The New England branch of the Grand Tour leads the tourist up the Connecticut River to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The traveller in New-England is advised to take the route up Connecticut river, which is the most fertile, wealthy, and beautiful tract of the country; and to return by way of Boston and Providence. This is the route we propose to pursue; but the traveller can vary from it as he pleases.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller 

Going up the river, the tourist may stop in Hartford, in which are the City Hotel and the United States Hotel, "two of the best houses in the country." Hartford is the site of the Charter Oak, wherein Revolutionaries hid the charter of the colony when it was sent for in 1687. The tourist can also visit the Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb.

The stranger will receive uncommon gratification, from a visit to this benevolent institution on the days appointed for the admission of visiters. The deaf and dumb are generally remarkable for close observation, readiness of apprehension, an eager thirst for knowledge, and a very retentive recollection; and, as all their instruction, being communicated through the sight, can be obtained only by the strictest attention, and the abstraction of the mind from every other subject, the appearance of a class absorbed in their lesson is calculated to produce feelings of an unusual and highly interesting character.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

Stage coaches depart from Hartford to Boston, Providence, New Haven and New York, Litchfield and Poughkeepsie, and Albany. To continue north towards the White Mountains the tourist can take one of the two stage coaches which travel along both sides of the Connecticut River. A pleasant overnight spot is Northampton.

This town is situated at the west side of the plain, a mile from the river, and is a favorite place of resort for travellers; as it is one of the most beautiful of the New-England villages, and is surrounded by a charming country, and lies near to Mount Holyoke, which commands a view of the whole.
     There is a splendid hotel here. Warner also keeps a very good house.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

At Southampton the scientifically curious tourist has the opportunity to enter the cavity of a lead mine.

A popular activity is the climbing of Mount Holyoke.

The ascent of this mountain has become very fashionable, perhaps more so than any similar enterprise in this country, if we except that of the Catskill mountains in New-York. The height is said to be 800 feet; and there is a good carriage road the greater part of the way up, as well as a building of considerable size on the summit, for the accommodation of visiters, who resort thither every season, usually in parties.
      There is a short road through the meadows, directly to Lyman's ferry, at the foot of the mountain, which is furnished with a good horse-boat. But it may be found pleasanter to cross the bridge at the upper end of the town, pass through Hadley Meadows, and down on the eastern bank. The path up the mountain turns off near a small old house, and another opposite the tavern near the ferry. After following the latter to its termination, you dismount, secure your horses to the trees, and walk up a rude stone staircase on the right. Refreshments will be found at the house which occupies the summit; and which opens on both sides, in such a manner as to command an uninterrupted view of the rich and varied landscape below. Those who wish to enjoy the luxury of seeing day break and the sun rise over such a scene, may find a shelter here, for the night.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller

The White Mountains are ever closer; in the town of Haverhill the traveller may make an overnight stop before the final approach.

There are three villages in this town, but the northern one is where the Boston road comes in, and where there are two good inns. The situation is elevated, and overlooks the meadows for some distance. The distant scenery is here very fine, as Moosehillock Mountain and several others are in plain view, and serve as an introduction to the White Mountains, which we are approaching.
      From Bath [one of the three villages] to the White Mountains, there are two roads, one of which turns off through Libson, Littleton (where is an excellent inn), Bethlehem, Breton Woods, Nash and Sawyer's Patent, and Shadbourn and Harts's Patent.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  


Thomas Cole, A View of the Mountain Pass Called the Notch
of the White Mountains (Crawford Notch)
, 1839

This is wild country, and the roads can be rough and rocky. The harsh winters are also a consideration for travellers to this region, though Crawford's house welcomes guests year-round and is well frequented by sleigh parties during the Winter months. Nancy's Hill, named for a girl who froze to death in 1773, is a reminder of the perils of the White Mountains.

Another such reminder is the Willey House.

The Willey House was the scene of a most melancholy tragedy on the night [of August 28, 1826], when this inundation occurred. . . the house was occupied by Mr. Calvin Willey, whose wife was a young woman of a very interesting character, and of an education not to be looked for in so wild a region. They had a number of young children, and their family at the time included several other persons, amounting in all to eleven. They were waked in the night by the noise of the storm, or more probably, by the second descent of avalanches from the neighboring mountains; and fled in their night clothes from the house to seek their safety, but thus threw themselves in the way of destruction. One of the slides, 100 feet high, stopped within three feet of the house. Another took away the barn, and overwhelmed the family. Nothing was found of them for some time; their clothes were lying at their bedsides, the house not having been started on its foundation: an immense heap of earth and timber, which had slid down, having stopped before it touched it; and they had all been crushed on leaving the door, or borne away with the water that overflowed the meadow. The bodies of several of them were never found. A catastrophe so melancholy, and at the same time so singular in its circumstances, has hardly ever occurred. It will always furnish the traveller with a melancholy subject of reflection.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller


Willey House

The Willey House is situated in a secluded little valley about five miles north of Crawford's, and was long the only building in a distance of twelve miles. It has sometimes been uninhabited during the summer season, though open, with its cheerless shelter, to all comers: in the winter a family occupied it to keep a fire, lodgings, and a little food, provided for the travellers and wagoners, who might otherwise perish for want of the necessaries of life.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

The traveller who is drawn to arduous enterprises may hazard the ascent of the Haystack, however, Mount Washington is more amenable.
The ascent of the mountain was formerly a most arduous undertaking, and was rarely performed, but several ladies have lately been enumerated among those who have gained the summit. The whole way lies through a perfect forest. The first six or seven miles are over a surface comparably level; but the last two miles and a quarter are up an ascent not differing much from an angle of 45 degrees.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

Travellers are encouraged to accept the services of Mr. Crawford, who leads an expedition up Mount Washington. Guests depart the inn in the afternoon and walk two hours to a wigwam at the base of the mountain to spend the night. They arise early in order to see the sun rise as they ascend the mountain; to the summit is a climb taking two and a half hours. They return to the inn by evening.
Travellers have been occasionally exposed to great labors, and have sometimes suffered much from hunger and thirst as well as apprehension, by unadvisedly trusting to their own sagacity in visiting to [Mount Washington], often so difficult to find and to leave.

Theodore Dwight, Notes of a Traveller  

 

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