Tag Archives: history

A meeting house, fall colors and Peyton Place

Fall colors over MA meeting house
A Massachusetts meeting house

Smith Meeting House in Gilmanton NH

Lisa and I were out scouting for fall colors and we drove up Route 107 in New Hampshire, towards Alton Bay and then back down various roads.

We spotted a  historical marker for the Smith Meeting House outside of Gilmanton NH and decided to go find it. (note, none of the images are of the Smith meeting house).

Fall foliage forum

I created a foliage forum for you to check out what everybody is looking for in fall foliage in New England. Feel free to chat, ask questions or even answer a few.  Check out Autumn Advice foliage forum (link takes you to a topic on meeting houses).

Historical markers come in many shape and sizes. some look like tombstones sticking out of the ground but many are 2-3 feet square with a short history of a building or location.

Orange fall colors around meeting house and cemetery
Another meeting house and cemetery in Maine

So this is what I want all of you to do, no matter where you find a marker. STOP and read it. Make a game of it and then go and find the object that the sign talks about. I want you to stop, go back and take the turn and see where it leads you.

The road (Smith meeting house rd) leads you off a ways until you leave the pavement behind.  You follow the dirt road until you come to a left hand turn and where you re-acquire the pavement.  A short distance up on the left is the cemetery, school house and Meeting house. Now, just so you know, this isn’t the original that was started in 1774 and finished 16 years later in September of 1790.

A newfane meeting house in winter
A meeting house in Winter, still nice.

I won’t go into all the details but I will say this restored version which took much less time to rebuild than the first time around and is really beautiful.

The white buildings are surrounded by sugar maples. So if you go there in around 10-12 October, it should be in full color.

For those of you who read my articles, you know I love cemeteries for the fall colors and old maple trees. Well this one is much smaller but does have some surrounding it. One other reason to visit old graveyards is to read the markers.

Seeing who was buried there and were they well known. This one didn’t disappoint. But don’t ask the locals about who is in their graveyard since the famous person is Grace Metalious (author). For those who are very young (like me)  you may not remember her.

Grace wrote the scintillating novel ‘Peyton Place’ (Very risqué by those days, standards) and many of the town residents, to this day are still sensitive about her racy book about Gilmanton.

I didn’t have to ask any locals about it but I was filled in by the local historian Barbara Macintyre. So if you go and find this place, take a walk in the cemetery and sneak a peak at their only official marker, that she was ever there.

Jeff Folger
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