Weekend in New Hampshire

Technically this is June 28 – July 23, 2019. But you’ll see that it’s going to be dominated by our visit to the White Mountains last weekend.

But first, let’s celebrate Mina’s half-birthday and get a little exercise.

The kids created a crosswalk in the living room, instructing me and Yen to “drive” around while obeying traffic signals (controlled by Linus, of course).


And a bit of exercise.

Mina’s hair is getting longer, so she’s been asking for barrettes and ponytails.


I really love this photo. She looks so sassy and tough!



Mina has been enjoying her camera a lot lately. She takes pictues of us, of dinner, of interesting bugs – everything she comes across. I’ve asked Yen to see whether he can download some of her photos so I can share.


As you know, we celebrate half-birthdays in this house. Mina’s fell on a very hot weekend, so our friends joined us for a swim before we tucked into an ice cream cake.


This cake was something else! Two layers of dense ice cream, whipped cream, and fudge. I felt sick for two days after!


Here’s little Ida, bravely finishing a whole piece


We’ve been doing a lot of swimming this summer. As residents of our new town, we have access to a private lake and spray deck. Mina is getting rather good at paddling around wearing her little flotation device. She’s too little for lessons, so I swim with her while Linus argues with the teacher about whether his face really needs to go in the water.

Yen bought them these little noodles after they enjoyed them at the pool in Florida, but the lake near our house doesn’t allow them. So they’ve become toys with many uses, including pretending that our living room is a pool.


And now we get to New Hampshire. We drove up Friday night and met our friends (Tan and Susie – I’m sure you remember hearing of them before) for dinner. We were all staying together in a condo at Attitash. Our plan was to visit Storyland, an amusment park for the younger set. Storyland gives you a free ticket for the next day if you enter the park after 3pm, so we had most of Saturday to kill. We decided to try a hike – the hike that I always remember as far easier than it actually is. Luckily we started off on the right foot: Linus and Ethan got to cross railroad tracks on the way to the trailhead.


And here we are on the trail. Look at that happy face! Keep watching…


Here’s the whole gaggle of us trying to cross a stream before the trail begins to head up. Well, not all of us. Yen is behind the camera as usual. We simply have to get him on the other side at some point. I keep telling him that one day the kids will wonder what he looked like!



I was so proud of all four kids on this hike. Linus and Mina are fairly experienced, but Ruby and Ethan aren’t. But they did such a good job and beat us to the top! Meanwhile our “experienced” hikers complained the entire way, particularly Linus who asked to pee every five minutes. We tried distracting him by spotting various fungi, but it really didn’t work.


There we go!

Did I mention that it was incredibly hot? Back at home, there was a heat index of 110, which is very unusual for New England. And even here in New Hampshire, it was easily over 90.


Check out Mina’s hiking gear!


Well, that was fast! Not like in real life…

We’re at the top! We found a little spot and spread out for a picnic.







Back down on the ground, we stopped off at a little spot along the Saco River where there’s been a dam for decades. Linus actually remembered it from last year: “Hey, the place where we feed the fish!”


That’s a look back at the mountain we just climbed.


Wait, these photos are out of order! Oh well – it’s such pain to move them.

Move back, mentally, about half an hour. Remember we had to cross the train tracks to find the trail head? So of course we crossed them again to get back. And then we learned that the North Conway Scenic Railway train was set to arrive. The kids were overjoyed.



Wow, OK – back another half hour. Here’s a break along the trail. There were a LOT of those.


A fungus among us!




OK, now we’ve returned to the hotel and relaxed a bit, and now we’re at Storyland!



I’d say it’s geared toward kids up to age 10. After that, there’s another amusement park about half an hour away called Santa’s Village.

This is one of two roller coasters. Linus was actually tall enough to ride this one. You can see us in the second car. After we climbed to the first little hill, Linus let out a piercing scream that didn’t let up until the ride finished. And as terrible as I felt about it, I couldn’t stop laughing at him. So it was a noisy ride for Tan in the seat in front of us.

The park was completely empty because of the heat, so the operator asked if we’d like to go again. “No, thank you!” Linus cheerily told him.


This is more Mina’s speed.



Shaved ice!

By the way, if you’re wondering about her cheek: she’s really into temporary tattoos lately, and has specifically been asking us to put them on her cheeks.


The minimum for most rides is 36 inches. Mina just cleared it. Only one operator refused to let her on a ride.


She was certainly cleared for this one, a log ride that splashed us all.


I really hated these flying fish, but the kids loved them.


Ah, now here’s a ride I can get behind: the train!




Are we wearing different clothes? Yep! It’s the next morning, and we’re refreshed and ready for more.







Not pictured: while Mina was working away at this excavator, Susie and I tackled the bigger roller coaster. I also enjoyed Susie’s screams.


This was another favorite of mine. I got to ride in the back of the tractor while the kids “drove.” There was a cool breeze, and it was a lovely rocking motion. I could have stayed there all day.



But I hated this one! It was a barn that flew up into the air and then flipped all over the place. Linus said it was probably what being in a tornado feels like.



You’ve probably surmised by now that I actually really enjoyed all of this. I was surprised, because my last visit to an amusement park (when David was about 8?) left me with the feeling that my body just wasn’t equipped anymore – center of gravity being a wee bit different than it used to be! But these tamer rides were really fun, and the whole place was just charming and low key. I definitely recommend it if you have little people this age.



Mina’s favorite ride: the flying shoes.



While Mina was on the flying shoe one last time, Linus and I made one final raft run.




And then we left our friends and Storyland behind, and headed south. Yen had a great idea: we should stop along the way at Cannon Mountain and ride the tram. Mina was excited!


Here we are, headed up! We even got to have lunch at the top of the mountain.





As usual, Linus mostly cared about the infrastructure. He kept making Mina look at it with him. I do love how she humors him.


Not pictured: the tram stopped halfway down because we saw a bear! The whole party inside the car ran to the windows, and we all watched silently as it strolled along.


We came home to find that an early birthday present had arrived for Linus from Grandma. He is so taken with it. And poor little Mina just quietly asked, “Mama, when is my birthday?” Poor love.


The next morning, he constructed a mountain tram in the living room using parts from his ferris wheel.


This picture will make no sense unless you’ve been to our house. Yen snapped it because it’s the last time we’ll ever see this view. Our neighbors have just installed a hideous vinyl fence. Now our landscaper has some work to do to figure out how to hide it from our side!