Go Outside and Play!

“Go outside and play…risk free!” was the motto of my high school’s outing club. (Shout out to Mascoma and its outing club leader, Koby.) This plucky afterschool group introduced me to a world right in my backyard. We hiked, biked, sledded, and jumped into holes in the ice. We spent overnights on Smarts Mountain in Lyme (in winter nonetheless), days in the Whites, and Halloween trick-or-treating by kayak on Canaan Street Lake. Joining the outing club gave me weekends with purpose and a cool water bottle. I bring that BPA-infused bottle with me everywhere.

I had always enjoyed the outdoors, but my experience had been limited to haying our field or hiking local haunt Cardigan Mountain (still a favorite). My family enjoys camping, and we certainly did enough of that to wear out several tents. But joining the outing club gave me a confidence and familiarity with the outdoors that I just didn’t have before.

Now that I’m attempting adulthood, I don’t get outside and play as often as I want. The other day I had to hike to an isolated pond and take photographs for work (I know, tough job) and the next day my body felt as if it had been held hostage on a stair climber.

But winter is a great time to get out and explore (risk-free is more likely when you bring a human friend). While I’m a big fan of going big – Tuckerman Ravine is an April tradition for alumni of the outing club – my friends and I also enjoy exploring our backyards. Always the historian, I find places on old maps that I want to explore. As it turns out, a few towns in New Hampshire were mining meccas – Grafton was one of them. The town’s woods are littered with old mines, and some still have rusting mining equipment. These mines have incredible ice formations almost year-round.

Ruggles-Kilton Mine in Grafton. Grafton Historical Society photo.

February can be a tough month, even if you’re a fan of groundhogs, presidents, and roses. But with the days lasting longer and the promise of springtime around the corner, it’s a prime time to explore our state’s winter landscape before it’s too late. Try hiking trails that you normally do in the summer. Find something on an old map – if not mines, then cemeteries, old mill sites, or thrown-up roads. Bring a map, camera, and some snacks with you. With snow on the ground, you’ll always have footsteps to retrace.

Catch you in the woods!

One Response to “Go Outside and Play!”

  1. anne howeApril 21, 2021 at 2:48 pm #

    Dear Nicole,
    Thank you for getting back to me. I agree the list is mysterious, almost looks like someone’s notes. It popped up when I was accessing the webinar through NH Preservation Alliance’s webinar page. Would Mae Williams or Andrew Cushing recognize the list? They are wonderful resource persons. I notice especially the list refers to Historic District forum and don’t know if this is a proposal for a future forum—good idea—or something else, past or present. I search regularly for resources to help the Historic District Commission administer its responsibilities. With today’s online possibilities, maybe a Historic District communication forum could work. It could be a place for people to get help with problem-solving by comparing notes, sharing experience and knowledge. There are so many, many possibilities. Think of the photos!

    Mae Williams joined NH DHR staff https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/news/maewilliams.htm


    On Apr 19, 2021, at 6:01 PM, Nicole Flynn wrote:

    Thank you for your inquiry. I am looking for some additional information about your question. The list that you included below, where did you find this list. Knowing the source, I can better help you find the referenced resource. Are you looking for some information about Historic Districts in particular?

    Nicole Flynn
    Field Services Representative
    N.H. Preservation Alliance
    201-650-5038 cellphone
    Don’t forget to donate to our Annual Fund so we can address new challenges!

    From: Anne Howe [mailto:howea@earthlink.net]
    Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2021 1:02 PM
    To: bt@nhpreservation.org
    Subject: Historic sites question
    Question from “Researching Your Old House” (NH Preservation Alliance webinar presentation):

    Is there a Historic District Forum? The list below is associated with the webinar. I wish there is one!

    Thank you.
    Anne Howe, Harrisville, NH

    Best Old House Restoration Resources
    · Recommended Books. Here are some of the Best Books for the Old House Owner that I personally recommend.
    · Cumberland General Store. …
    · The Old House Journal. …
    · Subscribe.
    · The Old House Journal Forum. …
    · The Historic District Forum. …
    · Preservation Directory. …
    · House Repair Talk.

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