October 14, 2021

A House in Weld, Maine


After my little Puffin shoot in Machais Maine at the beginning of August (more on that in a future post), I drove across the state to meet my family in the New Hampshire’s White Mountains for a few days of relaxation and time with the grandkids. It wasn’t a straight shot for Machais to Lincoln, NH. I stopped to catch up with an old friend, Weld, Maine, a tiny, unassuming, blink and you’ll miss it, town in Franlkin County. It is home to Webb Lake, Mt. Blue, Mt. Blue State Park, and — for my family and me — a lifetime of memories.

Vacations to Weld for my family span three generations. My grandparents started going there for a week or two each year in the summer in the 1940s. My dad kept the tradition going with annual two week vacations through the 60s and into the 70s for the first 14 years of my life, and I took my own family to Weld for multiple vacations in the 90s and early 2000s. My last visit to Weld was on a 2008 camping trip with my youngest son — that mid-August trip included the coldest night I’d ever spent in a tent!

It was those 14 years of childhood summer vacations that etched Weld into my memory. Like clockwork, we went to the cottage on the lake (owned by family friends) for the first two weeks in August. My parents saved for the entire year to cover the cost of the cottage ($60 per week) and any spending money we needed. They made sure to have our mail forwarded to the general store in Weld (my dad needed to know which bills were going to be paid late that month, I guess).

The cottage had no phone, no internet (obviously), and no insulation. It was cooled by open windows and doors. Heated by a wood stove and fireplace. There was no bathroom, but did have an outhouse that (thankfully) had a flush toilet and septic system. The kitchen sink had cold water only — pumped in from the lake — which was used for washing dishes and hands only. Potable water was collected in five gallon jugs from a communal tap into a mountain stream accessible a few miles down the road. There was no bath or shower, our daily swims pretty much did the trick.

In those 14 years of formative years family vacations, we were joined by aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends each contributing to a rich tapestry of lore.

Anyway, my visit was short. I hoped to get a sunset image from Mt Blue State Park, but the conditions sucked. I took note of what changed — the oldest store in town burned down a couple of years ago (not the one mentioned above, but the other store). I took note of what hasn’t changed — like this old house in the center of town.

And I made a note to go back next year.

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    1. Author

      Thanks you, Fran. No, and I should have been clearer in my post, this is not the house we stayed in. This is just an old house in teh center of town that appears unchanged from over 50 years ago.