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Find Your Park: Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

If you’re new to the blog, our family is on a mission to visit all the National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites in the United States.  We keep track of them in our passport books, and are constantly on the National Parks website scoping out our next adventure.  Follow along as we inch nearer to our goal!

One of the things that most excited us about moving to the Boston area for Don’s grad school was being in such close proximity to so many National Parks.  So when Don realized he had two days off because of a break in between two classes, we jumped at the opportunity to explore some outside of Massachusetts.  Don planned our whole itinerary, which included visiting two National Historic Sites: one in Vermont and one in New Hampshire.

The first stop was Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire.  This National Site is dedicated to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s greatest sculptors.  He created many notable sculptures in American History and was also chosen by President Roosevelt to re-design the coinage of the United States.

We really enjoyed walking around the land at this historic site. You park in the parking lot, pay the fee (or show your membership), and then walk through the woods down a little path that crosses the main road and then heads to the Visitor’s Center.  I thought it was a cute touch and we enjoyed the chance to stretch our legs after being in the car.

From the Visitor’s Center, we visited a statue of Abraham Lincoln and then entered into an outdoor area that was home to the Admiral Farragut sculpture as well as some indoor galleries (that were under construction, so we couldn’t go in).  After that, Don and Elizabeth headed down the trail together and it looked like a beautiful trail through the woods!  This place is beautiful and looks towards the mountains, but it was even more beautiful with the colorful foliage.  There is a huge open field that is great for exhausting a toddler’s energy supply.

After running off some steam, we headed into the gardens which include many outdoor “rooms”, each containing its own sculpture.  The gardens then opened up to the main house as well as Saint-Gaudens’ studio – both of which are open to the public.  All three of us really enjoyed the studio which contained sculptures as well as sketches, and housed a sculptor’s room that was used by Saint-Gaudens and other sculptors.  While the studio is kid-friendly, I’d skip the main house if you have a toddler that likes to touch things.  Since we couldn’t bring our stroller in, we each carried a baby, which meant E was “loose”.  The Ranger at the home told us we had to stay on the carpet which runs the length of the house (but is kind of narrow) and not to touch anything.  Yeah, good luck having a toddler abide by those rules.  We only had access to the first floor, but I honestly cannot remember anything I saw since I was nervous about E trying to run under a rope and into an “off-limits” room.  But, the main house had all it’s original furniture, and would be quite interesting to someone who could focus!

 

From the porch of the main house – I want a house with a view like this!

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • This is another “seasonal” park.  The buildings are open Memorial Day – October 31st.  The Visitor Center is open limited days/hours in the off-season, but then you’d only have access to the trails and the outdoor sculptures.  To get the full experience, go when the buildings are open.
  • Entrance is $10 per person (ages 15+).  Military members or those who have an America The Beautiful park pass are always free.
  • This park is mostly stroller friendly, but if your kids can walk or you have a carrier, I’d suggest that.  The trails through the woods are NOT stroller accessible, and the gardens have a few steps here and there (we lifted the stroller to navigate these).  Saint-Gauden’s studio also fits a stroller, and the main house would fit a single stroller, but definitely not our side-by-side double!
  • Check ahead to see if there are any special events when you go.  There is an artist in residence, guided tours, a Star Party, and many more interesting events to check out!

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