High-Kicking Around the Campfire

camping in nh

In 1919, a jovial group of eight men gathered and decided upon a camping trip to begin in Albany, NY and then into New Hampshire. When the unlikely group set off, few probably imagined that among the party were three titans of American industry: Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone; and a celebrated naturalist, John Burroughs.

Camping under the stars at this year’s SoulFest at Gunstock Mountain. Photo courtesy of Paul Rogers Photography.
Camping under the stars at this year’s SoulFest at Gunstock Mountain. Photo courtesy of Paul Rogers Photography.

By the year 1919, Thomas Edison was already one of the most famous men in America and had acquired over 1,000 patents. He also owned the Detroit Edison Company, which had employed a young Henry Ford. Now fifty-six, Ford had transformed the world of transport by pioneering the automobile assembly line, which made cars affordable. Harvey Firestone had been one of the first to develop non-skid, low-pressure, and truck tires. His was among the largest companies in the US and he supplied most of the tires for Ford’s cars. Though eighty-two at the time the party set out, John Burroughs was still enthusiastically seeking out wildlife for study and observation. He was a seasoned camper, having done so on many occasions with company such as Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir (Rogers, It Happened in New Hampshire).

New Hampshire’s roads in 1919 were but rough narrow paths and old Native American trails meandering through the woods and running from town to town. On these bumpy roads proceeded one of the most intriguing camping parades of the automobile age. The group consisted of an Edison Simplex, two Packard sedans, a Cadillac truck for gear, and a specially designed Ford truck serving as traveling kitchen, complete with Henry Ford’s personal chef, Thomas Sato. Edison had made sure the kitchen truck included a generator, providing power for the cook and for lights in the tents as well. And what did these celebrated personages do for entertainment around the campsite? New England Historical Society records relate that Edison prompted campfire discussions about current events, politics, and philosophy; Ford initiated competitions in high-kicking, wood chopping, berry picking, and rifle shooting; and Burroughs taught bird calls and organized nature walks. Of course, historical pictures of these outings show the activities being carried out in gentlemen’s attire – three piece suits and neck ties (newenglandhistoricalsociety.com).

On August 10th, the group left their campsite in the Green Mountains and crossed into the northern region of NH. They passed through Crawford Notch and Conway before traveling west across the northern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and then south through the Weirs and on to Tilton with the intent of setting up camp. Somewhere along the way, the Cadillac truck containing the tents and gear became separated from the group. By the time it caught up it was too late to set up camp, and so the party checked into the best hotel in Tilton, the Ideal Hotel (Rogers). Though the history could not be verified, pictures of the Ideal Hotel suggest it may have been the predecessor to the Tilton Inn, which still operates on Main Street.

The story has it that after dinner, the men settled on the building’s wide porch to take in the evening breeze. The presence of famous men in the small town drew a crowd and also supplied the local Salvation Army with an unexpected opening to collect donations. Those gathered asked the men to say a few words. As Burroughs and Ford addressed the crowd, members of the Salvation Army weaved among them with their tambourines in hand. Suddenly Edison jumped off the porch, snatched a tambourine, and began to move through the crowd, encouraging people to donate. It seems his enthusiasm was irresistible and resulted in a substantial collection for the Salvation Army that night (Rogers).

The next day, the merry party motored on to Webster Lake before heading south towards Keene. After a brief stop at the Cheshire House, acclaimed for its fine dining, they continued south towards Springfield, MA. And thus the camping party passed through New Hampshire without actually having set up camp in the Granite State.

Even though Edison, Ford, and the others never actually pitched their tents on New Hampshire soil on this particular trip, over the years hundreds of thousands have enjoyed the sport in New Hampshire’s long history of recreational camping. The Lakes Region continues to be one of the most popular camping spots. There are many from which to choose. Gunstock Mountain has 270 campsites on 140 acres and one of the longest zip line canopy tours in the US (gunstock.com). The majestic Kona Wildlife Preserve surrounds Bear’s Pine Wood Campground, located in Moultonborough (bearspinewoodcampground.com). Wolfeboro Campground is in the midst of “the Oldest Summer Resort in America” (wolfeborocampground.com). Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Campground in Ashland has many special events, such as the upcoming Chocolate Lovers Week (abcamping.com/jellystonenh/). Hackmatack, Pine Hollow, and Paugus Bay Campgrounds are within the dynamic Weirs Beach area. These are just a few. For more information on these and other campgrounds, visit lakesregion.org/stay/camping-rving/.

While camping in the Lakes Region, there is plenty to do. After finishing your philosophy discussion, bird calling, and high-kicking competition around the campfire, you can enjoy everything from a game of miniature golf to world-class musical entertainment. And rest easy. On your camping adventure you need not be concerned if you become separated from your chow wagon. The Lakes Region continues to provide a vast array of fine dining that would even satisfy Edison, Ford, and the others on that famous trip back in 1919.

This post was written by Mary O’Neill.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
Picture of NH condominium home with pool

Affordable Housing is Always in Demand

There’s a lot of talk lately about the lack of affordable housing in the Lakes …

Read More →
Kitchen renovation

Small Improvements Make a Big Difference

During this past spring and summer, a large number of homeowners throughout the Lakes Region …

Read More →
Sales Volume and Prices of Luxury Homes Raising Nationally

Sales Volume and Prices of Luxury Homes Raising Nationally

Many national headlines are talking about the booming high-end vacation home market, in addition to …

Read More →
Support Small Businesses

Are we seeing a retail apocalypse?

During this past summer, I have been talking mainly about the exploding residential real estate …

Read More →
House and cash on a balance scale

Tips for Buyers in a “Seller’s Market”

We are currently experiencing a strong seller’s market here in the Lakes Region. 2020 has …

Read More →
Randy Miller Joins Roche Realty Group

Randy Miller Joins Roche Realty Group

Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc. with offices in Meredith and Laconia, is …

Read More →
Picture of a carpenter working on a floor

Lakes Region Construction Activity Update

It has been a wild summer out here in the Real Estate industry!  I thought …

Read More →
The Opera House in Laconia NH

The Vision behind the “Opera House” Renovation: Revitalization of the Lakeport Area

There is a lot of excitement brewing in the Lakeport area! Previously shuttered for decades, …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group Sells Trustworthy Hardware Building

Laconia – Tom Drouin of Roche Realty Group represented both the Seller and the Buyer of …

Read More →
Highland Ridge

Strong Demand at Highland Ridge With 20 Home Sales.

Sales of newly constructed homes throughout the Lakes Region have been very brisk the past …

Read More →
Hikers overlooking the lake in New Hampshire, voted "Best State to Live in America" in 2020.

New Hampshire Leads the Pack Again!

New Hampshire Leads the Pack Again! A recent article on moneywise by Esther Trattner showed …

Read More →

Hot Markets Around Lake Tahoe and Lake Winnipesaukee

I was reading a recent article on CNBC by Robert Frank the other day where …

Read More →
NH River Kayaking

Rolling down the river

A month and a half ago, we had a fun kayaking trip down the Merrimac …

Read More →

Historic Landmark is a Focal Point of Windward Harbor on Lake Winnipesaukee

Visitors to Lake Winnipesaukee have long recognized the special qualities of Windward Harbor. Its deep …

Read More →
South Down Shores on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

How Did South Down Shores and Long Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee Get Started?

When construction started in 1981, Laconia’s South Down Farm offered an ideal picturesque setting for …

Read More →
Balmoral on Lake Winnipesaukee

Four Season Living at Balmoral on Lake Winnipesaukee

There are so many water-access communities in the Lakes Region that provide great memories. Let’s …

Read More →

An Overview of Governor’s Island on Lake Winnipesaukee

Find Governor’s Island Homes for Sale The Lakes Region is known for its abundance of …

Read More →
Suissevale on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Suissevale: A Desirable Community on Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough

When you navigate the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, there’s 71 square miles of water and 274 …

Read More →
Gunstock Acres in Gilford, NH

Gunstock Acres in Gilford: A Popular Water Access Community

Find homes for sale in Gunstock Acres We have so many interesting communities in the …

Read More →
The docks at South Down Shores in Laconia

The Impact of Second Homes in the Lakes Region

As I drive around the Lakes Region during this period of social distancing, I’ve been …

Read More →
At the top of Piper Mountain, New Hampshire

Hiking in New Hampshire

Hiking is an excellent (and free!) way to stay in shape, and the awesome feeling …

Read More →
Wolfeboro NH

Thankful to be Living in New Hampshire During This Difficult Period

All of us in the Lakes Region have seen a tremendous impact to our lifestyles …

Read More →

How we are embracing technology to continue to serve our clients and customers during this COVID-19 outbreak

The fast-spreading Coronavirus has created an enormous impact on all of us. Draconian measures to …

Read More →
Roche Realty Group Meredith Office

Roche Realty Group Reports Sales of $130.4 Million for 2019

Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc with offices in Meredith and Laconia, has …

Read More →
Kevin Shaw Realtor

Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group, Inc. Produces $36.6 Million in Sales for 2019

Laconia, NH – Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, …

Read More →
Warming feet by a fire at home

Home and Holiday

If you think about it, many classic Christmas songs (and movies) are centered on the …

Read More →
Thanksgiving for NH

Thanksgiving for New Hampshire

We have so many reasons to be thankful to live in New Hampshire. I have …

Read More →

There are many reasons to live in New Hampshire

It is said that the three most important words in real estate are “location, location, …

Read More →

2019 Parade of Homes to be held October 12-14

Get inspired this weekend with the latest in building trends and innovations! The 2019 Parade …

Read More →
White Oak Motel and Lakefront Cottages Sold

White Oak Motel and Lakefront Cottages Sold

Holderness– The White Oak Motel and Lakefront Cottages located on White Oak Pond has recently …

Read More →

Lakes Region real estate activity for the first 8 months has been strong

Article by Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group.    Real Estate activity for the …

Read More →

Historic Homes: Buy with Your Head as Well as Your Heart

Historic Homes: Buy with Your Head as Well as Your Heart I’d like to recommend …

Read More →
Northeast Storage has purchased a commercial building located at 57 Reservoir Road.

Northeast Storage purchases unique Reservoir Road building in Meredith

MEREDITH — Northeast Storage has purchased a commercial building located at 57 Reservoir Road. Tom …

Read More →
111 Church Street, Laconia

Former Lakes Region mental health building listed and sold by Roche Realty Group

LACONIA — Rick Hagan of Roche Realty Group in Meredith, NH represented the seller, Lakes …

Read More →

Live where others dream of vacationing

https://youtu.be/7G5Z4QRBzzc Weirs Beach is a recreation destination with something for everyone, including beautiful lake and …

Read More →
Gilford, NH landmark former restaurant sold

Former well-known restaurant in Gilford recently sold

Gilford, NH – A local Gilford landmark built in 1975 and operated as a restaurant …

Read More →
Lakes Region NH

Tips for buying a home in the Lakes Region

New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is an amazing place to own a home, whether it’s your …

Read More →
South Down Shores, a gated community on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group Inc. Produces Over $20 Million in Sales For 1st Half of 2019

Laconia- Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group Inc with offices in Meredith and Laconia, …

Read More →

Lakes Region full throttle during Motorcycle Week

You can already feel the area rumbling with visitors and activity this week as the …

Read More →

Is home ownership right for you?

There are advantages to both buying and renting, depending on your current lifestyle and financial …

Read More →

New Hampshire Ranked #2 Best State in the USA for 2019

The good news is out! New Hampshire as a state performed exceptionally well in a …

Read More →
explore nh lakes

Winnipesaukee Waterfront Sales Activity Spring 2019

The weather is getting warmer, the “Big Lake” is thawing out and the real estate …

Read More →
searching for homes on the internet

The homebuyer’s online search is like online dating

Searching for homes online can be a lot like trying to find love through online …

Read More →

The Importance of Getting Pre-Approved for Your Home Mortgage

If you want to be an attractive buyer in a competitive housing market, you’ll definitely …

Read More →
Lake Winnipesaukee, Moultonborough, NH

Moultonborough homes sold at highest prices, fastest pace ever

It’s a historical time to sell a single-family home in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. Data suggest …

Read More →
For sale by owner sign next to a house

For Sale By Owner? The facts about risk and reward

If you’re trying the “For Sale By Owner” (also known as FSBO/fizbo) approach to selling …

Read More →

What to do if your listing expires

Expired listings are a frustrating reality in real estate. If you want to change the …

Read More →
Meredith, New Hampshire

Window of opportunity open for Meredith home sellers

If you own a single family home in Meredith and have been waiting for a …

Read More →
Gilford, NH

It’s an unrivaled time to sell your single family home in Gilford

If you own a single-family home in Gilford, it’s an unequalled time to sell. It’s …

Read More →

Why it’s a great time to sell your home in Laconia

If you own a single-family home or condominium in Laconia, it might be a great …

Read More →

Leave a Comment