Pillsbury Camping & Sunapee Craft Fair


On the first August weekend, our family drove to Washington NH to spend the night at Pillsbury State Park.  Our campsite rested on the banks of May pond, one of four small bodies of water which are joined by dams and inlets, and surrounded by hills above 2000′ on all sides.  On the western slope, the hills are dotted with windmills, adding a modern yet unobtrusive aspect to the view.


Once the tents were raised, we took the kayak onto the water.  A family of three loons swam within a few yards and spent the rest of the night nearby.  Pillsbury rents kayaks and canoes, but we brought our own and took turns exploring the pond until dark.


 There are only about 35 campsites at Pillsbury, with a few remote sites only accessible by water.  Our site was surrounded by highbush blueberry bushes which were full of ripe fruit.


In the night, my husband and I set up chairs under the stars and viewed the Milky Way by a dying campfire.  No meteors yet, the Perseids are in a few more days, but the sky was breathtakingly full of stars, making it difficult to discern even the simplest constellations.

Before we left the next day to continue our adventures, we brought out the kayak again and paddled among the loons and misty hills once more.


Next time we come here, hopefully this fall!, we will explore some of the dozens of trails leading to summits around the pond.  I especially want to visit a formation about a half mile from our site titled, ‘Balancing Rock’ on our map of the area.  Sounds very intriguing!

When you decide to camp at this park, I highly recommend site #15, it has easy water access and a lovely large corner plot surrounded by blueberries.  Just leave space in the fall for me!

We hit the road as near to the 11am checkout as possible.  Our route took us north on Route 31 to Mount Sunapee State Park for the 80th Annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair.

Dale Rogers created this piece, with more on display at the fair.

At the base of Mount Sunapee, over 300 local artisans gather for ten days to share their craft.  When we visited on the opening day, there were numerous tents filled with artists, as well as demonstration tents offering blacksmithing, pottery and glassblowing.


Aaron spent a long time at a hands-on exhibit of old-fashioned tools.


Our daughter, Carolyn, apprenticed this summer with Shana Brautigam of Rooted in Clay pottery.  She helped Shana finish up pieces for this fair, including this lovely piece created for the sculpture garden.


One of the last booths I visited made exquisite woods into translucent lampshades.  The owner placed this plaque among the wares.  It helps me articulate that this is more than an art show or sale.  There is a proud culture of utterly individual expression being celebrated in a community of kindred spirits.


The fair is situated across route 103 from Mount Sunapee State Park beach, so our last stop of the weekend adventure was to cool off and picnic in the sun.


The beach lies directly across from the mountain on Rt. 103 in Newbury, with an expansive waterfront along the 4,085 acre Lake Sunapee. This recreation area offers clean picnic areas, boat access, a store and boat rentals. We were impressed with the care that went into creating this space. There was plenty of room for everyone to relax, with lots of easy parking, a large expanse of shaded, grassy picnic space, and a wide sandy beach leading to clear shoreline.


We were visited by very friendly ducks and ducklings.  There are signs asking visitors to not feed the ducks, but these birds are counting on stray picnic crumbs!

What a gift that NH State Parks have so many amazing recreational offerings that finding one close to home is easy.  Although this was our first visit to the Sunapee area, it lies just over an hour from our home, and we will be back to explore more of it soon!


Lisa Wiley

My name is Lisa Wiley and I am native to mid-New England, but a NH transplant once my husband and I started a family. We have five children and multiple pets, including a bassett named Rue who will be featured in many of my posts! I work in two academic libraries and recently completed a Bachelors in Education and Training through Granite State College. My husband and I are both educators and love outdoor adventures on a shoestring budget! On the side, we garden and raise chickens and angora rabbits. I enjoy spinning the angora fiber from these gentle animals into beautiful yarns. I can't wait to share the adventures of the 'Wiley Rangers' as we explore NH!

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