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. 

One of my very best memories is when Miss C was little, not even two years old, and we went for a walk up to the Cracker Barrel.  We waded through crisp fall leaves up to our knees (well, she was teeny -- more like up to her waist), kicking our feet and laughing and making the leaves fly into the air.  Miss C giggled and loved throwing herself into the leaves. 

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.