Keene and Hillsboro, NH

Chrissy and I drove to Keene, NH today. Keene reminded Chrissy and me of Bedford Falls, the place where the old Jimmy Stewart movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was set. Like so many places around here, it is really cute. The area around is features ski trails and white water rafting. It seems like a fun place to live, although probably not exciting for those uninterested in either outdoor activities or looking at historical buildings or antiques.

The yellow building in the picture is a museum for furniture and antiques from the houses of the local elite from the nineteenth century. Keene was a mill town. Factories were set up to make textiles. They took advantage of the waterpower of the Connecticut River. Chrissy was looking forward to going to the museum, but it was closed for some kind of meeting. It shows the mindset of these little towns. They close things when they feel like it. This is like another movie, “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.” He comes from a little town called Mandrake Falls, NH and brings these small town values to New York. This was a good movie with Gary Cooper as Mr. Deeds. Recently the movie was remade with Adam Sandler playing Mr. Deeds. Naturally, Sandler brought all his nasty, dumb humor to the role and ruined all the subtlety and charm. I hate Adam Sandler movies.

On the way back we passed Franklin Pierce’s. He is the president that I usually forget when I am trying to think of the list of presidents. He didn’t do much memorable, but he is remembered locally because he is the only president born in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire is tiny state and the Piece’s hometown is a tiny place called Hillsboro. They don’t have many famous people around here. The house is better than most of the houses I have seen from the period. The rooms are large and they look comfortable. Franklin’s father built the house in 1804. He built it originally as a tavern. That is probably why the house was so nice. They needed the rooms for dinning rooms and guest apartments. The house was closed, but as we walked around outside a woman pulled up who was a curator. She let us in and gave us the tour. I guess if you live in Hillsboro, you don’t want potential visitors to miss your town’s attraction.

The drive is beautiful. New Hampshire is generally very beautiful. We are becoming accustomed to pretty scenes and don’t notice them too often. This part of New Hampshire is called Currier and Ives Country after the scenes that appeared on the 19th Century prints.