From 1915 to 1920, legendary poet Robert Frost lived in a white house in Franconia, New Hampshire. Known for his use of colloquial speech to describe rural life and his unique, rhythmic approach to language, self-described as “the sound of sense,” Frost wrote and taught here for 23 years, amassing four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry over his lifetime.
Many of Frost’s themes dealt with country life in New England, and his house property, a mix of forest and grassland, inspired many of the stories and existential thoughts he wrote of. Hence, due to its historical significance, an overwhelming amount of local Frost aficionados lobbied the government of Franconia to purchase the former Frost property and restore it from a private residence to a museum. And once the city did so in 1976, they began to Frost-ifying the surrounding lands.
One thing the town did to show the inspiration Frost drew from nature was create a quarter-mile nature trail meandering through the surrounding woods and prairies, with a handful of plaques along the way featuring Frost’s poetry. This “Poetry Trail” is only known to a small community of poetry buffs around the world, but those aspiring young poets who travel here as a poetic pilgrimage draw tremendous inspiration from the brilliant mind of Frost.
Many of Frost’s works displayed on the plaques describe nature. Some deal with existential questions, such as in one of Frost’s greatest poems, “Fire and Ice”:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
The short visit and stroll through the Poetry Trail at “The Frost Place” brings to all visitors, young and old, the love of poetry—something we all could certainly use more of in our lives.
Know Before You Go
Part of the house is a museum with limited hours. The other part is used by resident poets and has "private residence" signs posted. Despite this, respectful visitors are always welcome on the grounds, nature trail, and front porch.