Get out of your La-Z-Boys, armchair explorers!
And go for a hike through the woods while finding some impressive art. All for free.
I was not exactly sure what I was in for when I drove up to the ANDRES INSTITUTE OF ART- 98 Route 13, Brookline, NH.
I drove down the dusty driveway and to the guest parking lot. After looking around the dense woods draping up the steep terrain, I looked down at my flip-flops and knew this would not do. I changed them for sneakers and ankle socks (which looked stunning with my skirt, let me tell you).
Smartest decision I made all day. Probably even all week.
Perhaps I should start with what exactly I am talking about. The Andres Institute of Art is a non-profit organization which started as one man’s passion for art and nature and turned into an internationally-attracting annual symposium of artists creating art and planting it throughout the trails zig-zagging around the mountains.
There are many trails throughout the property, throughout which are scattered many sculptures and pieces of art for you to stop and ponder (or to simply find like a treasure hunt, if that is your preference). There are also designated trails for snowmobiles, mountain bikes, and strictly pedestrian.
Naturally, upon looking over the map (which you can pick up at a kiosk near the parking lot), I chose the trail labeled as “difficult.” I have never tried official hiking, but I walk a lot and am surprisingly agile for a non-athletic person. It was worth seeing if I could handle their classification of difficult in a skirt with a purse slung across my shoulders.
If the above picture is any indication (yes, there is a trail in there, believe it or not), there is indeed a certain amount of agility and endurance needed for these trails as they are not for the faint of heart. I was able to make it with the skirt and purse, but I was admittedly sweaty afterwards. Here’s the thing: I got lost quite often (the map helped me re-orient myself, but it was hard to actually follow), and most of the trails had the same terrain. You definitely want your hiking clothes and you definitely want water with you, especially if you are heading out on an almost 90 degree day like I did.
Despite becoming sweaty and dusty and worn out at the end, it was actually a lot of fun. The eight-year-old in me that LOVED off-trailing and exploring got a huge kick out of climbing rocks and wandering the woods. If I lived nearby, I would probably visit on a regular basis for a decent workout. Mixing the culture of some abstract art and the adventure of hunting for the different pieces were added bonuses that made it even better.
Much of the art was impressive and created by artists from all over the world.
This guy may have some issues…
The building in the background appears to be the studio.
Seeing random stacks of rocks throughout the trails inspired me to add to the collection.
It would be interesting to see how long anyone using this picnic table keeps these rocks here, thinking it is regular part of the art.
If you are in the area, I fully recommend donning your workout or grimy clothes and hitting these trails.
I’ll leave you with this fun game below. Find the woodchuck.
Hint: he’s in the middle of the picture.
Until next time, dahlings…