Sandwich, New Hampshire  is far enough off the beaten path to have escaped the “up scaling” that has afflicted many of its neighboring towns.   Its proximity to Squam Lake  (On Golden Pond) could have doomed it to occupancy by the  droves of cash carrying Massachusetts misanthropes looking to spread their misery northward.   Somehow, the town was spared.  It remains one of the most quintessential New England towns imaginable.  It is a living breathing Norman Rockwell painting, and the residents could easily be moved into any of his depictions of idyllic life!   Suspendered old men watch and comment on the construction in town.  Gardeners tend to their flowers and vegetables.  Automobiles move slowly because the line between vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic does not exist.

Colonial homes, tidily kept, sit behind flowered fences and weathered farms are encircled by  lichen crusted stone walls.  The people who live here today are the direct descendents of the men and women whose sweat and blood cleared the fields and piled the old stones.  Rolling hills rise sharply to the encircling mountains that hold the rest of the world at bay.  Church steeples rise above the towering hardwoods.  Behind the whitewashed town hall, frogs bellow from the lily pads and cattails. .  Sidewalks are scarce, flower gardens abound.  Signs are discrete and nicely done.  Nothing is garish or demanding of your attention.  All is in conformity with the New England tradition of dignified reserve.

Neighbors know each other.  They meet at their fences and talk.  They share coffee and gossip.  A selectman walks by and a townsman wants to voice a complaint.  Here, it is possible for a complaint and a smile to be in the same mouth at the same time.   Neighbors are civil, pleasantries are exchanged at every chance encounter.   There is a pervasive sense of community.  It is intangible, it cannot be quantified or even described, yet  it is part of the core values of the town and the many generations of people who have lived there.  Sadly, it is an oddity, an anachronism, existing out of its  time.  Sandwich is another great treasure at the end of a dusty road.

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