Congratulations Theda! Nice work! It sounds like you and your granddaughter had one awesome adventureAnother great adventure. I became addicted to to the treasure-hunting road trip with The Clock Without a Face, and now Historical Hunt feeds this addiction. The New Hampshire hunt was released Sunday night, and the only day I had free this week was Monday, so I sat down with my morning coffee to figure out A CLEW NEST. I found a family named Clews in a Concord cemetery who had buried 4 of their 5 children before their first birthdays - cholera, dysentery, croup and pneumonia. Life was pretty tragic back then. Some of the cemetery photos showed a long stone wall, similar to the one shown on HH. I thought this could be a (macabre) "nest" of children. It seemed too easy, and the phrase A CLEW NEST didn't feel right somehow, but it was early, I had my coffee and my dog, and an itch to get on the road (my dog loves a good road trip too!), so we set out for Concord.
The cemetery itself is huge, but the oldest part is the only section with a stone wall. I easily found the statue of the sleeping child near the wall ("Sleep in Heavenly Peace"). This memorial is not to the Clews children specifically however, but to all children who have died. The ground around this sleeping child is covered with tiny statues of angels, babies, and little girls holding wilted flowers. Disturbing, but a perfect spot to call a "nest". It was clear this was not the stone wall in the photo, thought, so we enjoyed a long walk around the cemetery and found the grave of Christa McAuliffe, so the trip was not wasted. Back in 1986, the selection process for the first teacher in space was followed closely by everyone, and many of us, including me, were envious of her. And then we watched that dream explode on live TV. To find myself standing at her grave was humbling. These hunts always bring me to places I never knew about, and to unexpected accidental discoveries.
Heading home, I kept thinking about A CLEW NEST and how there was something off about this phrase. Then I though, anagram - it looks like an anagram. I rearranged letters in my head and came up with New Castle. I didn't know where this was, but stopped and pulled out my smart phone (which I didn't have last year on my failed trip to Rhode Island!) to look it up. It's an island off Portsmouth NH, and I was headed that way already, so I had to go exploring. There are two old forts on the island, the day was young, so it was off to New Castle.
My first disappointment of the day came when I arrived in the Fort Stark parking lot to a sign that said "No Dogs Allowed". It was nearly 90 degrees out and I couldn't leave my dog in the car, not even for a few minutes. But there were a lot of stone walls, all on the other side of the sign! Decision time. Do I get this close only to go home empty-handed? Or do I drive home, drop off my dog, and drive all the way back? I decided one way or the other, I had to go home. Then I had an idea. To make a long story shorter, I only had to go half way home, where I dropped my dog off for a play date with her favorite dog-cousin, picked up my granddaughter as my new treasure-hunting sidekick, and headed back to Fort Stark. We explored the fort and all of its stone walls. They walls were similar, but the details were not quite right. After exploring, we had to spend some time at the beach for a swim and to take in the views - it's a really pretty spot.
Then it was across the island to Fort Constitution, a smaller fort located on a working Coast Guard base. From that parking lot, we had to follow a long blue line painted on the pavement, around a large helicopter pad, across the Coast Guard parking lot, and through the gates of the fort. This fort, unlike the crumbling cement of Fort Stark, is mostly brick, and the grounds are more manicured. One side of the fort is a long stone wall about 8 feet high. It looked promising. With photo in hand, we examined the wall inch by inch and then we found the spot that matched the picture! We took a brick out of the hole, then another, and finally, hidden under them, a larger rock. We pulled it out, turned it over and there was the engraved code. My granddaughter did the happy dance! After a round of high fives and cheers, we not-so-discreetly lugged the milling back through the Coast Guard parking lot and around the helicopter pad to the parking lot. Thankfully, we were not arrested for trying to steal a piece of a historical site! Back at the car, it was decision time again, but this one was easy - ice cream.
All in all a great day. A rather disturbing baby cemetery, paying tribute to Christa McAuliffe, an unexpected afternoon with my granddaughter, exploring two old forts, finding the milling, and topping it off with ice cream. What could be a better day?
I am posting a picture of the milling on HH's facebook page if anyone wants to look at a rock!
Thanks, HH! Looking forward to Vermont, and still stumped on Rhode Island!