Thursday, June 7, 2018

Lupines! A Trip to the North Country

Lupines enjoy cool, mountain air such as that found in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, Lupine capitol of the world. We have tried growing them in Concord, New Hampshire on several occasions but it was a no-go. They just would not cooperate. We figured it was too hot for them. So, every year we make a trek to the north country to see Lupines growing with wild abandon. We drive through the White Mountains, Franconia Notch, near where the "Old Man of the Mountains" once stood proudly, and follow back roads up a steep hill to Sugar Hill.

Lupines near the side of the road across from Pearl Lake (photo by James Cummings)

Sugar Hill has three good destinations:  Polly's Pancake Parlor, the Sampler gift shop, and Harman's Country Store (bring along a cooler to bring home their famous cheese). There may be other places to attract others and certainly special events on weekends but for us old folks who no longer enjoy crowds and prefer to go places during the week, those are our choices. Of course, one has to know the best roads to travel to see the Lupines in their glory, blooming in fields and by the sides of the roads. Our favorite destination is Pearl Lake.

Today, the small lake was peaceful with a few kayak and canoe enthusiasts. Yellow frittilaries (butterflies) flitted about on the banking, landing now on an Indian Paintbrush, then on a Buttercup plant, and lastly, on the Lupines. They seem to move faster than the speed of light so it is hard to catch a photo of them.

One of two beaver dams on this small body of water (photo by James Cummings)

Jim spotted a swampy area that has two beaver dams and took several pictures. None of the occupants were in sight. One year we saw a turtle sunning itself on an old log in Pearl Lake. It is so peaceful in this part of the countryside. Part of the road turns into a dirt road for a time and one wonders when a moose or deer will appear!

The Pink and the White Lupines are more rare than the Purple and Lavender ones (photo by James Cummings)

The Sampler gift shop sells Lupine seeds. We did see some Lupines blooming along the highway on the way up (I-93), planted by someone, no doubt. So, I know they will thrive in other places than just the mountains but, as I said, we had no luck. The packet of seeds costs only $2.50 so if one is so inclined to try one's luck, there will be no large financial loss.

Who knew that Lupines could be so remunerative? At Polly's Pancake Parlor, there were table runners for sale that have a Lupine theme. The price was about $35. dollars each, if I remember correctly. And then, there are postcards and note cards featuring Lupines galore. Once a year, (right now), the world celebrates the glory of this wildflower. The event was always called the "Lupine Festival" in the past until someone decided to change the name to something else. To us, it will always be the former name. If you like home-grown excitement that is just a little bit off the beaten path, it is time to head to this event, no matter what you call it!

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