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.

Turtles and Water Lilies

Our 24 hours together is set on these serene piece of water with a gentle breeze, low humidity and sparkling sunshine. Fueled with some yogurt, fruit and granola and the best-smelling coffee, we paddled in the canoe across the bay to the small creek that leads to amazing displays of nature. Despite the hum of a lawnmower somewhere beyond the campground and neighboring state park, the chorus of birds and the gentle lapping of the canoe along the creek is all we could hear. Turtles sunning on a log, water lilies and lupin growing on the surface of the water and small fish greeted us on this short trip. A few kayakers and one fisherman also greeted the day that included this natural treat. The relaxation continues…

A picnic lunch accompanied us to a spot we have not seen yet, White Lake State Park. It’s just a short ride from our Danforth Bay house. The $4 per person admission was worth seeing the white-haired woman at the gatehouse. Doug said, “She’s probably as old as this park.” It was particularly funny when Doug almost rear-ended the car in front of us and the gatehouse woman said, “I know I’m gonna see an accident here someday.”

White Lake State Park, Ossipee, NH

We got the lay of the land quickly as the day-use area included a large beachfront with plenty of families, family-campers, day camp and overnight campers and their counselors and even the occasional garter snake. After lunch, we walked the two-mile trail around the lake which was formed millions of years ago by a glacier. After our walk, we decided to get into the swim area for a dip. Because it’s a glacial lake, it’s a bit cooler than Lake Ossipee – but it was still refreshing and relaxing.

Following our foray into civilization, we stopped at the neighborhood store for some fresh cod fillets and yet another bottle of wine for a fabulous dinner after a one-hour ride on the boat along Lake Ossipee.  It’s all I can do now to hop in the shower, then stay awake a few more hours to enjoy another amazing White Mountains sunset over the bay and take in the Phillies-Dodgers game on MLB.TV. Thursday, Adam leaves his camper days behind and joins us for 10-days of NH vacation-bliss. His favorite friend, Andrew, arrives Friday – it’s all good!

A Man and his Fish; A man and his water ski

Some people are morning people; some people are not. I happen to fall in the former category. While my old work shift had me waking up the birds, it is so wonderful after eight years of sleep deprivation to wake up with the birds. Actually, it’s been waking up with the red squirrel squealing and chomping on a tree outside out bedroom window on Danforth Bay. But, I’m not complaining.

The heron shows us the way

The heron shows us the way

We actually slept in today until 7:30. By 8, Doug and I were gliding in our canoe on a mirror-flat lake with the morning sun just starting to warm the air that was so cool and comfortable through the night. We went to the Danforth Ponds where only canoes and kayaks can maneuver. The lily pads make Monet look like a fake. The beaver lodges are enormous and plentiful. A rustling in the trees caught our attention. It was a huge bird with a 4-foot wing span. It glided from a tree to the brush on our right; we caught up; he flew farther along the pond. This was a heron; slate blue with a graceful flight that seemed to be showing us the way along the pond. The heron did this a few more times, then flew back to the tall tree where he surely perched himself again to watch for the next group of people in a canoe or kayak. We made our way to the large pond where a lone man in a canoe was fishing. We kept our distance respecting the quiet of a fisherman. We paddled toward the sound of water, which was all we could hear in this pristine spot. We found the small creek feeding into the pond. Just as we came about, the fisherman said, “Look!” He was holding up his catch. We couldn’t react fast enough with the camera, but we gave him a “thumbs up” as he released his 18-inch catch back into the pond. He must have been so pleased someone was there to witness his catch of the day.

A fisherman after releasing his catch

A fisherman after releasing his catch

While Adam and Andrew slept in (until noon), Doug and I decided to go on a little hike. Mount Mary, which overlooks Danforth Bay rising nearly 1000 feet. From the base of the trail we chose, we only had to climb for about 15 minutes. 1/2 mile later, we were at the top, the only people on the trail and atop the mountain, looking down on Lake Ossipee and its bays, channels and ponds.

NHThurMtMary_20090820_11Lunchtime turned into an early dinner before we packed up to head to my brother-in-law’s vacation rental house in Meredith, about an hour away. Doug had a chance to water ski one more time and he had to take him up on the offer. The boys weren’t really excited about hanging out with relatives again, though they knew at the end of that visit they’d be going to the world’s biggest arcade, Funspot, near Weir’s Beach. We decided to let the boys have expanded arcade time, by dropping them off before we went to Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee. Good call.

We arrived at Greg and Theresa’s rental house where Barry, Joan and Carol had already arrived. We quickly loaded the boat with Greg and Theresa’s three kids, Carol, Barry, myself, Greg piloting and Doug at the ready to ski. Doug was determined to get up and slalom ski. After one failed attempt, he got up and skied around the cove. It was glorious to watch him skirt across the lake on one ski. He jumped the wake and maneuvered from one side of the boat to the other. Then, he’d had enough. The 50-year-old arms and legs just don’t last like they used to. Nicklas, all of 8, wanted his turn tubing. Greg wove around the lake for a while and I swore Nicklas would just fly off that tube, but he held on for dear life and loved every minute of it. Doug then had his chance to “hot dog” it for the kids on the tube. Doug caught some air a couple of times as Greg tried to zig zag around, I’m sure, to try and toss his brother off the tube into the lake. Didn’t happen this time!  NHThurDBski_20090820_59

Doug skis slalom on Winnipesaukee

Doug skis slalom on Winnipesaukee

We said our goodbyes to family, then picked up the boys at Funspot where they thoroughly enjoyed nearly two hours of arcade games and some unhealthy snacks. We’re back at the house; the boys build a fire in the pit by the lake; they’re talking about everything and making s’mores. It’s almost sweet dreams, from Danforth Lake.