Monday, June 18, 2012

Lupine Festival - Sugar Hill New Hampshire

Last week was a busy week for me. I had lots of activities! The day after the Welch-Dickey hike I was traveling north in New Hampshire again, this time to Sugar Hill, a very small town just past Franconia Notch, in what is known as the North Country.

I, along with two other ladies, were off to see the lupines. Every June there is a Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill and Franconia New Hampshire. Lupines are big, beautiful flowers that come in blue, purple, white and pink. They are a close relative of the bluebonnets of Texas, in fact they share the same genus, Lupinus. Bluebonnets are Lupinus Texanus (of course!); the New Hampshire variety is Lupinus Perennis.

I just read through the Wikapedia article on Lupines. Apparently they are a member of the legume family and some of them are edible (but some aren't so don't run out to your garden and start munching just yet!). There are dozens and dozens of different varieties of lupines and they are found all over the world.

It takes bout two hours to drive from southern to northern New Hampshire, up I-93, past Manchester and Concord, through the Lakes Region, and on into the White Mountains. At Franconia Notch I-93 abruptly becomes a two lane rural highway through a narrow passage through the mountains. The views become more and more beautiful, the air crisp and cool.

When we arrived in Sugar Hill we stopped at the Information Center first, where we acquired a map showing the best places to see the lupines. We took a drive through town, oohing and ahing at the fields of blue and purple flowers. We found one especially nice field that we decided to return to after lunch.

The place for lunch, or any meal really, was Polly's Pancake Parlor. We were lucky in that it was around 11 am on a Friday and they weren't very busy, because often they are really packed. I ended getting the pancake sampler (I'll eat pancakes any time), so I could try several different types of pancakes. The cornmeal and the buckwheat-walnut were the best, I thought. I also really appreciated that they brought the pancakes to me three at a time, so that they would all be fresh and hot as I ate them. Only problem with this was that after the first three pancakes I was already full!

After buying maple syrup and lemon bars in their store, it was time to check out the lupines. We parked the car and started walking around the field. They were so beautiful! I must have taken something like two hundred pictures. It was hard to choose the best ones to keep.

We checked out a few of the little stores; The Sugar Hill Sampler and Harman's Cheese and General Store. I bought lupine seeds to take back to Salem and plant in my garden. I also bought some smoked cheddar cheese.

On the was out of town we stopped at the Garnet Hill Outlet Store. I love Garnet Hill's catalog but I hardly ever get anything from them because they are so expensive. The outlet store had a lot of pretty clothes at good prices, but it was hard to find my size. I ended up buying a couple of cute summer dresses. I like dresses and sometimes I want to wear one for no particular reason, especially in the warm summer weather. We haven't had very much of that yet, but I hear that's about to change.

The main part of the actual festival is on the weekend so we didn't get to participate in the activities, but on the other hand, we got to enjoy the beauty of the lupines without dealing with crowds. It would be fun to go to the festival sometime, however. And there are a lot of things to see in the White Mountains, enough to keep me busy for some time to come.

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