OSSIPEE IN OCTOBER
October . . . New England’s marvelous month. Cool and comfortable. Colorful and cozy. A wonderful time to vacation in the mountains; so we did. We had a cottage, a spotlessly clean, wonderful cottage sitting on a lake in the mountains of New Hampshire, and it was ours for two whole weeks. We had all the amenities of home to make our stay comfortable. My poor deprived husband would even be able to watch football on a big T.V. There was a huge fireplace and plenty of logs to keep us warm on the cusp of winter and make popcorn for snacking. Who could ask for a more relaxing, snug retreat?
Our first morning, the lake was smooth as glass. Charcoal-gray mountains were a back drop for changing trees surrounding the water. Leaves of brilliant-red, pumpkin- orange, glittering-gold, and their image reflected in the mirror before them, created a kaleidoscope of beauty on the quiet beach.
One morning, gentle breezes stirred the surface of the lake. The sunlight touched the top of the water making millions of tiny lights that blinked like a sparkling Christmas tree.
The pungent fragrance of wood burning in nearby cabins tempted us home after a
brisk mornings walk around the lake and through the forest. Sitting in front of a roaring fire, the lake and colorful mountains filled the window before us. The silent view; our peaceful entertainment.
Another morning, the lake was completely hidden in a shroud of fog. Mountains vanished. Our picture window, a blank screen. The next day, heavy mist hung over the lake like an eerie cloud of smoke. It rose from the water as the sun warmed the day, exposing a slightly blurred reflection of fall foliage. Our breakfast table view was a pleasant surprise every morning.
Clouds rested on top of mountains, gloomy gray underneath, puffy-white, cotton-batten whiffs on top. Friendly clouds, no storms on that horizon. The air so crisp, you could almost hear the leaves changing color. A single tree may contain several colors all at the same time. A branch of yellow here, green there, red on this side, gold here and orange over there. Some are an amalgamation, resulting in a vivid shade of coral. Mother Nature’s picture framed a morning-glory blue sky
The highway, a ribbon of asphalt, wove a way through tunnels of branches lined with a variegated blend of colors as our car wanders between the changing landscapes. The yellow line keeps you on track through the curvy roads and seems color coordinated with the mosaic canopy.
On every road, the brilliant birch is interspersed throughout the forest. The contrasting whiteness of the slim trunk stands out in the sunlight. Its mottled black spots affecting Dalmatians in the woods with its dainty heart-shaped leaves of gold falling from the branches
Riding around the countryside, the highway becomes a vanishing point ahead. We had gentle roller-coaster rides through the mountains. Lakes, farmhouses, cows, apple stands and antique stores dot the roadside. We couldn’t pass apple stands without stopping to buy some of the yummy products. We bought apples and pears; we bought jellies, maple syrup, maple candy shaped like maple leaves and pumpkins.
Most of our shopping was for gifts to bring home for the family, but we bought pumpkins . . . for us. We decided to have a pumpkin-carving contest. The apple stand had the accoutrements necessary for cutting pumpkins. We bought a book with both scary and funny faces to be traced onto the pumpkin for carving but we had the other necessary tools back at the cabin. As if we never really grew up, we headed back to our home away from home to begin our friendly fight.
Back in the cottage, I found cutting the top off a large pumpkin is NOT easy. If
we were timing this contest, I already lost. Fortunately, that wasn’t part of the agreement. Actually, we didn’t really set down any rules; we just said we would have a contest to see who could carve the best pumpkin. We didn’t have anyone to judge except ourselves. We were just having fun like a couple of over-grown kids.
I finally got the darn hat part off and then came the scooping. Lots, and lots and lots of seeds. I should have saved them for roasting as salted seeds would be delicious eating but I was so sick of seeing seeds by the time I scooped them all out I didn‘t want to see seeds again.
Then you need an ice cream scoop or something like it to thin the side of the
pumpkin where you are going to carve the face. Apparently, thinning this area makes for easier cutting through, at least that was what the lady at the apple stand told me. Then you take the book which has all these pumpkin faces to choose from. Pick out your favorite face, tear out the page and tape the page to your pumpkin. You then take a tool which has a small sharp point on the end (a knife will do just fine) and poke holes all along the lines of the design of the face you taped on your pumpkin. That is your cutting guide. Remove the paper and start cutting. That part is really easy, which surprised me. Your pumpkin face begins to come to life. I use that term loosely. When it is all cut out, you want to scrape down and around inside the design to remove as much excess inside around the face holes so more candles light will show through.
My husband was the winner for speed. I won for happy face. He won for scary face. Two winners! How’s that for politically correct?
On a scale of one to ten, our vacation was a definite TEN. Every day was warm and sunny, some were even hot. Most nights were chilly, some down-right cold, perfect weather for hot chocolate and burning logs. Ossipee in October . . . awesome.