Franconia, New Hampshire
1915 - 1920
 
 
When the Frost family returned from England in 1915, Robert's reputation as an important "new" poet had preceded his homecoming. He wanted to live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and set out to find a place where he could write, farm and live quietly. He was familiar with the area around Bethlehem, where he had often found refuge in hay fever season. He found a property he wanted and although it was not for sale, he expressed his interest to the owner. The farmer offered him another farm down the road. Frost suggested that the farmer take the place down the road and let him have this one. (He liked the farm for its view of Layafette Mountain.) He later wrote the little incident into a poem called New Hampshire.
 
Elinor was happy with the new house and wrote a friend, "The view is very fine, and the village of Franconia is exceptionally attractive." Frost's poem In the Home Stretch tells of a woman moving into a new house. The poem ends:
"When there was no more lantern in the kitchen,
The fire got out through crannies in the stone
And danced in yellow wrigglers on the ceiling
As much at home as if they'd always danced there."
 
Within a year Frost published his third volume of poetry Mountain Interval containing a number of new poems written in Franconia. Frost received invitations to lecture and read his poems. Amherst College offered him a position on their faculty as full professor. He was intrigued by the offer, but wondered how the pressures of teaching and lecturing would affect his writing. Of course, after almost 20 years of neglect in America, he was flattered by the recognition he had wanted for so long. The salary proved attractive to meet the growing needs of his family. As always, farming meagerly supplemented his income. In 1917, he joined Amherst's faculty in the English Department and rented living quarters in town during the semester. He returned home to Franconia at the end of the term. This became his schedule for several years.
 
 Robert and Carol in Franconia 1916-1917
 
Courtesy of Lesley Lee Francis
Frost in his morris chair with homemade writing desk
Franconia 1915
 
Courtesy of The Jones Library, Amherst
 
 
The Frost children were growing up. The oldest girl, Lesley, entered Wellesley College in 1917 and the next child, son Carol intended to be a farmer after high school. Carol persuaded his father there was no use trying to farm in Franconia due to the early and late frosts that killed the garden and retarded the fruit trees. Robert discovered the relief he found during hay fever season, soon turned into respiratory problems with the sub-zero winter temperatures. Franconia for all its beauty and serenity proved to be disagreeable after a time. Geographically, Frost needed a more southerly climate.
 
Today, The Frost Place is owned by the town of Franconia and used in the summer as a writers' conference. Several rooms are open to the public during the season. Programs are given to commemorate the poet. Visit their fine web site to learn more.
 
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"The farm I made my home on in the mountains."