One of my favorite towns in New Hampshire is nestled between the northern White Mountains and the Connecticut River, the town of Littleton, NH, is equal parts business and shopping hub and outdoor escape. It’s been named one of the best places to live in America. It’s downtown has won big accolades as well; given Littleton’s lively arts scene, summertime festivals and street performers, local boutiques and shops . With its ideal location in the shadow of the mountains and along the river, Littleton prides itself on being a walkable community, both around town and on a 22-mile network of hand-built trails.
Its name sounds a bit like an amusement park ride, but Flume Gorge in Lincoln, New Hampshire, is not an attraction any engineer dreamed up. Powerful natural forces — molten earth, ice, flowing water and frost — have shaped this fascinating chasm: a highlight of New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park.
Imagine stumbling upon this geologic wonder one day while you were out fishing. That’s what happened in 1808 to 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey. Even her own family was dubious when she described what she’d found. But soon, she convinced others to have a look. And even without the benefit of social media, word traveled fast about this spectacular sight. The first tourists came by stagecoach to see Flume Gorge, and people haven’t stopped visiting since.
I was hankering for some Eggs Benedict this morning, so decided to check out Goffstown which is not far from where I’m camped. It’s a very quaint area with several restaurants and a few shops.
Goffstown was incorporated in 1761. This town started as a part of Massachusetts, and was known as Narragansett Number 4, Piscataquog (so glad I don’t have to pronounce that) Village, and then Shovestown (I’m curious if there was a lot of shoving in Shovestown). before installation of the New Hampshire provincial government.
In 1748, the area was granted to new settlers, including Colonel John Goffe who fought in the French and Indian Wars, worked for Governor Wentworth as a surveyor, and became judge of probate for Hillsborough County.
The Highland House Museum occupies one of Truro’s best known landmarks, the Highland House, a seasonal hotel built on the Highlands in 1907. Located near the Highland Light in North Truro, the museum building is a classic example of a turn-of-the-century summer resort hotel.
I visited the Museum for a look inside the lives of the people of Truro and the Outer Cape. There were permanent exhibits about the Indigenous People who lived here for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Europeans. I was able to travel back to a time when local residents devoted themselves to the salt mill industry, the railroad, and domestic crafts, such as weaving and embroidery. I discovered a collection of art that showcases a deep reservoir of talent that reflects an enduring admiration for the natural beauty of this area.
In 1838 the US Government took action to reduce the number of shipwrecks along the dangerous Cape Cod Atlantic coast by establishing the Nauset Light. To make the signal easily recognizable, three separate lanterns were set on small brick towers about 150 feet apart. Unfortunately, the brick “Three Sisters” were built too close to the eroding cliff which threatened to undermine them. In 1892 they were replaced by wooden towers built farther back from the edge.
From 1923 until 1981 the Nauset Light carried on the tradition of the retired “Three Sisters” by flashing three times every ten seconds. The present light flashes an alternating red and white pattern
Narragansett’s South County Museum’s Blacksmith Forge is an exhibit as well as a fully functioning working forge that includes an extensive collection of blacksmithing tools including bellows that came from the famous Fayerweather Blacksmith Shop in Kingston, Rhode Island. Joshua Kelly, the resident blacksmith, along with a team of several local blacksmiths, work on a regular basis throughout the season to provide lessons and live demonstrations.
The Museum Press is one of the most completely equipped letterpress shops in the Northeast, with presses manufactured over a hundred-year period from 1835 to 1953. The shop was organized in the 1980s by the late William Brady Washburn. Washburn collected so many letterpresses and other equipment that the museum trustees decided that the shop should have its own building.
I learned that the terms Upper Case and Lower Case comes from the actual position of the cases of letters used by the typesetters. The case of capital letters was placed above the case of the non-capital letters.
This machine enabled the transition to a daily press from a weekly press
Captain George Westcott, my 4th cousin 4 times removed, purchased 190 acres along Lake Ontario in 1851. The 12-room farmhouse he built overlooking the property’s 300 foot beach is used today as a park office and park police office.
After an accident in 1863, Captain Westcott died, leaving his farm to his wife and sons. A grandson eventually resided there and operated the place for bathing purposes until 1945. In 1946, 170 acres of the original farm were sold to the state of New York for $30,000. The park was officially opened and dedicated by Governor Thomas E. Dewey in June 1950.
For more information check out this 1954 article: Old Houses in the North Country
Earliest Lighthouse on the Great Lakes
This is the site of the earliest lighthouse on the Great Lakes; a lantern on the roof of the French Castle inside the fort. From that first whale oil fueled lantern room on the roof of the castle, the Niagara lights evolved to this classically detailed tower erected outside the fort’s walls.
The current tower was first lit in 1872, having been removed from the French Castle to allow for more room for officer’s quarters. The light was deactivated in 1996, having been replaced by a light beacon at the US Coast Guard Station Niagara.
For the early settlers of America, the Fort Niagara Lighthouse served to mark one of the few natural harbors on Lake Ontario and a vital portage route around Niagara Falls.
The lighthouse was automated in 1983 and then deactivated in 1993. Today, it is owned by the state of New York and managed by the Old Fort Niagara Association, which also manages and maintains Old Fort Niagara.
The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. During the colonial wars in North America, a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River was vital, for it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, however, the strategic value of Fort Niagara diminished. It nonetheless remained an active military post well into the 20th century.
The French established the first post here, Fort Conti, in 1679. Its successor, Fort Denonville (1687-88) was equally short lived. In 1726 France finally erected a permanent fortification with the construction of the impressive “French Castle.” Britain gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759, during the French & Indian War, after a nineteen-day seige. The British held the post throughout the American Revolution but were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796. Fort Niagara was recaptured by the British in 1813. It was ceded to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812.
This was Fort Niagara’s last armed conflict, and it thereafter served as a peaceful border post. The garrison expanded beyond the walls following the Civil War. Fort Niagara was a barracks and training station for American soldiers throughout both World Wars. The last army units were withdrawn in 1963. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard represents the only military presence on the site.