Jeff and Cheryl New England Trip travel blog


A rainy day in New Hampshire today, so we decided this was not the day to walk around Portsmouth. We decided instead to drive out to Hillsboro to see the boyhood home of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the US. We had the complimentary breakfast at the hotel and left for Hillsboro. It took a little over an hour to get there in the rain. By the time we got there, however, it had slowed considerably.

When we arrived, there were just a few cars in the parking lot. Not many people came out on a day like this. As opposed to the site of Calvin Coolidge's home, this was a single house. We walked into what used to be the attached barn. It now houses the gift shop and starting point for the tour. We paid for the tour, and the tour began with just one other couple. Our guide, we were told, was relatively new, but would try to answer any questions we had. If she couldn't, the folks back at the gift shop would fill in any details.

We walked through the two levels of the house (the attic and basement were closed off to tourists) and our guide described the furnishings, what life was like at this time (Franklin Pierce was born in 1804, and lived in this house for the most part until he was 30). Questions were asked, and we were told that more information was coming later in the tour. Most of the furnishings were "of the time" and not original to the Pierce family. She pointed out the original furniture. The wall paint was the original patterns, but had been refurbished and restored. In each room a corner of each wall had been left alone so we could see the difference. In one room, there was wallpaper that was made for the Pierces, and this was original. The room was kept mostly dark to help preserve the paper. The information on this tour was geared more toward the daily life and surroundings of Pierce, rather than his rise to the presidency and his politics. We were able to get more information on that when we got back to the gift shop.

After leaving the Pierce site, it had pretty much stopped raining. If fact, brief glimpses of sun appeared from time to time. We debated about going into Portsmouth, but decided it was chancy. We chose instead to go back to the hotel and catch up on some laundry, and relax for the afternoon. We walked into the town of Exeter for dinner, walked around some more, then returned to the hotel for an early evening.

Tomorrow, Portsmouth.

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