(1874 - 1963)
Vern and Letha visited the
Frost Farm on Aug. 17th which is
located East and South of Derry, NH.
The farm is an official State Park
The white farmhouse and barn sit on a two lane highway that did not
see much traffic during our visit.
We saw a trail that runs along a stone wall beside the pasture. The air was filled with the smell of
sunshine and flowers. This stone wall was the inspiration for the poem "Mending Wall" in North of
Boston. It was here that Frost used to repair this old wall, with his neighbor Napoleon Guay, who
liked to say "Good fences make good neighbors." At the edge of the pasture there are woods
that mark Hyla Brook and there is a nature trail that takes you along side it. The woods were
cool and quiet except for the slow hushing reminder of water.
We came up to the barn and the tour guide invited us to come in and
have seat and watch a film
before taking the tour. The barn was rustic and decorated with pictures of Frost and his family
along with quotes and excerpts of his work. The film gives a good feeling for how Frost got on
in Derry, with dramatic representations of his poetry.
The house itself is simple. Attempts have been made to recreate the
interior back to how it looked
at the time Frost lived there. Frostís eldest daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine helped in the restoration.
The rooms are decorated in a similar manner to how they were when the Frosts lived there. The
Kitchen wallpaper is a reproduction of the pattern they had and the dishes in the dining room are
original. The tour is not long but takes you through the house and explains how the Frost family
lived at Derry. In the kitchen it was easy to picture Frost up late writing at the table after
his family had gone to bed.
The Frost family lived here from 1900-1911. The farm was an important
place for Frost and would
grow to become more so in his mind as time passed. His intention was to make a go at poultry farming,
and write poems on the side in hopes to fulfill his ambition of being a poet.
Frost received the money to buy the farm from his grandfather William
Prescott Frost. He did not
get along well with his grandfather who made certain arrangements concerning the disposition of
the farm. One was that Frostís friend from high school Carl Burell, an amateur naturalist, come live
at the farm and help him run the farming side of things. This along with the fact that ownership of the
farm was dependent upon Frostís ability to stick with it. Ownership would pass into the poetís hands
only after he had lived at the farm for ten years.
These arrangements had been made without Frostís knowledge and he resented
his grandfather for it.
His friendship with Burrell suffered and eventually Burrell left the farm.
Frost believed that his grandfather saw him as a failure. It was hard
for him to stick with the jobs he had
growing up. He had dropped out of two prestigious colleges, Dartmouth and Harvard, after being
valedictorian of his high school class.
It was at Derry that Frost began to write seriously. His intention all
along had been to sell the farm after
the ten years were up. When selling time came it was tinged with regret. The farm held both good
and bad associations for him and he would return there for inspiration both in a literal and figurative
sense. Frost did return to the farm when he was older and tried to explain who he was but was
unrecognized and turned away by the current owner.