Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The lovely CONNECTED FARMSTEADS of New England

In 2002 I spent a few weeks in August wending my way slowly through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It was the one time in my life when I had no deadlines or time constraints. I was alone and in no hurry so I just drove the back roads and drank in the countryside. One of the lovely spots were I stayed in Maine was the Blueberry Hill Farm. It was my introduction to the connected farmsteads and I was fascinated by them.

I wish I had a better picture but you might be able to see what looks like a small addition to the left of the main house. That is the original cabin built in the 1800's. It was actually where my small bedroom was and it connects to the big house which in turn connects to two large barns.

These structures date back to the 19th century and there is a child’s verse that describes them perfectly: “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn”. It is possible to walk from the main house (the parlor, dining area and bedrooms) through the “little” house (kitchen and wood shed) through the “back” house (privy and storage or workshop) to the barn without ever going outside. 

There are two theories for this connected arrangement. One theory is that a family could exist through the extreme winter snows without having to go outside to get to any of the buildings. The other premise holds that the thrifty New England farmer figured he could eliminate 3 walls by connecting the buildings!

I spent day after day on those New England back roads and every time that I spied a connected farm complex I would slow down or stop. Although it was August and a warm breeze caressed my cheek I would envision this same scene blanketed in snow. This gave me a feeling of snugness, safety and contentment.

Now, when I feel the need to escape from the rush and confusion of today I just bring back those memories and it never fails to slow me down.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

1902 eh? You're even older than I thought. :)
Did you mean 92? The 9 and 0 are close.

5:15 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I have never been further north than southern Connecticut. I would love this connected farm and not having to go out in winter!

5:52 AM  
Blogger Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

from my friend Jan:

Oh how I love those buildings! We lived across the street from one when I was a kid in Maine. it was great in the wintertime- we did not track snow back into the house!
My roommate in college lived in a similar farm/connected stable place in Pennsylvania. It was great to walk from the kitchen thru a rec room thru the tack room and into the stable to feed the horses- mostly Tennessee Walkers whether it was pouring rain or there was snow. But the old stone barn was much more interesting.
Funny, sometimes I still dream of that old house-barn in Maine.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

That is my favorite part of the country but I didn't know about those connected buildings. How smart both for convenience in inclement weather and that three wall thing. Smart people.

1:28 PM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I have never heard of the connected buildings but it definitely makes sense. I'm going to do some further reading. Thanks for sharing this.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thinking back on pleasant memories is a good way to slow down and obviously you enjoyed yourself doing so. Thanks for sharing and with the added information too.

8:59 AM  

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