Sometimes, when you set out with plans and intentions, the road leads you somewhere else altogether, and you have to be smart enough to give in to what is happening. You have to let your expectations take a back seat, along with those cowboy boots you were wearing and that notebook full of outlines for the blog post you thought you would write.
I met Laura from Touringnh.com later than we had hoped. My lunch ran longer than expected, with a gentleman who planted the seed of “design your next job or jobs that feed your passion,” hence the red cowboy boots and overdressed appearance for seeking out a remote woodland locale. We set off in her new Jeep. It isn’t yet outfitted for her usual excursions but was a perfect little rocket ship for our journey.
Though we researched and searched, neither of us had come up with any clue to the mystery of why there was a place on the map called Hell Hollow, NH. As yesterday’s blog proved, the journey was more than payment for that little disappointment. We discovered wonderful architecture from over 200 years ago, in places that would have required a serious determination to reach that many years ago. As we zipped along in the jeep, I thought long and hard about how these colonies of people had traveled to come together and build a life. The relics of their basic lives are things like the covered bridges and mills, the homes they built and the beauty they left behind in simple daily solutions.
The first bridge we came to was in Hopkinton, before we ever got on the highway. It was a short, lively, open affair. Still, no matter how many covered bridges I explore, I always think of horses clip-clopping across those boards with the hollow sound and the river rushing below. This bridge was very open to the elements, light and airy.
After the tour through “Pumpkin People Land,” we journeyed on. This church evoked thoughts of an elegant wedding affair, regardless of the denomination…
Next was the bridge on “Blow Me Down Brook. This was an interesting piece of history. Apparently, the name “Blow Me Down” was bestowed upon not only on the brook, but this covered bridge and eventually a mill. The official marker at the “Blow Me Down Mill” stated that it was a popular phase at the time, describing a state of amazement, “Well Blow Me Down.” I hope no one in the future comes across the “Where’s the Beef” saying and attributes it to our society.
Extensive renovation of the structure occurred from 1980 to 2002 and there is a small tribute to this effort just inside the bridge in the form of a museum display of the parts that had to be replaced. A+ for effort, D- for display.
The beauty of Laura and her jeep, was the ability to turn on a dime and go back to something we had just whizzed by. This is the Mill on the Blow Me Down Brook. As the sign states, we have now entered Cornish, the hallowed haunt of many artists.
I was struck by the strange orange/yellow staining of the rocks and the ghostly image of the ell that has been removed from the original structure.
We took a side detour to capture the sun lighting up the house at Saint-Gaudens. Laura had been to Cornish earlier in the month and wrote a wonderful post about this site.
Our last stop, before the sun set, was the Cornish-Windsor bridge. Built in 1866, this covered bridge is the longest in the U.S. and the second longest in the world at 460 feet. It spans the Connecticut River connecting New Hampshire and Vermont.
Our search for Hell Hollow turned into a great day of “milling around bridges.”