CHASING THE MAP

Lupine Festival At Sugar Hill

Winters in New Hampshire can, and often are, long and cold. White snow and ice dominate the landscape. So when springtime comes along, you can just imagine our elation.

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What better way to celebrate our thawing out than with a celebration of one of the most popular perennials in the state? The Lupine Festival at Sugar Hill celebrates the rebirth of spring, and the abundance and beauty of a wildflower that is a nature lover and photographer’s dream.

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Photo Credit: Bella Bradley

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire is a small, scenic town which overlooks the White Mountain National Forest, with spectacular views of the Presidential, Franconia, and Kinsman mountain ranges. Sweeping green fields and rolling hills for as far as the eye can see, it’s plain to see why this area attracts so many people from all over to worship the lupine flower.

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The Lupine Festival has been around over 20 years, and is now an annual tradition that typically lasts the entire month of June. Sometimes the blooming season is a little longer or shorter, depending on the weather.

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A free “inspirational walk” is offered through many fields by way of specially mowed pathways, every day of the week. Rustic signs along the way share poetry and quotes to inspire the mind and sooth the soul. The spikes of colorful lupines envelop the landscape, leaving it awash in mostly shades of blues and purples, but also pink and white.

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This was my first year attending the Lupine Festival, and I’m so glad that I did. My daughter Bella, a huge nature enthusiast and talented photographer, suggested we go. The day was sunny and warm, albeit a bit breezy, but it was the perfect day for a drive through the beautiful north country.

You don’t really “happen” upon Sugar Hill. It’s one of those iconic country towns that dot the map in New Hampshire. If you’re going to Sugar Hill, it’s typically for a reason. Traffic was light for a Tuesday as we wound our way up through Sugar Hill. Along the way, lupines are everywhere, and give you a brief glimmer of what you’re in store for. The real magic, however, is when you reach the top of the hill at the Sugar Hill Sampler, a must visit country store and museum, park the car, and begin your journey through the lupines.

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I loved the time that I spent there, walking along the path and truly reveling in the beauty of Mother Nature. An easel with a recently completed painting of a field of lupines rested along the side of the path, the artist with paint splotches covering her smock and a serene smile upon her face. I was sure to pause before each sign along the way, reading the nuggets of poetry or quotes meant to provoke thought. It was a gorgeous day spent in New England, and one I won’t soon forget.

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