Friday, November 01, 2013
Craving New England
I just finished reading this book -- "Mud Season," by Ellen Stimson, about a woman and her family who pick up and move to Vermont to find the ideal small town, back-to-nature lifestyle. I adored it, not the least because this is the time of year when I am sorely missing New Hampshire.
I moved to New Hampshire fresh out of law school. Although job interviewers seemed baffled at my interest in moving to a place when I had never lived there before and didn't know anyone, it made perfect sense to me. I'd thought carefully about what I wanted in a lifestyle: I wanted to live in a small town, but be close to a big city. I wanted to be close enough to the ocean to see it from time to time, I wanted to be near the mountains, and I wanted to have regular snow in the winter. I figured that I had family in California, and it'd be easy to move back -- but it was a good time to try living somewhere else. I found what seemed like the ideal little law firm in Concord, New Hampshire, and off I went.
Look, there's where I worked, on Capital Street, just across the street from the State Capitol. Concord was perfect for me -- small enough to feel friendly and manageable, with a good legal community and welcoming people. It was 90 minutes from Boston and Cambridge, and I spent a lot of time exploring those areas, too. After a few years, I moved to a wonderful little village just outside of Concord called Hopkinton. It was the quintessential New England village. White-steepled church? check.
Little country store? Check. I loved the Cracker Barrel. I used to see former Supreme Court Justice David Souter there. And once I locked the keys in my car in the parking lot. The store owner, Dave, asked me if I had a spare at home. Yep, I replied. He tossed me his keys -- "Take my car and go get your spare," he said.
I lived in a wood-panelled, book-shelf lined apartment on the top floor of an old house, and loved that apartment. The scenic town hall was just up the road, and I went there to vote and attend meetings and the occasional craft fair.
But fall, oh, the fall. It was as pretty as you see in the pictures.
Fall always meant a visit --or two, or three -- to Gould Hill Farm, a wonderful local apple orchard with a farm store that sold fresh-pressed cider, heavenly pies, apple butter, and other autumn delights. I see from their website that they now have a CSA program -- I wonder if they deliver to California?
It's 70-something degrees here as I write this, and I know I really can't complain about living in the beauty that is California's wine country. But at this time of year, what I really want to do is stroll down Hopkinton's main street, wander a bit through the old cemetery there, and then head in for some hot cider.