First Month

On June 2 we have been here a month. Unpacking is 90% over – the pile of boxes in the garage has less than 10 remaining. Most rooms are not only habitable but also partially decorated. There is much still to do, but our pace of doing it has slowed considerably!

DSC_0208 DSC_0198And there has been time to reflect. The most obvious joy is what Marian calls “the million-dollar view” of the lake. All the trees have now leafed out (and the oaks have broadcast their pollen!) and all is green. Fishermen are on the lake daily, and kayakers are often out in the evenings and on weekends.

The “summer people” have begun to arrive – good crowd over Memorial Day weekend, with fireworks (legal in NH) off the beach at dusk. Neighbors to one side cleaned up their yard and opened their house, but won’t stay here until their kids are out of school. Locals say some Memorial Days are warm enough to swim, but not this year as the cool end of a long winter refuses to move away. Plenty of showers and thunder this week. But I did get to cut the grass for the first time! Paul and I both kayaked, and he fished off the dock. A Heron visits our beach, as does a pair of Geese with their four babies. DSC_0195 DSC_0210 DSC_0205

As we slowly discover the local villages, we are even more delighted at the area. Pretty places, often with historical areas full of beautifully preserved 18-19th C. homes, inns, town-halls, churches. And we still have all the “modern conveniences” of big-box stores 15 minutes away in Tilton.

We have attended a small Congregational Church a few miles away, and like what we find there – pleasant, faithful and energetic people. I was asked to preach there on my third Sunday to give the Interim Pastor a break, and was well received – even if I felt a little rusty after two years away from the pulpit!

So the house, the lake, the area, the church are all big “pluses” for us. We are glad to be here, and look forward to the summer and fall (it has been a bit chilly so far!)

Settling In

It’s been a good week. Paul and I drove to Long Island, had a wonderful dinner with friends, and stayed with an always-gracious couple. Next morning we picked up a one-way rental truck, and spent 3 hours loading the last of our “stuff” – ladders, canoe and kayak, ACs, garden tools, fire-pit, and (best of all) the 16ft stairlift that allows Marian easy transport between floors. We took the ferry back and were home by 7pm, when a neighbor helped us haul the stairlift in; Paul spent the rest of the evening installing it! Next day we completed the unloading and dropped off the truck near Concord.

The rest of the week has been given to opening boxes, which is a little like Christmas after some of them have been packed for 18-24 months. Of course there are some things we still haven’t found! Marian has been decorating, and we now have a few prize pictures hung, collections displayed, and some books in the bookshelves!

Memorial Day weekend brings more people to the lake, and boats on the water:  kayaks, fishing boats, and two pontoon boats (no jet skis yet!). DSC_0190

Thunderstorms at lunchtime today gave way to a perfect afternoon with no wind and a mirror-like lake. DSC_0189

Tomorrow I preach at a local Congregational Church, whose interim pastor took only two Sunday visits to ask me to fill in for the holiday weekend so he and his wife could take a break…

We discovered a dirt back road a mile away that takes you up to a ridge facing west across the Merrimack Valley to the hills of NH, and the Green Mountains of VT 50 miles away. What a view! A glorious golden sunset over the lake completes the day! Thank you, Lord, for such beauty!

Moving In

May 16 – Day 12 -and most of our new lakeside home in New Hampshire is habitable! We arrived on Monday, May 5 and slept in our RV in the driveway (38deg that night). The movers arrived mid-morning on Tuesday, bringing our furniture and boxes from a storage unit on Long Island. I have never seen stronger or more energetic young men at work! They were on the road home by 3pm. Our garage was full of boxes, but by early evening we had the beds up and my wife managed to cook a meal in the kitchen.

Every day since has had a similar pattern: moving furniture around (we are now on bedroom 2.0, living room 3.0), carrying boxes up and down stairs, stacking them in relevant places, unpacking a few of them. Between labors, sitting on the porch for coffee or lunch and enjoying the view of the lake!  Driving out to investigate the local stores for groceries, and for things we did not know we would need or could not yet find in the boxes! My wife cooked with one skillet and one pan for a week before we unearthed the box of pans and cooking utensils!

We have slowed our unpacking, and now a “3-4 box day” is plenty (there are probably 40 more in the garage!). Shopping takes up more time – 2h in Home Depot this afternoon buying chairs for the deck, a new faucet set for the kitchen, a replacement door for one irreparably damaged for the guest bedroom (first guests – family – due over Memorial Day weekend!).

Today we have the first serious rain since we arrived. The hills have disappeared in low cloud and fog, as have the tops of the taller pines on the north side of the lake. The loon pair keep up their daily swim and dives across the lake. The one Canada Goose pair paddled past our dock this morning.

Leafing out continues, and our world is greener day by day – mostly with the color a friend calls “chartreuse.” No fishermen are visible today.DSC_0175

It’s a remarkably tranquil corner of the world, though big box stores are only 15 minutes away. The local villages range from sweet to historic-beautiful. We sampled local wine and found it rich and interesting. I have learned over the decades that “you can get used to anything, given time,” and our first two weeks in the “Lakes Area”/Merrimack Valley of NH promise very well for the future. There is much beauty to enjoy, people are friendly, and the population density and traffic volume are a long way below New York – even eastern Long Island – standards.

We sleep well in a very silent and dark corner of New England. We are very happy with our move, even if our muscles are sore! God be praised that there are still places like this where people like us can choose to settle, and enjoy “peace, quiet and beauty” – core values of people our age!

The Lake

A lakeside home offers a remarkable spectrum of views. Light and color change constantly. The lake surface changes from a silver mirror in early morning, reflecting every tree and cloud in profile and color, to dark gray white-capped waves driven by a brisk NW breeze in mid-afternoon. Even after dusk, it’s amazing how a dark-adapted eye can see the profile of the lake’s west bank reflected in a steel-gray again-calm surface.

White Pine, Hemlock, Oak, Red Maple, Birch frame the lake. Button-brush and reeds skirt the water’s edge. Birds abound: sparrows, finches, chickadees, orioles, swallows, red-wing blackbirds, plovers, robins, crows, hawks, mallards, wood ducks, loons, Canada Geese, a Blue Heron… all in a casual day’s view from the deck!

We have loved our first week on the SE shore of a dammed, 60-acre, 1/2 mile-wide, 50ft deep lake in New Hampshire’s Merrimack Valley, midway between Laconia and Concord. Pale green and muddy pink clothe the trees on the far shore amid the pines, and red-maple flowers are dropping on our deck. It’s good to be in NH now that Spring has arrived!


Shellcamp Lake to the NE


Shellcamp Lake to the NW