I have long adored Walpole, New Hampshire. I first discovered this quaint New England town years ago when visiting one of John Hayes’ first LandVest listings in the quiet corner of our state along the Connecticut River. Since then, I have come to regard this Currier and Ives replica as one of my favorite places: It is a piece of country with a quiet sophistication, where artists and residents of Greenwich, CT and New York City head for a private reprieve. The town center is softly decorated with proud colonials, stunning gardens and the ambiance of a bustling historic village. Two lives within the town mirror one another: the active Town Common offers a gourmet market of fresh breads, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and culinary accoutrements while the historic Green is sited in the background, framed by more lovely homes that insulate a slower pace. The focal point for me is Burdick’s, a restaurant of impeccable quality with an adjacent chocolate shop that is certain to leave your senses heightened. Beyond, open fields roll towards dense woodlands, ponds and streams welcome wildlife, and gracious farms stand tall among their sprawling acreage.
I recently visited another listing of John’s, the Walpole Hills Estate. Abutting hundreds of acres of conserved land, and privately sited on 43+ acres from the main road, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to experience this lovely home from a more personalized perspective. Naturally, I brought the “Trio.”
Two historic oaks define the entry, as younger stands line the driveway to the residence. Stone walls guided us to the historic cape, while mountain views frame the backdrop of emerald fields cascading towards woodlands. The antique cape overlooks the vistas, partly shaded by a canopy of leaves. Inside, the historic residence transitions into warm living spaces complete with sun-lit nooks, organic accents and spacious rooms with inviting fireplaces. I see children and the family dog happily playing on the oriental rugs while a cat bathes in a flood of morning light in the bay window. Seeing the paneling, exposed beams, and authentic details, I am reminded of my childhood when my sister and I ran down the wood-paneled halls to sit near the warm granite hearth on early holiday mornings. Scents of turkey, pies, and fresh fall vegetables hung in the air as the garland did along the mantles and stair railings. Our pets joined us as our family gathered together to share in the day. This is a warm house; far from the literal sense, but warm with the memories of a home well-loved.
Outside, the Trio explored the patios and rolling lawns. The gardens, still lush from summer’s fading fancy, frame outdoor seating areas overlooking the mountain ranges into Vermont. There is freedom at this property: freedom from noise and congestion, expectation and timeframes, freedom from constraint. The dogs ran happily, dodging between trees and the split-post fence line. Samson spotted the pond, and moments later, a splash of water rose up from the green shoreline. Francis followed, desperate to enjoy the venture and prove to his larger sibling that small does not define splash-ability. Sophie, the bearded lady, coyly moistened her paws and looked on as her two friends paddled through the cool water.
Before bounding down to the fields, the dogs explored the rear gardens, which frame the garage and guest house. Misleading in size, the quaint guest house lends itself to uses well beyond accommodations for abundant guests. Filled with light and views of the estate and beyond, this would be an ideal gentleman’s space, or reprieve for any family member. I see a ladies parlor, where my mother sits hooking her rugs with her fellow fiber artist (http://www.nhcrafts.org/) friends, discussing new designs and the intricacies of dying wool. A traditional use of an office, separating life at work from life at home, would be an option.
The dogs sprang through the tall orchard grass, dodging and weaving in front of one another. Tails wagging and tongues hanging, the Trio enjoyed a rest beneath the shade of a tree with bouffant leaves overlooking the pond. Some properties are self-contained, and all their charm and glory are held within their walls. At this home, the property offers an escape that exceeds boundaries, stretching from within the cream clapboard walls and through the fields into the sea of lush treetops. Life exists not just within the home, but in the protected world around it.
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