Robert Frost Homes: Where Author Adventures Began
The “R. Frost” mailbox that is visible in one of our header images (above) planted the first seed of the idea for authoradventures.org.
Driving through New Hampshire, a roadside mailbox caught our attention. Could that be the same “R. Frost” as the famous poet? The one who recited his poem at the Presidential Inauguration of John F. Kennedy? That one? No. It couldn’t be. But curiosity prompted us to peek down the driveway, and, yes, it was the real thing: The Frost Place, where the Frosts lived from 1915 to 1920 and spent 19 summers (according to frostplace.org). The photo on our home page is the one I snapped when we stopped the car to figure out if we really were where we really were.
Farm to England and Back
Prior to The Frost Place, the Frosts lived at The Robert Frost Farm for about nine years and sold it in 1911 for less than they paid for it. Though they lived on a beautiful property, this was a painful time for the Frosts because of sadness and grief over loved ones.
Selling the farm turned out to be a smart decision because they used the money to finance a stay in England, which is where he wrote some of his best work to that time and earned his reputation as a major poet. (In England, his work was promoted by his friend Ezra Pound, who has a page on this site in the Idaho section.)
A Boy’s Will is a slim volume that is an example of Robert Frost’s work during this part of his life. In his lifetime, Frost won a total of four Pulitzer Prizes. A video of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, at which Frost delivered his inaugural poem at the age of 87, can be seen here: youtube.com/watch?v=MdG1kcEAsX0. You can skip to a humorous moment by clicking on this YouTube link: youtube.com/watch?v=XInL2u0DP88.
At the end of his life, Robert Frost renewed interest in purchasing the farm from the current owner, but the owner declined to sell. After Frost died, a former student of his named John Pillsbury arranged for the state to purchase the property. Pillsbury became the chairman of the property and worked diligently to restore it.
Robert Frost’s best-known poems include The Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening. Readers may also recognize Nothing Gold Can Stay, from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, which is on the genius.com website.
We suggest visiting both The Frost Place‘s house museum in Franconia as well as the The Robert Frost Farm in Derry.
Seeing the natural beauty of the area helped us understand Frost’s inspiration. As you get caught up in the setting and another time, be careful about the wildlife. As we walked in the nearby woods, a caretaker warned us of a bear sighting.
Before heading to the farm, get to know it online. Not only does its website provide information about Robert Frost and the environment, but it has a treasure trove of classroom ideas, activities for kids, and links to other important poetry websites.
Both places are in towns that remain fairly small. The population of Derry is a little more than 20,000, and the population of Franconia is less than 1,200.
Approximately 30 miles west in Milford is a statue honoring the memory of the first African-American woman to publish a novel in the US: Harriet E. Adams Wilson.
You can read about more Robert Frost residences through the Florida, New Mexico, and Vermont pages of authoradventures.org.
The Robert Frost Farm in Derry is our New Hampshire Author Adventures Trail‘s first stop after the town of Jaffrey, and The Frost Place is next.
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