Raining today, the landscape in transition, a tattered patchwork of rusty matted leaf debris and splatters of dirty snow. The sap buckets have been pulled from the woods and the back roads are a maze of deep canyons and giant frost heaves. Mud, the season in New England that falls between winter and spring.
In search of dry roads for a walk last week, I detoured through historic Harrisville. Just off Route 101 in New Hampshire, between Keene and Peterborough, a short drive on a paved country road. A mill town preserved from demise by town residents, a designated historic landmark. In operation since 1794 as a sawmill and gristmill, and later as a textile mill with the construction of the rail line in the 1870’s, the former mill buildings are now home to workshops and studios. Anchoring the town is the general store (offering groceries, tasty café and deli fare, with an emphasis on local ingredients and home-made goodness), and Harrisville Designs, a mecca for fiber artists and crafters. Majestic red brick and stone buildings hug the in-town hills and waterways, a former industrial community that survives in its (mostly) original form. Perfect for a mud-free walk, and a much-needed dose of color.