It's always in October that I become my most sentimental and I cast my mind back to autumns passed. The air is so fresh and invigorating and is laced with the coming cold of winter. If October had a theme, it would be memories because I feel like everything in October is crying out to be remembered. The colours surge to their fullest, ripest bloom as if to say 'forget me not when frost swallows me whole for I shall just be sleeping... we shall meet again, dear girl'.
And so it is that today I have been thinking about a place high up in the hills of Mason, New Hampshire. A place that I am sure will grace my mind every October to come until I have run out of Octobers altogether.
Pickity Place is a spot so very charming, so very one-of-a-kind that it instantly steals your heart. Since 1768, the little red cottage has sat so prettily at the end of a winding dirt path, inspiring those who become upon it. The inspiration for Elizabeth Orton Jones' illustrations in her 1948 edition of Little Red Riding Hood, it's as if the rugged old hands of time have not marred its beauty and it remains like a picture book, waiting to be devoured by the hungry eyes of the restless reader.
Nowadays, aside from stirring hearts, Pickity Place serves as a hilltop hideaway for those who seek a little relaxation and appreciate the benefits of nature's gifts. With a small, intimate restaurant and a shop brimming with herbs grown in the cottage gardens, it's a wonderful afternoon getaway.
We spent an autumn day there back in 2010 with two lovely old family friends from our days living in Massachusetts as children. We made the most of the herb dips on sample in the shop and wrapped our hands around steaming mugs of spiced apple cider, chattering excitedly about tiny stories we recalled.
Warmth spreading in our tummies, we wandered the grounds, breathing in the cool pine air to find delights scattered around... We slipped into the red wood hut..
Inside we found flowers and herbs strung up to dry. Glorious little pearls of red and the heads of sunflowers past. The smell and age of sage wafting under our noses...
Light danced through the windows, working its mysterious magic upon the fragrant sheaths and bunches...shifting and stirring their old souls in the last throws of their lives.
We spoke to this very fine fellow who told us explicitly that we absolutely had to stop for lunch, licking his chops hungrily... He recommended the pork roulades and we were soon to find that he was not wrong.
And so we obliged...(lucky we had a reservation!) We sat down in a warm room filled with smiling faces. Old friends and family. Young and old. Casting our eyes over the menu we were thrilled to see that the food was themed by the season. We were presented with a small bunch of sage, the appointed herb of the month and one of my very favourites because it smells like the days of my childhood when I would make posies to ward off illnesses as if I were a Tudor girl.
As we ate, we talked of Octobers passed and shared our memories and the fragments of delight that were provoked to our minds every year when the sun turned from gold to bronze and the leaves began to fall. A time that we can all agree is most magical indeed. A time when the light makes everything so very vibrant and swaddles all in its reassuring love before the cold winter moon moves in, casting its cooling shadow and sending all into a long and dreamy sleep. At the deepest dark of winter, the sun begs in autumn that you never forget his light and forget it we cannot with memories like these.
For more information on Pickity Place, please click here.
Credit must also be given to my sister, the Cat of Curiosity for some of her lovely photos that I have used in conjunction with my own.
You can read her blog here.