Nestled in New Hampshire's White Mountains, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel is surrounded by thousands of acres of natural, tranquil beauty.
Inside the massive hotel, a flurry of activity. The silence broken by workers getting ready for a big auction -- and early shoppers, like Vicki Bergeron of Concord, Vermont.
"It is just part of heritage of this area and its tradition and I collect kitchen things and I thought it would be an opportunity to look at things you wouldn't normally see. I've done it for three hours and absolutely enjoyed it," Bergeron said.
A stunning amount of stuff is up for sale. Hundreds of bedroom sets, dining room furniture, artwork, linens, everything but the kitchen sink -- oh wait, that's going too.
"We are basically selling the remaining contents of the hotel," said Charlie Ames with North Country Auctions.
New owners of the historic hotel plan a major renovation, with hopes to reopen the 150 year-old resort next summer, once it clears all of its permitting.
The Balsams is steeped in history, reflected in many items up for bid. The hotel is located in Dixville Notch, which prides itself on being the first place in the nation to vote in the presidential primaries and general elections. Voters cast ballots at the stroke of midnight in the famous ballot room and have for 50 years.
Most pieces of electoral history, aside from a few signs, will not be auctioned off. Some photos and furnishings, like the old theater seats, will also be kept to carry on the Balsams history. But other mementos will go. But not the memories, and that's why Ken Stransky traveled from Norton, Vermont for the auction preview. "It has always been a place where you could come back and it was frozen in time and you could come here and escape everything in the world," he said.
You'll find plenty of quirky and cool items on the auction block. Old ski trail signs from the property, a copper tub, vintage barber's chair, or how about a 96 seat chair lift?
"We have so many people who have been coming here for 15 or 20 years that are looking for that certain chair that was in a room," said Charlie Ames. "It is well known and I think we will draw a real good crowd."
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