January 11, 2012

A drive to Lake Uncanoonuc...

The Uncanoonuc (uhn-kuh-NOO-nuhk) Mountains.

New Hampshire poet, Sam Walter Foss, wrote of these mountains:
"They stood there in the distance, mysterious and lone,
Each with a hazy vapor above its towering dome;
They stood like barriers between the unknown and known,
The Uncanoonuc Mountains that I used to see from home."

Every source I find states that the name Uncanoonuc was a Native American word meaning a woman's bosom.  At the base of these mountains can be found the 23-acre Lake Uncanoonuc, where my ex-husband’s family had a camp from his childhood. The camp was sold in the 1980’s…about the same time that all the glorious dairy farms and sprawling fields were being sold – later to become numerous McMansion style housing developments. Today was the first day I had been to the old camp since 1986. A few of those beautiful barns and fields remain. I was flooded with memories of hot summer rides to the Lake.

No longer a dairy farm...but I was so happy to see this sign!

Lake Uncanoonuc

The old camp - now bright blue
The old Severance camp aka 'The Beehive'
The Uncanoonuc Mountains in Goffstown once featured the Uncanoonuc Incline Railway. It first carried tourists in 1907 to the summit of the south peak, on which was built (also in 1907) the Uncanoonuc Hotel which offered outstanding views of the surrounding valley, including Manchester, connected by electric trolley to the railway's base station. The hotel would burn in 1923, A smaller hotel was built in 1923 but burned seven years later. A third resort was built in 1930 but fell victim to hurricane winds in 1938. The train was then used to transport skiers to the top of the mountain. The railway peaked during the 1930s and 1940s, but was essentially abandoned by the 1950s. The summit of the south peak is now the site of numerous television and radio towers.

Goffstown is in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.  The town is home to Saint Anselm College and the New Hampshire State Prison for Women. That facility's most famous resident was the convicted murderess Pamela Smart, who was incarcerated from March 1991 to March 1993. (The trial was held while I attended college in nearby Manchester).

Winterberries at Lake Uncanoonuc

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