Lisa and I were out the other weekend and we drove up route 107 towards Alton Bay and then back down. We spotted the historical marker for the Smith Meeting House outside of Gilmanton NH and decided to go find it.
This is what I want all of you to do no matter where you are. When you see a historic marker or some such sign, 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.
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 a few weeks it should be in full color.
For those of you who like to visit graveyards and see what famous person might be buried there, this one won’t disappoint.
But don’t ask the locals 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 ask about it but the local historian Barbara Macintyre filled me in. So if you go and find this place, take a walk in the cemetery and sneak a peak at their only official landmark that she was ever there…
Jeff "Foliage" Folger