CSotD: Home Thoughts

Harry Bliss continues a tradition, having purchased JD Salinger’s secluded digs in Cornish, NH.

For years, some of the local folks simply pretended to not know much, while others took perverse delight in sending Salinger groupies on long wild-goose chases in order to preserve their neighbor Jerry’s privacy.

But, whether by omission or commission, the whole community joined in the conspiracy.

Fact is, for a tiny hamlet that isn’t even really a crossroads, given that it’s on the east bank of the Connecticut River, there’s a lot to see in Cornish.

Salmon P. Chase was born in Cornish, though the only thing to see about that is a plaque saying so, and, while he led a busy and important life, his daughter Kate was considerably more fascinating and I haven’t seen any indication that she ever set foot in Cornish.

I was going to say that there’s a dinner in Cornish where they serve wild game, which is a good way to raise funds for the local fire department while finding out what things like woodchuck and beaver tail taste like, but that’s actually down the road in Meriden.

Howsoever, you can get the other kind of beaver tail — the deep-fried batter — at the Cornish Fair, which is worth the drive if you don’t live too far away, and there are also three covered bridges in town which ditto.

But Bliss is also ignoring, in the best of Salingeresque tradition, the fact that Cornish was an artists colony, with a national historic site preserving the home, studio and extensive gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who is one of the people you’ve never heard of until you see some of the stuff he did.

The first time I drove from Lebanon down through Cornish, the sun was just setting and, stunned by the colors of the blue sky and the white clouds and the first tinges of yellow and pink, I said to myself, “This is like a Maxfield Parrish poster” at which point I drove by a marker telling me I was on the Maxfield Parrish Highway, and it turns out he set up his easel here for a time as well.

Wikipedia — being more chatty than the good folks of Cornish — has a list of who else used to hang out there, but they aren’t there now.

So Harry’s right. Keep moving.


Juxtaposition of the Day




Genuinely had this conversation with someone the other day: Snow was predicted and I commented that it hadn’t seemed like such a rough winter and I was told to shut up and keep that sort of jinxy talk to myself.

No, it ain’t over yet and, as I’ve noted in Marches past, I remember being a little fellow in school and getting coloring pages of kids running across a flowery grassy field with kites in the March wind, and looking out the classroom window at the three or four feet of snow still there.

I also remember driving from the Adirondacks down to southeastern Pennsylvania to my grandparents for Easter and it was like Dorothy opening the door to Munchkinland as the white turned to daffodils and cherry blossoms and green lawns.

The ride home being a little more sobering as all that stuff turned first to mud and then back into snow.


However, at some point in the not-too-distant future, the sugar houses will fire up their boilers and if you wait for a couple of weeks, you can come up an enjoy Maple Weekend with nice folks like the ones at Hillside Sugar Bush Farm in Cornish, a place with all sorts of interesting things going on.

There are sugarhouses all over New Hampshire (and, yes, a few on the west bank of the Connecticut, or so I’ve heard), and the third week of March, they really roll out the hospitality.


Though, unless you are determined to travel up to the sugarhouses in Meredith for some pancakes and to pose with the statue, you can absorb your earworm in a less sticky-sweet form:


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Home Thoughts

  1. Today’s post felt like reading a 1950s New Yorker piece by E.B. White. That’s high praise from me.

  2. Hearing Wilson Pickett’s cover of “Sugar Sugar” makes me hate the song less. Even as a grade schooler I found the original version awful. One time on a road trip with my teenage daughter, it came on the radio and we sang along in the style of the Ramones.

  3. [Sing along, everybody!]

    “I’m dreaming of a White Easter…”

    It’s been known to happen, even in the heart of the Midwest.

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