All Good Things

The cool wind shifts in Moultonborough

The wind in New Hampshire has taken a noticeable turn. While the breeze is still refreshing and clear, the 10 to 20-mph gusts are creating white caps on our little piece of Lake Winnipesaukee. The sky is crystal clear and the greenery vibrant and whooshing in these winds. The sun is warming things up a bit, but there is a slight chill letting us know that it is time for a change.

While the boys and men hike Mount Major about an hour from our vacation house, we are enjoying a bit of quiet while starting to pack our things for the long ride home tomorrow. It is always bittersweet ending a vacation. The memories are countless: discovering the simple

Simple pleasures 1

pleasures of swimming and floating on a calm lake with two families tossing balls; heading to Smitty’s Golf to hit a few buckets of balls and discovering – we’re not bad at this;

Simple pleasures 2

enjoying a local classic car show and gobbling pizza and salad at Pizza Barn in Ossipee; canoeing and rowboating out to an isolated, tiny island in the lake and building a small fire to toast marshmallows and make s’mores. Earlier in the week, we again enjoyed Rocky Gorge, nature’s swimming sight that Disney could never replicate, along the Kancamagus Highway around Conway, NH.

Simple fun at Rocky Gorge

The simple pleasures also include one of the boys thanking me for the great ideas that filled our second-to-last full day on vacation. We had to improvise given that our boat decided to konk out Wednesday afternoon. The fix could either be simple or more complex, but my husband reminded me we have boated more in these past two weeks than we ever have on vacation here in New Hampshire. We discovered new parts of the lake where we had never been before and I got to drive our boat several times enjoying how it glides across the waters and seems to have been made for this area.

The loon have been so incredibly active during these two weeks. In the past, there have been vacations when we did not see or hear a loon once. Nearly every night and morning, the call of the loon reminded us how

precious nature is. The lack of car and airplane noise and the vivid scenery that is present always in this

Simple pleasures 3

Sunset from "S'more" Island

place let me know that I will return often to find peace and joy.

I have said often that I find myself here in New Hampshire. That has been reinforced once again after a two-week respite. I have managed to get a little work done and enjoy restful, stress-free days and nights. We realize reality will face us with work and school in the days ahead. But during those stressful moments that will inevitably strike, if only for a second, I can close my eyes to find my happy place – a scene in New Hampshire frozen in time in my mind’s eye.

Moving Day

Once you take a two-week vacation somewhere, it’s difficult to ever go back to one week. I haven’t taken a two-week vacation since 1990 – before we were married.

This morning is a perfect start to a New Hampshire day. Danforth Bay is like a mirror; reflecting the wispy clouds set in a pale, blue sky. The loon, as they have all week, are active this morning with their unmistakable call cutting through the cool morning air. The chorus of birds are welcoming the day while the occasional fish jumps in the water.

This is quite an active and busy weekend in the White Mountains and Lake Region. Our neighbors have a party of eight spending a long weekend. Their

Friends arrive for week 2

first night lasted well beyond midnight (but they are up this morning grilling something and walking the dogs). There were some loud guys somewhere in our cove, but they quieted down around midnight. Our son and his friend spent the evening enjoying the Comedy Network and laughing it up. My husband collapsed about 9:30 p.m.

In a few hours, we’ll be packing up and moving 20 miles or so to our week 2 house in Moultonborough. Our friends, the Brauns and my friend, Donna will be joining us. While it will be another New Hampshire adventure, I’ll miss the serenity of this piece of paradise. The boys

Go-karting in Ossipee

enjoyed some tubing on Broad Bay yesterday; we had a BBQ dinner at Yankee Smokehouse, then spent an hour at the nearby Go-Kart track.

We’ll say farewell to Danforth Bay with more happy memories of a week spent in this nearly pristine place untouched by Starbucks and stress. We move to another place to experience another dose of paradise. One more week…

Water Pumps, Saxons and Tubing

They say you can survive without food, but not without water. We have now survived just about 18 hours without water at our lake house and all is well (or is it water well). The water for the lake house is pumped from a well and the motorized pumping sound is sort of like an air conditioner hum – you know it’s working well – until it’s not. Around midnight Monday, the pump kept cycling through with the “contractions” getting closer and closer until I knew something was wrong. You see, at that hour, no one was using water, so WHY would the water pump be operating? Turns out there was a crack in the housing and water sprayed all over the basement creating a 1/4 inch deep pond. Our attentive house owner was contacted and he arrived around breakfast time to begin cleanup and let us know the plumber was on the way.

The day was not lost. Even without a shower (we showered before the pump had broken), we managed to brush our teeth with bottled water, ate breakfast at a nearby diner, then packed up the boat for Doug’s treat for the Camp Robin Hood Saxons- a jaunt in the boat and tubing. I had decided to treat the Saxons to pizza so the day became a lunch-time, afternoon event.

The Saxons at the Friedman's camp on Lake Ossipee

After picking up $125 worth of pizza, I drove to the home of Jack & Jane Friedman and their son, Myles and wife Virginia. Jack is a cousin of my mother-in-law. Jane’s family has owned the Lake Ossipee property for well over a century. I arrived with the pizza just as the Saxons arrived at the dock. They were hungry and grateful and dug right in. I spent nearly two hours talking with the Friedmans about family history and listened to stories from the past.

The weather was hot, with a light breeze. The Saxons swam and tubed for a while, then collapsed in the beach area outside. I ventured back to our cottage to check out water pump progress. The owner was continuing to wet-vac the basement and dry out belongings that were soaked. Rich, the plumber from Federal Piping in Freedom was just about finished by 3:30 p.m. We had water and a new pump once again.

Doug was exhausted from the Saxon jaunt. I prepared a simple grilled chicken and vegetable dinner with a salad. I watched the Phillies get clobbered by the Dodgers (though they tried to claw their way back), and it was lights out by 11 p.m. Another day at the lake with an adventure in water pumps.

The Dance of the Loon

Ethel Thayer (Katherine Hepburn) cried to her  husband Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) in “On Golden Pond,” “Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back.” While day three of our NH vacation is starting out gray and damp, the dance of the loon on Danforth Bay is unmatched in its wonder.

This morning, there was no mist, just a light breeze from the east and the chirping of countless birds to wake the day. In the flat water, I saw rings fanning out as though a fish had jumped. Looking closer, I saw the unlikely silhouettes of two loon dancing in mirror opposite on the water. They seemed to peck at each other; dip their long beaks into the water to snap up some bugs, then they’d disappear in unison below the surface to swim maybe 15 yards underwater. Then they’d pop up again on the surface, repeating the dance.

It is quite unusual to see two loon together. They are solitary, aquatic birds – except when they are mating. According to The Loon Preservation Committee, what I apparently saw this morning was the male and female doing short dives and swims together in their mating ritual. The male eventually leads the female to a suitable spot on land, but near the water, to mate and build their nest. Typically, nesting takes place in May or June, but it’s possible this male loon had a failed mating attempt with another female and has found another mate to try to start their family.

As far as I can tell, no one on Danforth Bay saw this display of nature this morning. Navigate to this link to hear the call of the loon – it is like no other. Voice of the loon http://www.loon.org/voice-loon.php

Fishermen in the Mist-Day 2

Doug, Adam and Grandma Arline - before the lake situation.

The peace and magic of a vacation morning is everything you want it to be here on Danforth Bay. Up at 6:30 (after a horrendous dream about a beaver

Morning mist on Danforth Bay

destroying our boat), the mist danced and swirled across Danforth Bay. Two fisherman in their boat glided across a mirror-like waterway as the morning clouds just started to give way to sun that will herald another beautiful August day. The only sounds were the chorus of birds and then – just like a scene out of  “On Golden Pond,” the loon gave her mystical call almost as if to welcome this new day.

There will be boating with the Saxons at camp and a welcome to Doug’s mom later in the day. For now, the blue sky and sunshine breaks across the rolling hills across the bay. The lake awakes.

***

Who knew my son skinny dips? There I am, trying to be the “cool mom,” waving and standing at the front of our boat as we zip past the camp waterfront after dinner and spot my son and his group of guys swimming. As one of the boys jumped up, I quickly realized, swim trunks were optional – or there was some sort of game underway – that surely did not include parents as observers. My husband quickly turned the boat around and we waved

A modest lake house for sale in NH.

“bye-bye.” Oh, did I say my mother-in-law was with us as well? I don’t have a photo of any of this – not ever.

The day also included what I now affectionately call house 285. We are always looking at houses for sale in NH. This one is something that could be a fabulous and comfortable vacation home. We look, we dream – we continue to vacation. Tuesday- a visit to Maine.