Poet Robert Frost lived in many places—and on many farms—throughout New England during his long life. But perhaps none inspired him—and his poetry—more than this 30-acre farm (122 Rockingham Rd./Rte. 28, Derry, 603/432-3091, www.robertfrostfarm.org , grounds open year-round; farmhouse and barn open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily late June–August, Wed.–Sun. only early May–late June and Sept.–mid-Oct., $7 adults and non–New Hampshire seniors, $3 children 6–17, free children 5 and under and all New Hampshire residents) on the outskirts of Derry.
Frost moved here with his wife and two children when he was first starting out as a poet, hoping to make a living as a poultry farmer to support his family and his writing habit. While he failed miserably as a farmer, he did settle into the quiet life of the New England countryside, talked with his neighbors, and found a poetic voice unique in American literature. Several of his most famous poems were written or inspired by his time here, including “Mending Wall” and “Hyla Brook.”
The Frost Farm became a historic site in 1965 when it was purchased by the State of New Hampshire ; currently it is embroiled in a nasty (for New Hampshire) zoning fight that threatens to build a strip mall near the home. So far, however, the bucolic character has survived. The restoration was aided by Frost’s daughter, Lesley Frost Ballantine, who helped return the home to exactly how it looked when the Frosts lived there in 1900–1911, right down to the very same wallpaper patterns. Tours of the house include several items owned by the Frosts, including their fine china set and a soapstone sink that still has nicks from where Frost used to sharpen his knife.
Arguably more inspirational than the house is the Hyla Brook Trail, a nature trail that wanders for a mile through the meadows, woods, and apple trees around the farm where Frost used to walk. A self-guided walking tour includes a brochure with anecdotes from the family’s time here, as well as relevant snippets of poetry.