Pine; old-school atmosphere at Lou’s; Allie Levy, owner of Still North Books & Bar; eclectic wares at Farmhouse Pottery; Riverview Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire. this page : Dartmouth’s c. 1928 Baker-Berry Library, whose stately bell tower rises 200 feet above campus.
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
7/16/21 11:17 AM
W EEK EN D AWAY
Even if you stopped marking time in semesters decades ago, a fall weekend in Hanover, New Hampshire, the home of 252-year-old Dartmouth College, will likely have you feeling misty for those salad days of frats and Frisbees. I’ve lived in the town of 11,500 for nearly 30 years and I still get brought up short by the ephemeral beauty of it all—the campus sugar maples and old elms blazing crimson and yellow, the loosely choreographed college marching band tooting its pregame way across South Main Street, the library bell tower, luminous in the late-day light, chiming out the alma mater— and I’m not even an alum. Besides nostalgia and a host of college-town cultural perks including world-class museums, film fests, and performers, along with the inevitable good coffee and highbrow Ivy League conversations ripe for eavesdropping, Hanover also offers a perfect base from which to explore the forests and farmland that surround it. You don’t have to go far to find your adventure. The rolling hills of Vermont are just across the Connecticut River to the west, the
White Mountains rise to the northeast, and a section of the 2,190-mile, 14-state Appalachian Trail cuts right through the center of town.
Two especially big draws in midOctober are peak foliage and Dartmouth’s Homecoming weekend. Plan well in advance if you want to book a room at one of Hanover’s two in-town hotels. Sitting on a prime corner that’s been occupied by a lodge of some sort since 1780, the handsome brick 108-room Hanover Inn overlooks the Dartmouth Green, the grassy quad that serves as a meeting place for both the college and the community. Six South Street, two blocks away, is a relaxed, contemporary 69-room hotel just steps from shops and restaurants. Both are dog-friendly and offer valet parking.
After you get settled, plan on a predinner stroll past Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts, which every September hosts a popular capsule version of the Telluride Film Festival. Next door is the recently renovated Hood Museum, one of the country’s oldest and largest university art collections. (Both were closed during the pandemic; check their websites for ticket and schedule information.) Make your way up to College Park, where just beyond a white-domed 19th-century observatory a startlingly lifelike bronze sculpture of Robert Frost sits pensively with pen in hand amid tall Norway spruces. (The poet attended Dartmouth in 1892 and was a regular lecturer starting in the 1940s.) Extend the outing if you like by heading northwest across the green to make the one-mile loop around peaceful Occom Pond, rimmed with stately homes. Plan on dinner tonight at the Hanover Inn’s Pine restaurant, a hit with locals and visitors since it opened in 2013 as part of an extensive redo of the hotel. With its salvaged barnboard cladding, sleek black central fireplace, and stylish lounge seating, Pine manages to be both earthy and sophisticated—not unlike its cocktail and dinner menu. Start perhaps with a Smoke and Flowers (tequila, mescal, lavender agave, lime, smoked salt) and move on to wild boar and poblano Bolognese or pan-seared hake with truff led corn puree, edamame, and fingerling potatoes.
SAT U RDAY
In the morning, get in line at Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery, a center-oftown institution since 1947 that is as beloved for its corned beef hash and 70 |
7/21/21 2:49 PM
Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art, which reopened in 2019 after a $50 million expansion and renovation. this page : The cozy lobby at the Hanover Inn, long a favorite of Dartmouth alums and their families.
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
7/16/21 11:30 AM
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cruller French toast as its unapologetic, old-school diner vibe—sassy, super-efficient waitresses and all. After breakfast, browse Still North Books & Bar, a cozy indie bookstore and café opened on a side street in 2019 by Dartmouth grad Allie Levy to help fill the void left by the much-lamented shuttering of the Dartmouth Bookstore. Back on South Main, stop at Farmhouse Pottery, a natural-light-filled outpost of the noted Woodstock, Vermont–based ma ker of handthrown ceramics; potters are sometimes at the wheel in the in-house studio. Shop Indigo for on-trend apparel, plus cool-weather essentials like Patagonia jackets and Blundstone boots. Cross the street to the centuryold Dartmouth Co-op to pick up college hoodies and vintage-looking letter sweaters. Then head to the Red Kite Candy shop, opened early in 2021 to showcase the handcrafted treats— 72 |
caramels, toffee, turtles, and sublime French Montélimar-style soft nougat—that founder Elaine McCabe started making as a hobby on her home stove in 2009. Post-pandemic plans include candy-making workshops in the store’s test kitchen. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss the Montshire Museum of Science, in Norwich, Vermont, just across the Connecticut River. The bright, airy interactive museum has indoor and outside exhibits, as well as extensive riverside trails. Norwich is also home to the King Arthur Baking Company, a place of pilgrimage for home bakers who revere the 231-yearold retailer of kitchen equipment and hard-to-find ingredients. The sprawling post-and-beam flagship store also has a baking school and a café selling pastries, soups, and sandwiches, plus fragrant loaves of just-baked bread. Just to the south on Route 5, the Norwich
from left : King Arthur Baking Company in Norwich is a must-stop for home cooks; among the newer businesses in downtown Hanover is an outpost of Vermont’s Farmhouse Pottery that opened here in 2018.
Farmers Market sets up every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October; spend some time tablehopping for samples of local cheese, yogurt, and charcuterie before deciding what to buy. Fortified, head 10 miles south on Route 12A past the big-box stores of West Lebanon to rural Plainf ield’s Riverview Farm, which sits above a lovely, boulder-strewn stretch of the Connecticut. Walk or ride the horse-drawn wagon to pick apples in the 1,600-tree hillside orchard, or pick raspberries, blueberries, pumpkins, and sunflowers, in season. After you bring in your haul, head for the Mac’s Maple food truck parked most weekends near the cider-making barn NEWENGLAND.COM
7/16/21 11:49 AM
Running between Vermont and New Hampshire, the Connecticut River offers prime waters for collegiate rowers and local enthusiasts alike.
to indulge in a maple creemee: rich soft-serve ice cream sweetened with real maple syrup and, if you want to go all out, rolled in dice-size chunks of maple sugar candy. Back in Hanover, f ind a bench on South Main Street and enjoy the sidewalk parade of undergrads, alums, academics, and leaf-drunk bus-trippers. You’re also likely to see a handful of scruffy northbound Appalachian Trail through-hikers making their way to the post office to pick up packages and mail; Hanover is the last town they’ll hit on their way to Maine. For dinner tonight, head to Candela Tapas Lounge, a side-street gem serving Caribbean/Spanish fare— sweet potato tostones, ginger-soymarinated mahi-mahi tacos, chicken empanadas with spicy guava barbecue sauce, cinnamon-sugar-dusted churros—in an intimate persimmoncolored dining room or on a fairy-lit SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
patio. Hands-on owner Jimmy Van Kirk grew up in Puerto Rico and will happily guide you through his list of aged sipping rums and Spanish reds.
SU N DAY
Get fueled for a day outdoors by picking up a latte at the Dirt Cowboy Café or heading to The Nest, a cheery new café and deli on South Main Street serving inventive egg sandwiches and breakfast burritos, made with locally sourced ingredients. Next, you could rent canoes and kayaks from the Ledyard Canoe Club and spend an hour or two paddling the placid Connecticut. Or you might arrange for hill-busting electric bicycles to be delivered to your hotel by Vermont Bike & Brew, based in Thetford, Vermont. Owner Jonas Cole will make sure you’re comfortable operating the bikes and will help download suggested routes to your phone.
(Handlebar mounts keep turn-byturn instructions in view.) Maybe, though, you are of the belief that peak foliage is best viewed from above. In that case, make the 40-minute drive east to Cardigan Mountain State Park for a moderateeffort/big-payoff hike. The 1½-mile West Ridge Trail ascends through hardwoods and conifers and delivers you to the broad, exposed-rock summit of 3,155-foot Mount Cardigan. If the day is clear, you’ll be able to see Mount Washington and the rest of the White Mountains’ Presidential Range, plus Vermont’s Camel’s Hump and Maine’s Pleasant Mountain, as well as an astonishing 360 degrees of high-voltage fall colors. Alas, as Robert Frost wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” Linger awhile, then take a wistful last look before heading back down the trail and starting for home. | 73
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THE BEST 5
A sunset-painted view from Owls Head in Vermont’s Groton State Forest; the harborside foliage show in Camden, Maine.
Peak-Color Destinations BY JIM SALGE
either. The result is vibrant early color in a forest dominated by maple and birch. While there is road access to lakes and campgrounds here, some of the most rewarding views are found on foot or by boat. Take the moderate 3½-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Owls Head Mountain, overlooking glacial Kettle Pond and surrounding forests, or plan a paddle on Lake Groton or Ricker Pond to look up to hillsides awash with color. Peak color: Late September to early October. vtstateparks.com
or the past decade, I’ve been Yankee’s fall foliage forecaster, helping people from around the world plan trips to see our glorious autumn color. And one thing that surprises many of them is that even in such a relatively small geographic area, the timing of peak color varies significantly. Fall foliage in New England doesn’t arrive all at once; rather, it moves as a wave of color, thanks to regional differences in climate, elevation, forest type, and so on. In making my yearly foliage forecast, I combine these factors with annual variations in temperature, rainfall, and pest levels to determine the
Carroll, NH With some 800,000 acres of nearcontiguous forests, the White Mountains region is among New England’s most popular areas to see foliage. And it’s here that you’ll find Carroll, whose two main villages—Bretton Woods and Twin Mountain—boast the perfect topography for early color. The season’s first cold fronts bank against the imposing slopes of the Presidential Range, creating an elevated icebox at autumn’s onset. Take in the spectacle from the grounds of the Omni Mount Washington Resort or the AMC Highland Center, which offers information and advice on local hiking. The area is also dotted with spectacular waterfalls,
Yankee’s resident foliage expert explains why these places steal the show.
overall intensity of fall foliage. Still, year after year there are some specific places where weather and climate create standout color. Here are a few of my favorites. Groton State Forest, VT Home to seven state parks within its 26,000-plus acres, Groton State Forest is one of the earliest places in Vermont to see peak color. The reason? For the brightest hues you need cool, crisp nights and warm, sunny days, and the high hills here have overnight lows similar to those in Smugglers’ Notch but daytime highs closer to downtown Burlington’s—plus more sunshine than
MICHAEL BL ANCHET TE (SUNSET); MARK FLEMING (HARBOR)
FROM LEFT :
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Town of PLYMOUTH
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THE BEST 5
from top : White Mountain splendor as seen from atop the Zeacliff overlook on Zealand Mountain near Carroll, New Hampshire; shades of gold on a katsura tree, a native of Japan and China, in the Boston Public Garden.
i n c lu d i n g t h e r o a d s i d e Up p e r Ammonoosuc Falls and Silver Cascade in Crawford Notch State Park. Peak color: Late September to early October. twinmountain.org Camden, ME The storied Acadian forests of Down East Maine have a distinct breakpoint along the state’s midcoast, where mixed hardwoods transition to predominantly oak. Coastal forests have a beauty all their own, but in Camden you can see a landscape of both forest types simultaneously. To see peak color in Camden, go later than you would for much of the rest of Maine. While the mountains that surround the town’s pretty harbor reach over 1,000 feet, the foliage is influenced by moderate coastal temperatures, which means most trees are turning in mid-October. A mile-long hike to Maiden Cliff provides an overlook of Megunticook Lake and forested hills; a climb up Mount Megunticook gives the contrast of green leaves toward the ocean and brighter leaves toward the lake; and a drive up Mount Battie through Camden Hills State Park, 76 |
while it may not show off peak until late October, yields an iconic, don’t-miss view down to the village. Peak color: Third to early fourth week of October. camdenmainevacation.com Boston, MA New England’s biggest city is both one of the most unexpected spots for memorable foliage as well as one of the last places to see its leaves change. Since downtown Boston’s buildings hold on to heat overnight, the evening temperatures don’t cool down as much as in the suburbs, so colors don’t begin to turn until late October. The city has several notable green spaces, starting with Boston Common and the Public Garden. Tree species from all over the world grow there, creating a broad palette of autumn color
Litchfield, CT While only an hour’s drive from the coast, the hills of northwestern Connecticut experience a completely different climate. Nighttime temperatures throughout October average 10 to 15 degrees cooler than those along the ocean, and peak colors can arrive weeks before trees change along Long Island Sound. Litchf ield makes a f ine home ba se for aut umn drives through valleys dotted with old barns and ringed with hills preser ved through state forests, parks, and an Audubon sanctuary. Hikers will want to head for either White Memorial Conservation Center, which has 40 miles of trails along with kayaking and camping, or Mount Tom State Park, where views from a historic stone observation tower are the reward for a fairly modest climb. Peak color: Second to third week of October. discoverlitchfieldhills.com Find More Online! Make the most of foliage season with expert tips from Jim Salge and the Yankee editors. Check out our foliage map, plan a perfect fall road trip, and look for weekly peak-color reports starting in late September. newengland.com/foliage
J I M S A LG E ( M O U N TA I N S) ; R AY M O N D F O R B E S P H OTO G R A P H Y/ S TO C K S Y ( T R E E )
and a beautiful foreground to the skyline. But a special treat is the three-mile walk along the Charles River Esplanade, where over 3,000 cherry trees line the route with deep-crimson foliage. At the western end, head to the Back Bay Fens for a photo op adjacent to Fenway Park, where with luck the Sox will still be playing deep into October. Peak color: Late October to early November. bostonusa.com
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COME OUT TO APPLESEED COUNTRY It’s simply magical!
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(Photo: Bolton Orchard)
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The payoff for an autumn trek to West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, New Hampshire: sweeping views of Squam Lake tinged with fiery color.
Day Hikes for Leaf Peepers hile we’re longtime fans of the classic fa ll foliage drive, there’s a lot to be said for slowing things down to a few miles an hour to experience New England ’s seasonal colors at their finest. The following collection of favorite foliage hikes from Yankee editors offers a little something for everyone, from challenging routes up famous peaks to gentle rambles through woodlands. And many take at least a full morning or afternoon to complete, letting you linger in some of the most scenic spots in New England at the loveliest time of year. 78 |
CONNECTICUT BEAR MOUNTAIN, SALISBURY: ~6.5 miles. If
you’re looking for the ultimate perspective for leaf peeping, heading to Connecticut’s highest peak (2,316 feet) is a good bet. This relatively steep loop hike, which starts from the Undermountain Trail parking lot and climbs through hardwood and conifer forest, eventually rewards hikers with one of the prettiest vistas in the state, with mountain views to the north and west, and lake views to the east. The route even follows a section of the legendary Appalachian Trail. ct.gov/deep MOUNT HIGBY, MIDDLEFIELD: ~9 miles. Hike the Mattabesett Trail for some of the best views of the Quinnipiac Valley you’ll find in all of central Connecticut. While the Mattabesett Trail itself is 50
miles long, this hike up Mount Higby is less than 10 miles out and back. It features steep climbing and some rocky scrambling, and leads to ledges with beautiful overlooks. The view at the pinnacle extends almost 360 degrees, encompassing Massachusetts’s Mount Tom to Long Island Sound. You’ll find plenty of towering trees wearing their foliage finery along this well-maintained trail, marked with blue blazes. middletownct.gov SLEEPING GIANT, HAMDEN: ~5.8 miles. The site of one of Yankee’s favorite easy fall hikes, the Tower Trail, also offers rugged and rewarding day-hike options thanks to the network of trails around Mount Carmel, a distinctive stretch of elevated terrain that resembles a giant lying in
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For outdoors lovers, there’s no time like autumn to hit the trail.
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208 LUXURY GUESTROOMS • ONSITE SPA
But Ordinary ONE BELLEVUE AVENUE
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
AWARD WINNING RESTAURANT • ROO TOP BAR WEDDING AND CORPORATE EVENT SPACE
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31 WAYS to FALL for AUTUMN From late September to the end of October, New England puts on a seasonal show like nowhere else—and stunning foliage is just the beginning. BY KATE WHOULEY ILLUSTRATIONS BY MICHAEL MULLAN
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A rural foliage display in Maine’s northernmost county, Aroostook
No, really north—all the way to America’s First Mile in Fort Kent, Maine. That’s the spot where U.S. Route 1 begins its 2,369-mile journey to Key West, Florida. The First Mile monument and lookout in Canada-hugging Fort Kent offer some great photo ops, but the quirkier treat is found en route: the largest 3-D model of the solar system in the western hemisphere, stretched across 40 miles of Route 1 between Presque Isle and Topsfield. Designed in conjunction with the University of Maine, the model boasts planets built by the residents of Aroostook County. This is Maine’s largest and least populous region, with autumn vistas galore. Fall is also potato harvest time, when local high schoolers on “harvest break” still help out the local farmers. Visit Wood Prairie Family Farm in Bridgewater, where they specialize in organic seed potatoes. (That means you can grow your own at home.) And be sure to stop by the Bouchard Family Farm in Fort Kent to pick up some of its famous buckwheat flour, milled on-site, which is the essential ingredient when making ployes, a delicious flatbread invented by the French Acadian exiles who settled in northern Maine. Dolly’s Restaurant in Frenchville is where locals will send you for ployes hot off the griddle. You can work them off with a short (and at times, rugged) hike up Haystack Mountain in Castle Hill, where the effort rewards you with 360 degrees of Aroostook’s golds, greens, and reds. visitaroostook.com
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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GET CAUGHT IN A SNOWSTORM OF MIGRATING GEESE.
s recently as 20 years ago, locals and visitors in Vermont’s Champlain Valley can remember wing-packed skies in late October, when upward of 20,000 greater snow geese were on the move. Thanks to the designated refuge within the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison County, the snow geese and other migratory birds have all the protected habitat they need to rest and refuel for their arduous journeys. These days there are closer to 5,000 snow geese passing through, due to changing migration patterns, but that’s more than enough to inspire awe in earthbound humans.
And you’re likely to spot any number of other avian residents and visitors too, with recent autumn sightings including peregrine falcons, rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, and bald eagles. Stop by Dead Creek’s visitor center to get the latest birding news and pick up a guide to walking trails and canoe access points. Or just head directly to the pull-off viewing site, on Route 17 in Addison, and look to the sky. As with all natural events, some days will be breathtaking, others may disappoint—but the anticipation is worth it. vtfishandwildlife.com/watch-wildlife/ dead-creek-visitor-center NEWENGLAND.COM
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THIS PAGE: JEF F N ADLER . PRE V IOUS SPRE AD : L AUREN BL ACKWELL/RED LEASH PHOTO
WAYS TO FALL FOR AUTUMN
3 GRAB A STEIN, AND
There are a few dozen German and domestic beers (including many New England favorites) to sample at the Mount Snow Oktoberfest, a Columbus Day weekend event in Dover, Vermont. You can also rock to a live oompah band, check out an arts and crafts show, and join the famous schnitzel toss. After polka-ing and pumpkin-painting, hop on a “flying sofa,” one of the sixpassenger bubble chairs that make up the Bluebird Express. You’ll see some spectacular fall color on the seven-minute ride to Mount Snow’s 3,600-foot summit. mountsnow.com
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
EMBRACE ORGANIC AT THE COMMON GROUND COUNTRY FAIR.
lacksmithing meets reiki healing in this annual celebration of rural living held in Unity, Maine, and sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Take in live demonstrations of revived folk and household arts, consult with an herbalist, watch herding dogs at work, or enter the Harry S. Truman Manure Pitch-off (register early and choose your competitive strength: accuracy or distance). Live music features local performers, including some of Maine’s premier fiddlers, who supply the sound for daily contradances. Before departing, check out at least one demo by the Wednesday Spinners, a group of Down East women who have gathered weekly in each other’s homes for decades to spin, dye, and weave. This year’s fair runs 9/24–9/26. mofga.org/the-fair
TOUCH THE FOLIAGE CANOPY.
Or feel as if you can, anyway, as you zipline above the slopes of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, on a leaf-peeping tour with a side of adrenaline. Traversing a network of platforms connected by nine ziplines, two sky bridges, and three rappels, you’ll soar among ancient hemlocks, pines, and spruces and enjoy breathtaking views of the White Mountains, including New England’s mightiest, Mount Washington. The canopy tours are offered by the Omni Mount Washington Resort, where the more earth-loving travelers in your party might prefer surveying the gorgeous vistas from the plush 25,000-square-foot spa. brettonwoods.com
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WAYS TO FALL FOR AUTUMN
FLOAT ABOVE THE FOLIAGE.
ere’s a new perspective on those fleeting fall colors: Berkshire Balloons in Plainville, Connecticut, offers early-morning hot-air balloon flights (7 a.m. in the autumn months), and once you’re up, up, and away, you’ll revel in above-the-treetops views spanning four states. Much depends on wind speed and direction, but expect to travel 5 to 15 mph at altitudes ranging from 500 to 5,000 feet. berkshireballoons.com
FIND 100 REASONS TO TAKE A DRIVE.
ou’ll want to pull over—a lot—as you drive Vermont’s Route 100, which many consider the most scenic route in New England. Beginning at the Massachusetts line and traveling up the middle of Vermont almost all the way to the Canadian border, Route 100 offers more than 200 miles of forest color, mountain vistas, and idyllic New England villages, not to mention grazing cows, silver-capped silos, and sunlit fields shifting from green to gold before your eyes. Drive a stretch in a day, go longer and plan an overnight or two, or launch an annual pilgrimage to experience a brandnew segment year after year. vermontvacation.com
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COPP OL A PHOTOGR APHY/COURT ES Y OF CONNEC T ICU T OF F ICE OF TOUR ISM (BALLOON); T H O M A S PA J O T/ I S TO C K ( S I G N ) ; H E R B S W A N S O N ( T R A I N ) ; W AY N E M O R A N P H O TO G R A P H Y ( C O L L E G E )
RIDE THE RAILS TO COLOR— AND A RIB-STICKING MEAL. The Fall Foliage Special on the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad offers four hours of car-free lake and mountain beauty. Departing from the northern end of Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire, you’ll travel along Lake Waukewan to crest the Ashland Summit, then chug through Bridgewater to arrive in Plymouth just in time for a buffet lunch at the Common Man Inn & Spa (think: roast turkey with all the fixings, meat lasagna, veggie stir-fry). Stash some fresh-baked cookies for the ride back, which includes a stop in Ashland for a guided tour of the restored 1869 Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad Station. hoborr.com
GO TREKKING FOR ANTIQUE TREASURE.
Midcoast Maine is where you’ll find Wiscasset, a historic village known for its seaside charm and wealth of antique shops—more than 40 in all, from the petite Lilac Cottage Antiques to the three-story Antiques Mall. It’s also home to beautiful examples of Federal and Victorian architecture, a trail system set amid 200 acres of woods and fields, a railway museum, and a bustling waterfront. (You won’t go hungry here either, given the presence of Red’s Eats and Sprague’s Lobster, which are both open through mid-October.) visitmaine.com
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
RISE WITH THE MOOSE.
t last count, moose outnumbered humans by about 3 to 1 in Maine’s Moosehead Lake area, so your chances of sighting the region’s namesake critter are excellent. You can hop onto a 6 a.m. moose safari with Northeast Whitewater in Shirley Falls, which offers canoe tours and van excursions through October 13. Need your coffee before trekking into the wilderness? There are afternoon and evening outings too. northeastwhitewater.com
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
GET SCHOOLED IN AUTUMN BEAUTY.
ith its 250-plus colleges and universities, New England is packed with well-appointed campuses that are perfect for autumn strolls. One of the loveliest of them all is Mount Holyoke College, founded in 1837 in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The oldest of the schools that compose the fabled Seven Sisters, Mount Holyoke has a trail system that features a loop past the wetlands that serve as an ecology lab for its students, as well as several loops through hardwoods and hemlocks on Prospect Hill. Don’t miss the college’s botanic garden, an indoor and outdoor collection of more than 2,000 types of plants, including natives and exotics from around the world. mtholyoke.edu | 85
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WAYS TO FALL FOR AUTUMN
The c. 1890 Fuller Bridge, one of half a dozen scenic spans in Montgomery, VT
TRIP-TRAP ACROSS SOME COVERED BRIDGES.
S A R A GR AY (B R I D GE ); SUS A N L AU GH L I N (PA N C A K E S); M A R K F L E M I N G ( TO W N)
There’s something about these practical New England structures that feels a lot like magic. For maximum enchantment per square mile, head just south of the Canadian border to Montgomery, Vermont, where you’ll find six covered bridges in town and one right outside it, the most of any town in the country. montgomeryvt.us
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13 HOP A TROLLEY TO A PUMPKIN PATCH.
S A R A GR AY (B R I D GE ); SUS A N L AU GH L I N (PA N C A K E S); M A R K F L E M I N G ( TO W N)
On autumn weekends at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, Connecticut, it’s pumpkins by day and scary ghouls by night. (Rails to the Darkside, the “haunted” nighttime trolley ride, is recommended only for ages 16 and up.) Before or after your ride, you can explore the museum’s collection of vintage trolleys, streetcars, locomotives, and fire trucks. Feeling the urge to pilot your very own trolley? Ask about the Guest Motorman Experience, including training, supervision, and a chance to impress up to four guests with your new skills. ct-trolley.org
14 CYCLE THE KINGDOM.
Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom boasts 2,000 square miles of autumn beauty, including a network of “loops and links” conveniently mapped out for road cyclists of all abilities, courtesy of the Northeast Vermont Development Association. Time your touring right, and you can also hit the Northeast Kingdom Fall Foliage Festival, which is actually a series of mini festivals held over seven consecutive days in Walden, Cabot, Plainfield, Peacham, Barnet, Groton, and Marshfield. nvda.net/Transp/documents/cycling_new.pdf
TASTE THE MAPLE, THEN TAKE THE TRAM.
uel up on fluffy homemade pancakes doused with local maple syrup at Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. Then set out for Franconia Notch State Park, where in addition to hiking the Flume and biking the trails, you can board an aerial tram for an eight-minute ride of wonder to the 4,080foot peak of Cannon Mountain. On a clear day, you can see mountains as far away as Vermont, Maine, New York, and even Canada. pollyspancakeparlor.com; cannonmt.com
LEAF-PEEP IN HOLLYWOOD’S NEW ENGLAND.
tars Hollow, the fictional setting of the cult-favorite TV show Gilmore Girls, was inspired by a visit to Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills—and even if you’ve never seen an episode, you’ll love the vibe and the views here. Look for the Gilmore-esque gazebo on the New Milford green, stroll through Kent’s charming town center, then head to Washington Depot to order a large coffee at Marty’s and browse the shelves of the venerable Hickory Stick Bookshop. You can even book a luxurious overnight at the Mayflower Inn in Washington, where Gilmore Girls creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino stayed for a weekend in the 1990s—and just look what happened. discoverlitchfieldhills.com SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
Autumn morning in Kent, CT
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WAYS TO FALL FOR AUTUMN
MAKE TRACKS TO THE DESERT. No camels are required for a jaunt into the sand dunes at the 8,319-acre Big River Management Area in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Where once stood a stone quarry, all that remains is sand and the feeling that you are somewhere else entirely, perhaps on the moon. Think of it as a palate cleanser amid the visual feast that is New England’s autumn foliage—which you can also find amid the woodlands and wetlands of the rest of this vast preserved open space. ri.gov
Each fall, Kenyon’s Grist Mill in West Kingston, Rhode Island, makes a fuss over the humble corn fritter known as the johnnycake—a name derived from “journeycakes,” as they were dubbed by the early New Englanders who packed them into their pockets on trips. Kenyon’s is Rhode Island’s oldest manufacturing business, with roots that date back to 1696. On festival days, Kenyon’s offers mill tours and johnnycake demos, among other amusements. To remember your visit, snag some freshly ground meals, flours, and mixes. (And by the way, we hear the famous Kenyon’s clam cake mix is life-changing.) kenyonsgristmill.com
BE WOOED BY WOODSTOCK.
estled between Mount Tom and Mount Peg, the town of Woodstock, Vermont, has been hailed as “America’s prettiest small town.” But it’s plenty lively too, and packed with New England history. Highlights of an autumn stroll around the c. 1768 village include bright fall color on the green, inviting local shops, and the highly photogenic Middle Covered Bridge, one of three covered bridges you’ll find here. Be sure to stop into the eclectic general store F.H. Gillingham & Sons, founded in 1886 by the great-grandfather of today’s owners. Foodies, time your trip to coincide with the annual Apples & Crafts Fair & Food Truck Festival (10/9–10/10) to meet area artisans and sample local harvest foods. Not far from the village is Billings Farm & Museum, a nonprofit working dairy farm where visitors are welcome and parking is plentiful. Hang out with friendly farm animals, tour the restored c. 1890 farmhouse, sample some Billings Farm cheddar, or just breathe in the rolling pastures. woodstockvt.com
20 TAKE A ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY.
If you aren’t feeling up to tackling the traffic of New Hampshire’s most famous foliage highway, the Kancamagus, look to the Granite State’s quieter 40-mile Currier & Ives Scenic Byway to deliver timeless autumn landscapes. Photo ops abound in the route’s historic towns—Henniker, Hopkinton, Warner, Webster, and Salisbury—where you can soak up the village vibe, walk along one of the many local rail trails, or put in a kayak on the Contoocook. For loftier views, take the auto road at Rollins State Park up the slopes of Mount Kearsarge. From the parking area, there’s a half-mile hiking trail to the exposed granite summit, but the vistas are almost as amazing from the wooded picnic area, where you can dine and spy the summits of Pack Monadnock, Crotched, and Uncanoonuc, and, on a perfectly clear day, a slice of Boston’s skyline. currierandivesbyway.org 88 |
OLIV ER PARINI (BARN); JAIME C A MPOS/THE SALEM NE WS (H ALLOW EEN)
GO ON A JOHNNYCAKES JOURNEY.
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OLIV ER PARINI (BARN); JAIME C A MPOS/THE SALEM NE WS (H ALLOW EEN)
GET SPOOKED IN SALEM.
ctober in Salem, Massachusetts, feels like a never-ending block party chock-full of costumed visitors—think Mardi Gras with vampires—and it’s lots of fun to join. But there are also many fascinating things to discover here, from walking tours filled with historical and architectural highlights, to the Peabody Essex Museum, where art and history collide in intriguing ways. A tip for those based in Boston: Leave your car behind and board a highspeed ferry at Long Wharf, and you’ll be in Salem within 60 minutes, free of parking headaches during the town’s bustling Halloween season. salem.org
Local celeb Grayson the Yorkie at the Howl-o-Ween Pet Parade in Salem, MA
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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WAYS TO FALL FOR AUTUMN
LOSE THE CROWDS AND LOVE THE LOBSTER AT TWO LIGHTS.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT.
While autumn wouldn’t be complete without flickering pumpkins, the Jack-o’-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, delivers enough to tide you over for a whole year. Follow a trail lined with more than 5,000 artisan-carved pumpkins, which are accompanied by eerie music and special effects to put you in a ghoulishly good mood. Those with little ones should check out the “family fun” nights, when fairy-tale characters and superheroes hang out among the jack-o’-lanterns. rwpzoo.org
TAKE CONNECTICUT BY LAND AND BY WATER.
one-of-a-kind journey begins at Essex Steam Train and Riverboat in Essex, Connecticut, when you board a steam train that carries you through unspoiled wetlands (birders, don’t forget your binoculars). In the town of Deep River you’ll move onto the Becky Thatcher, a 70-foot Mississippi-style riverboat, to cruise the Connecticut River and take in views of autumn foliage and historic landmarks such as Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House, and the 1913 East Haddam Swing Bridge. Finally, it’s all aboard the train for the return leg. Offered weekends through October, this 2½hour excursion is foliage trip, wildlife tour, and history lesson, all rolled into one. essexsteamtrain.com
C O U R T E S Y O F R O G E R W I L L I A M S PA R K ZO O (J AC K- O ’- L A N T E R N S) ; A L L I E M A R SH ( R I V E R B OAT )
ummer may be high season for visiting the coast, but for many, the quieter autumn “shoulder season” is actually better for sampling its delights. Aim for early or mid-October to relish a last lobster roll at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth, Maine (they usually close the weekend before Halloween). Dine at a classic red picnic table with a view of waves pounding on rocks, then head up the road to Two Lights State Park to explore its 41 acres, learn a little bit about Maine’s military history, and drink in the rugged beauty of the coast. lobstershacktwolights. com; maine.gov/ twolights
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BASK IN BOG BEAUTY.
Wet-harvesting cranberries at A.D. Makepeace in Wareham, MA
KIM HOUDLE T T E FOR THE A .D. M AKEPE ACE COMPANY (BOG); C O U R T E S Y O F SU N SE T S TA B L E S ( T R A I L R I D E )
C O U R T E S Y O F R O G E R W I L L I A M S PA R K ZO O (J AC K- O ’- L A N T E R N S) ; A L L I E M A R SH ( R I V E R B OAT )
hile cranberries are a signature fall crop, unlike apple or pumpkin picking the harvest is not easily seen up close. Unless, that is, you book a tour with the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, whose 300-plus members include many that do wet harvesting, a process that creates eye-catching floating carpets of berries. But the dry version is equally fascinating and beautiful—for proof, just head to Annie’s Crannies in Dennis, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the cultivated cranberry. Run by 12thgeneration Cape Codder Annie Walker, the farm opens to visitors for five weekends in October and November and sometimes even lets them help out with the harvest. The gift shop is where to load up on cranberries to take home, as well as beeswax candles and honey from the beehives that dot the property. cranberries.org; anniescrannies.com
SADDLE UP OR PADDLE AWAY AT LINCOLN WOODS.
Just 15 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island, this 627-acre state park was established more than 100 years ago and has been drawing outdoors aficionados ever since. To go beyond the standard biking or hiking exploration, rent a kayak to see wetland color from the water, or head to nearby Sunset Stables to mount up for a trail ride (a portion of the park’s trails have even been set aside for equestrians only). riparks.com
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
Heading out on a Sunset Stables trail ride in Lincoln Woods State Park
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WAYS TO FALL FOR AUTUMN
27 PICK YOUR APPLES TO A BEAT.
DIG DEEP IN BOSTON.
ere’s a city foliage outing with a generous helping of history you may have missed in school. The 1.6-mile Black Heritage Trail wends its way through the northern slope of Beacon Hill, formerly the West End, which in the 1800s was home to Boston’s largest free African-American community. With 14 sites in all, this walk through historic Boston streets highlights several stops on the Underground Railroad as well as former homes, schools, churches, and businesses of free Blacks and abolitionists. nps.gov/boaf
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“Runway Red” is just one of the options on offer at Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut, where elegant small-batch wines compete for attention with a beautifully restored 1930s airplane hangar. The hub of tiny Westone Airport until about 1950, the hangar is now the Tasting Room, where you can enjoy wine, local craft beer, cider, and nibbles, with a stunning seaside vineyard view. saltwaterfarmvineyard.com
HIT ARTISTIC HEIGHTS.
morning stroll through the largescale exhibition spaces of Mass MoCA, the factory turned art museum in North Adams, Massachusetts, is the perfect prelude to an autumn hike at nearby Mount Greylock State Reservation, home of the state’s highest mountain as well as miles of mountain biking trails and hiking loops of varying difficulty. The reservation is accessible from the Western Gateway Heritage State Park complex, just a quarter-mile south of Mass MoCA. Fall shows at the museum include James Turrell’s C.A.V.U., Taryn Simon’s The Pipes, and Glenn Kaino’s In the Light of a Shadow. It’s a day where culture meets nature—how perfect is that? massmoca.org; mass.gov
S TA N T E S S/ A L A M Y S TO C K P H OTO ( B O S TO N ) ; ZO R A N O R L I C ( M A S S M O C A) ; C AT E B R O W N (S C H O O N E R )
There’s live music every weekend at the oldest continually operated apple farm in the country, Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, where you can get a lift on a tractor to the apple orchard or the pumpkin patch to pick your own. Weekly fall festivals include pie-eating contests, storybook hayrides for kids, and pumpkin-carving demonstrations. If you don’t feel like picking your own apples, grab a peck at the farm market, which offers 40 varieties along with freshpressed apple cider; local honey, jam, and maple syrup; and just-picked fruits and veggies. applecrest.com
The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial
DRINK A TOAST TO AUTUMN.
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SAIL A SCHOONER INTO THE SUNSET.
S TA N T E S S/ A L A M Y S TO C K P H OTO ( B O S TO N ) ; ZO R A N O R L I C ( M A S S M O C A) ; C AT E B R O W N (S C H O O N E R )
fter you board the 80-foot Aquidneck, the largest boat in Sightsailing of Newport’s touring fleet, you can help raise the sails and even take the helm—or just sit back and enjoy coastal color with a water view of Newport, Rhode Island’s Gilded Age grandeur. Morning, early afternoon, and sunset sails are available through early November, but book early to secure your spot (reservations open 21 days in advance). A reproduction of a 19th-century coasting schooner, the Aquidneck is fully equipped for contemporary comfort. That’s what we call smooth sailing. sightsailing.com
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A KNOCK ON THE DOOR.
A STRANGER APPEARS.
AND A STORY BEGINS TO UNFOLD.
living with ghosts By Oliver Broudy PHOTOS BY CIG HARVEY
AT DUSK ON A SPR I NG N IGH T SEV ER A L
years ago a stranger arrived at my door. He was old and uncertain, watery-eyed and paper-skinned, his clothes illfitting. How he arrived there was a mystery. No car was parked behind him on the street. But on learning who he was, my wife and I immediately invited him in, understanding at once the anguish and complexity of his visit. He was the man whose house we had recently bought, and whom (thanks to the absurd pretensions of real estate) we had never actually met. He was therefore a very special kind of stranger, one with whom we shared a very intimate bond yet knew absolutely nothing about. Except of course that we had taken something precious from him. And that he had for some reason returned. I had been present when age and Alzheimer’s compelled my grandparents to move out of their house. I know therefore the bewildered woe of that moment. So with a kind of surprised guilt we welcomed our visitor, perversely offering the hospitality of his own house back to him. He wandered through the altered rooms in a daze, pausing at a window to note the uprooted rhododendrons. We followed behind offering meager explanations and, when those failed, tea. Urgently we hoped that he would find some sense of continuity in the living spirit now in residence, and by what means we could we sought to bring this spirit to his attention, showing where the children played and how we had changed the basement to accommodate guests. He declined the tea and departed with a murmur. I’m not sure that he even noticed us, or heard anything that we said. His mind was full of things we could not see. A moment after he left I realized I should have offered to call a cab, but when I returned to the door he had already vanished. Had someone been waiting, just beyond the streetlight? Or was he a kind of haunting, a disheveled revenant risen from the cemetery down the street? In the years since, this man, the previous owner of my house—although this title seems radically insufficient for him—has remained somewhere in the back of my mind, a ghostly presence I have never quite figured out how to resolve. Recently, however, I received another visit. I f irst noticed them through a window, loitering on the street, and I immediately grew vigilant, wondering what piece of hideous salesmanship I would need to rebuff at the door. (My wife has vetoed putting up a kindly worded “no soliciting” sign but somehow she is never around when visitors call.) As it turned out, it was a woman in her late 40s, accompanied by two teens, a boy and a girl. The woman was hunched with friendly, effusive apologies, but while her words were directed at me her gaze went over my shoulder. She had grown up here. She was in the area because her father had died and she wanted to show her old home to her daughter and her nephew. | 95
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THE LESS YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR HOME’S PREVIOUS OWNERS, THE EASIER IT IS TO PRETEND THAT IT IS UNIQUELY YOUR OWN.
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They, the teens, were awkward in a way that was familiar to me, muddling through another contrived adult scenario as best they could. About their awkwardness there wasn’t much that I, or anyone, could do. But the woman at least I could invite in, feeling less guilty this time, but still strangely under the impression that it was my obligation to demonstrate that I was worthy. That she had reason to feel good—to the extent that one could— about the passing of her old home into new hands. The woman, nervous, rode through the visit on a cushion of chatter and departed much the same way, jestingly telling her nephew that he mustn’t mention the visit to his father, because he (the father) had sworn to never return. Several weeks later I received an email from this latest visitor containing a clipping of the first visitor’s obituary, which after seven years of wondering I read avidly. He was born in Leipzig in 1933. His family escaped Nazi Germany and arrived in the U.S. two years later. Due to a clerical error his high school transcript registered a 4.0 GPA and he was accepted to Yale. On graduating, he went on to med school at Columbia, studying tropical medicine for several months in Surinam. There he learned the local language and was later hired by Alcoa to teach it to their engineers. In doing so, the obit noted, it became apparent to him that the local laborers were greatly underpaid, so he decided to help them unionize. For this he was expelled from the country. Later, during his medical residency, he was institutionalized for several months in a psychiatric hospital; the obit did not say why. While there he started an inmates’ newsletter and agitated for patient rights. After med school he moved with his wife (recently wed) to a coal mining town in Kentucky, because he wanted to practice medicine where he could make a real difference. A few years later he and his wife returned to New York so she could finish her thesis on French literature. He got a job at a community health center in the South Bronx, where he helped develop a new model of care that involved training community members to become health care workers. His name, by the way, was Tom. Tom and his wife left New York in 1977—much as my wife and I did three decades later—presumably to raise their children. In the decades that followed, Tom focused on treating asthma, eventually writing a patient-friendly book on the subject that sold more than two million copies. He was always politically active, hosting phone banks and advocating for various causes. Around seven years ago he sold the house he had lived in for 35 years and moved with his wife to, I assume, a care facility. Three years later his wife died. Four years after that he did too. I looked up from this new information with an eerie sense of recognition, as if I were reading not Tom’s SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
obituary but my own. I’ve always thought it rather random that I should occupy one particular moment in time as opposed to any other, and in this instance it f leetingly seemed as if whatever power kept me headlocked in the current one had momentarily deflexed. Was Tom, even then, when he arrived on my doorstep, wondering how it all could have been, and how it all could so easily vanish? Is there a way to live your life such that these questions are comfortably resolved before the need to exit arrives? The obit mentioned that Tom had kept a blog, and that stories of his life as a doctor in Kentucky could be found there. The stories, it turned out, were engagingly written, with a wry humor. There was one about a boy who came in with blue hands. After some moments of pondering Tom eventually deduced that the color was due not to bad circulation but a new jean jacket. I read on, fascinated, yet with growing ambivalence. Perhaps it really was better to abide by the usual pretense, that an exchange of property should be transacted immaculately, like an adoption. After all, the less you know about your home’s previous owners, the easier it is to pretend that it is uniquely your own. It is a particular privilege to believe that your house was built for you alone—much as children believe the same of the world itself. With adulthood we scrap that illusion, of course, but it is comforting to hoard some vestige of it. Besides, what if the previous owner turned out to be unpleasant? What if, instead of documenting medical work in Kentucky his blog tracked the strip malls he built in Illinois? Or the forests he slashed in Brazil? I already labor mightily to vanquish the memory of the contractor who built my bathroom. I do not have energy to spare. Most people, thankfully, are not like my bathroom contractor. They may not be saints, but by and large they live lives filled with struggles not unlike our own. The struggle to succeed, to be happy, to love well, to be good people. And there is, besides, something kind of empty and impersonal about a house devoid of history. At least to a native New Englander. If history burdens you the thing to do is move to California and buy a big empty house that speaks to you of possibility. As New Englanders we are uncomfortable with emptiness. We are more comfortable with clutter. It gives us something to do. We are a rather fussy people after all, preoccupied with the size of things and how much can be fit inside them: closets, Tupperware containers, lifetimes. Anyway, I rather like Tom—his sensitive mind and dry wit, his commitment to good causes. I live with his ghost, now. He is respectful, quiet, allowing himself to comment only rarely. Make the most of the day, he says. Only that, and I’ll forgive you for the rhododendrons. | 97
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P H O T O S
C O R E Y
O N E
H E N D R I C K S O N
T E X T
D A Y
I A N
A L D R I C H
ach year, some 125,000 hikers climb New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock, touted as the world’s second-most-climbed peak. Many come in autumn; on Columbus Day weekend alone, more than 1,000 people may stream up Monadnock’s well-worn trails. Last year was no exception. During a time in which we were all looking to connect with the outdoors, Monadnock’s allure grew even stronger.
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O C T O B E R
They came, they saw, they posed.
We saw that firsthand last fall on a sparkling mid-October Sunday. Visitors from as far away as New York, Connecticut, and Ohio made the climb to the 3,165-foot summit. They came for the color and views, of course, but for other reasons too. To honor a loved one. To celebrate a healthy body. To catch a sunrise with a few friends. Some were making their inaugural ascent; others were continuing a tradition that had begun many years before. We talked with them along the route and at the summit, and here are some of the folks we met. SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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“C A N WE CLIMB TH AT?” CRAIG HORVAL, 34, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
I had never heard of this mountain. I’m just out here visiting a friend in Rindge. We were driving around, looking at the sights, and I looked up and saw it. “Can we climb that?” I asked him. We aren’t even above the trees and so far it’s been sweet. I’ve seen some great views. It’s not like Ohio. When I saw how big it was I thought it was a big deal. Something like 3,000 feet. My buddy told me there are a lot bigger mountains out there. But this is a start. Put your boots on and start climbing. That’s what we’re doing. Maybe I’ll do some bigger mountains after this one.
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EARLY RISERS TORIN KINDOPP, 16, and SAM DODSON, 17, Chesterfield, NH; MARTY NELLIGAN, 17, Keene, NH
KATHY COLMENARES, 68, Royalston, MA; KATHY KILHART, 68, Orange, MA
TORIN : A bunch of us on the cross-country team made plans to hike to see
the sunrise. It was beautiful. When we started you could just barely see the ground, and it got better from there.
MARTY: There was a group of girls who were kind of loud when we got up
there. And then there was us.
TORIN: [Laughs.] We were probably the loudest ones up there! SAM: Well, we were trying to stay warm.
KATHY K.: This is the first time I’ve been
up here with my new knee, which I just got in July. I made it. I feel great. How can I not? Look at this weather. It’s a 10. Just perfect.
MARTY: At least we were smart enough to bring enough layers. This one kid on our team decided it would be funny if he hiked up shirtless. I think he may have regretted that. SAM: But then he put on a vest, fancy shirt, and a blazer. It was hilarious.
KATHY C.: I come here in all seasons,
except for winter. I have a couple of favorite trails that I’ve hiked so many times I don’t even have to pay attention to the blazes—I know them that well. It’s kind of meditative for me. I can just let my mind wander. KATHY K.: We’ve hiked a lot together, haven’t we? Mount Washington... a few years ago we did Half Dome in California. But we like to come back to this hike. You just never know what you’re going to see. We’ve seen weddings up here. KATHY C.: We’ve been up here and there was a big dance group that brought big speakers and performed on some of the rocks. That was something.
from left : Torin, Marty, Sam
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F I R S T-T I M E R
MARIANA CHAVEZ, 37, Hollis, NH
This is my first time up, and I hate it! I’m just kidding. But my friend did say it was going to be like a walk, and she lied to us. I realized that about 15 minutes into it. This isn’t a walk. But it’s beautiful up here and gorgeous. I just love the views and being here with my son and friends. But ask me tomorrow how I really feel about it because I know my legs and bum will be sore.
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NIHAL ATAWANE, 31, Boston, MA
Winter is coming. I’ve got some dread about that and so I was looking for something to do to take advantage of the fall weather before it gets depressingly cold. A friend recommended Monadnock. I’ve never hiked it but I’m with a few friends of mine that I went to school with at Boston University. We decided to make a day of it. My friend was right: It’s hard to beat the views. But I wish I were in better shape. He said it was going to be easy. Guess that’s kind of relative. I’m realizing now he’s probably in better shape than me. But you know what? I have the day off tomorrow. I can recuperate.
FROM LEFT :
Corinne, Julie, Akansha, Brigid
GIRLS’ DAY OUT CORINNE SAUCIER, 20, Old Town, ME; JULIE WEBSTER, 21, Danvers, MA; BRIGID GRIFFIN, 20, Ashby, MA; AKANSHA DESHPANDE, 20, Attleboro, MA CORINNE: We’re all students at
Worcester Polytechnic Institute and it’s our finals week. We thought we’d do this before finals.
AKANSHA: Brigid said we should do it.
Do you want to do an eight-mile hike? I think we were just excited to leave campus, but I’m not a hiker. So every time I saw like another steep run I was like, This is the worst thing that ever happened to me! JULIE: I’ve never hiked before but I love being outside. When we got near
the mountain Brigid was like, we’re going to scale that one, and I’m like, yes! Let’s go. BRIGID: [Laughs.] I didn’t take it easy on them. AKANSHA: And now we gotta go back
CORINNE: I love it here. I love hiking.
I hike a lot in Maine and I’ve been missing it. This is like the best hike since I’ve started at WPI that I found accessible. Thanks, Brigid. It’s amazing.
SIBLING BOND DANIELLE DIERS, 45, Boston, MA; NATHAN KRAKOW, 40, Portsmouth, NH
NATHAN: We were going to meet our sister, who lives in Putney, for a little sibling hike but she couldn’t make it, so it’s just us two. We grew up around here. We hiked Monadnock as kids. For me, being up here it’s like a sense of home. There’s something comforting about just driving into Peterborough, coming down Route 101, and seeing [the mountain] on the horizon. You know where you are. DANIELLE: It’s like when you think about the compass pointing north. The view, and seeing where you grew up and recognizing spots—it’s special.
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BACK AT IT
JASON NERO, 40, and KARA NERO, 37, Jaffrey, NH JASON: We live right at the base of the mountain, so we’ve hiked it a lot. KARA: I’m just getting back into it. I had
some chronic health issues. It’s been hard, but it feels really good to be back out here. I used to come out here a lot with the kids. JASON: It’s always a challenge, but that’s part of what I like about it. It’s comforting in that way. About 10 years ago me and a buddy were going through some pretty tough times, and this was a place we could come to where we could get away from everything and figure stuff out. KARA: There’s a peacefulness you find,
especially when we like to hike, which is early in the morning.
S W E E T R E WA R D S
HANNAH RUSSELL, 9, Hooksett, NH
JASON: Every single time you hike it’s different. As you’re looking at it all—the sun, the clouds, the trees—and you’re feeling the breeze, the world feels still. We need that.
We did a couple of 4,000-footers this summer. Some of those were hard. So was this, but I loved the rock scaling near the top. That was a lot of fun. But not as much fun as our snacks. We’ve got peanut butter sandwiches and apples for lunch. But the best part is the candy corns my mom brought. I got to eat those on the way up. That’s been the best part. And then after we get back down we’re getting pizza. I can’t wait. 104 |
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A TIME TO REMEMBER PHILIP KEYES, 62, Acton, MA; NATHANIEL KEYES, 35, Cambridge, MA PHILIP: One of the reasons we
decided to do this was because my late wife, Nathaniel’s mom, died a few years ago, around this time. We did this hike many years ago and wanted to do this as a fatherson tribute to her life.
NATHANIEL: Just being up here
again, there’s a lot of love and nostalgia. I used to hike this on school trips. For a kid, especially, you can’t beat it.
PHILIP: We brought more food and
water than we probably needed. [Laughs.] I think we thought it was going to take a little longer. We made good time, right? I told Nathaniel, “Maybe we should get in a bike ride later.” But we’ll probably take our time up here to gather our thoughts and remember the last time the three of us came up together.
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For the sisters of Canterbur y Shaker Village, their way of
life seemed nearly at its end—until a singing cowboy came along. B Y H OWA R D M A N S F I E L D T Y PE DESIGN BY McCANDLISS AND CA MPBELL
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Rhode Island native Bud Thompson in an undated photo from his years as a country-music troubadour.
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he summer that Bud Thompson met the Shaker sisters he was young and they were old. There were then, in the mid1950s, 14 Shaker sisters living at Canterbury in New Hampshire. The last brother had died in 1939. There had always been more Shaker women than men, all the way back to 1747, when the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing was founded in England and later brought to America by Mother Ann Lee. Their enemies had named them Shakers or “Shaking Quakers” for their ecstatic worship, for trembling and throwing themselves about and speaking in tongues. Those days were more than a century gone. The Shakers Bud met were a quiet, pious, dedicated lot, their lives shaped by thousands of days of work and devotion into a work of art itself. The Canterbury sisters were living in the twilight of the Shaker utopia. Bud was 33 years old, a big strapping guy with a broad smile and lively blue eyes. He was a traveling troubadour knocking around the West, booked into schools by an agent back east. Before that, at age 16, he was a singing cowboy with his own radio show, 15 minutes a week on WMEX in Boston. He may have been the only teenage singing cowboy from Rhode Island in the whole curious history of singing cowboys. He visited the three remaining Shaker villages at Canterbury; Sabbathday Lake, Maine; and Hancock, Massachusetts. At their peak in the mid-19th century there had been 19 Shaker communities and perhaps as many as 6,000 Shakers. Bud was looking for new folk songs, and his booking agent told him the Shakers had written or adopted some 10,000 songs. The songs weren’t written, the Shakers said; they were received. His Canterbury visit changed his life and the lives of the Shaker sisters. Walking around the village, he met Sister Lillian Phelps. Lillian came to Canterbury at age 16 sick with tuberculosis. The sisters nursed her back to health. Lillian played the organ every Sunday for the sisters and she gave music lessons. She offered to play for Bud. “They had this lovely Hook and Hastings organ” in the chapel, Bud recalled. Lillian played “Méditation” from Thaïs—“did a beautiful job”—and two or three other pieces. Then Lillian, who had “a little bit of teasing way about her,” said, “‘Now wait, Bud. We talked. We played a few things for you, and now we’re expecting you to do something for us.’ “I said, ‘I don’t have my guitar. I don’t have any music.’ “‘Now you’re not getting away with anything,’ Lillian said. She was full of fun. She was a serious and smart lady, but she also had that kind of light. She lifts up the piano seat and she pulls out some schmaltzy thing like 108 |
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THIS SPRE AD : COURT ESY OF C ANT ERBURY SH AKER V ILL AGE. PRE V IOUS PAGE: P O R T R A I T ( D E TA I L) , C O U R T E S Y O F C A N T E R B U R Y SH A K E R V I L L AG E
The Bells of St. Mary’s. So she played the accompaniment as I sang. We became instantaneous friends.” Music had shaped Bud his whole life. Music led him to the Shakers and to his two wives. His first wife, Harriett, was an organist and choir director at a church, and his second, Nancy, was a soloist at another church. He fell in love with her when he heard her sing. Bud left to sing in small-town schools on a route that took him through the Midwest and on to Oklahoma. But each Monday he’d get letters from Sister Lillian or Sister Bertha Lindsay waiting for him in Rolla, Kansas (population 464), Hurley, Missouri (population 117), and all the other spots on the map where at the end of the day he knew no one. Bud had given them his schedule before he left. He saved the letters in a big photo album. This is the kind of devotion that happens in first love, with teens writing letters that cross towns, the country, the seas. But this was the romance of an aging, celibate Christian order and a young man who sang cowboy songs and folk ballads. T H E SIS T ER S W ER E AT L O OSE EN DS . W I T H T H E
death of their last brother in 1939 they had lost a powerful dynamic. They believed that God was male and female, that men and women, each working in their own sphere, were equal. And they were short of labor. They could no longer run their farm. For that they had to rely on hired hands. They turned to fancy work, to sewing and selling SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
opposite: Emma B. King as a young Shaker
c. 1900, years before she would become an eldress and Canterbury’s guiding force. top: Bud Thompson guiding a tour through the laundry building at Canterbury Shaker Village around 1980, as public interest in Shaker heritage was beginning to take off. above: Alberta MacMillan Kirkpatrick, shown in 1931, was brought to the Canterbury sisters at age 7 after her mother died. She was the last child to be raised in the village.
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Implied in her judgment were the others she had sent away—or maybe in a Christian way, hosted, fed, and sent away. But the sisters loved Bud from the first. “He hung the moon in their eyes,” June Sprigg told me. Sprigg spent two summers at Canterbury during her college years and later became a Shaker museum curator and the author of many books about the Shakers. “They saw him as a son. I think he could do no wrong in their eyes. He was just utterly devoted to them.” They asked Bud to come work for them. He had no idea that he’d be there for the next 31 years.
baked goods. If the Shakers’ work was participating in God’s creation, what happened when their work no longer sustained a self-reliant community? Bud even won the measured approval of Eldress Emma B. King, whose stern manner had left her to be called, out of her hearing, Emma be King. She was in charge of the hardest decisions of their declining years, including closing other villages and the religion itself to new converts. As they closed buildings and villages, she had to weigh many requests by those looking to carry off a piece of Shaker heritage. The sisters were often asked to sell their furniture, tools, music, and historical documents. Eldress Emma wrote to Bud, delivering her verdict, “I believe you are trying to do good in the world and are sincere in your efforts so it is a pleasure to encourage an honest seeker after truth and a high standard of living.” 110 |
one with a touch of Barnum. He was a showman and a salesman, and that mix would come to their rescue. He was a high school dropout whose education never ended; he was determined in everything he did. He had become a singing cowboy on a bet. He’d picked up his friend’s guitar and plunked away on it. His friends said: You’re pretty good; you should be on the radio. Maybe I’ll try that, said Bud. They bet $25 that he couldn’t do it in six months. Bud auditioned at radio stations, his older sister Margaretta helping look up stories of the old West to tell. He landed gigs all around Boston. “I was curious about everything. I still have my ear to the ground,” he told me at his home in Warner, New Hampshire, a week before his 97th birthday. Bud was a seeker, but never a convert. “I’ve had a guiding power, a guiding spirit,” Bud said at lunch one day with his wife, Nancy, and his son, Darryl.
PETER BLOCH/COURTESY OF C ANTERBURY SHAKER VILL AGE
ELDRESS EMMA WAS RIGHT: BUD WAS A SEEKER, BUT
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GEOFF FORESTER/CONCORD MONITOR (PORTR AIT); ERIN LIT TLE (INTERIOR)
The sisters loved Bud from the first. “He hung the moon in their eyes,” June Sprigg told me.
SINCE THEIR EA R LIEST DAYS, THE SH AK ER S H A D
GEOFF FORESTER/CONCORD MONITOR (PORTR AIT); ERIN LIT TLE (INTERIOR)
PETER BLOCH/COURTESY OF C ANTERBURY SHAKER VILL AGE
“We’re a religious family,” said Darryl, who was one of the last children to grow up at Canterbury. “We feel that God has led us. I mean that humbly—that God has opened doors for us.” “So many things have dropped in just at the time I needed them. The right things came. I have to believe it’s more than just luck,” said Bud. invited the World ’s People—as non-Shakers were called—to witness their worship services. The sisters welcomed everyone who found their way to their hill in Canterbury, a small town 14 miles north of the state capital, Concord. Canterbury Shaker Village was 29 buildings on a hill, mostly wooden, mostly painted white, lined up neatly with rows of old maples and white fences. It was pleasing, the buildings—large and small houses and barns—set out as a child might, lacking the usual configuration of buildings facing a street or a parking lot. In this setting visitors found harmony, serenity, simplicity, solace for the soul. That’s what they told the sisters over and over. They found virtue; they found belief, even if they themselves were not believers. And the sisters took delight in the World’s People, and they charmed many of their visitors. In their last decades, they didn’t play the part of the pious Shakers. They did sing Shaker songs, but they surprised people with their sense of humor and TV watching—Sister Gertrude Soule loved watching Wall Street Week best of all because Louis Rukeyser was “so handsome.” Sister Ethel Hudson liked watching General Hospital until “all the nurses started getting pregnant.” There were, by the 1950s, more buildings than sisters. At the village’s peak in the 1840s there had been 260 Shakers living and working in more than 100 dwelling houses, barns, workshops, farm buildings, and nine water-powered mills running on an extensive system of seven ponds and dams. On 3,000 acres they grew apples and peaches, made maple syrup and candy, and ran a productive dairy in New Hampshire’s largest barn. They sewed distinctive women’s cloaks; made wooden pails, boxes, and baskets; sold packaged seeds; ran a print shop; and patented a steam-powered washing machine. Their neighbors may have been puzzled by, or even hostile to, their faith, but they respected the Shakers’ prosperity. As their population shrank they took down buildings and sold land until they had about two dozen buildings and hundreds of acres in hay fields, orchards, and woods. The Shakers had a wild beginning. In England, the woman who was to become Mother Ann Lee joined a small group of renegade Quakers who regarded (Continued on p. 122) SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
opposite: At the heart of the nearly 700-
acre Canterbury Shaker Village property are more than two dozen original Shaker buildings, including the 1729 Meeting House. top: Bud Thompson, long since retired as village director, with his wife, Nancy, in 2020. above: Interior of the c. 1823 schoolhouse at Canterbury Shaker Village.
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The Great Fire at Chicago, Octr. 8th. 1871. (detail), 1871. Joslyn Art Museum, Gift of Conagra Brands.
October 2, 2021 - January 24, 2022
96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT Exit 70 off of I-95 FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org • 860.434.5542
(Continued from p. 78) repose, giving the surrounding 1,465acre state park its name. A favored route is the Blue/Quinnipiac Trail, which winds more than a mile up to the top of Mount Carmel, where a 1930s stone observation tower gives a bird’s-eye view of the Mill and Quinnipiac River valleys below. This is already the fourth and highest summit in a journey that hits seven small peaks in all, with many ledges for leaf peeping along the way, before returning you via the Yellow Trail to the parking lot. ct.gov/deep QUICK HIKE | HAYSTACK MOUNTAIN, NORFOLK: ~1.8 miles. The view from the
Rapunzel-esque three-story stone tower atop Haystack Mountain is worth the half hour or so of exertion it takes to scramble to the summit on this scenic loop trail. From the parking area, the short, steep hike is doable for most abilities. Seen from 1,716 feet above sea level, the autumn landscape seems to gleam and glow. ct.gov/deep
MAINE BORESTONE MOUNTAIN, ELLIOTSVILLE:
Actually Fly a bird!
~5.2 miles. Though most of Maine Audubon’s centers and sanctuaries are located on the coast, foliage lovers can head inland to explore Audubon’s lone North Woods outpost, the 1,639-acre Borestone Mountain Sanctuary, near the southern end of the 100-Mile Wilderness forest. The mountain has two peaks with 360-degree views that can be reached by the Base and Summit trails, plus there’s a half-mile spur trail that climbs above a series of cliffs overlooking a trio of pristine alpine ponds. Bring binoculars to drink in the color of the mature hardwood forest below—and maybe spy a moose feeding too. maineaudubon.org
CARIBOU MOUNTAIN, SOUTH OXFORD:
Photo: Tim Crowley
Touch the wild in a way you never dreamed possible! Located in the beautiful, accessible hill-country of Southern NH.
MAKES A GREAT GIFT!
NHSchoolofFalconry.com Call Nancy Cowan 603-464-6213
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 112 |
~7 miles. Nothing says New England autumn vistas quite like the White Mountain National Forest, but while New Hampshire has the lion’s share of this scenic sprawl, you can find a terrific chunk of it in Maine, too, and often with much lighter crowds. The Mud Brook/ Caribou loop leads through dense forest, across brooks, and past cascades, and includes a 2,000-foot elevation gain to reach Caribou’s open summit, with views of mountains, notches, the rolling Oxford Hills, and the twisting, sparkling ribbon of 10-mile-long Kezar Lake. fs.usda.gov
MOUNT MEGUNTICOOK/MAIDEN CLIFF, CAMDEN: ~6.5 miles. Many
visitors to Camden beeline it to Mount Battie, thanks to its centrally located trailhead, handy summit-road option, and unbeatable perch overlooking the forested slopes down to the town’s lovely
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NEW ENGLAND now PEOPLE harbor. Still, it’s only the tip of 5,700-acre Camden Hills State Park. Dig in for a meatier day hike by tackling the park’s highest peak, Megunticook (elevation 1,385 feet), on a double loop composed mainly of the Maiden Cliff, Ridge, and Jack Williams trails, which offer rockledge lookouts along the way that frame everything from Penobscot Bay to Lake Megunticook to, yes, Mount Battie in foliage finery. maine.gov/dacf NORTH TRAVELER MOUNTAIN, BAXTER STATE PARK: ~5.6 miles. For those who
like a challenge but aren’t ready for Baxter’s superstar, Katahdin, this outand-back segment of a longer loop trail on Maine’s highest volcanic peak, the Traveler, delivers on steepness, scrambles, and stunning vistas in less than four hours round-trip. Your destination is the North Traveler summit, and after the first lookout half a mile in, maples and birches yield to long stretches of open ridge, providing largely unobstructed views of mountains, ponds, and lakes all the way to the top. baxterstatepark.org
QUICK HIKE | SOUTH BUBBLE/BUBBLE ROCK, ACADIA NATIONAL PARK:
~1.5 miles. Although the Bubble Mountains are an impressive sight when viewed from Jordan Pond along the Park Loop Road, they’re actually well under 1,000 feet above sea level. It takes less than a mile to reach South Bubble and nearby geological oddity Bubble Rock (via the Bubbles Divide Trail and the Bubbles Trail), which means the going gets quite steep in parts. But the view from the top back to the Atlantic Ocean is exceptional, especially when you add in autumn color. nps.gov
A multi-media group exhibition featuring work by 10 New England artists that celebrates the ethnicities, cultures, communities, and traditions of the people of the region.
On view through October 17
Cobi Moules, Untitled (Rocky Coast of Maine I), 2019. Oil on canvas, 34 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist and Kasper Contemporary.
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with a cost: Four villages in the Swift River Valley were flooded to make way for the project in the 1930s. You can still see traces of what came before on this easygoing out-and-back hike, which starts at Gate 40 off Route 32A in Petersham and mixes history and foliage hues as it passes through the remnants of the “lost town” of Dana on the way to the shores of the biggest body of water in Massachusetts. mass.gov SKYLINE TRAIL, MILTON: ~9 miles. As majestic as undiluted nature can be, the Boston skyline rising above a sea of red and gold leaves is a peak experience in its own right. The 7,000-acre-plus Blue Hills Reservation—the largest open space within 35 miles of the city—has long been a favorite place for Bostonians to get a new perspective on their home, thanks to its bountiful hills and lookouts and more than 120 miles of trails. The premier route is the Skyline Trail, which traverses the east-west length of the reservation. It briefly splits at park headquarters into north and south trails; the former is longer and more strenuous but boasts some of the finest views. Note: Requiring an estimated five hours and some tough climbing, the Skyline Trail is best done one-way to start, so grab a buddy and plan a car shuttle. mass.gov WACHUSETT MOUNTAIN, PRINCETON: ~6.2 miles. Dubbed the
“Observatory of Massachusetts” by Thoreau, Wachusett Mountain is the loftiest peak within easy distance from Boston. The versatile mountain, which is set on its namesake 3,000-acre state reservation, beckons to hikers of all levels with 17 miles of well-marked trails traversing forests and meadows, streams and ponds. One of the loveliest places to start is Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Sanctuary—a terrific foliage destination in and of itself—where you can pick up the Midstate Trail into the adjacent state reservation for an outand-back climb via the Harrington Trail straight to the 2,006-foot summit. massaudubon.org; mass.gov
QUICK HIKE | SOUTH SUGARLOAF, SOUTH DEERFIELD: ~1.4 miles. Not to
A museum of early American life. Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA 01342 www.historic-deerfield.org
be confused with its much bigger cousin in Maine, this Sugarloaf Mountain is, for nature lovers, a literal sweet spot. Combining the Pocumtuck Ridge and Old Mountain trails, this loop up and over the south summit is short yet challenging enough to get the endorphins going, and the 652-foot summit, topped with an observation tower, is an unbeatable perch for gazing out over the Connecticut River, the Pelham Hills and Berkshire Hills, and the Pioneer Valley towns of Deerfield, Sunderland, and Amherst. mass.gov
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NEW HAMPSHIRE ARETHUSA FALLS AND FRANKENSTEIN CLIFF, HART’S LOCATION: ~5 miles. New
England’s fall foliage is stunning on its own, but sometimes the landscape offers a little something extra—in this case, a 600-foot-high cliff, a view of a historic railroad line, and the highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Tucked away within Crawford Notch State Park in the White Mountains, this loop hike has some steep climbing through deciduous forest up to Frankenstein Cliff, where a lookout gives views of Crawford Notch and the Saco River below. You’ll also get a sneak preview of what lies ahead: Arethusa Falls, which many consider the state’s most scenic waterfall. nhstateparks.org MOUNT MONADNOCK, JAFFREY: ~4.2 miles. It’s a National Natural Landmark and one of the most-climbed mountains in the world for a reason [see “One Day in October,” p. 98]. Though you can take your pick from any of the fine trails at this 3,165-foot peak, we recommend that first-time hikers head up via the White Dot Trail and descend by way of the White Cross Trail. At the bald summit, you can look out toward Boston, some 65 miles away, and drink in the autumn color of countless acres of protected highlands below. nhstateparks.org PERCY PEAKS, STRATFORD: ~6.7 miles. The most easily recognizable peaks in the Great North Woods beckon to hikers looking to avoid the White Mountains crowds while maxing out on foliage vistas. Head to the remote 40,000-acre Nash Stream Forest for this challenging loop hike summiting South Percy and North Percy, with the latter’s bald granite dome yielding a stunning panorama that takes in Mount Washington and the Presidentials as well as peeks into Vermont, Maine, and Canada. Plus, look for blueberry barrens at the summit to be blazing red in fall. cohostrail.org WELCH AND DICKEY, THORNTON: ~4.5 miles. You’ll want to start early and/or pick a weekday to avoid crowds on this popular loop trail in the southern Whites, but it’s worth it. Connecting the Welch and Dickey mountains, the route boasts nearly two miles of open ledges that give prime views of the hardwood-carpeted bowl between the two peaks as well as shots of many mountains in the surrounding ranges. Some tricky rock scrambling is required; go counterclockwise in order to climb, rather than descend, the toughest slabs. fs.usda.gov QUICK HIKE | WEST RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN, HOLDERNESS: ~1.8
miles. Many folks looking for an easy climb in the Lakes Region head not to Winnipesaukee but Squam, which is
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much smaller but just as stunning, and dotted with scenic islands. You can get a bird’s-eye view with a hike up West Rattlesnake Mountain, mainly on the family-friendly Old Bridle Path. The mostly dirt path traverses hardwood forest— meaning ample fall color—before reaching the summit, where granite ledges offer eyepopping views of Squam. squamlakes.org
RHODE ISLAND LONG POND/ASHVILLE POND, HOPKINTON:
~4.4 miles. Scramble over glacier-dumped boulders and under mountain laurel on this relatively short but challenging day hike along a portion of the 22-mile Narragansett Trail. Starting from the parking area on Canonchet Road, take the Long Pond Trail through Audubon wildlife refuge lands to reach the high bluffs above Ell and Long ponds, a truly breathtaking spot (part of the 2012 movie Moonrise Kingdom was filmed here). Then retrace your steps and dip south on a gentler portion of the Narragansett Trail to the forested shores of Ashville Pond before heading back to your car. asri.org TILLINGHAST POND, COVENTRY: ~8.4 miles. Situated on conserved lands in the heart of the largest coastal forest between Boston
and D.C., the Tillinghast Pond area is the kind of wooded oasis that makes for a don’tmiss foliage destination. Heading east from the parking areas, this loop hike meanders through woodlands dotted with boulders, old cemeteries, stone walls, and cellar holes on the Flintlock and Wickaboxet trails before rounding back to the signature Tillinghast Pond Trail, which offers a number of overlooks above the beautiful 41-acre pond. exploreri.org; nature.org WALKABOUT TRAIL, CHEPACHET: ~8 miles. New England hikers can thank Australia for this one: Members of that country’s navy volunteered to build the Walkabout Trail back in 1965 while in Rhode Island waiting for their ship to be readied for its trip back Down Under. Located in the George Washington Management Area, the trail is broken into three loops of varying distances, but the longest circuit—marked with orange blazes—is still moderate enough for most hikers. Quiet woodlands and wetlands predominate, and at the Bowdish Reservoir you can tack on the 1.4-mile Angell Loop to linger by the water. exploreri.org QUICK HIKE | NORMAN BIRD SANCTUARY, MIDDLETOWN: ~2 miles. At this 300-acre-
plus nature preserve, hikers are treated to a mix of open fields and foliage-tinted forest,
not to mention wildlife aplenty (bring your binoculars, as fall is a busy bird migration season). Try the Hanging Rock Trail, an out-and-back along a ridge that leads to a short cliff with views of Gardiner Pond and the ocean. normanbirdsanctuary.org
VERMONT BROMLEY MOUNTAIN, PERU: ~6 miles.
Immerse yourself in a palette of autumn colors on this moderate trek along a portion of the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail to the top of Bromley Mountain. Much of the route is spent in a hardwood forest with brooks, bridges, and boulders along the way, eventually leading out onto a ski slope and the final push to the 3,280foot summit. Open and grassy, it’s a great place for an autumn picnic, as you take in a sweeping Green Mountain National Forest panorama and fuel up for the hike back. fs.usda.gov CAMEL’S HUMP, HUNTINGTON: ~5.8 miles. Camel’s Hump may not be Vermont’s most-climbed mountain (that would be Mount Mansfield), but its views take a back seat to none. Plus, it offers a true escape from civilization, as this state park is completely undeveloped, with no visitor facilities. This loop hike starts from the park’s Huntington side and follows the Forest City Trail up the southern ridge; connects with the Long Trail to reach the summit; and descends via the Burrows Trail. Bring water and lots of snacks, because this one will make you work— just as surely as the autumn scenery will make you swoon. vtstateparks.com HUNGER MOUNTAIN/WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN, MIDDLESEX: ~6.4
miles. Located at the southern end of the Worcester Range, Hunger and White Rock are accessible day-hiking destinations that still embody the feeling of remote beauty that befits Vermont’s last undeveloped mountain range. A rugged loop hike on the Middlesex, Waterbury, and White Rock trails provides twice the bang for the buck by connecting these two scenic peaks, both featuring wide-open summits above slopes of mixed hardwood forest. From Hunger’s south summit, you can look west across the valley to take in almost every peak in the Green Mountain Range. fpr.vermont.gov
QUICK HIKE | MOUNT HOR, SUTTON:
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~2.8 miles. Mount Hor rises above the southwestern shores of Lake Willoughby, the loveliest lake in the Northeast Kingdom, not to mention the state. And while its twin across the lake, Mount Pisgah, may have better views, the easier route to Hor’s summit (up the Herbert Hawkes Trail) delivers maximum water-and-color spectacle for minimal effort. vtstateparks.com
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7 benefits of Life Plan Communities for seniors
Learn why residents say, “I should have done this sooner!”
any people mistakenly assume senior living is something they only need to consider when they require health care. But this outdated notion keeps them from exploring their options and discovering a lifestyle that could ultimately help them live longer, healthier lives.
The truth is, the best time to move to a Life Plan Community — also known as a continuing care retirement community or CCRC — is when you’re young and healthy enough to enjoy everything the community has to offer. So, let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of choosing a Life Plan Community and learn why so many people ultimately say, “I should have done this sooner.” 1. Enjoy a completely maintenancefree lifestyle. Leave behind the endless to-do lists and worries about home maintenance and enjoy more freedom and time to do the things you enjoy. 2. Make new friends and build your support network. At a Life Plan Community, you’ll never run out of things to do — or friends to do them with. Of course, your privacy is always respected and you’re in control of your schedule. Choose down-time whenever you like, knowing that a community of friends is always available right outside your door. 3. Focus on your health and whole-person wellness. Life Plan Communities offer amenities to help you remain healthy and active such as a fitness center, an aquatic center, and group exercise
classes. On-site health clinics provide routine screenings and handle acute care needs. The best communities also promote whole-person wellness through programs that encourage intellectual curiosity, spiritual and emotional well-being, and social engagement. For example, Melissa Kampersal, executive director at Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover, Massachusetts notes that, “At Edgewood we have am extremely popular, residentdirected lifelong learning program that offers educational programs on a variety of topics chosen by residents.” 4. Structure your days any way you choose. Gone are the days of rigid schedules and residents having to fit into a mold. Instead, as the name implies, a Life Plan Community is about living your life according to your plan in a community designed to support your freedom. 5. Leave the cooking and clean-up to someone else. With a fully equipped kitchen in your residence, you’re always free to cook for yourself. But if you’d rather leave that chore to someone else, most Life Plan Communities offer choices that range from grab-and-go to casual restaurant-style and fine dining options. And Kampersal says Edgewood raises the bar by giving residents a chef-prepared, farm-to-table dining experience. “Our talented culinary team creates seasonal menus using the freshest locally grown ingredients available. The meals here rival the finest restaurants.”
6. Rest easy with intelligent design and 24/7 security. You’ll find features designed to make your home easy to live in and safer to navigate, as well as builtin security systems, 24/7 staffing, and personal alert systems that enable you to summon help if you need it. 7. Give yourself and your family priceless peace of mind. With a continuum of healthcare services on site, you can remain in the community as your needs change and your family won’t be faced with finding care in a crisis. Kampersal explains, “Edgewood residents have the assurance of unlimited, priority access to on-site healthcare services from assisted living and memory support to long-term skilled nursing. Plus, Edgewood offers LifeCare, which comes with financial advantages.” One final thought: When choosing a senior living community, consider its ownership structure. Whether a community is not-for-profit or for-profit can have a big influence on how decisions are made and how resources are used. Kampersal adds, “Edgewood is a notfor-profit organization and, as such, we exist for the benefit of residents, not shareholders. It’s an important distinction.” Why wait? Edgewood is the only Life Plan Community (CCRC) in the Merrimack Valley that also offers LifeCare. You’ll enjoy an exceptional lifestyle and the priceless peace of mind we all desire. To learn more, call 978-725-3300 today.
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The Man Who Loved Shakers (Continued from p. 111) themselves as the only true believers. They would charge into churches to disrupt services. They repeatedly spent time in jail. Mother Ann, with seven others, arrived in America in 1774 on the eve of the Revolution. Being English, they were suspected of being spies and spent more time in jail. Mother Ann’s Shakers are not the Shakers we know. They are not the pious, well-ordered, “hands to work, hearts to God” industrious makers of spare, beautiful chairs, songs, and art. The Believers are spirit-drunk; they speak in tongues, dance and shout, make so much joyful noise unto the Lord that their church services are “a perfect bedlam.” Ann and her small band travelled through Massachusetts and Connecticut seeking converts. They were attacked, clubbed, caned, whipped, thrown from bridges. In Petersham, Massachusetts, Ann was dragged down stairs “feet f irst” and thrown into a sleigh like “the dead carcass of a beast,” fracturing her skull, an injury which may have led to her untimely death a year later at age 48. After Ann’s death, Brother John Meacham established the leadership of elders, eldresses, deacons, deaconesses, and trustees. He set up communal villages and formalized the three key tenets of Shaker belief: celibacy, communal life, and confessing your sins. Order was now the face of Shakerism. But the spirit life broke out once more in the 1830s. Spirits directed the Shakers to create holy feast grounds and to take up holy names for their villages. Canterbury was Holy Ground, and nearby Enfield was Chosen Vale, and so the map of America was populated with the holy: Holy Land, Holy Mount, Holy Grove, Lovely Vineyard, Pleasant Garden, City of Love, City of 122 |
Peace, Vale of Peace, Wisdom’s Valley, Wisdom’s Paradise. The Shakers no longer shook and trembled, but they still “lived life on the boundary between this world and the next,” said Shaker scholar Priscilla J. Brewer. Another monastic, Thomas Merton, knew that boundary. Merton had visited the Shaker village not far from his own Kentucky monastery. He wrote, “The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.” THE SH AK ER SISTERS BU D K NEW
stood at another boundar y: They were almost all orphans. The sisters’ lives as Shakers began with a death
In some ways the change to a museum was a new “gathering into order,” the next generation of the Shakers’ idea.
in the family. They were passed from hand to hand until they arrived under the Shakers’ care. One of the sisters who Bud knew best, Eldress Bertha Lindsay, arrived at Canterbury in 1905 on a stagecoach. Her parents had died within a month of each other. Her older sister, headed west to get married, left Bertha, almost 8, in Canterbury. “I will never forget my first day,” she said. “My sister, Mae, left me here with tears streaming down my face. Then Sister Helena Sarle came along and said, ‘Don’t cry, little girl. I’ll be your sister.’ And she was a sister to me as long as she lived.”
The next Sunday was Apple Blossom Sunday in Canterbury Village. “Everyone was singing and marching and they swept me right along to the apple orchards where they gave praise and thanks to God. Birds were singing, the trees were f illed with apple blossoms. I began feeling the love and warmth of the people here. This has been my home ever since.” “That’s the best thing the Shakers ever did, was raise all those kids who fell through the cracks,” said June Sprigg. “That’s better than any round barn or oval box. They provided homes for kids, and most of them left over time. It was a very generous thing to do. I’m a stepmother and I think about Bertha raising these girls and then having them leave and not come back and not live there. She was very brave. There’s a lot of courage in that.” A LBERTA M ACM ILL A N K IR K PAT-
rick was the last girl raised by the Canterbury sisters. By age 11 she had lived in six different foster families. “I was very upset,” Alberta recalled. “I had considered suicide.” The day Alberta arrived in 1929 she was scared. “I remember sitting in the parlor at the office and they had called Sister Marguerite and I saw her come running from the Dwelling House. And it was wintertime, December 29, so she had her heavy wool cape on, was holding her bonnet. I could see the cape f ly in the wind. That’s how fast she was running down and I thought to myself how disappointed she’s going to be when she gets here and sees me. She’s not going to like me. When she got into the door she fell right down on her knees and put her arms out to me and said, ‘Darling, I thought you would never arrive.’ It was very emotional for both of us…. She was the first person who hugged me since my mother died when I was 6.… She made me into somebody entirely different than the little girl that arrived here. There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t have done for that woman. I adored her.” NEWENGLAND.COM
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THE SISTERS H A D A DOP TED BU D
and he had adopted them. Late in life they faced losing their home again. Eldress Emma was prepared to close the village; she was selling furniture. (She’d knock on the door to tell a sister to empty out her desk. It was sold.) Bud thought Canterbur y could become a museum, but one that was more than they could imagine. The entire village, and the old orchards and hay fields and ponds, would be an “open-air museum.” Bud had to show them; he had to sell them on his idea, and here’s where they were fortunate that this “honest seeker” was also a salesman who knew how to put on a good show. He took his allies, Sisters Lillian, Bertha, and Marguerite, on field trips to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, and Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Canterbury could be like those museums, collections of old buildings and tools with guides who were sometimes in costume, except that those museums had been assembled with buildings from many places and the guides were dressed up to portray the past. Canterbury was in place, and there were even a few living Shakers who could play themselves—but there would be no dress-up. The Shaker costume was a religious habit. They wouldn’t have their villages turned into a masquerade. The sisters liked Bud’s idea, and they eventually won over several other sisters, but they had to convince Eldress Emma and then have all the 124 |
sisters agree. Lillian, the first Shaker Bud had met, had a keen understanding of strategy. “Don’t call everyone to a meeting in a room and present the idea to them as a group,” she told Bud. “If one person speaks against it, the others will be reluctant to speak for it. Instead, present the idea to each sister individually. Discuss it with each, ask for the thoughts of each, and refine your ideas to incorporate as many of their suggestions as possible. Build consensus and a community of support. Then, you can present the idea to Eldress Emma.” Lillian told him how. “I will arrange for [Sister] Aida to go to Eldress Emma’s office and express her full support for the project. Then I will contrive to meet Eldress Emma on the walkway as she crosses over to the Dwelling House and I will say, ‘Eldress Emma, did you hear about Bud’s wonderful idea?’ Later in the day I’ll arrange for [Sister] Ida to visit Eldress Emma and give her full backing.” Emma agreed to the museum— temporarily—until the village was sold to a religious or charitable group, and the last sisters were in a nursing home. In some ways the change to a museum was a new “gathering into order,” the next generation of the Shakers’ idea. Bud set up a museum in the Meetinghouse and they opened a few buildings. He had been collecting Shaker furniture and tools for years. When visitors began arriving, Bertha and later Gertrude welcomed them—they were “guests, never tourists”—and sent them out with Bud. “I’d finish taking a few people around, and a few more, and a few more, and I’d be worn out,” Bud recalled. “Then I’d get a call from Lillian and she’d say, ‘Oh, Bud there’s the most lovely people here.’” And around Bud would go again. The first year as a museum in 1960, 500 guests dropped in for a visit. The young museum was amateur in the best sense of the definition: “something done for the love of it.” The World’s People came f irst a
CELEBRATING THE SHAKER LEGACY The longest-lived religious communal society in American history, the Shakers at their mid19th-century height numbered some 4,000 to 5,000 members living in nearly 20 communities from Maine to Indiana. New England was home to roughly half of those settlements, a handful of which have been preserved to this day—including the last active Shaker community in the world. Note: Since some places may still be operating under Covid restrictions, please check in advance before making travel plans. —The Editors Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village: Two members of the Shaker sect still live in this c. 1783 village, which maintains 18 original structures—six of which are open to the public—and offers the largest existing repository of Maine Shaker culture. Sabbathday Lake, ME; maineshakers.com Canterbury Shaker Village: Guided tours and educational programs tell the stories of more than two centuries of Shaker life on this property, which today invites the exploring of 29 historic buildings on nearly 700 acres. Canterbury, NH; shakers.org Enfield Shaker Museum: The centerpiece of this handsome village turned museum is the Great Stone Dwelling, the largestever Shaker edifice, where you can actually stay overnight in an original Shaker bedroom. Enfield, NH; shakermuseum.org
NICK L AROCHELLE/COURTESY OF CANTERBURY SHAKER VILL AGE
Alberta grew up, and at 18 she wanted to go out into the world. “It was a very sad thing leaving Sister Marguerite. She had always called me Birdie—she never called me by my first name. And she said, ‘Birdie, it’s your time now to f ly…. There’s no life here for you. If you stayed your life would be taking care of older sisters and sick people. And I don’t think that’s what a young girl should face.’”
Hancock Shaker Village: Called “the City of Peace” by the Shakers who once dwelled here, the Hancock settlement today is home to 20 original buildings, a working farm, a scenic walking trail, and a significant cache of Shaker furniture and artifacts. Hancock, MA; hancockshakervillage.org
7/16/21 3:55 PM
NICK L AROCHELLE/COURTESY OF CANTERBURY SHAKER VILL AGE
Shaker craftsmanship shines through in the baskets arrayed in the ironing room of the Canterbury Shaker Village laundry. The baskets were marked with building letters and room numbers to ensure clothing and textiles were returned to their proper place.
few dozen at a time, then 50 to 100 on a summer’s day, and then 40,000 and 75,000 in a season. Some were surprised to be greeted by a living Shaker. Mostly it was all they could do to keep from saying, but-we-thought-youwere-all-dead. Bertha and Gertrude looked like grandmothers from another century. People saw what they wanted to see in the sisters: living antiques; models of serenity and sanctity in a time of Mutually Assured Destruction. Constancy. They were formal. They lived their belief, to do good work aiming for perfection, but accepting that they’d fall short. They were sure in their faith even as the Shaker life was fading. They were still Believers, and that’s what they wished people would see. Eldress Emma B. King died in 1966. With Marguerite and Bertha in charge, the museum would be permanent. It was formally incorporated in 1969. Bud was no longer the only tour SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
guide, but he trained everyone. It was his tour. Bud always focused on the positive. The Shakers were unique, benevolent, and charitable. We can learn from them and try to be better people. “What is Canterbury Shaker Village?” asked one newspaper advertisement. “Bud Thompson’s Spirited Tours.” The Canterbury sisters had left the young museum a puzzle: How do you make a museum about faith? At each stop on the tour, in each building, Bud had a showpiece, something that would grab the attention of even the husbands trailing along at the back of the group. He’d show them the Shakers’ cleverness—the tilting feet on chairs, a long-handled broom to sweep the ceilings of barns, the clothes-drying racks that rolled out of the wall. Then they came forward to talk to Bud as they walked along. “By the time I got done the guy would be all turned on,” Bud said.
This was a show he also took on the road, lecturing about “The Friendly Shakers,” as the promotional f lyer said. (“DO YOU KNOW that the Shakers … were the FIRST people in this country to raise, package, and sell Garden Seeds and Medicinal Herbs … were the ONLY successful communal organization in America.”) Sometimes he would bring the sisters with him. “It was a lovefest,” recalled June Sprigg. If the tour guides strayed too far from “Bud’s tour,” as it was known, they might get the “cookie talk.” Bud would say, let’s you and me go have a cookie. He’d tell them that there were too many facts in their talks and not enough heart. He wanted visitors to be inspired. “People come here to get away from the world and to escape their problems, and we want to leave them w ith a good feeling,” Renee Fox recalled of Bud’s cookie talk. Renee had started at Canterbur y with a summer job in the gift shop more than 30 years ago and was a tour guide before becoming the museum’s archivist. Bud “definitely kept an eye on us,” she said. Bud didn’t talk about the early radical days of Mother Ann and the later spirit fever. He avoided anything that was messy. Guides were frequently asked about the Shakers’ celibacy. “So if someone asked, ‘Well, did the Shakers ever run away and get married? ’ And if you said, ‘Well, yes, they did,’ and then came up with some examples, I mean, that wasn’t part of Bud’s tour,” said Renee. “If someone asked him one of those | 125
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difficult questions, he would say, ‘I’m interested that you’re interested in that question.’” He didn’t answer; he put it back on the visitor. “Bud didn’t want us to go in that direction,” said Renee. “Bertha used to say how she was witnessing for the Shakers who had gone before. Bud was witnessing to the existence of this community and the things they had done, rescuing them from what could be oblivion.” “He saw in the Shakers this wonderful potential of the human spirit,” said another former tour guide, Brad Fletcher. “It was very idealistic. People going to the village and on the tour reacted in ways that [showed] this was far more than just visiting a historical site. There was something authentica l ly spirit ua l about the place, and that is Bud’s gift.” Bud can be impatient with anything he sees as criticizing the Shakers. One day he said to me, “So there’s the guy Darryl told me about, just coming out with a new book. And I think he made the criticism that I was too idealistic. Well, all I knew was what I knew. I knew them and lived with them—he didn’t. By and large I never worked for people that to me were more what I think Christianity ought to be—not what it is, but what it ought to be.” BU D ENDED HIS EV ENING TOURS
by taking out his guitar and singing “Simple Gifts” and other songs at the candlelit Meetinghouse. He’d then tell a story from Robert Louis Stevenson’s boyhood. Stevenson was very sick; he spent months in bed looking out at the streets of Edinburgh watching “people coming, people going. Everybody busy. The sounds of horses’ hooves and wagon wheels rumbling over the cobblestone streets …. He said that as twilight came, from out of the night came an insignificant little man. Insignificant even by daylight, let alone by night. He was the old lamplighter of Edinburgh whose job it was to light the lamps 126 |
along the street. But he said wherever this man stopped to light his lamp he left a beautiful, glowing lamp. “It kind of reminds me a little of the Shaker story,” Bud would say. “Because when the Shaker people started out they were considered an insignificant little group. People didn’t pay much attention to them. Some of the more sophisticated people described them as just a candle in the sun. Not very important. They went about living their life quietly. There was a period when people looked and said, ‘Oh they’re dying out. They were good
The question isn’t why the Shakers died off, but how did they hold it together for so long?
people, kind people. Too bad.’ And then students and scholars took a second look and they jumped back in utter amazement at what this little group of people had achieved. Insignificant, perhaps, but like the old lamplighter of Edinburgh, what a lovely light. Their membership started decreasing. They’re almost gone. But you know what? There’s never been a time that the light has shone brighter. There’s never been a time when more people have come to listen to their words and find out who they are. People are amazed at what this group has done. I think they let us see that people don’t have to live by greed and aggression.” He closed the evening by leading everyone in singing “Edelweiss,” because he had taken the sisters to see The Sound of Music and all the way home they had sung “that lovely melody.” “It was romantic,” said Renee Fox, recalling songs rolling out into
the night. It was stirring. She doesn’t remember anything else about that tour, but she remembers that. A romantic evening, the starlight, the crickets, the mist coming off the hills, moving through the orchard and Bud singing. People didn’t forget it. Maybe they couldn’t have told you anything about the Shakers’ travails, or explain what they believed about Christ’s second coming, but they knew the Shakers were special people. THE SHAKERS, BY THE 1970 s, WERE
like a national pet. They were seen as a living museum of old-time American values of hard work. There were lavish books, museum exhibits, documentaries. Shaker furniture was bringing astounding prices. Celebrities were bidding serious money to collect simplicity and grace. To the World’s People in the late 20th century, the Shaker religion was an American edition of a Vermeer painting: a few objects, daylight slanting in the window, stillness, silence, and grace. “We’re an endangered species, so people like us,” said Sister Gertrude. The Shakers became a product with Shaker chair kits, all manner of “authentic” Shaker touches like Shaker kitchen cabinet pulls, and “Shaker polo” shirts from Lands’ End. The Shakers were upstaged by their good work, their beautiful furniture and villages, their smart inventions. They were prisoners of their furniture. “I almost expect to be remembered as a chair or a table,” said Eldress Mildred. By dying off the Shakers had fulf illed the def inition of utopia: the good place that is no place. IN T HE END, ONLY T WO SISTER S
lived in the 56 rooms of the large Dwelling House, Sisters Alice Howland and Ethel Hudson with her six-toed cat, Buster. One sister and a longtime resident who had never signed the covenant lived in another NEWENGLAND.COM
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large house. The other three sisters—Lillian, Bertha, and Gertrude—lived across the road in the Trustees’ Office. They were too few to pray in the Meetinghouse. Bud drove them to church in Concord. “We are now just a group of older people trying to care for each other, maintain our homes, doing what good we can and salvage what good we can from Shaker history of the past,” Eldresses Frances Hall and Emma B. King wrote to a reverend in Ohio. And at the only other surviving village, Sabbathday Lake, Eldress Mildred said, “It is good and therefore of God and no good is ever a failure.” Carrying a belief across generations is an achievement, a Herculean effort to maintain clarity of purpose and practice amidst the muddle of human emotions. The question isn’t why they died off, but how did they hold it together for so long? ELDR ESS LILLI A N PHELPS DIED
in 1973, Eldress Gertrude Soule in 1988, Eldress Bertha Lindsay in 1990, and the last, Sister Ethel Hudson, 11:06 AM in 1992, and for the f irst time in 200 years, since they were “gathered into order” at Canterbury, the Believers were gone. A few Shakers remained at Sabbathday Lake, but that part of America that was the City of Peace, the Chosen Vale, Holy Ground, that part of America was no more. Bud was asked to sing at their funerals, but he couldn’t do it. He had trouble even talking about losing his sisters, decades later. He left Canterbur y to found the Mount Kearsage Indian Museum in Warner. He had been collecting Native American baskets and canoes and pottery and clothing his whole life. At age 68, Bud wasn’t too old for new ventures. People around Bud tried to talk him out of it. After all, even established historical museums were struggling to hold the public’s interest. Dartmouth wanted his collection, but Bud refused. He put everything he had into the museum and it took hold. He was celebrated for his tenacity and vision. Two years NEWENGLAND.COM
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ago, at age 97, Bud was awarded an honorary high school degree. ON THE NIGHT SHE DIED, BERTHA
wrote her last letter on earth. It was to Bud. It was found at her bedside the next morning. In a shaky hand that fell crookedly across the page, she wrote: “Please dear Bud take time to care for yourself better….You are so dear to me. I wish it possible for me to take away all your worries, but I have you lovingly in the hands of our Father to ask [him to] walk with you, guide you & bless you.... With all my love, Bertha.” “What were you worried about?” I asked him one afternoon. “About the village and the end of it. I didn’t want to see that happen. And the worry that I would lose them. It was Darryl and I that spread Bertha’s ashes after she died. It was her request that we do that. She loved Darryl and she loved me.” ON A R AW, WINDY DAY IN MARCH,
I was early to meet some people at Canterbury so I walked uphill to the front of the Meetinghouse and stood there looking out at the rolling fields below. I felt reassured standing there. The place hums; it smiles back at you. It’s what the ancient Celtics called a thin place, where heaven and earth are close, a holy place. Two hundred years of devotion changed this hilltop. But there’s also a lot of hardship in the Shakers’ story. Hiding in there is an unreckoned ratio of suffering to contentment. What does it take to create a few acres of peace? And would we know peace— true peace, not just the walled-off opposite of no war and no hate, but peace—would we know it if we see it? It’s here on this New Hampshire hill. It feels powerful, deep, resonant. No good is ever a failure. That’s what I think about as I drive down the hill, round the corner, and Holy Ground disappears from view.
Adapted from Chasing Eden: A Book of Seekers by Howard Mansfield, due out this October from Bauhan Publishing. SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2021
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Life in the Kingdom (Continued from p. 136) Another thing I like about riding my bike is that it brings me right up close to the world. It brings me right up close to the sound of the mountain stream and the smell of fresh-spread manure and the warmth of early sun on my face. It brings me right up close to the people who inhabit this land, the old men mowing their lawns, the young men out tinkering on motorcycles and four-wheelers, and the kids selling lemonade on the front lawn of a mobile home along a back road that can’t see more than a dozen cars pass each day. I stop and buy a cup for 50 cents and drink it right there. It’s not very good lemonade (powdered, I’m sure, and a little on the warm side), but I pretend otherwise, and they look very pleased. I like riding my bike because of interactions like these, and the one I had just the other morning. I was ped-
aling the final pitch of the long climb to the height of the mountain road, my legs burning with the effort, my mind already on the long, sweeping descent that lay just over the crest, when I was passed by a man on a motorcycle. I know the road well, and I f lew down the other side just as I’d anticipated, not needing to pedal at all, nor brake, just letting gravity do its thing. And it was in this manner that I soon caught up to the motorc ycl ist, who was descending slowly on the loose gravel. I hesitated for only a moment before swinging out and around him, and as I passed I yelled, “Good morning! ” He looked over and grinned hugely, and I could see that he was missing a fair number of teeth. Then we hit the f lats, where he passed me again and we waved. There are other interactions, too, like the time I came upon a blue jay that had been hit by a car and was f lopping desperately in the dust of the road’s shoulder. I stopped, preparing to do what I thought right, though I
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didn’t want to do it. Not at all. But when I wrapped my hands around the bird, it soon quieted, and nothing seemed broken beyond repair, so after a few moments I opened my palms and the jay f lew straight as an arrow into the sky. I pass a lot of trash on my bike. I know the brands of beer my neighbors drink, and their favorite f lavors of Twisted Tea. And masks. I pass a lot of masks these days, always those blue disposable ones you buy in boxes of 50 or 100. Occasionally I find something useful, like the big outdoor propane burner that’d been left in a free pile. I’d long had a vague idea that one of those would prove useful, so I hung it over one end of my handlebars and awkwardly pedaled the remaining seven miles home, feeling a little silly but pleased with myself. This was over a year ago, and I haven’t used it even once. Yet. On the other hand, I’ve hauled home at least three pairs of free shoes in the past year, including the ones I’m wearing as I write these very words. I found a five-dollar bill, too, which for no good reason I can’t quite bring myself to spend. I notice more when I ride my bike. I notice how people live, some in wealth and some in poverty, and many more in the indeterminate space between the two. I notice how in rural Vermont, some of the best land and the most-coveted views still belong to those with evidently the least money, the ones whose families have managed to hold on to the land for generations, ever since the land sold for the sort of money a farmer could afford, and ever since the original farm itself was viable. I notice how many barns there are, and how most of them have fallen into disrepair and even collapse. I notice that people are generally (though not always) considerate when they pass me in their cars and trucks; they give me a wide berth and go slow so they don’t kick up too much dust. I wave and they wave back, each of us traveling at our own speed, and I know they’ll get wherever they’re going faster than me. But I also know I’ll get where I’m going soon enough. NEWENGLAND.COM
7/16/21 12:36 PM
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Life in the Kingdom
BEN HEWIT T
Easy Rider There’s no better way to start a day than by pedaling down a back road. ILLUSTR ATION BY
TOM H AUGOM AT
n the warmer months, I like to ride my bicycle early in the mornings. I ride after coffee and chores but before breakfast, early enough that the day is not yet fully formed, late enough that I have a pretty good sense of what sort of day it’s shaping up to be. Sometimes the clouds are parting and the sun is breaking through, and sometimes the clouds are closing and I can smell the approaching rain. Or, like this morning, the sky is clear and blue and clean and the air so still that not 136 |
even the leaves ripple, and it feels as if the day is decided. I like riding in the morning for lots of reasons. The first is strictly pragmatic, because I know that if I don’t ride early, I probably won’t ride at all. The day will sweep me into its river of tasks, and by evening, when I might again be able to carve out some time, I’ll simply be too tired. But I also like riding early in the morning because both the air and the light are softest then, because the birds are singing loudest then, because there’s little
traff ic along the network of gravel roads I frequent, and because having ridden my bike, even if only for a short time, I know my day will be better for it. I like that it’s a little chilly when I ride early in the day, which is true even in the height of summer, and especially true in fall. I generally don’t ride when it’s raining, though I’ve ridden through my share of snow f lurries. I’ve ridden on deeply frosted mornings when my f irst breaths sting in my chest, and the leaves that have fallen from the roadside maples crunch beneath my tires. I like the sheer physicality of riding my bicycle. The pleasure of using my body is something I’ve inherited from my mother, who at 80 is still a voracious walker along the back roads near my childhood home, where my parents still live. It’s not far from here— just over 20 miles—and on occasion I meet her there, and we walk together. I’m always amazed by how quickly she traverses those steep hills, carrying the walking stick that my son Fin carved for her nearly a decade ago. I can see how her hands have worn the top of it smooth from so many hours of use. If I’m to be entirely honest, the stick looks perhaps a bit less sturdy than a son might hope for his 80-yearold mother to be relying on. But I also know that if I am 80 and one of my grandchildren has gifted me a walking stick he carved when he was 9 years old, I’m going to use the damn thing until every single last step is walked right out of me. I’m guessing my mother feels the same. (Continued on p. 134) NEWENGLAND.COM
7/16/21 12:36 PM
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