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MITTENSTOCK BLOG
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Mittenstock

A place called home in Mittendom

What started as something of a joke has turned into a great name for a great place. Mittenstock is a mashup of nicknames we were giving property that we looked at in the spring of 2013 – but let me go back farther than that.

I moved to the area the day after I graduated from High School, and a few years later I would meet my bride here in 1984. We were both motivated and professionally focused and came to the realization that there was simply not enough work in information systems in the valley to base a career on. With that we moved to the area of Portland Maine. We got busy with work, life, building a house and more – and trips to our beloved White Mountains became fewer and fewer. We got over now and again, but at times years would pass without a visit.

Sometime around spring of 2009 we were starting to visit more – we rode the Kanc on our bikes again, and would do that for both of our ’50 on 50′ birthday rides. After interest in hiking re-developed in 2011 and 2012 we found ourselves coming over nearly every weekend we could. That meant 125 or more miles in the car each day – and importantly, over three hours that could be spent in adventure were lost to driving. With that notion firmly in mind, Sally started to say  ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a small place, so we could bring the dogs over and spend the night’ while I agreed, I never really thought much would come of it.  The thought of a hike or climb then dinner and NOT having to drive back in the dark was appealing.

Come April 2013, the real-estate search was in full swing and the queen of Google was on the case. We came over more and more for showings and investigations. We would give a candidate a nick name as all the street names and location names started to sound alike. Names like ‘swampville’ and ‘mittendorf’ would be thrown about in conversation of comparative analysis of property and locations.

We landed on a property on a street named Bristenstock – that morphed into Mittenstock

 

You can only imagine how thrilled I was, being the geek I am, that the domain was available. Hard to believe it, but yes.

So was ‘Mitten’ for a license plate. A continuation of a fortuitous spring of 2013.

 

white-mountains

White Mountains

My first trip to the area was probably around 1978 or so. A friend from scouts was an avid hiker and back packer and familiar with the area. I grew up going to Rangeley Maine, which is in the north eastern tip of the White Mountain region, along the Appalachian trail where we still maintain a home. It was on a trip along the AT that my scouting friend would talk to me about trips in the Mount Washington area. We spent a portion of the summer of 78 based out of the lake house in Rangeley, taking long tips north and south along the AT. When we ran out of food – we would make a trail head and hitch hike back to my moms cooking. One of those trips went from Rangeley down through the Mahoosics. That was my first hiking in the northern presidentials.
Meanwhile, far far a way and unknown to me, Sally had developed a love of nature and mountains by way of regular vacations and hikes with her father in the Adirondacks at indian lake. A biologist and nature lover combined with a love of hiking and things outdoors had me knowing she was a great find when we met in 84. But back to the area –   I moved to the valley in 1980 to work at a climbing shop in North Conway.  I had discovered rock climbing which proceeded to eclipse my world. Hiking dropped to zero unless you counted approaches to climbs as hikes. The MWV (Mount Washington Valley) was THE prime climbing community on the east coast. It was a dream in that just weeks out of high school I found myself working in the premier shop, for an icon in the community and being introduced to big name climbers from around the world. That life ran it’s course. I knew that money was a limited commodity with that life style. That led me to jumping careers a few times – Home builder, land surveyor, then Data Processing Operator – yup. That’s where I met my bride – and things changed.   It’s a love hate with the region. The populations swells enormously on the weekends – crazy and choked are the roads shops and facilities of the ‘valley’.  When we lived here in 84 there were off seasons in the spring and fall (excluding leaf peeping weekends) but now, it seems like there is no down time for the area. And while it is maddening at times, we also recognize that we contribute to that as well.

Mittenstock overlooks the Sandwich range with Mount Chocorua a prominent feature. Most of our excursions are off the Kancamagus by virtue of both proximity and beauty. We are a mere four miles from the Ranger Station at the entrance to this scenic wonder highway.   Hiking in the white mountains remains the premier activity for us while at Mittenstock.