Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Snapshots of New England Part 1

I'm not going to give a blow by blow account of my holiday in New England but just try and give a general flavour of this lovely area of the US. I've been going there now for over 25 years and in fact my daughter,now aged 27, took her first steps in my friends' house. It's an area I love and feel very much at home in. Above is a typical New England church, in this case Rye Congregational Church. These white churches with their pointed steeples are everywhere in New England.

This house is in a coastal town called New Castle and I photographed it because it has a widow's walk perched on top of the roof. Mariner's wives would watch for the return of their husband's ships from these vantage points. The sea took the lives of many sailors and the widows would then keep a look out in the vain hope that their man would eventually return against all the odds - hence the name of widow's walk.

I'm always surprised when Americans say they have no real history or old buildings, this is not the case at all, America has a fascinating history and many interesting old buildings one of which is in the above photograph. If you click on it you will be able to read the date on the front. 1676 sounds pretty old to me! The area around Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which included New Castle and Rye, was originally settled in the early 1620s and this would have been one of the earliest homes. It's a private home and of course will have been altered and maybe added to over the years but the basic house is still there.
It needs to be remembered also that American history didn't begin with the colonists, the Native American peoples were there for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years before the settlers turned up and I'm pretty sure that there is archaeological evidence for their cultures too.

Looking down on the town of Portsmouth,NH with the inevitable white church spire visible. This is a tidal inlet but I can't remember exactly where we were!

I love visiting the local Farmers Market when I'm staying with C, if only I could have bought a selection of these wonderful gourds and brought them home! I never seem to see anything like this in the UK.

Almost every house has pots of chrysanthemums standing outside -they are so beautiful and smell wonderful too, I'm afraid I always cringe when I hear or see them called 'mums, such an ugly word for these lovely flowers.

I would have bought this wreath too if I could have got it home:)

The historic area of Strawberry Bank in Portsmouth is well worth a visit,it is a whole historic neighbourhood that has been preserved and almost all the buildings are on their original foundations. Many are open and are furnished to show different periods of history and different levels of society.My own favourites were the WW2 store and the Shapiro house which is presented as the 20th century home of a Russian-Jewish family.

There are interesting period gardens with some of the houses as well including a great Victory garden with the WW2 store though for some reason I don't seem to have taken a photo of that one.

All the flowers that were still blooming attracted a lot of insects. I really like this particular photo.

I'm fairly sure that this is a Monarch butterfly, we don't get them in UK so I'm by no means certain.

Among the things for children were little fairy houses all around the gardens, some of them were really pretty and I'm thinking of making one in my own garden at some point.

A lot of the fairy houses were quite hard to spot and some were more elaborate than others but this was the one I liked best. Time for me to climb the little wooden stairs now so I'll do the second part tomorrow.


Jenny said...

What lovely photos you took during your trip! I've always wanted to visit New England, and Portsmouth in particular as my mom read an article years ago about how many wonderful restaurants were there...let alone the scenery. I particularly enjoyed the shot of the fairy garden as I've been wanting to create one for my daughter and I. And we just bought our yearly baskets of chrysanthemums this morning. I'm so glad you had such a pleasant trip!

kate said...


I am glad that you had a good trip. You saw a beautiful and historic place - along with Monarch butterflies. The houses you photographed were interesting to see ... and I loved the Fairy Garden. What a wonderful, idyllic place!

I imagine you are happy to be home though! I've missed reading your blog!

Amy said...

wow those houses are divine! We don't have ones like them here. Love that purple cardoon btw

thehomelyyear said...

Hi Rowan, very interesting photos...New England looks the white churches. As you say, there is more history there then we imagine. Thanks for visiting our blog. We will be back to read yours.
Margaret and Noreen at THY

miss*R said...

Oh, I just have to make myself one of those faery homes!!!!! they remind me of when I was a little girl...
I have visited the US a few times and I love the homes and gardens... they are so different to here in Australia. You certainly went at a gorgeous time of year...
it is good to 'see' you home xox

Leanne said...

welcome home Rowan, Autumn truly sneaked in here while you were away! gtreat pics, its almost like visiting myself!

Leanne x

PAT said...

Rowan, I am so happy you enjoyed your visit on this side of the pond!
I've checked back several times, waiting for your gorgeous photos and wonderful stories.

I can hardly wait for part 2!


Ragged Roses said...

I have always wanted to visit New England and am tempted when reading blogs by people who live there. After seeing your photos I know that I will have to get there one day. It looks beautiful, You must have had a marvellous time. Thanks for showing the photos

Sheila said...

I love New England too, and always enjoy going there, though it's been too long since my last visit.
It is, in MHO the best time of year to go, and your photos bear that out.
Thank you for the post card, Plimouth Plantation is a must see, and I also enjoy the 'living' museums.

Rosie said...

What a beautiful place - your photos are wonderful. I'd never heard of 'widow's walks' before. Glad you had a good holiday visiting your friend.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Rowan! The New England area is my favourite part of the US and I've enjoyed your photos. I'd love to create a fairy home (or two!) in my garden ~ what a great idea! Looking forward to reading Part 2!! ~ hugs, Lynda ♥

OhSoVintage said...

Wonderful photos. I had never heard of, or seen a house with, a 'Widow's Walk' either. I have naval friends who were appointed to Portsmouth on an exchange (strange that they now live in Portsmouth, UK) but I never visited them there. Seeing your photos I wish I had!

Tara said...

New England just looks so idyllic to me...I often wish I lived in that part of the country. Thanks for sharing your perspective on it.

Mary said...

Welcome back Rowan - glad you had a great trip, am enjoying the pics. My dh is a New Hampshire native (Manchester) and I lived there for several years when first married. Many visits to Portsmouth area and NH coast so your pics brought back good memories.

I'm crossing the pond next Monday and will be home in Devon for almost 2 weeks - getting excited.

Andylynne said...

it's good to have you back I found your blog shortly before you left on vacation.I have enjoyed what I read and even orderd a book you reccomended from a past post. The starteling Jungle. I have enjoyed it so much. Now I'm after the Agatha Christy book.
You have traveled more in New England than I, a sad state of affairs from a US Citizen :)
Your photos are wonderful. The fairy houses bring to life a passage in one of the Beatrix Potter mysteries by Susan Albert, in it Miss Potter makes twig furniture and a very small tea table with moss cushions on the seats. It is for the children in the story. What a fun pass time. I may have to make one too! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! Thanks for sharing your photos with us, would have loved to have been there too!

Sandie (Sandie's Patch)

meggie said...

Welcome home. Another lovely post, with wonderful photos.
The houses are so different to what we have here.

Victoria May Plum said...

I'm sooo jealous. It looks like you had the most amazing holiday.

I would love to visit New England it looks so beautiful, in fact I would probably move there if I could.
But for now I will just have to make do with books, and your wonderful post!
Thankyou, you have really brightened my morning.
Victoria x

Kim said...

What beautiful pictures, Rowan. The sky behind the church is incredibly blue and just like a painting. I especially love the fairy houses, very inspiring, thank you.

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

It looks like you had a wonderful trip Rowan!! I can't wait to see more photos! The fact about the Widow's walk was fascinating!

Marilyn said...

Beautiful pictures, as usual! I'm so glad you had a good trip.

smilnsigh said...

Oh yes, we were able to visit Strawberry Bank one time. It was lovely. But it's a long, dull road trip away, and my husband just never wanted to go over there again. Too tedious a drive. Plus now, he can't drive that far anyway.

But, along with many visits to many places in the NE over the years, we remember this visit with pleasure.


Anonymous said...

how wonderful to see these photos. America does have alot of history and it looks like you took in a fair bit of it. Lucky you! that is indeed a monarch butterfly, one of my favorites. They are so big. You can buy the seeds to grow the colourful gourds now here in the uk, you couldnt find them at all years ago but they are avilable now. I plan to grow some next year. We have built a fairy house in our garden this year, well my daughter has with only a little bit of help. She also made a fairy dance floor complete with decorations. Its lovely. so glad you seem to have had a good time, cant wait to see more pics!

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

So glad you had such a nice trip Rowan and i really enjoyed seeing your pictures!


peppylady said...

Beautiful picture.
Sure glad you enjoy your visit to the New England states.

I only been east of the Mississippi river once in my life.

I think sometime us here in America forget that we do have history about us mostly when we read and see picture from across the pond.

Nadine said...

Your photos are awesome, as usual !
THANKS for showing, Rowan !

Hugs & smiles,

Remiman said...

And so the travelers, we, have returned to their respective nests, revived, and rejuvenated by their excursions. Your photos have captured the essence of New England wonderfully.
I did some temp work for awhile in Whiteriver Junction, Vermont, which is just across the border from Lebanon NH. I love the New England countryside.
Glad to have you back in blogville!

Patty said...

oh you have made me homesick !!!!

Monique said...

The houses and garden are so beautiful. I can imagine you wanted to take with a lot of things. They looks so great. In The Netherlands we keep a chrysanthemum at the front door too in October. That must have blown over from The States ; )
Those little fairy houses are just so cute !!!
have a great day

Strawberry Lane said...

Wonderful photos and comments. Thank you for taking me on a delightful trip!

maymomvt (or Sarah) said...

I found your blog through Simmy who came to visit me this summer in the U.S. I just had to comment because my Mother used to Direct Strawbery Banke and I used to live right above the tugboats on the river! Nice Photos.