Life in Westmoreland, NH ...How a Clever Flatlander came to be living in the hills of Southwestern New Hampshire.
When my husband learned he was being transferred from Flatland Sudbury, MA to work in Charlestown, NH, we were thrilled! We'd always hoped to escape suburbia in order to embrace a more rural lifestyle, and when the opportunity presented itself, we jumped at it. After some preliminary research, we were pretty sure that we wanted to be near Keene, NH, although we preferred something just outside the city.
We decided to take the first available weekend to head north to check things out. Bear in mind that this was over a decade ago...long before GPS...so we decided to wing it and go wherever the roads led us.
Crazy as it sounds, we kept finding ourselves in this very small town outside of Keene, NH. No matter where we began, the small farming community of Westmoreland was where we ended up. It took us nearly two days to realize that the roads that lead into this country town are like spokes on a wheel, (albeit a bent wheel with wonky spokes) and, once we did, we acknowledged that Fate was likely tiring of repeatedly pointing us in the direction of our destiny. So, we decided to stick around and explore this town of approximately 36 square miles...with no map and virtually non-existent cell service; nothing but a clueless curiosity sense of adventure and a sneaking suspicion that this just might be where we belonged.
Looking back eleven years later, I have to laugh at our initial trepidation as we traveled through hills and valleys, up dirt roads that seemed to have no end, and our fear that we'd end up, literally, in the middle of nowhere, hopelessly lost and never to be seen again. Being Clever Flatlanders, we decided that the best way to determine whether we were still within the reach of civilization was to keep an eye on the power lines and poles. As we bumped our way down rural stretches of unpaved road, we made sure that our "lifelines" were within view. If we reached "the end of the line," we turned around and backtracked. 'Cuz that's what Clever Flatlanders do.
With the car windows wide open, we marvelled at the countryside. One minute we'd be driving through a shady tunnel of gigantic maple trees, the next we'd be overlooking rolling fields and hills laid out before us. Charming old farmhouses dotted the landscape, the only movement a gentle breeze flirting with the grasses and wildflowers and the lazy meanderings of cows and sheep as they grazed in the distance.
Another unexpected turn graced us with a picture perfect view of the Connecticut River: a wide and sparkling ribbon marking the boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont. Not only was it absolutely beautiful, it was reassuring, for Clever Flatlanders know that if you follow a river downstream, eventually it leads to the sea (or, in our case, the Atlantic,) and we knew how to get back to Flatland Sudbury from the coast.
Supposed geographic certainties aside, we were completely taken in by the scenery, and the incredible feeling of tranquility quelled any residual fears we had of being lost forever. In fact, it had just the opposite effect. Without even uttering the words, we knew: we were home.
Unbeknownst to me, this was only the beginning of The Flatlander Follies...