My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend five days last week in the small town of Sugar Hill, NH. We stayed at the Sunset Hill House, a cozy country inn nestled just beyond Franconia Notch in the White Mountains. It was five days of tranquility such as I haven’t had in years.
I kept a short blog diary of our days there, that I’d like to share with you, in hopes that you too can find some time to get away occasionally, for your own peace of mind. (I think I’m getting soft…)
Thursday, July 12, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Joanne and I ate at Sunset Hill’s cozy dining room our first night. Potato-crusted salmon with mushroom orzo for Joanne. Home-made vegetable ravioli in a gorgonzola cream sauce for me. Couldn’t have been more delicious. Especially with a bottle of Pig’s Ear Brown Lager, brewed just down the road a piece, at the Woodstock Inn Micro-Brewery. God bless America. We ate at a quaint table by the windows – this inn has windows everywhere – overlooking those same White Mountains, with Cannon Mountain staring us right in the face.
After dinner, we sat on a bench in front of the inn and stretched our feet in the grass. We watched the sun set over Vermont’s Green Mountains and the inn’s golf course, where a group of folks attending tomorrow’s wedding at the inn were gathered doing the same. Our waitress Marion told us the hazy red against the side of the mountains at sunset is called the Alpine Glow. I’m fine with just calling it a beautiful sunset, although that is a catchy phrase.
And then we returned to our room, greeted by a blue and white moose lounging on our king-sized country bed. And slept soundly, after a bit of reading. It was 8:30…
Friday, July 13, 2012, 6:00 a.m.
Happy Friday the 13th! We woke this morning, after our first night at Sunset Hill House, Sugar Hill NH, to the sound of…well, nothing. It was utterly quiet. Peaceful. No trucks rumbling down the road. No kids screaming in the distance as they waited for their school bus. No whooshing sounds of the highway traffic that we hear at home, even in our semi-country environment. It was 6 a.m. And I was as bright and chipper as the squirrels that I couldn’t hear either, after a great night’s sleep, with the windows open all night and the mountain air washing over me. Minutes later, the cooing of a few mourning doves competed with my measured breathing for the only sounds around. It was time to rise on this bright mountain morning in God’s country! Stomachs know when it’s time for omelets and French Toast stuffed with maple cream cheese.
Saturday, July 14, 2012, 9:00 p.m.
The word “quaint” has two distinct and different meanings. One characterizes something that is old fashioned and charming. The other – something that’s just a bit peculiar or unusual. Both terms apply to any old building with significant historical importance. And both aptly define the quirkiness of a country inn like Sunset Hill House.
You can’t walk the halls of Sunset Hill without listing just a bit to one side on those wonderful wooden plank floors. Because proud, old buildings, just like people, settle over the years. That’s quaint. You can’t open the sturdy oak doors at Sunset Hill without the smooth feel of a brass or glass doorknob from the 1880s under your touch. Or noticing their old fashioned key holes that once used skeleton keys as the primary means of security. And those doors won’t be plumb either – the frames settle with the structure and, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the doors have been shaved over the years to accommodate that change. It looks so cool.
You can’t help notice the wonderfully quirky light fixtures and floor lamps, some with fringed shades that defined “real class” in 1900. You’ll gaze out at the mountains through four-paned windows that raise and lower on ropes tied to heavy round weights that are embedded in the window frames. You’ll see old-fashioned wallpaper everywhere, Beautiful fireplace mantels, deep-carpeted stairways, and lead lined glass windows. Not to mention antique furniture that the owners are more than happy for you to place your posterior upon. It just adds to the history.
You won’t sleep in many original four-posted beds or wash your face in an original bathroom basin like some of those at Sunset Hill. When you prop your elbows down on the front desk counter, you’re touching history that used to be part of the old Crawford Notch Inn.
Now on this little vacation, we could have stayed at a Best Western Hotel somewhere just off the highway, conveniently located near a WalMart. But we wanted quaint. So we went with history and Sunset Hill. Oh they have some modern amenities too. But for quaintness, we’ll take this ol’ country inn anytime…
Editors Note: To learn more about The Sunset Hill House visit their website.
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