Goodbye Cruiserface, Hello Happyface: The (old) Long and (new) Short Of It All

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by popscycle, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    That house is gorgeous John. Are the drive sheds and stables attached? Can't tell by your pics.
  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    As far as I could tell, including from sat photos, all the structures were attached. Will do walk-around next time out that way, hopefully to tour inside. They've preserved this one very well since the family donated it to New England Antiquities trust. I read someplace the barn has all of the family's carriages.
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  3. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    More Meeting House Meandering: Riding into the center of town in Lempster, NH, this is what you see. The all-important meetinghouse typical of 18th century NH meeetinghouses. Like several others, this is one of the 5% of them left.

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    Located at coordinates 43.226086, -72.178166, this town meetinghouse was built in 1794. The town of Lempster was incorporated in 1772 after having been previously granted as the 9th line of forts against Indian attacks and regranted as Dupplin in 1753.

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    There isn't much to see in this town other than a few late 18th century and early 19th century buildings. Below is the view across the street from the meetinghouse.

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    We could find no evidence of any notable industry, history or persons associated with Lempster. That said, the town meetinghouse is a structural jewel that should be considered scarce, rare and worthy of preservation.
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  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    For The Love Of Gravel, Stop Paving It: During the 5 year conversion from dour-faced cruiser critter to GS rider, we developed an affection for gravel roads. What used to be a sphincter-tightening, butt-spraining, white-knuckled, jaw-clinching exercise in near terror is now a smile-inducing, relaxing ride. It didn't happen immediately. Compared to heavier cruisers I was used to, the GS initially seemed nervous and twitchy. That was because the road sofas were slow and lumbering for reasons that Newton explained. Taking that nervous and jerky behavior onto gravel, even with suspension computer set as a relaxant on suspension and throttle, saw a lot of initial foot on the ground and duck walking. With time, I learned the bike's behavior was that of (greatly for me) superior handling and gravel became something to look forward to. As a result, we often look for gravel interludes, like the one below, when riding anywhere.

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    For this reason, there is something less pleasing about turning down a favorite old gravel road and finding it freshly paved, as happened several day ago on an afternoon ride.

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    In the days of yore, specifically late grade school and early high school, taking two wheels out of town onto farm country gravel roads was a great catharsis for teenage angst. Today, gravel in the hills and river valleys is the epitome of smile-inducing adventure. Such was the NH road below, which changed to a wonderful combo of regular and pea gravel at the bottom of the hill as it wound up, down and around in the distant, wooded hills.

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    Seeing the road change from paved to gravel put a big-ass smile on the old face and was an antidote for the previous day's paving disappointment.
  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    What Can Possibly Interrupt A Great Ride? You're gliding through hill and dale with temps in the 70s on a clear day. The boxer engine's RPM is at it's sweet spot with a pleasant burble coming out of the exhaust. You round a nice sweeper and then see something that jolts the situational awareness chain of scenarios and causes yet another "whoa horse" moment. What is this?

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    OK, what is the bridge for? It is obvious that there are times people aren't wanted across this bridge. Why is that? The gate was unlocked and open and I wanted to go across but was running late. What to do? Answer: Keep moving, do some online investigation later and then come back if interesting. We did some research, it is interesting and we'll revisit soon. Perhaps today if we can get loose and ride up into NH.
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  6. K33

    K33 Adventurer

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    Lifeguard not on duty?
  7. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    I didn't go across the bridge to see that day. I did today, though, and a TR is in the works.
  8. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Pictures From NH Backroads: It takes a lot of my willpower to stop and take pictures on great rides/roads but I did the past week while exploring NH backroads. Here are the few.

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  9. Deckyon

    Deckyon The Raven

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    Man, it does take a lot to stop. This past spring, was down in NC/TN (Tail of the Dragon Country) and got done with lunch in Telico Plains and headed out to ride the Cherohala Skyway. Had some photos I wanted to get, but got running and there was no one in front of me the entire ride. Didnt stop once. Ended up turning around, riding it back just so I could get the photos I wanted and then riding it a 3rd time to get back to where I was going in the first place.

    No regrets.

    We also had no slow-downs or traffic on the Tail of the Dragon, either, but it's not like you can really relax on that one.
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  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Passing Through Stoddard: When traveling up into NH, I almost always avoid the interstates and main highways, thus passing through the small, mostly forgotten towns and villages. Once such place was Stoddard, NH, where I stopped at what appeared to be a prominent town structure - the Congregational Church, shown below. Located at coordinates 43.079038, -72.115631, I later learned this church was first organized in 1787 with the current structure erected in 1836.

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    Below is the view looking down the road from in front of the church..

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    Below is an old photo taken from the hill behind the church that looks down the road above.

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    Just down the street was this old place that was originally a shoe shop and later a milliners shop and then grocery store. Around 1907, it became the home of the historical society. Note the adjacent hearse house. I read somewhere that it contains two, old horse-drawn hearses - on on sleigh runners and the other with wheels.

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    Stoddard was first settled in 1768 by John and Martha Taggart, who were immigrants from Derry, Ireland. Between 1840 and 1873, Stoddard became a prominent glass blowing center with 4 glass factories. The combination of plentiful water power, wood for firing kilns and fine sand with trace minerals that gave the glass an amber color made for a near perfect location. Today, Stoddard glassware, shown in the internet photo below, is highly prized by collectors for its amber colors. The flag flask shown below (flag is on other side) is considered the holy grail in glass collecting.

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    The use of gas and coal to fire kilns plus the desire for clear glass killed Stoddard's glass industry. As best I could tell, there is no residual evidence of any of the glass factories other than a historical sign/marker.
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  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    An Old Mill? I was zipping along NH 123 when I glimpsed a dark building half hidden in the trees. Well, you know this was another of those often-aggrivating "whoa horse" moments where you think you may have seen something interesting and turn around and go back to find out. This is what I found.

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    It looks a lot like an old mill that was in the midwest town I grew up in, except for being in much better shape.

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    Located at coordinates 43.098959, -72.151574, there is a mill pond and head race just across the road where the water flows right under or by the building. I am thinking this is a restored old 1800s saw or grist mill.

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    There were no posted signs so I wandered around a bit hoping to find someone to ask with no luck. This place's now on my dance card for a return visit and some local research.
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  12. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Street Scene Serotonin: When you breeze through some towns, there are those rare times when a particular street is so scenic that you just have to stop and take it all in. Main Street in Old Deerfield Village comes to mind. Another, more recent discovery is Main Street in Hancock, NH. Riding through here made me stop, park the bike and soak it all in.

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    Gravel path sidewalks are the stuff of some really old towns. You just have to walk down this one.

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    There are some really old houses along here. The (renovated) central chimney on the house below indicates a 1700s dwelling.

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    There's more to see in this small town, especially the old tavern (i.e., ca. 1789) down the street. We want to do a separate RR on that one in the future. We have noted that Hancock was first settled in 1764 and incorporated in 1779. We also discovered that every house along here is on the National Register of Historic Places. Some fall pics are definitely in order.
    Shaggie, zookster, KMichael and 3 others like this.
  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Redhead At An Old Railroad Station: Below are several pics of the old Boston & Maine RR station in Bennington, NH, which is now a VFW post. It is located at coordinates 43.001576, -71.926266.

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    Bennington was and is a paper mill town on the banks of the Contoocook River. The mill, which has been in operation since 1812, once kept the RR busy before trucks took over. The mill is just north of the station on the river.

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    Sometime, it would be interesting to know when the last train went through here.
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  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Hearse House Redux or Hearse House Hens: When out riding with R2 (i.e., Kevin, who's back from LA for Labor Day weekend) yesterday, we passed through Stoddard and stopped to look over signage at the previously-pictured Historical Society building.

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    With both of us being interested in historical stuff, the sign on the hearse house was of particular interest, as we've never seen a hearse house before in any of our travels. That is because they are/were usually on or adjacent to grave yards, which are not areas we usually ride through.

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    Here's what the sign said:

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    We'd no sooner gotten on the bikes when some local area chickens came running, clucking and squawking to investigate the house also. One wanted in.

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  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Maple Barn Breakfast: Sometimes you do things quite by accident that you should have done as a matter of course years earler. One of these was telling Kevin about Parker's Maple Barn. Yesterday over the intercom, he suggested we go out breakfast at a little place we know about not far from here. That led to a discussion of other places and one I knew of was up in the next state, making for a good hour plus ride. I told him it was a famous place for breakfast and lunch but out in the boonies. He wondered how that could be and I just told him it was. We saddled up about 7 this morning and rode to Parker's Maple Barn, located at coordinates 42.741051, -71.720147. There's no pictures of the food as everyone's probably seen pictures of a breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, eggs over easy, toast, sausage, ham, and bacon (i.e., the standard house breakfast). Spending about an hour eating and drinking coffee, we left the place well-fed.

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    Arriving about an hour and 15 minutes after they opened, we were one of the last folks to be seated immediately. By the time we'd left the restaurant to saddle up, shown above, both parking lots were full and a lot of people were waiting to get in. That's the way it is with (locally, perhaps) famous eating places out in the middle of nowhere. I would not hesitate to recommend this place to others and should have told Kevin about it years ago. Note: We've no affiliation with or interest in Parker's Maple Barn.
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  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Vilas Pool - Part 1
    : Having come across this strange footbridge while in a bit of a hurry, I did stop long enough to get off, walk up to the gate and wonder "What is this?. With less-than-stellar, off-the-bike awareness, I rode on with some determination to research it when I got home.

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    Research I did and it's a good story. It turns out this is a town recreational area built in 1926 by local philanthropist Charles Nathaniel Vilas, who was a local boy that became a successful New York City hotelier. The area included a large swimming area (pond), boating including Swan Boats, a large dancing pavilion, picnic areas, playground equipment and a beautiful stone tower with a carillon of 12 bells, said to be the 2nd largest in New England. Knowing this and more, I rode back there several days later, only to discover an identifying sign that I somehow missed in my hurry earlier.

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    This trip, I had sufficient time to get off, look around, talk to a local fisherman and go take a look.

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    When asked if he was catching any, the fisherman got off the pail he was sitting on and told me he was one short of the daily limit. Not seeming like he wanted to chat, I left it at that, took the above pic and went across the bridge to check out the place. That will be the subject of part 2 (i.e., when I can grab some more time to convert the rest of the pics).
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  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Vilas Pool - Part 2: Having previously come across this strange footbridge while riding up in NH, my first thought was " old mill site?" The ingredients were all there - a dam/spillway, pond and footbridge. Who would have thought that a New York City hotelier would dam up a river (i.e., Cold River) and create a really cool swimming hole, complete with bathhouse, pavilion and playground for kids and then build a bridge across the dam. That is exactly what Charles Nathaniel Vilas did back in 1929 and we visited the playground he built by crossing the bridge. I would have loved to ride the redhead across for a pose but am way past the stage of wanting to ride up steps on a heavy motorcycle. That was the stuff of my youth. Anyway, crossing the bridge gets you to the park where the first things you see are the pavilion and a bathhouse/game room buildings.

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    Going inside the pavilion, shown below, conjured up thoughts of another time and place. As I stood in the building, the old brain was flooded with memories of another small town that had a bridge across a river into a park with several pavilions and a swimming pool.

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    Up on the hill behind the pavilion is a carillon bell tower that was Vilas' gift to his wife, who loved music. Shown below, the tower contains 12 bells made by the Meneely Bell Foundry of Troy, N.Y.

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    I let the zoom lens walk up the hill. Below is an internet pic of tower as it looked back in the day.

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    Out behind the pavilion is the children's playground and swimming area, shown below. Not shown are the gazebo and concession stand, both of which are nothing special to look at but extremely meaningful to children and their families.

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    After standing there for a while, I walked back across the bridge knowing that I had seen a gem of a place that provoked poignant memories in many lives, as well as a place where future, happy memories would be built. There's that lesson to be learned.

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    The lesson, for those willing to observe and learn, is that simplicity, basics and natural beauty can beat high-tech glam and glitter in the hearts and minds of children. I remember my own kids' experiences, one at Disney World in Orlando, FL and another at a place on WI lake that looked like Vilas Pool with cabins. The primary motive for the WI trip was to go fishing (lake was known for record musky fishing) and give the kids a cabin camping experience. To this day, that WI trip is what they remember as being the happiest time.

    The town of Alstead, NH seems to understand this and honor the Vilas legacy by maintaining the park and keeping it open. My old home town, that once had a similar naturally-beautiful park with contents gifted by a wealthy resident, sadly did not understand this lesson and the suspension bridge (which made for a short but fun scoot ride) is now a bridge to an empty park. BTW, after a week of beating the water with musky lures, I went home skunked. The day we left, some 12 or 13 year old kid caught a 45 lb. beauty off the dock where my (rental) fishing boat was tied up. In the longer run and greater perspective, that fishing trip was a huge success.
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  18. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Another Mystery Building: It was during a recent (6 days ago) ride that I noticed this small, well-kept older building across the street from where I stopped. I took this picture.

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    It was a cute little place and the window flower boxes were a nice touch, even though devoid of flora. I asked several members of the local citizenry what the purpose of the building was. They looked at me funny and said they didn't have any idea. I then asked several people working in the store across the street and they said they didn't know. It was then that someone at the store's lunch counter got up, went across the street, into the building and closed the door. Now I am really curious so I notice a sign on the door and read it using the camera's zoom lens. It says the place is the community aid building ca. 1941. I go back into the store and tell the counter lady what I read and she says she has no idea what that's about. Every ride seems to generate more curiosity than it abates.
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  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    A Mystery Building Solved: Several days ago, I rode by this structure in Marlowe, NH, and had a major case of déjà vu.

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    I did, of course, pull up to take a closer look and pose the redhead in front of this beautiful old Victorian manse.

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    Getting back home, I spent the rest of that day ruminating off and on about the place and then it hit. I had driven up to Marlow sometime back in the 1980s to get some stuff for the Apple Mac I had. Back then, places to buy PC hardware and software, especially for Macs, were few and far between. Such was the reason why two NH people who met on the Appalachian Trail (i.e., Patricia Gallup and David Hall) decided to pool their resources and start a company (i.e., Mac Connection, later PC Connection and now just Connection). They set up shop in an old mill in Marlow, NH, right across the road from this manse (which they later bought and renovated). That's where I first saw the building. It was originally built as the residence of the supposedly wealthy Burnap family and remained a private residence until around the mid 1900s. Sometime thereafter it became an inn. It deteriorated until PC Connection bought it and, as far as I know, the inn is their conference center. That small PC venture in Marlow is now a Fortune 1000 company headquartered in Merrimack, NH, with more than 2,500 employees selling more than 300,000 products. As I recall, it was PC Connection that pioneered next/same day delivery. I remember being able to order by 8 PM and receive it by mid morning morning the next day via Airborne. They later extended the deadline to 2 AM in the morning, making same day delivery possible.
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  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    A Surprise Meetinghouse: Here I was leisurely riding down this village road (that I later learned was named Village Road) with nary a care, cage or pirate in sight when the road abruptly ended just as it was getting good (i.e., a transition to grass and gravel).

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    The good news was that just off to my left was what looked like a town meeting house of a design I'd never seen (i.e., with a porch and adjoining carriage barn. I suspect the porch was a later addition. Despite having a bulletin board, there was no identifying information and I hadn't been paying attention to the GPS. This is to say that I temporarily had no idea what or where this was.

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    Back down the street a bit was this interesting sign that suggested I was in Surry and later investigation told me the building above was indeed the town meetinghouse or, if you prefer, town hall.

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    Later investigation showed Surry was incorporated in 1769, and named for the Earl of Surrey. By 1790 it had 448 residents. Today there are probably not that many more. Other than the mines indicated above and the interesting meetinghouse (no date), I couldn't find anything notable about the place. Noting that gold mines seem to be a rarity in NE, I did find this piece of information about the Surry Mountain mine:

    Operated by the Granite State Gold and Silver Mining Company. Access road, boardinghouse, and 65 foot shaft were built in 1881. Shaft reached 80 feet in 1882. Produced small amounts of lead, copper, gold, and silver but enough to sustain the mine. Work was discontinued and mining rights were sold by the company in 1887 to pay back taxes. Mine location: 42° 55' 11'' North , 72° 15' 4'' West. Source: minedat.org
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