Saturday, July 18, 2009

Racing in New Hampshire

I spent a week in New England this month, mostly in far northern New Hampshire. Nick and three of his friends were doing an adventure race and I went along for the ride. We had some luck in intercepting the team at various checkpoints, so I did get some pictures.

The food, however, was not as memorable as the rest of the trip. I only ate in three different restaurants (we were in the middle of nowhere, so there were not a lot of choices). I swear, the only vegetable known to northern New Hampshire is the french fry - or its close relative, the sweet potato fry. I had a lobster roll (pretty good) with french fries, fish and chips (also pretty good), chicken pot pie (not great, but it did have carrots and peas) and french fries, tuna melt (yummy) with french fries, cheeseburger and french fries (11 PM, we were starved and this was a $2 burger cooked by volunteers at one of the checkpoints of the race and probably the only food available at that hour), a grilled cheese sandwich and fries. The only meal without fries was breakfast and I probably could have ordered them then, too. Salads were pretty much non-existent and the one I did order was not very good - lots of onion but not much else. When we returned to Boston, I started my week of being a vegetarian - salads, salads and more salads!

The Balsams Grand Resort

Apart from the food, the trip was wonderful. New Hampshire is gorgeous, with lots of green, lots of rivers, and dramatic notches (what we might call mountain passes). While the mountains are not the height of the Cascades or Olympics, they are dramatic nonetheless. Since this area is sparsely populated, there is lots of open space and there are parks everywhere. The resort we stayed in is on the national historic register and is truly a grand old resort, one you can imagine wealthy East Coast people coming for a summer vacation. Dress for dinner (we skipped that part), gracious living, service that was impeccable, tennis, golf (with suitable dress required), pool, lake with watercraft, trails for hiking and mountain biking. The dining room had room for 550 diners, there was a ballroom, a theater, the polling place for the Dixville Notch precinct (which opens at midnight on the day of the presidential elections and reports the first returns - 16 voters in 2008), sun rooms, billiards room, and probably more that I missed. Amazing place. The nearest towns are 10 miles to the west (Colebrook) and 10 miles to east (Errol) and neither one is even large enough to warrant an entry in the Triple A travel guide.

The people doing these adventure races are all so friendly, it is just fun to be in the vicinity. The mother of one of Nick's teammates and I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday driving around looking for them and every time we stopped at a checkpoint to see if they had checked in, the race people recognized us and knew our team. If they do another race, I'll be there!

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