Cathedral of the Pines, Ringe NH

Driving to New Hampshire on from Boston via Route 2 and Route 119 is a beautiful experience. The landscape shifts almost immediately from city buildings to greenery and farmhouses, some with green pastures. Nothing, however can prepare one for the serene experience of arriving at the Cathedral of the Pines, a beautiful retreat in Ringe, New Hampshire, after traveling through Corcord, Acton, Littleton, Grouton, Townsend, Ashby, and Ashburnham.

Situated in the backdrop of Mt. Murdock, the Cathedral of Pines is an open air mediative spot, retreat, memorial for World War 2 heroes, cemetery, all in one. It is picturesque, tranquil and surreal in its beauty and grandeur.

Built by the Sloane family in memory of their son, a victim of the second world war, the locale is green and well maintained. Waling on its beautiful walkway, one sees a the Altar of the Nations, a stone altar dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives serving the nation.

The altar is located in front of a seating area and has a pulpit near it and is an ideal place for religious or social meetings, out in the open. As envisioned by its creators, the Cathedral was meant to be secular and the altar has served as the site of services for many religious and spiritual programs.

The walkway also passes through a Zen garden, conceived and built by a school teacher, to remind us of the present moment. Also at the venue is a museum and a gift store and a hall. The hall is provided, just in case inclement weather prevents having a ceremony out in the open.

All the funds for the upkeep of the cathedral come from charitable contributions from patrons as the cathedral does not receive any monetary contributions from the state. The Museum at the cathedral has a lot of war memorabilia and numerous trinkets received as gifts from contributors. Our helpful and amiable guide told us that the contents of the museum were on a five year rotation and would be replaced by more contents kept in the church.

The Cathedral of Pines is one of the hidden treasures of New Hampshire and is recommended highly by yours truly whether you are looking for spiritual enlightenment or just escape from the mundane Boston routine. Be warned, that for directions, the Cathedral's website strongly recommends that your best bet is to get directions from the website. Do not use Mapquest or your GPS as they may not have the right location.
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