Saturday, October 23, 2010

In My Footsteps: Trip 80: New London, New Hampshire

In My Footsteps
Christopher Setterlund

Trip 80:  New London, New Hampshire
September 21, 2010

            As my travel trips grew further and further from home I knew it was time to do my first overnight trip.  I found a perfect place to begin and a perfect place to stay as well.  New London, New Hampshire, a nearly three and a half hour drive for me from my home on Cape Cod was the setting for my first overnight stay ad it was amazing.  The drive up through the eastern fringe of the White Mountains as the sun began to set was something that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
The Lamplighter Motor Inn
            I chose to stay at the Lamplighter Inn on Main Street as it was recommended to me by a friend.  It ended up being the perfect place to stay.  Located just off of the main drag in New London the newly renovated Lamplighter is owned by Mr. Ernest Collier who took over the motel in March.  He has made some marked improvements which have made this spot a great landing place for any visitor to the area.  I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Lamplighter Inn and recommend it to anyone who travels to the New London area.
            To get a feel for what this small, near-mountain, town is all about I suggest taking a stroll along Main Street.  The small Colby-Sawyer College sits not far from where I stayed and there was a sprinkling of students along the street, though not as overwhelming as some college towns can be.  A sort of fun scavenger hunt for walkers on Main Street is to find all of the elaborately painted bull statues that reside along the sidewalks on either side.  They are beautiful although I cannot say for sure whether they are the result of the students at Colby-Sawyer for sure.
Looking across Sargent Common toward the Town Hall.
            I was lucky enough to plan my trip just as the foliage in central New Hampshire was getting into full gear.  The red, orange, and yellow leaves seemed to be springing up as I watched.  This added bonus made each and every photo I took even better.
            The very famous New London Inn stands out as an historic landmark on Main Street.  The land was first built upon in 1792 when 19-year-old Ezekiel Sargent built a farmhouse where the current Inn stands.  The Sargent family is intertwined with the history of the Inn as well as the town of New London.  In fact a short walk away from the New London Inn is a beautiful green area known as The Sargent Common.  Much of the original tract of land owned by Ezekiel Sargent ended up being part of the ‘Old Campus’ of Colby-Sawyer College though only the ‘Old Academy’ building still stands today.
Schytheville House at the Historical Society
According to the New London Inn’s website 1870 was when the farmhouse first became used as a hotel by a man named Herman J. Currier.  He bought the farmhouse and named it The Elms.  It is a very popular destination not only for overnight travelers looking for a room but for anybody who is a fan of history such as I am. 
               For a real taste of New London’s history though one only has to travel on Little Sunapee Road to the Historical Society.  It is more than one building, more like a small village of fourteen original or replica buildings.  The Scytheville House, built in 1835, is the face of the Historical Society as it is the first home you will see as you approach.  I was amazed at the peaceful tranquility of the location.  There was barely a peep from anything as I walked the grounds.  All around were the sights of the nearby White Mountains which were a constant reminder of just how far from home I was.  To make this scene complete were a pair of apple trees in full bloom by the road.  I enjoyed their shade for a moment before continuing on my way.
A view of Pleasant Lake.
            Further up the road is New London’s main public beach known as Bucklin Beach.  It is on the shores of Little Lake Sunapee.  Though it was a bit too cool to swim I still enjoyed the tremendous scenery that seemingly exists everywhere in New London.  This beach became a popular tourist destination in the late 19th Century and many of those vacationers eventually built summer homes along its shore.  There was even a small golf course built in the area way back then but it no longer exists.  I was also intrigued by a home built on a concrete breakwater sticking out close to a hundred feet into the water.  Not knowing if it was inhabited or not I enjoyed it from afar and went about my business.   
            What I took from my trip to New London though on top of everything was the incredible scenery.  There are so many places to stop and gaze off at the endless green hills which were dotted red and orange.  There are no bad spots to stop but I will give a couple of places that I thoroughly enjoyed. 
Some of the amazing New London scenery.
            Pleasant Lake was the first place I visited early in the morning and it gave me an entirely different perspective seeing the array of colors in the early morning sunlight.  There are several places to stop and look along Bunker Road.  There is also a sign which tells the story of the very first inhabitants of the area with artifacts that have been found in the area which date back thousands of years.  It is very easy to see why such a spot would be a popular settlement area.
            Another place with an amazing view is actually on Main Street, not really a designated area like Pleasant Lake.  I parked across the street from the historic Moses Trussell House, built in 1808, to take a few shots of the beautiful home on the hill.  On the other side of the street is an old barn which is now an antique shop.  There is a large tract of fenced in land which stretches out before you and then gives way to the rolling hills and mountains of Central New Hampshire.  My words will only do so much to describe it; you need to see it for yourself.
            My first overnight trip was a huge success thanks first to the great room at the Lamplighter Motor Inn and secondly because of the never-ending stream of awe-inspiring views.  A walk on Main Street will give you a feel of what this small college town is all about, and a drive to the Historical Society or along any of the smaller back roads will make sure that New London, New Hampshire seeps its way into your soul.  Have fun and happy traveling!   

DirectionsLamplighter Motor Inn:  From I-89 heading north take Exit 11 for King Hill Rd, turn right.  Turn left at Rt. 114.  Follow it just over 2 miles, turn left at fork in road for Newport Rd.  Lamplighter Inn is on right #34. 
            Pleasant Lake:  From I-89 heading north take Exit 11 for King Hill Rd, turn right.  Turn left at Rt. 114.  Turn right at Pleasant St., turn right at Bunker Rd.  Lake is on the left.
            Historical Society Village:  From I-89 heading north take Exit 11 for King Hill Rd, turn right.  Turn left at Rt. 114.  Follow it just over 2 miles, at fork stay right, becomes Little Sunapee Rd.  Historical Society is .3 miles up on left.  

ReferencesLamplighter Motor Inn
            New London Inn
            New London Historical

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