The Robert Frost Historic Site – July 9, 2011
Set aside as a tribute to one of New England’s most famous poets, The Robert Frost Farm gives visitors a chance to explore the same property that served as an inspiration to many of the writer’s poems. Sitting right off the road, just outside of Derry, NH, the historic farm was once the remote and secluded home where Robert Frost would spend more hours concentrating on his own writing than he ever did farming.
Today the historic property includes a restored farmhouse, and a waking trail that takes you through the same sights that motivated many of Frost’s earliest poems. The farmhouse is open for tours during the summer every Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
At the rear of house, inside the barn that now serves as a gallery displaying art and literature that reflect the former owner, I picked up a handout that narrates a self-guided tour of the walking trail with excerpts of poems that relate to each of marker’s along the trail.
Finding the trail behind the house I set out reading poems and stories off the handout as I walked along the old farm field. Today the field is overgrown and full of wildflowers, but it was once a neatly kept farming operation that drove Frost to write about the tedious chore and the repetitive rhythm of his scythe in the piece titled “Mowing’’.
Leaving the field behind, I followed the trail in to the woods where it joins the Old Carriage Road. While only a narrow dirt trail remains today, the Old Carriage Road was once a main thoroughfare for Derry and the surrounding area. Walking further the trail breaks off to the right and crosses a creek before coming to the very rock wall that Robert Frost, together with his neighbor, would repair each spring. The two neighbors’ yearly task became the basis behind the “Mending Wall” poem, which included the famous line ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
The trail crosses through the old rock wall, circles the farm field, and comes back out of the woods underneath several fruit trees that used to be part of the farms once larger orchard. Coming to the end of trail back at the farmhouse, but hidden under the trees I found a tiny little pond teeming with frogs and turtles. I sat close by the water trying to tune out the frogs, while I finished reading the rest of the poems before heading back to the farmhouse.
Exploring the Robert Frost Farm is another great way to experience history in the New Hampshire State Parks. Visiting the farm gives you a direct connection to the work of Robert Frost and the home that inspired so much of his writing.