Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hydroelectricity, Lupines, and the World's Best Breakfast in Berlin

As I mentioned in our last post, we drove to Berlin, New Hampshire, this past weekend to kayak with Dave's brother and family. Dave's brother, who is there temporarily on an electrician job, is renting an apartment right next to this restaurant, Guldie's. We went twice during our time in Berlin! 

We really can't say enough good things about Guldie's. Their portions are extremely generous- Jesse's son ordered two pancakes, which were each larger than the size of his plate, and the prices can't be beat- no where else in the North can you get 5 thick slices of real bacon, eggs, an english muffin, and half a plateful of home fries for $4.99, plus a dollar for a cup of coffee! If we could, we would eat every meal on the road here. 

Guldie's is also doing great things in their community. They encourage guests to bring in canned and non-perishable goods, and if they do, they receive a discount of 10% off their total bill. These canned goods are then donated to the local food pantry. 

Along with the community service, quality food, and great prices, another thing to love about Guldie's is the New York-style energy and atmosphere, provided in spades by the owner, who also cooks and chats with customers and waitstaff through the open window to the kitchen. If you're in the New Hampshire area, Guldie's alone is a top-notch reason to visit Berlin. Thank you Guldie's! 

The city of Berlin draws its lifeblood from the Androscoggin river running through it. By the end of the 19th century, the Androscoggin Valley was home to some of the largest paper-producing companies in the world. We drove past one that is still in operation today. Also, many logging companies operated beside the river. The place where we rented our kayaks was right next to a lumber mill still in operation, and it served as our marker for where to get out of the river. As we were kayaking, we came across heavy chains attached to many rocky islands in the middle of the river, which we learned were long ago used by the logging companies to create a sort of locks system to keep each company's logs separate as they harnessed the natural current of the river to help transport the felled trees downstream. 

As early as the 1850's, hydropower provided the majority of New Hampshire's electric generating capacity. By the early 1900's, the Berlin Mills Company completed construction of a dam and powerhouse, which still remain virtually intact. Hydroelectricity is still being produced from this section of the Androscoggin; in fact, electric work on the powerhouse is what brought Dave's brother to Berlin for work. In 2007, New Hampshire adopted a renewable energy portfolio requiring 25% of the state's electricity to be generated from renewable sources, including hydroelectricity, by 2025. 

Fishing is another use of the Androscoggin. We captured some neat shots of this guy fishing in a shallow part of the river. 

This old railroad bridge led to a fantastic trail. 

Dave really enjoys the symmetry of bridges. This double-layered one was really visually appealing. 

From the top of the railroad bridge was this amazing view of the surrounding White Mountains. We could have stayed and soaked it in all day. 

The tracks on top of the railroad bridge have been covered over with wooden boards to allow the trail to double as a path for snowmobiles, which are very popular in this area during the winter. 

This was also a rad trail for cyclists. 

As we were leaving Berlin, we encountered fields of these breathtaking flowers, called lupines, every few hundred feet. They grow wild, and are just as plentiful as dandelions. 

We were entranced by these. 

Coupled with the mountains in the background, this could easily be called one of our favorite views from the trip so far. 


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