So here’s the view from the upstairs bedroom window at The Frost Place in Franconia. When I first read “The Road Not Taken” as a student eons ago, I hadn’t the faintest inkling where the poet might have lived when he wrote it — indeed, I knew nothing about New Hampshire, period.
As fate would have it, this Hawai’i girl met her husband, a New Hampshire native, in London, England, and since then, we’ve visited many poets’ and writers’ homes on both sides of the pond. It’s always a wonderful moment when you finally get to see where a writer you’ve long admired actually lived. All at once he becomes a real person, and if you listen carefully you can hear whisperings from the past, as you gaze at the view that may very well have inspired a poem or two.
Frost lived here full time between 1915-1920, then summered here until 1938. Unlike his ten-year sojourn at Derry Farm (a period of unsuccessful farming and meager publication), by the time Frost inhabited this modest farmhouse his literary reputation was well established. He had just returned from England where his first two books (A Boy’s Will, North to Boston) had finally earned him the professional esteem he so earnestly sought and deserved.
The orange daylilies were in full bloom on that Friday in July when we happened upon the rusty mailbox on Ridge Road.
I sat on the porch rejuvenated by the clean fresh air, the silence broken only by occasional birdsong and the buzzing of determined bees. No wonder Frost loved it here!
Recently, while visiting family up in New Hampshire, Len and I decided to visit The Frost Place in Franconia. We arrived as scheduled after a pleasant two-hour drive from Bedford, and agreed that Mr. Frost probably wouldn’t mind if we had lunch first.
‘Twas not the season for apple picking, so we were quite pleased when Wendle’s Deli magically appeared right on Main Street. The rustic exterior looked promising, and I was hungry for some interesting local grub.
I don’t know about you, but I consider it a good sign when twelve volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary are used as an end table.
Even if the food had turned out to be just so-so, the place would have been worth seeing, if only to read all the writing on the walls and door frames. I just happen to enjoy a good chalkboard (we have three in the kitchen, one in the dining room).
I admit a chalkboard in a deli seems logical for posting menus, nothing too out of the ordinary. But Wendle’s fairly revels in the written word à la craie. The Sandwich Board dizzies with its offerings of breads, cheeses, meats, and specials, and everywhere you turn, there is an inspiring, funny, or thought provoking chalky quote vying for your attention. For a minute I considered merely “reading” my lunch instead of eating it. I’m a captive audience for this sort of thing; they must have known I was coming. ☺ Continue reading →