Return to the Lake

The thing about vacation is the journey getting there. Why does it seem that it takes forever to get to your destination? Looking back on the past 48 hours, I’m so happy to be back at Lake Winnepesaukee, but now I’d like the clock to just slow down.

The Moultonborough house here in New Hampshire is just the same as I remember. It’s nothing fancy, but offers spectacular views of our little piece of the lake and plenty of places for six adults to have whatever personal moments they’d like. Doug successfully launched the boat at Long Island for the short ride to the dock at the house. We were so incredibly happy to be getting her Saturday, that we forgot to eat lunch. Steve & Sue (brother & sister-in-law), my parents and us towing the boat were in our separate vehicles. We met at the BJ’s in Tilton, shopped there and at the Shaw’s supermarket next door, then made our way to the rental office in Centre Harbor. Doug, mom & dad headed to launch the boat while Steve, Sue and I went to the state store in Centre Harbor and picked up a few extra things at the Heath’s grocery to kill time before we could get the house key.

The next hours were about unpacking, checking out the house, getting dinner ready and most important, saying “hello” to the lake once more. After a spaghetti dinner with grilled sausage and salad. We toasted day one in the house, then Doug took us for a boat ride around Long Island. We admired the waterfront homes, watched the sky change as the sun started dipping to the west and even saw our first pair of loon of the week. Dusk led to a night of rain showers, but the peaceful night with the drumming of rain on the rocks and landscape led to a wonderful Sunday morning pancake breakfast (thanks, Doug!) and fruit. Why does everything taste better on vacation???

We’re having a lazy Sunday and may go visit Adam at Camp Robin Hood. May the clock tick ever-so-slowly.

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.

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.

Back at my happy place

You know when you are going through a painful dentist appointment or facing an unpleasant situation you try to put your mind at ease by thinking about something happy? New Hampshire is my happy place. I have many happy places, but this week, I get to revisit many of my happy places with my family and on my own. This afternoon, we picked up Adam’s buddy, Andrew at Manchester airport. Even that experience was a “happy place moment.” Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) is one of the finest small airports I’ve been in.

You can arrive from Philly, get your luggage, rent your car and be on the road in under 30-minutes. Andrew arrived from his first solo commercial flight with a big smile on his face and thrilled he was in New England for this vacation. A quick stop for lunch on the way to our vacation rental house, then groceries and we were unpacking on Danforth Bay off Lake Ossipee about 3 pm. Adam and Andrew took the first dives in the lake; Doug inflated the water toys; I unpacked and was not far behind them. I floated in a raft for about 45 minutes. The usual first vacation dinner of pasta, sausage, salad and garlic bread was enjoyed on the screened porch of our waterfront cottage. NHDanforthBay_20090816_01NHDanforthBay_20090816_04

OK, cell phones work here..sometimes

OK, cell phones work here..sometimes

 Now the sun is starting to slip below Mary’s Mountain.

Frappes for the boys

Frappes for the boys

 There are still some speed boats with a wakeboarder cutting through the smooth bay water. The air is still and it’s warm. But it’s nothing like the humidity and discomfort you feel at home. NHMonboating_20090816_01Once the sun sets, a cool breeze will envelope the White Mountains and we’ll settle in to watch the Phillies game on ESPN tonight. First, it’s ice cream at Cozy Corner in the tiny town of Freedom. OK, maybe another adult beverage as well. Sweet dreams from Danforth Bay.

You know you’re on vacation when…

Waiting for a great lunch at High Tide Take Out

Waiting for a great lunch at High Tide Take Out

You know you’re on vacation when:

  • You can’t remember your home phone number.
  • You can’t remember WHY you were so stressed out just before you left for vacation.
  • The red wine with dinner tastes extra mellow as you swish it around with a great meal of grilled pork tenderloin, fresh corn on the cob and salad.
  • Cleaning up after dinner isn’t such a drag.
  • You stop to watch the sunset and smell the evening dew on the green slope.
  • You’re happy to see your mother-in-law.

All these things are true for me today. We’ve had an interesting 36 hours. About 16 of those hours were spent driving. Fortunately, not all at once. The trip to Western Massachusetts to stay for a few nights with my mother-in-law wasn’t stressful, despite the usual North Jersey traffic. It was especially not stressful after a I made a phone call to my neighbor to ask if she could go into our house and make sure I turned the upstairs fan in my office off. Don’t you hate when that happens?  I remembered just about every detail in planning this trip away, but couldn’t remember if I turned the fan off.  Arriving at my mother-in-law’s after dinner was pleasant, though we were exhausted. Both of us worked and packed at the same time up until the time we walked out the door leaving South Jersey behind for a well-deserved respite. I’m just waiting for the respite part. The first part of this break involved a day trip from Western Massachusetts to the Lakes Region in New Hampshire and back. We picked up our son from camp where he spent the past three weeks. I swear he’s a little taller; his voice a little deeper his descriptions about what he did with his camp buds the past days a little more detailed. The best part of the day was when he asked me if I wanted to walk to his bunk with him while Doug brought the car down to pick up Adam’s gear. It’s nice to be asked to do something by your 15-year-old son.

Our stop for lunch at High Tide Take-Out in Hillsborough, NH was also a big highlight. There’s nothing more typical of New England than a great roadside clam bar. High Tide steps it up just a little with a huge screened porch dining area. Outside there’s a playground for the kids and some tables and umbrellas under the trees. On this day, it was a bit cooler after morning showers. We arrived during lunch hour and there were others joining our zest in a awaiting a High Tide meal. I noticed the specials before Doug asking him if he wanted a lobster roll, or better yet the lobster “lunch” for $13.99. The lunch was a 1 1/4 pound steamed lobster, cole slaw like no other cole slaw you ever tasted and onion rings, done just right in fresh oil and lightly breaded. You have got to be kidding–a lobster dinner for $13.99? My husband can tear through a lobster and never get one squirt on himself. He does NOT wear a lobster bib. There’s nothing like watching someone enjoy a great meal. I settled on the cup of clam chowder, a BLT and cole slaw. Adam dug into a cajun salmon roll (very tasty, he said) and french fries, again done in that clean, fresh cooking oil. Adam and I treated ourselves to dessert. Adam enjoyed a cookie dough ice cream cone; me, a cup of chocolate-peanut butter yogurt. Unbelievable. High Tide ice cream cone on the porch

High Tide ice cream cone on the porch

Now after that nice dinner back in Massachusetts, my son’s days of camp crud is being washed away in the laundry and I sense we may be turning in early tonight. The respite will surely begin as we move toward the weekend and the journey back to New Hampshire for a week by the lake in Freedom.