Growing up in New Hampshire - Country Sisters in the Snow
Some people have commented that they would like to read more about my childhood and especially time spent with my sisters. I was honestly surprised, but thrilled, that my other hub Growing Up in NH attracted this kind of attention. I have always felt blessed (except when I was a teenager) to live in such a great wilderness, and really wanted to share it with the world. I am glad that I have this opportunity and a following that wants to hear more.
My First Sledding Hill
A special occasion like Christmas always holds wonderful memories. Starting the first weekend and every weekend until the great day, my dad was busy with people and trees. Once he had sold all his Christmas trees at the old house, the ones at our new house were grown. Many visitors came to get their tree including family that would stop in for some hot chocolate.
The trees hold some great memories; more than I can say here. There is a particularly old and hazy memory of sledding and it started at the “Christmas tree field.” We only lived there until I was about four, so I must have been really young.
There seemed like quite a few cars or trucks that drove up the slightly long, steep hill that had tire tracks worn into the ground, but not even a real road. It was night and I remember the cold, I remember the snow, stars, my breath puffing out steam, and I remember the trees.
When quickly it seemed everyone had found their tree, my dad appeared with a slight smile and says “look what I have…would you like a ride down?” He was holding a simple sled in his hands. I was nervous, but I don’t think I even knew what we were going to do.
Excited just to be with him I took his hand and he reminded me to hold tight because it was going to go fast. It really did go fast! Maybe it was simply because it was my first time that I remember clearly sledding, and I was so young, but I know I remembered it because it was so thrilling!
The ride that took us through the field, past the orchard and the gardens, then past a few sheds was over way too quickly and I was really hoping for another ride, but it was bedtime. That was okay with me because I did something that my sisters didn’t get to do; I went down the hill on a sled, with my dad.
A New Sledding Hill
When it comes to my childhood it is almost impossible to pick a place to begin a story about it. The most memorable times in my life was when I was with my sister(as I usually was) and we were simply left to roam in the great outdoors.
Living out in “the woods” like we did, there was no need to worry about kidnapping or any other sort of mischief. When we went outside my mother always made sure there was always at least two of us, plus the dog. Our dog wasn’t exactly the kind of Protector that you would imagine him to be. He was a pure-bred sable collie, and he was a best friend to us. He always stayed close by and was aware of anyone nearby.
If my Mother became worried and we spent too long out there, all she would have to do was call for us. It is easy to hear a voice out in the quiet sleep of the wild, even over the soft gurgling of the brook that became more like a roar after a big rainstorm.
As my sister and I grew older, we became more bored during the winter; the sledding hill became a dull childish waste of time. We finally decided that we needed a different sledding hill; I was excited to test out the cliff that I had been eyeing on the other side of the road. That year, we were suddenly old enough to brave this small cliff that ended with the icy brook that we hoped was frozen. I said “all we have to do is roll off the sled before we hit any trees.”
I never regretted going down that rather steep side, and I wished later on that I had a chance to go back when there was more snow. It was challenging to find a place where we might not have to worry about a tree in the way, but we sort of found a clear path. We tried to go down, and did, although the snow was quickly pushed away revealing slick, brown leaves.
We were having a great time that day, our laughter filled the big bright sky as it usually did. We didn’t go down very many times because it wasn’t slippery enough and even that became dull, I prayed for more snow to come that year.
The first time going down, we almost made it to the bottom and might have if I didn’t become nervous and roll off. I decided that it still beat the tiny kiddie hill. We could get our big three person toboggan going down that thing so fast that it would bring us halfway up the other hill; but we had done that way too much. I was determined to make this steeper hill into the best slide ever.
Unfortunately, this never happened because without the snow that we needed, the sleds would not slide anymore. I really wished for more snow, and snow the year after that, but we never seemed to have it, and then I became too old to go play out in the snow.
You can also see new Christmas trees growing in the field behind us and the peak of a roof-top that didn't exist when I was growing up. The hill that rises before it was the hill we originally went sledding on together.
My Ice-Skating Escapades
“The Brook” was a popular place for all of us (especially the kids) to roam free. If we knew where the water was then we could always find our way home. It always seemed astonishing to me that right across the way from our house, there was a place that I considered almost enchanted. The magical aura of the woods became a path into my deepest dreams.
Even though it was cold and snowy out during the winter months, my sister and I still found plenty to do. I was fond of these excursions more than anyone else in my family (except maybe the dog). This brook which sometimes was barely a stream and other times more like a river, was especially interesting when it froze over.
The ice that formed through most of the brook’s length was extremely thin, thin ice that would crack and shatter as you walked on it. There wasn’t usually enough water to worry about, but we were cautious anyway. The last thing I wanted to do was get my feet wet! Walking along or “stepping stones” on the brook was much easier without wet clothes and there was definitely less water to worry about.
The best part of the ice to slide around on was located under the bridge. For some reason there were about four pipes that water drained out of. This water covered the cement bottom to create a very smooth and slippery area, just big enough for three of us (plus our dog).
Because I was so very young, it was enjoyment enough for me to just slide on my boots or I would slide down on my bottom ( the snowpants always slid well)the small hill created by the water from the pipes. I still wished that I had not grown out of my ice skates because I longed to become a professional, and my little mind had decided that “the brook” was a perfect place to learn.
Buy Some Skates Now!
Did You Have Fun in Winter As A Kid?
What is your favorite Winter memory?
More Fun in NH During the Winter
- New England Winter Adventures | Discover New England
Make the most of New England in winter! Learn about snow tubing, snowkiting, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and dog sledding in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- New England, New Hampshire Ski Resort - Gunstock Mountain Resort
Gunstock Mountain Resort, located in Gilford, New Hampshire, features 49 trails and eight lifts. Mountain information, updated snow report and trail map.
- Winter Poetry
Read about my thoughts on Winter in NH with two of my original poems: HIbernation and Sounds of Silence