Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Summit House, Mount Holyoke

Here's a view of what awaits at the top of Mount Holyoke (the hill, not the college). The Summit House was once a hotel, one of several "mountaintop hotels" in New England... and, trust me, they're using "mountain" in the East Coast sense; elevation=900-something feet. But the base is almost at sea level, I'll give 'em that. There was once a funicular that carried visitors up the (verrrry steep) hill from the Halfway House. You can see the red roof of the HH at the bottom of the photo below.

From the DCR website comes this very Ken Burns-esque notion of Mt. Holyoke:
From the early 1800s, Mt. Holyoke played a significant role in the cultural identity of the United States. The view from the summit – cultivated farm fields, framed by rugged mountain and impenetrable forest – told the story of a young nation transforming itself from wilderness into a civilized landscape. It was this vista that made Mount Holyoke an important tourist destination in those days, second only to Niagara Falls.

I chose an overcast day to make the hike up Mt. Holyoke. And since it was after Columbus Day, the Summit House was closed for the season. But the ladybugs hadn't gotten—or hadn't bothered to heed—their eviction notice. A closer look reveals that every little black speck in all these other photos is actually a ladybug. The place was covered in them.

It was so strange to imagine vacationing up there, once upon a time, at the "top of a mountain" that's actually at a lower elevation than the house in which I live (at 1700 feet or so, for those who like to know those things.) But the view—yes, the view was quite expansive.


cindy said...

such a beautiful view. i wonder if those sweet ladybugs notice it, too?

nadia said...

beautiful! yes we got invaded here wi th ladybugs!

erin said...

lovely post. such sweet little buggers, too.