Marcia Strykowski

Robert Frost in NH

Last week I visited the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH and enjoyed a lovely private tour of the two-story typical New England-style white clapboard farmhouse.frost-derry-farm-copy First you go into the big barn where there is a lot of information and displays, and a video to watch, too.  The property is a New Hampshire State Park, as well as a National Historic Landmark. frost-full-home-copyc. 1910 Robert FrostFrost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963), an American poet and four-time Pulitzer prize winner, lived here with his family from 1900 to 1911. He graduated from Lawrence, MA high school in 1892 and then after a brief time at Dartmouth, he came back to the area to teach 8th grade. Three years after high school, he married his co-valedictorian Elinor White and they had six children. (Only two outlived their father). He attended Harvard for two years, as well. While in Derry, he taught at Pinkerton Academy (1906 to 1911).frost-window-copyAfter the barn, you enter the connected house and see room after room of how life was during his time. My informative tour guide, Randee, pointed out many objects actually owned by the Frosts, including an original soapstone sink with marks where they sharpened their knives.  I was told not to share any indoor pictures in this post, but there are plenty online for you to see with a simple search.  1940 Robert FrostThe picture of two windows above is where Randee said Frost did a lot of his writing at a small table. I pictured him looking out at the flowers growing there while dreaming of new poems. I went back outside and did a short trail walk past some of the areas where Frost found his inspiration, a brook, lots of trees, a path, and even the famous mending wall. real-mending-wall-copyA few lines from “The Mending Wall”

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'mending-wall-copy
Opening of "The Road Not Taken"

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;frost-farm-trail-copy

After living in England for several years, Frost returned to New Hampshire, settling in Franconia for five years, before moving to Vermont in 1920 (where he helped found the Breadloaf School of English at Middlebury College), followed by two years in Michigan and then finally to Cambridge, MA in 1941. This next shot is looking back at his house from a far edge of the trail that circles the property.house-in-distance-copy

Fall 10 - CopyPlease click on the above mailbox to see a post I did two years ago after seeing his home in Franconia. There’s a beautiful poem from A Boy’s Will included there.

From the end of a long poem titled ‘New Hampshire’ written in 1922 after he’d left NH:

Well, if I have to choose one or the other,
 I choose to be a plain New Hampshire farmer
 With an income in cash of, say, a thousand
 (From, say, a publisher in New York City).
 It's restful to arrive at a decision,
 And restful just to think about New Hampshire.
 At present I am living in Vermont.
1961 Robert Frost










 

One last poem in its entirety:

“A Time to Talk”  1916

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

45 Comments

  1. My favorite poet to quote every time I take a hike in a wood and two roads divert…
    Great post. Thanks for the pictures.

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  2. Always a pleasure strolling along with you in history. I didn’t know Frost won the Pulitzer four times. But it’s his mailbox I love seeing the most. Thanks, Marcia!

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  3. Michelle

    Absolutely lovely, Marcia!

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  4. Colleen

    What lovely photos. I really like the way you integrated the poetry with your narrative and the photos. Your blog is something I look forward to every week!

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    • I was hoping to do more with poetry/photos, but formatting glitches were driving me crazy. Thanks for your kind words, Colleen!

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  5. Thank you for bringing back memories of these poems. The one Frost poem that seems so wrong to me now was the one he read at Kennedy’s inaugural. I remember seeing him reading it on TV and the wind blowing the papers around. Today I ask myself how a Native American reacted to the words “The land was ours before we were the land’s.”

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    • Good point. I like to think he meant all people with those words, but the ones that follow clearly show he didn’t. He actually had a new poem prepared for the inauguration, but at 87 with the sun’s glare on his paper, he couldn’t read what he had written and had to quickly switch to one he had memorized “The Gift Outright.” Thanks for your comment, Suzanne!

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  6. Louise Pryor

    Your photography (both here and on the Robert Frost blog 2 years ago) is beautiful. Thanks!

    Louise

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  7. Amazing! 🙂 His house reminds me of when we visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s. Their things are in it and her writing desk. But, no indoor pictures allowed. Love this. What a gift to see where he lived.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Jessica. Someday I hope to visit Laura’s house, too. If you’d like to see other places I’ve toured, click on my Spotlights tab and scroll down past the author interviews. Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

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  8. What a memory! It was one of the poems I read as a kid that stuck to me. The Road Not Taken – later paraphrased by Yogi Berra – “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Great post!

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    • So many have taken those words to heart and apparently the poem’s meaning is considered one of the most misinterpreted of all time. I think it’s a good thing, though; people should take what they need/want from a poem without always having to dissect it. Thanks for sharing your memory, Victor!

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  9. How wonderful for you to visit Robert Frost´s farm. It is always special to be in a place that inspired an author and where that author wrote. I had a similar experience visiting Jane Austen´s cottage. Your photographs and choice of poems are perfect.

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    • Thanks, Darlene. Jane Austen’s cottage is another place on my bucket list. I was in the area one time, but never got there. BTW I ordered ‘Amanda in England’, but apparently the stock is delayed (B&T). I’ll let you know when it arrives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We just redesigned all the covers which is probably why there is a delay. Let me know when it arrives. Thanks so much!!

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  10. I’ve been to his home in Franconia but not Derry. Next on my list. Thanks for the lovely post. 🙂

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    • Like others, Hawthorne in particular comes to mind, Frost certainly moved around a lot. Glad you got to visit Franconia, Jama!

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  11. I love the mailbox photo so much! I’m now going to click on it and read your previous post. Happy Sunday, Barbara

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  12. “I pictured him looking out at the flowers growing there while dreaming of new poems.” A lovely sentiment, Marcia.

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  13. I enjoyed this virtual visit to Robert Frost’s farm. The way you matched some of the poems and photos made it extra special.

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  14. What a lovely post Marcia– yo know how to find the most interesting places– love that you included his work. And the pictures of the grounds, made me want to be there for a stroll through the forested path. Thank you for adding so much beauty to the internet! Happy week ahead friend… xo

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  15. Bette Norton

    I so enjoyed seeing your lovely photographs with some of Robert Frost’s beautiful poetry. I have visited Frost’s home in Franconia, but I have always wanted to visit his farm in Derry. Frost’s timeless poetry of nature is enjoyed by generation after generation. This post has inspired me to look at some of my books by Frost, that have not been looked at for awhile.
    I love how you set up this post with your photographs and select poetry. A wonderful post!.

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    • That’s great you have been to his house in Franconia. Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed the post!

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  16. Donna Carlino

    Thanks, Marcia, for another informative and interesting blog. This makes me want to visit, for sure!

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Donna. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

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  17. ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks

    Lovely post, Marcia. The outside of Robert Frost’s house has been rather well-preserved. Wonder how it looks like inside. I’ll have to look it up on the Net. Thanks for the virtual tour!

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    • Hi Claudine. The inside has been kept up pretty well, too. Not everything was actually there when the Frosts were, but, for example, some of the wallpaper has been redone to match as closely as possible to the original. I believe one of his daughters helped them by remembering how everything was (with the help of old photographs). She was also the one to discover their original sink down in the basement and it has now been reinstalled.

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  18. Ashley

    Beautiful pictures and words. I love seeing these places you visit.

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  19. Thank you for a wonderful tour of Robert Frost’s home, and a verbal window into his life and poetry. When my husband and I travelled to Bennington, VT and along route 7, we discovered Frost’s lovely stone home close to Arlington. That was where he wrote “Walking Through the Woods on a Snowy Day”. What a beautiful home and setting. I feel lucky to have stumbled across this gem. Your post adds many wonderful layers. Thank you!

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    • Oh, I like stone houses and I’d love to see his home in VT–a nice discovery! I’m glad future generations keep these sites in the public eye, so we can walk in the footsteps of their creative inhabitants. Thanks for sharing, Jennie!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure! And thank you for your tours and stories. You are certainly keeping alive a visual and history and literature.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Excellent post… Who would have thought that that mending wall was tightly linked to his poem!.. Thanks so much for sharing your visit to Frost´s house… best wishes. Aquileana 😉

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    • At this homestead, tourists are given a list of what to look for when walking through the woods around Frost’s home; the little brook was temporarily dried up, but I was happy to find the mending wall. Thanks for your comment, Aquileana!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Congratulations.

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