Half-a-Day in the Life


So You Want To Be a Marker Hunter

Okay, maybe it's time to paint. New Boston.

Okay, maybe it’s time to paint. New Boston.

Atlas—check; marker list—check; cameras—check; pretzels—check; water—check. We get our usual early start, just after the crack of noon. We’re aiming for #228, Cork Plain Bridge – Second New Hampshire Turnpike in Antrim. The marker was placed in 2011, but we haven’t seen it yet. We go by way of New Boston, Francestown, Greenfield, and Bennington, back roads mostly. I don’t ask Mary to stop for some nifty tractors (two Farmalls and some Massey Fergusons); we’ve got somewhere to go. We roll through New Boston, past the Molly Stark Cannon Marker (#146), past the Gravity Research Institute stone.Ooh, a tumble-down farmhouse—can we stop here? Just for a minute.

Antrim Village

A false stop in Antrim village for New Hampshire’s Last Soldier of the Revolution (#178) which we’ve already bagged, but I snap a photo anyway, and some more of the town hall and gorgeous houses. Mary has an idea of where #228 should be. She’s our navigator. I can get lost going downstairs in the morning.

Half-a-hatful of blueberries

When we get underway again, Mary’s aim is true, and we find the marker on Route 202. While walking through the underbrush surrounding the marker for the money shot, Mary spots blueberries. We pick a quart. Sunday morning we’ll have blueberry pancakes and maybe, later, a pie. We loop back around Old Concord Road and find the bridge site. This is the replacement for the one in the marker, which was dismantled in 2009. Wish I’d thought to get a picture back then.

Old Peterborough and Hillsborough Railroad bridge, now part of a rail trail. Hillsborough.

Taking back roads north to Hillsborough, we cross the old Peterborough and Hillsborough Railroad, now a railtrail.  Just before the bridge over the Contoocook to downtown Hillsborough, we spot some old mill buildings—well, the roof of an old mill, really, just down the steep hillside—and pull off to the side of the road. Some folks are moving things into a storage bay, and I ask them if it’s okay to scramble down the hill to explore. “Why don’t you ask her? She owns the place,” says one of them.

Abandoned Wood Woolen Mill, Hillsborough. The company name was “Wood,” the mill is made of brick. Hillsborough.

The owner is Liz, and she owns the whole building, an old warehouse with three tidy apartments in addition to the bays. She says it would be fine, but to follow her down her stairs, instead. She takes us around the other side of the building and down some steps, stopping to show us her wonderful abode in the ground floor of the old warehouse. She and her late husband had created their beautiful home under the massive old beams and wooden floors, hidden from the street, but with a delightful back garden overlooking the river. She walked with us back to the mill buildings and told us, “my kids want me to move out of here, but I won’t.” I don’t blame her one bit. The mill buildings, once the Woods Woolen Mill, now belong to the town. She said the town planned to restore them for some purpose or other, but she doubted they ever would. “A man wanted to buy them, but they said no.” We thank her for her kind tour and cross the river in the mill district.

Hillsboro Diner, formerly Caron's Diner, a 1940s-vintage Kullman diner car from New Jersey. Hillsborough.

Hillsboro Diner, formerly Caron’s Diner, a 1940s-vintage Kullman diner car from New Jersey.

Don’t take my picture! Hillsborough.

We roll by the Hillsborough Diner, but they close soon after lunch, these days, even on a Saturday. I’m just glad they remain open at all. We make one more stop right at the bridge where I snap a photo of an impressive wooden apartment building where a gentleman informs me that taking pictures of someone else’s property is illegal. I don’t argue the point, and look over the permanent yard sale on the corner as a conciliatory gesture. There’s a ceramic blueberry-pie-alamode music box with a chipped corner and I buy it, with thanks, but assurances that I shouldn’t be taking pictures of other people’s buildings.

Bumbleberry and blueberry pie.

Bumbleberry and blueberry pie.

A last stop for a drive-through dinner, and we’re on our way home, ready to download the photos and begin research for the next blog entry. Oh, and to eat those blueberries.


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