Every time after each dreadful winter, I will forward to Spring especially for flower festivals but I haven’t been to one until now! Each time when I propose the idea to my husband, like let’s go to the cherry blossom festival at DC, he’ll say it’s not worth it for the short trip. I do agree unfortunately, a weekend trip could cost a lot when we need to fly and just can’t justify the total trip cost per day. So all these years, I have been just dreaming and dreaming until earlier last week….I know one of my colleague wanted to see the lupines in full bloom just up the state in New Hampshire so I gave her a friendly reminder that the festival will be starting this weekend. She said since both of our husbands are traveling, want to go together? And she offered to drive (yea everyone at work knows that I am afraid to drive to places I never been LOL). I said let me check on hotel and get back to you! Right after work, I checked websites and found some rooms available, we had a chat online and immediately booked. WE ARE GOING!!!
We left work at 3 pm and headed up to Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. I had a complete plan: dinner at 6 pm, sunset photos at 8:22 pm, midnight for milky way, sunrise at 5:07 am, and lupine fields…..except for the weather! As we head north, it became cloudier and cloudier but we have hopes that it’ll clear out! It was a little more than 2 hours drive with some traffic and after more than 1 hour of driving, we saw the first patch of lupines right in the middle of the highway!! We were screaming wow they are so pretty, we can’t wait to see the full fields of them! Just before 5:30 pm, we arrived at the Best Western White Mountain and checked in our room. I didn’t have high expectation of our room because it was low rating and for a price of $140 per night including taxes and breakfast. I was right, it was old looking and had a strange smell but it was clean and that was I really cared about in this one night stay. We went out and headed for our 6 pm dinner reservation at one of the most well know restaurant in that area – Sugar Hill Inn. We arrived at 5:45 pm and it was not open yet…it opens at 6 pm. We decided to check out our first place to visit – Saint Matthew’s Church where many lupine field postcards were taken.
It was still very cloudy and on along our road, we didn’t even see a field of lupines; we saw few plants here and there on the sidewalks. Saint Matthew’s Church-it was very cute looking!
We walked to the back to get to the field and it was disappointing…it wasn’t like anything we saw online. I guess it just started to bloom 🙁
There wasn’t a walking path to get down to the field so we were very careful on our step and making sure not stepping on any lupine plant – I read somewhere that it takes two years for lupine to bloom! We walked to a spot where there were more concentration of blooming lupines and the church as the backdrop, this was the best we could find:
Imagine the whole field in bloom and with a blue sky, should be very beautiful! As we walked back out, we saw a huge giant (I really mean it) bumble bee! It goes from one bud to another bud very fast too!
We left and on our drive back to the restaurant, we saw OMG a big huge turtle attempting to cross the street! We pulled over and walked over to see this turtle! We were so afraid that it’ll run over by a car but thankfully, it decided to turn back!
Just few steps away from the first one that turned back, we saw another one!!!
We got close enough for a shot and left; don’t want to disturb their natural habitat. We got back to Sugar Hill Inn and we were the first customers in there!
We were greeted by this very cute dog!
Its dinning room has less than 10 tables no wonder advanced reservation is recommended during high season. It’s a very charming dining room!
The menu is its 4 course meal for $66 – it’s pricey and I’ll see if it’s worth it!
Bread with sweet butter, love that butter!
Have no clue what’s this but I took a sip and it contained alcohol so not for me!
My starter, I picked the trio soup……..corn, tomato, and French onion.
My favorite is the corn soup, I love corn general!
She ordered the cod cake or something, it was pretty tasty.
2nd course: I ordered the duck salad, I think it’s okay.
She ordered the Caesar salad, it looked very cute:
3rd course: I ordered the beef tenderloin, I asked for medium-rare but it was more than medium!
She ordered the duck-three ways. I tried it, it was good but not amazingly great.
4th course, I ordered the sorbet with fresh fruits and she ordered the double chocolate:
It was super chocolaty!!!
We waited a long time for the dessert that we afraid we’ll miss the sunset! Once she placed the desserts, we gave her the credit card immediately and said we are in a hurry. We took few bites and try to swallow as fast as we could lol, we didn’t get to finish them completely and run for the sunset. So the conclusion…we both thought the dinner was good but not amazing to make it worth its price tag of $66 each, after tax and tips were $160+ for two of us!
I researched that down at the Pearl Pond should be in full bloom so we headed down there. Well…no sunset, it was still cloudy 🙁 No blooming lupine field either but there was a lot of lupines on the side of the road. We took photos there…we tried to get the best out of it!!!
My colleague who’s in work photo club as me and who came up with this last minute trip idea haha!
A little bit of sunset?
I do love the different shades of purple and pink (my two favorite colors by the way) of the lupines!
That was it, we headed back to our hotel and start searching for exact locations of lupine fields hoping to have better luck tomorrow. When I was showering, I found one tick on my foot OMG and then I read that ticks love lupines so be careful when getting close to them! They are very annoying to get rid off; they are like stick so hard to your skin! My colleague found a few on her yikes! We set alarm for 3 am, hoping to see the milky way that I have been waiting for ages to see, and then the sunrise at 5 am. I got ready at no time just past 3 am and my dream shattered once we opened the hotel door – it was raining 🙁 No choice but going back to our room and catch some sleep. We woke up again at 6 am then realizing breakfast starts at 6:30 urg…. What are we going to do? We decided to drive to the first field – across from Sampler Field. We drove pass by it and have to turn around for parking so we continued down the road to the Inn at Sugar Hill. There’s a lovely “back yard” of lupines! We got some nice photos there!
Too bad the sky has no color and decided we’ll come back when the sky is clear (fingers and toes crossed)!!! We were thinking to stop by the field in between Sampler Field and Inn at Sugar Hill (very great view with the mountain as the backdrop) and we saw two photographers there with their tripods. We asked if there are any other full blooming field and he said this is the best – we were too early. Should be in full bloom in two weeks, next week is the bike week so will be overcrowded. The mountains were covered with clouds so another to come back later. We drove back to the hotel and had breakfast.
The hotel “lobby”:
Few choices so not too bad!
A waffle maker too!
We didn’t do a great job making it though hehe.
After we finished our breakfast, we took a free copy of the local map from the lobby and studied it. It wasn’t too helpful for lupine fields. We then searched the web again and found out about Lewis Hill/Whitcomb Road in Bethlehem, a neighbor town. After checking out, we drove along the road and pulled over whenever we spotted a field of some lupines.
There’s a mansion on the back, up on top of the mountain. “If you are not in awkward pose, you’ll not a photographer” haha! I think we had a lot of photos of each other photographing!
Since no full field of lupines, I took close ups – wish I have my macro lens to photograph the water drops!
The private entrance to the mansion on top of the mountain woah!
We drove all the way down the road and turned back, here, we saw the most blooming lupines!
Next to it is an abandon house.
We spent quite some time here taking close up photos…..we tried to make it look up a full field of lupines lol, does it work?
I wished the field has more variety of colors but it’s still very beautiful!
Next, we drove back to Sugar Hill and stopped by Harman’s Cheese to visit the store as well as vendors for the Lupine Festival. Once we stepped out of the car, we saw this very cute little tree with a bird house!
The vendors just started to set up their tent and it was cold!
We bought 6 satchets of English Garden aroma beads, it smelled so good! The owner said he put his son through college by selling those and hand-made candles, support the local! It was 6 bags for $20 or $4 each and the cell signal there was bare minimum so he couldn’t process my credit card. He gave me an extra bag due to inconvenience that my colleague ran back to her car to get cash. He’s such a nice guy! We were told that they’ll last for 6-9 months and 2 bags are good for a small room. (We both put one in our car and it smelled so good that we think we are addicted to that smell LOL!) You can purchase them online at his website too!
We walked down the road to check out additional vendors and then walked back to Herman’s Cheese. We bought some hot chocolate powder and fruit jams there….cash only!
Since the sky has not clear yet, we went to the famous Polly’s Pancake Parlor. This place was jam-packed, I gave my name and got a buzzer; the lady said it’ll take around an hour of wait!!! It must be great! Instead of waiting there, we drove to The Frost Place – where Robert Frost lived. The “museum” was closed when we got there so we just got a picture of Robert Frost’s mailbox.
We had to wait for another half an hour after we got back to Polly’s – total wait was 1.5 hours yikes!
Our waitress put down a whole plate – maple spread, maple sugar, maple salt, and its famous maple syrup!
Non-stop pancake making! They open from 7 am to 3 pm I think!
We ordered the pancake sampler – three choices of two each: blueberry, banana (it was a special not in the menu), and chocolate chips in plain.
The blueberry was our favorite as the batter is already sweet so blueberry just balanced it off while chocolate chips was too sweet for us!
And we ordered a waffle with fresh fruit and walnut and maple ice cream! Now this is 100x better than the waffle we made in the hotel this morning!
The walnut and maple ice cream was perfect combination, I wish they sell it!
By the time we finished our “brunch”, it was starting to clear out, yay!!!
We made a short visit to Littleton, a very cute little town near-by! We had no problem finding parking right in the main street of the town. We both never been to Littleton before and thought it was worth a visit!
This Inn looks very classic!
Piano…in the middle of the pedestrian sidewalk…a colorful one too!
Chutter – one of the places of interest according to TripAdvisor, it’s the world’s longest candy counter!
Once we stepped into the store, I felt like I was back to my childhood – I love gummies and I still do!
Every shape of gummies you could ever imagine – frog, lobster, penguin…..and gummi bears LOL!
They sold those by the pound at around $11 per lb on the blue jars. I didn’t see the price on the pink jars.
And not just gummies…..all sorts of fudge too!
They have free samples to try out and she tasted one – too sweet so we didn’t buy any. For fudge lovers, check this place out!
The town is next to a river/stream:
One interesting thing and fun fact about this town…the cross walk:
We both did followed the instruction…Stop, Look, and Wave hahaha, it was actually fun crossing the street! We walked through this little walkway with hanging umbrellas. It just happened I read recently about a famous umbrella street in Portugal, I would love to visit that!
I know we just had brunch not log ago but we had room for a real lunch hehe! We went to Chang Thai on the main street:
It’s chic but the seat was not too comfortable although it looked like it.
As usual, I ordered Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodle) and she ordered Pad See Ew for a try. I was sad that it was not the thick flat noodle but it’s better than the one we had the past weekend at Maine! It was $14 which is on the expensive side for Drunken Noodle!
Her Pad See Eww was okay too, not super tasty!
Finally after lunch, we went back to Sugar Hill once again, I can’t tell you how many times we went back and forth in search for blooming lupine fields! First stop – the great view in between Sample Field and the Inn at Sugar HIll. Yay, we finally can see the mountains!
It must be spectacular when full bloom; I wish I have a chance to come back when it’s full bloom…especially at sunrise I heard!
We drove down the road to the Inn at Sugar Hill (again)! This is the only field where we found lupines and wild white chrysanthemums!
We were like nonstop taking photos since we had been waiting for so long for the sky to be cleared!
This field is actually private property…opps! We were too excited for a lupine field that we didn’t pay attention to signage xD
More great mountain views!
Lastly, we went to the field across from the Sample Field and had a wonderful walk!
They have wagon rides too!
But watch out for your steps for horse poop!
My colleague who’s brave enough to take this last minute trip 🙂
This lovely house must with lovely views!
We finally found the wagon but is this the wagon where many photos were taken? Clearly, there’s no lupines though!
Another one but not one photographed the most:
We went into the Sample Field store and I saw handmade wooden houses – very detailed inside too. If my husband was there, he’ll probably buy some haha! Maybe I’ll use that as an excuse to convince him to come with me next time 🙂
Good-bye Sugar Hill, we’ll be back…someday!
Before we stepped into the car, we were double checking each other to make sure we are not carry ticks with us home! When she walked out of the store, we saw one on her shirt! I guess ticks like her more lol. She said she found some after she got home – urg!!! It was a 2 hours drive back to our workplace and then I drove home – another hour. We were so tired after the short trip but we both were glad that we did it! It was a fun trip and well worth it even though not as planned due to the weather – no sunset, no milky walk, no sunrise! We already mark our calendar to return next year haha! Next time will be the 3rd week in June…first week is way too early!