A welcome break in beautiful New Hampshire

Trip Start Feb 15, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

After flying in from the chaos of New York we landed at the deserted airport of Manchester excited to be meeting people we actually knew, for the first time in months.

Looking back on our time in Campton, New Hampshire I wonder how do you describe such a magical place? My usual choice words extend to 'beautiful', 'stunning', 'gorgeous', but I don't think it quite captures the wonder that is Campton in the Spring. We were met by Bill and Karen, family in a kind of long-winded-has-to-be-traced-by-ancestry.com kind of way but they are those rare kind of people that open their home and their hearts in a way that makes you feel like the most special people in the world. The last time I visited their home I was a grumpy teenager and it was so special to be once again stepping through the doors of time and memory and feel instantly welcomed.

Bill and Karen generously collected us from the airport and drove us the 90 minute drive back to their home on a beautiful stretch of land with a view over the White Mountains. The last time I was here was Winter. We ski'd on this hill, we made snow angels, we had snow fights and now it's covered in lush green grass, flower beds, vege patches and lined with a beautiful collection of evergreens. In addition, 'I'm all growned up now' and have graduated from the spare room to the visitors suite once occupied by my own parents.

Our visit here could not have been timed better. After months of travel, some horrendous meals and some tacky accommodations it really was so welcomed to be able to relax and enjoy a warm home, good food and great company. Oh and Karen did feed us well. We were spoiled with Angus steaks, smoked salmon fillet, toasty warm lentil soup, chocolate brownies, fresh strawberries, blueberry pancakes and an assortment of homegrown fruits and vegetables. Michael and I even helped Bill collect Asparagus from the garden to be eating it only an hour later with dinner. Of course it's no trip to the USA without Swiss Miss hot chocolate, one of my fondest memories from my previous visit so this became a regular 'sweet treat' most afternoons too.

We spent most of our days relaxing, sleeping in and enjoying the ever changing scenery. We did venture out on occasion and one of the highlights would be the road trip through Franconia notch and the White Mountain National Forest, topped off by a visit to a maple syrup factory and lunch at the Woodstock Inn. Can you get more American than a five beer tasting platter or potato skins dripping in cheese, bacon and sour cream? We were in heaven. We drove via some of the ski resorts and marveled at the slopes, most of which have thawed out by now but I can see the fire in Michael's eyes and just about hear his brain ticking with ways in which we can extend our trip to include a visit to some ski fields, whilst I'm dreaming of another trip back to New Hampshire. I was particularly captivated by the quant old white houses with steep roof's, red doors and windows lined with shutters - of course often with an American flag hanging patriotically over the entry way. What a beautiful collection of towns and so special to have been taken on this drive with Bill and Karen and to share this memory with my husband, a boy I hadn't even met last time I was here.

Unfortunately we didn't see a Moose but we are hopeful the Canadian leg will have the goods. During our stay Bill made it his business to fine tune our right/wrong side driving skills (classic left-side driver joke right?) before we head off with our own rental car and we were both given mini tours of the local town whilst behind the wheel. Separately, of course as there are certain times it's best not to be together - this is one of them. I was delighted to have Bill and Karen's second daughter Becky come visit for lunch and we spent a few hours catching up before she needed to jet off. I tried my best to pressure her and her husband and son to make a trip down under, to which I think I was relatively convincing. Alas, there was no signature on the dotted line so I'm excited to keep in touch in order to continue harassing her. Visiting Bill & Karen in their home town and getting a taste of their lifestyle makes me nostalgic for home but has also made me want to encourage visitors to Brisbane so I can share my own home with them.

On our final full day we went to a local diner, our first one, for breakfast. We ate like Kings. Michael ate like four Kings and quickly regretted it. With full bellies we drove home via some lovely scenery, some fishing ponds, brooks and forest. Still no Moose but a really gorgeous way to spend our last morning. Another drive n' fly found us back in New York for a night before jetting off to Canada to start the next leg of our trip.

Bill and Karen, we really enjoyed spending time with you both in your beautiful home. Thank you for making our stay in New Hampshire such a warm and welcomed experience.
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