Cookery Maven Blog

Sunday Afternoon at Houghton Falls

Pristine, running water is a blessing. Running water winding through a verdant forest surrounded by an ancient sandstone ravine is nothing short of miraculous. Sadie and I were driving home from Washburn Sunday afternoon and saw Will walking downtown with his camera slung across his back. He was headed out to take a few pictures on the Brownstone Trail but really wanted to go to Houghton Falls. Sounded like a brilliant idea to me— it would be my first visit, the sun was shining and it sounded like a perfect family outing. The primordial beauty was breathtaking. I felt the heartbeat of the forest as I walked up the ravine to the falls. I heard the birds, the water, the wind in the trees and the kids laughter. I was utterly enchanted. Once again, I am humbled by the power of the natural world to soothe my monkey brain and restore my spirit.

I have a connection (kind of) to Houghton Falls. The restaurant building was built by Hattie and Milton Sprague as their farm-house— the farm had 1000 acres and included the falls. Over the years, parcels of land were sold and the house changed hands a number of times. The Club Lido, owned by Cleo Grant, was an institution from the mid 1950's until the late 1970's (I am not sure when Cleo sold it). I met Cleo's daughter , Cheri, in August of 2010 when she traveled back to Washburn for the dedication of the Houghton Falls Nature Preserve. When Cheri was growing up, they owned the land from the restaurant to the lake (including the falls);  it was fascinating to hear her stories. She used to ride her pony to the lake and spend time in a cabin Cleo (or her Dad) had built somewhere near the falls. I can't imagine having Houghton Falls as your playground— it must have been magical. Cheri sent me a package of pictures after she left. I scanned a few: there is a picture of Cheri on her pony, Cleo and Cheri in front of the restaurant, Cleo in the 1940's and that beautiful building we call Good Thyme.