Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gorham, New Hampshire

Well, we are still a little sore from our trek up Mt Adams, so we didn’t want to put on heavy boots and climb over rocks today.  Neither did we want to sit in the house.  Soooo, we drove over to the small town of Berlin to see what it was all about.

Glen Ellis Falls 64 feet
Berlin has a population of a few thousand more than Gorham and I was hoping for a large supermarket and a historic downtown.  I was very disappointed.  Of all the small towns we’ve seen in our travels around America, I don’t believe I’ve seen one as depressing as Berlin.

Russian Orthodox Church in Berlin

Every building and nearly every home needed some tender loving care.  Lawns were overgrown, paint was peeling, signs were missing, and windows were boarded up.  It was so sad.  If there was a central old downtown area, we couldn’t find it.  There were only two bright spots in the desolation.  We saw a couple very small city parks, one on each side of the river.  The grass was mowed and flowers were planted.  The other bright spot was the Orthodox Church sitting high on the hill almost out of town.

Public Library
Back in Gorham, we stopped at the Visitor Center for information on the greenway trail.  It’s an old railroad bed that has been converted to a bike and hiking path.  We had seen it a few times and wanted to know where the parking areas were located.  The little volunteer, bless her heart, she tried, but she really didn’t know anything about the rail trail.

The old train depot is now a museum
We had noticed what looked like the Town Hall, but there was nothing on or around the building to indicate that’s what it really was.  The only thing on the building was a Masonic Lodge symbol.  We refused to believe that wasn’t the Town Hall; there were just too many cars parked around including a couple police cars.  So we asked the sweet little lady in the Visitor Center.  Yes, that was the Town Hall, but she didn’t know why there was a Masonic Lodge symbol on the front.  She suggested we go ask, so we did.

Gorham Town Hall and Masonic Lodge

We marched right in the front door and went in the first office we came to.  The nice lady there knew all about the Masonic Lodge.  The Masons had owned the property originally.  They had constructed two lodges, both were destroyed by fire.  They didn’t want to build another lodge themselves, so they offered the property to the city for a dollar with the stipulation that they could meet in the building.  That was fine by the city--they got the land for cheap plus the Masons helped to build the building.  This fine old building is currently undergoing renovation, but the third floor where the lodge meets is completed, so she took us up for a tour.  How great was that.

Gorham is a tiny town of only about 3,000.  It sits in the Mt Washington Valley right against the White Mountains.  It’s a laid back tourist town, catering primarily to the hikers who come to hike in the Whites.  There are a couple B & Bs and a few modest motels.  There’s a McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, and a Pizza Hut along with a few locally owned small eateries, mostly Italian or pizza places.  Nothing fancy, nothing you can’t wear hiking boots into.

We were home for lunch, but still didn’t just want to sit around, so drove down to Ellis Glen Falls.  We managed the very short walk from the truck to the falls and back again.  We also stopped at Pinkham Notch to look at their relief map.  It is nice to actually see how steep the trails are, but I think they should glue little “boulders” to the map to give a more accurate impression.

We also saw the World Guy again today.  We saw him a few days ago walking down route 16 with his world on a chain.  We stopped and asked him what’s up with the world.  He seemed like a very nice man.  He’s walking from Washington DC to Maine for diabetes awareness.  That’s great.  His son and dog were also walking with him.  We checked out his website,

That’s been our adventure for today.  We may hit the trail again tomorrow.

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