“Oh you should see it, she told me with two hands clasp together in front of her chest and eyes wide with excitement. New England and the White Mountains in the summertime is just so beautiful.”
This was part of Tommo’s pitch as we locked in our plans to leave Australia and move to somewhere in New England. In all my visits to the US and New England it was true, I had never seen her in the summertime. Always in those nondescript times of year. No longer fall but not yet winter. No longer winter but not yet spring kind of months. Always echoing the cold of winter with grey skies, brown grass and leafless trees. Of course I was curious, maybe even a wee bit excited for the new adventure. Beyond summer I was even excited for winter and to see falling snow and a white Christmas for the first time in my life ever.
Now anyone who knows the northern US and New England specifically would see through my wife’s pitch of a beautiful New England summertime and its Anne of Green Gables painted eternal bliss. Lacking were a few simple meteorological nuances that any sun kissed Australian looking to follow my lead should probably know. Have you ever wanted to visit Siberia… well the winters in the northeast are essentially the same, yay! Don’t like spring? well not to worry, in northern New England did you know it doesn’t exist, just a couple of weeks in May and you can move straight into summer, phew! And summer, well that equates to a only 10 weeks, maybe even less if your lucky before the first yellow hue appears in the landscape and leaves begin to turn and your soul slowly begins to wither on its journey to January.
Now I am not sure if New England is really that magical in summertime or if the long grey months of winter leaves you so dead inside that once longer days and bluer skies arrive, you can’t help but feel the world around you is some how magical. So I decided to take an afternoon and explore this corner of New English summertime and see how much magic was actually sprinkled around. After all, I now very much called this home and it was time to get my bearings and work out where all these meandering country mountain roads I passed by on my day to day actually did lead. I was so used to the “this used to be a vibrant town… until the mill closed down” scenario that I didn’t expect much.
I began out my drive and took the first right at the bottom of the hill. Streeter Pond Road, hmmm that sounds like a nice New Englandy road to start on. I criss crossed farm land and flower farms I didn’t know existed, beautiful mountain estates with their stone walls, giant red barns and panoramic mountain views. Fields of wild lupine and home gardens bursting to life. With roads that wandered around hills passing through the towns of Sugar Hill, Easton, Franconia and Littleton. Past Robert Frosts summer home over crystal clear rivers lined with river stone and traversed by covered bridges, roads seemingly looping around hills and back on themselves.
I was a little gob smacked, I was in an almost cul der sac of New England mountain purity. All this just a few miles from the Franconia notch and State park with it hikes, springs and waterfalls and right at the center of all this our little home and slice of heaven. So I turn my truck back onto a familiar road and begin the brief drive home. I guess after two years I can finally now agree, New England and the mountains in the summertime kinda sorta are pretty beautiful and I might even feel lucky to be nestled into the corner of the mountains that we have found ourselves.
But come see me in six months, I don’t think I will have quite the same romanticized optimistic out look.