Pickity Place

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go! Isn’t that Little Red Riding Hood? I think so. Well anyways, Pickity Place is the place to go if you want to step into a real life fairy tale. In fact, the cottage that now houses the restaurant was what the Little Golden book illustrator used as a model to illustrate her version of Little Red Riding Hood.

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It is indeed a cozy, fairy tale cottage. An enormously old tree full of character towers over the little red cottage. When it is time for your meal to begin (they do 3 seatings a day) the hostess rings a bell by the door. The waitresses hustle and bustle in the relatively cramped space (little cottage after all) to get you all 5 courses in the proper order, explaining each edible herbal addition.

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IMG_8900The quality and creativity of the food alone is enough of a draw to go to Pickity Place, never mind the quaint setting. Each month, a new menu is revealed, with 5 new courses to try: A dip appetizer, soup and bread, salad, main entree, and a yummy dessert. There are always 2 entree choices, one of them being a vegetarian option. It’s usually a hard decision, as both entrees are always excellent. All the food is prepared fresh using herbs grown right there at Pickity Place.

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pickity-place_24003837942_oOh, and I can’t forget about the beverage options! They have a few fun options including a lavender lemonade, a strawberry basil tea, an orange tea, and Mocha coffee (complete with cinnamon stick straw). They let you change which drink you try each time you run out, making for a fun variety- I always save the mocha coffee to have with my dessert.

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The fun doesn’t stop when the meal is over; then it is time to explore the gardens! I’ve gone at all times of the year, and it is always beautiful. June, of course will be the best month to explore the flower gardens. However, even in the winter, the garden blanketed with snow, the cozy cottage nestled in, and the big tree watching over is still charming. During spring and summer months, stop by their greenhouse to get herbs and flowers for your own garden! Their plants are reasonably priced and I’ve found them to be of high quality.

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They book up fast (special days sometimes over a year in advance) so be sure to make a reservation! If you really get hooked on Pickity, they have a frequent diners card; I’ve never been that committed to it, but some people go once a month! I like it for special occasions; it’s a great place to take someone visiting the area. Pickity Place is a quintessential New England experience!

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Sunapee Crafts Fair

An event I look forward to every summer is the League of New Hampshire Craftman’s annual fair held in Sunapee, New Hampshire. At the foothills of Sunapee’s ski mountain, a number of huge white tents are set up and within is every form of fine art, craft, and beautiful skilled art work you can imagine: Photography, painting, etching, ceramics, pottery, knitting, felting, weaving, jewelry, wood crafts, rock sculpture, and more!

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Group weaving project – everyone’s invited to contribute!

Every summer growing up, my mom would take my sister and I to the Sunapee Craft’s Fair. We were each allowed to pick out one little thing to buy; a tiny carved and painted wooden goose, a stained glass sun-catcher, a pewter stegosaurus, a small raku pot in the “seconds” bin for 20 dollars. I still treasure these things. I’m thankful my mom introduced us to artisan made crafts at such young ages! Though I don’t get up to crafts fair every single year anymore, I still hold such a place of fondness for this fair in my heart. From here forward I will try not to miss it (I even drove up by myself just for the afternoon last August!). There are new things to see every summer! Many of the artisans put on live demonstrations. I personally loved watching Richard Foye’s raku pottery demonstration this past year. The colors he gets on his finished pots are so beautiful!

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Richard Foye at work creating Raku pottery!

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I’ve also always admired the carved wooden spoons. Two years ago, I finally got one! I am sad to say I cannot remember this artist’s name, but he was kind enough to show me the tools he uses to carve spoons and recommended ones for home carving. Another fun thing to do is take a ride up and down the chair lift to see the beautiful mountain view! You can buy tickets to do this in the lodge. I’ve only done that a couple times, but it is a stunning view – just don’t do it if you’re afraid of heights 🙂

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There is a sculpture garden, fairy houses, a trout pond, a children’s tent, lots of yummy food. Really, something for everyone. The dates for this year’s Fair listed on the League of New Hampshire Craftsman’s Website are:

August 3rd to August 11th 2019 from 10 AM to 5 PM daily

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I still think about these ceramic Koi Fish! 

As a random aside, I discovered a sweet little farm shop on the way home from the Fair last year ~ the Sweet Beet Market at 11 West Main Street in Bradford, NH. It’s a nice place to stop for a snack for the road or to get your week’s produce. I just thought it was super cute. A perk of driving home on back roads! You never know what you will discover.

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As if there wasn’t enough to look forward to this summer 🙂

 

 

Portrait of a Small Town: Harrisville

Perhaps the most special of all the New Hampshire small towns is Harrisville. Situated in the Monadnock Region of the state (which is special in general), it is a lovely old mill town right on a lake. It has a yarn shop which is quite fancy and esteemed, and a general store that makes some of the best food ever. Seriously. Most of the old mill buildings are converted to artist’s studios (sometimes they are open to the public). Harrisville doesn’t have to be a little place you stop to on the way to somewhere- you can make it a destination. Bring a kayak for the lake, take a poke around the yarn store (there’s a lot more in there besides yarn) and have an excellent meal at the store. Just a little stroll around town admiring the quaint houses is fun too.

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The Lake, Yarn from Harrisville Designs, and a fresh cider donut from the General Store: All in a day’s visit to Harrisville!

I like going to Harrisville in any season and (of course) my favorite thing is having lunch at the store. I mean, look at this food! They always have a  variety of fresh creative salads available, their decaf iced coffee is the tastiest ever, and the desserts just scrumptious (I will be forever craving that strawberry rhubarb pie!)

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The mill building in front of a sunrise; the village cozy under snow

Kayaking in Harrisville Pond is delightful. The Public Library is that little brick building right on the edge of the water! If you look closely, you might see a beaver swim on by 🙂

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I love going to Harrisville. Any season or time, it is always a joy to go there.

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New Hampshire in Mid-Winter

It’s been an icy, icy world out there lately. December and January seemed especially brutal with days on end of sub-zero temperatures, wind, and a couple of ice storms. On New Years Day, with just 2 degrees on the thermometer, Ethan and I set out for a northern adventure. We just had to get out of the house! And we wanted to see the snowy mountains. We bundled up and hit the road, temperature plummeting the more Northward we drove. fullsizeoutput_2cfa

fullsizeoutput_2cfcWe meandered through small towns, such as Grafton and Warren. We tried to take smaller, back roads as we went. Route 118 from Warren to North Woodstock was particularly scenic. From there, we jumped on highway 93 North so we could go through the Notch. The Notch was socked in with fog it was so cold, but the glimpses we got of the mountains were beautiful.fullsizeoutput_2cf6After a quick stop at the Garnet Hill Outlet in Franconia, we made our way to Sugar Hill for a late lunch at Polly’s Pancake Parlor. Situated on a hill overlooking a gorgeous mountain view, Polly’s has quite the spot. If only the food lived up to the location. I hate doling out bad reviews, but the food just wasn’t that great. But the options were many, so perhaps we just made some bad choices (I had the quiche of the day and Ethan had a reuben as per usual). Their peppermint cappuccino on the other hand- yum, yum.

fullsizeoutput_2cfdAfter our lunch, we went over to Sunset Hill in Sugar Hill to take in the view above. Still a  little foggy, but lovely none the less. We were starting to lose light, so we meandered towards home from there, though we were far from it. We went through some little New Hampshire towns that I had never seen before. Most interestingly, we stumbled upon The Brick Store in Bath which is on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest general store in the country- how cool! It had loads of old character, we had to go in and have a look around. Thankfully, we caught them just before they closed for the day. My favorite thing was the wide front porch with all the rocking chairs. Too bad it was below zero out, it would be fun to sit there and enjoy a treat from the store. fullsizeoutput_2d66

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Other towns of note were Haverhill and Etna. Both new to me, and both very colonial and charming. The moon was rising when we were in Haverhill, so by the time we drove through Etna, it was too dark for photos. Haverhill is along Route 10 in New Hampshire, and Etna is situated atop a hill off a side road- you’ll have to use your GPS to find it, but it’s worth finding- well, hopefully, I did only see it in the dark. fullsizeoutput_2d67fullsizeoutput_2d65Well that was our little mid-winter, sub-zero, just-have-to-get-out-of-the-house adventure! Hopefully we can repeat it in warmer temperatures. There’s a certain rocking chair in Bath calling out to me…

Portrait of Peterborough

Nestled below Mount Monadnock there is a very special town; a creative community bursting at the seams with arts, culture, good food, and cute shops. The place I describe is none other than Peterborough, New Hampshire. Peterborough, self described as “a good town to live in” or simply, “our town”, is one of New Hampshire’s best gems (perhaps even one of the country’s best gems as far as small towns go). Consider this post a miniature tour of downtown Peterborough wherein I describe my favorite places to go and things to do in this special place. While certainly not all-encompassing, these are some the highlights.24814210031_7a442bf529_opeterborough stroll

First let’s talk food. Cause when it comes to good eats, Peterborough is where it’s at. It’s hard to chose a favorite but if I was forced to, Twelve Pine would win. Gourmet market-meets amazingly deli-meets awesome coffee shop-meets excellent restaurant is how I would describe Twelve Pine. Oh, and they sell flowers and homemade gelato too. All under one roof! In a casual, yet somewhat refined atmosphere. I have probably spent thousands there collectively over the years (joking, but probably pretty close- some do refer to it as “twelve dollar pine”-worth it!) and yet, I consider it well spent. twelve pine

espalierharlowsThere are some new places to eat in town that are definitely worth a shout out as well. My new favorite spot (especially for lunch) is the Thai Cafe, located in the same building as chocolate maker and sweet shop Ava Marie’s (which has the best iced coffee in town- their secret: coffee ice cubes and swirls of homemade caramel sauce). The food at the Thai Cafe is made to order, fresh, and so delicious! Oh, and they have amazing iced coffee too (we are spoiled on break around here!) Other Asian restaurants are down the road, there’s Kogetsu – great for sushi- and Pearl – a more upscale Asian-fusion dinner place that specializes in Oysters on the half shell. And then, if you want a good ole’ pub environment there are two great options: Harlow’s Pub and Cooper’s Hill Public House. The former is a Peterborough landmark, it’s been downtown for years and is a funky place to relax and listen to live music. Cooper’s Hill is new, and is great because it’s open late (something Peterborough lacks) and you can sit in armchairs and talk for hours (if you can hear yourselves above the music that is) I would highly recommend the Irish Nachos at Cooper’s Hill, instead of corn chips they use thinly sliced potatoes, topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream and scallions – yum!img_9374

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bowerbirdWhen it comes to treasure hunting in antique shops and cute little stores, Peterborough’s got it covered. Some of my favorite antique stores ever are in town, but it is hard to pick an absolute favorite. It’s a tie between Bowerbird and Friends and Grove & Main. Both are meticulously curated and styled, and both are filled with beautiful and interesting things to look at (generally I just look, cause both stores are a bit pricey). Bowerbird even has a little terrarium building room overlooking the river in the back of the store. Another good one is Laurel & Grove down the street. Smaller than the other ones, they have good sales and a lovely selection of potted plants. For more eclectic, international gifts try out Joseph’s Coat. For unique clothing and jewelry, there is Alice Blue. Depot Square is home to many little shops, too many to list. I am not including everything here- you have to go to Peterborough and see for yourself 🙂

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Yes, I’m sure you’ll spend more on stationary and office supplies at Steele’s Stationers than you would at Staples or Wal-mart, but the fact that Steele’s is still in business since the 1800s and you can go into a cute little mainstreet store like that makes me so happy. I wish big box stores didn’t exist so all downtowns could be as thriving as Peterborough. Peterborough also has a very large and well stocked book shop called Toadstool which includes new and used books. If buying books isn’t for you, check out the oldest free public Library in the country- the Peterborough Town Librarygrove street peterborough

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winter peterboroughPeterborough is a very walkable town. There is a path along the river (next to the big parking lot by Toadstool’s Bookshop) which is lined with flowers in the summer. There is a small outdoor stone seating area where you can overlook the water. There is also a pathway of birch trees you can meander up from Depot Square to Grove street. Off of Grove street there is a bridge over which you will find another nice park to roam around in. Peterborough really is a paradise for the pedestrian- I wish all small towns were still that way. Whether you come in warm weather or cold, or visit when the fall colors are out, or when the flowers start blooming, I am confident you will enjoy your visit to Peterborough. Please comment below if you need any further clarification on the places listed, or if you would like more detailed directions or information. Happy adventuring!

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Hancock Through the Seasons

Here are some photographs of Hancock, a gorgeous little New England Village tucked away in Southwestern New Hampshire. I was fortunate enough to work as the Children’s Librarian there for one year, so I enjoyed Hancock through each season.

Spring:

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Flowers sprouting up around town. Budding trees in front of the Hancock Inn. Apple trees with new leaves in the orchard on Norway Hill. Irises on Main Street. Trees in bloom in front of the Hancock Town Library.  Lilac bushes in front of a colonial house.

Summer: img_6197

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Processed with Snapseed.old dublin roadElliot's GardenMy most favorite view off of Old Dublin Road. Flowers at the farmer’s market in the old circular stables. A place of sanctuary at the Harris Center. Giant bubbles from a performance I planned at the end of summer reading.  Scenes from the Tour Hancock Gardens summer garden tour. A walk down the dirt sidewalks of Main Street. Storm clouds approaching Nubanusit Lake. Walking Old Dublin Road. The Elliot’s amazing private garden.

Autumn: img_4153

hancock main streethancock autumnwillard pondHancockInnnorway hillGolden trees on Main Street. Ivy growing up an old colonial house. Norway Pond stillness. Main Street littered with leaves. A walk on an old dirt road. Kayaking on Willard Pond close to sunset. The historic Hancock Inn. The fall colors starting to appear at the apple orchard on Norway Hill.

Winter: 

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hancock winterA snow storm in February blankets an old colonial home. Lilies brighten up the winter day inside Fiddleheads Cafe. The huge tree outside of the library covered in snow. The Hancock Inn and it’s Fox tavern is a cozy place for a winter’s evening meal. Frost patterns inside the library’s windows.

No matter what season you visit Hancock, it is always going to be beautiful.

Sculptured Rocks

There is a very special place tucked away in quiet Groton, New Hampshire. It’s a geological site called the Sculptured Rocks. Nearby to gorgeous Newfound Lake, the Sculptured Rocks are on an unassuming back road through the little towns of Hebron and Groton. Signs point the way once you get to Hebron. I will let the photos speak for themselves but the Sculpured Rocks are worth a trip, and would be an especially fun place to swim on a hot summer’s day. img_8351img_8411img_8398img_8394img_8392The drive home isn’t so bad either. No matter where you live, take the back way. img_8412

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Lake Towns: Meredith & Center Harbor

The biggest lake in New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee has always held a special place in my heart. My grandfather has owned cabins on the lake for decades so my family have taken summer trips up to Center Harbor for many years. Center Harbor is a special little town full of unique spots, and nearby Meredith is bustling with arts and antiques. Both towns have awesome little shops and food options. And both towns are right on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee, are right down the road from one another, and are definitely worth a visit. The photos are not in any real order, and my descriptions of places will provide links when available if you’d like to know more particulars. img_8293

I’ll start with one of Center Harbor’s best restaurant, Lavinia’s. Though I’ve only eaten take out there once (and it was great food!) everyone who has dined there that I know has always thoroughly enjoyed it. My sister told me that you can eat in the very top cupola section, which has an amazing view out over the lake. I’m not sure if they still offer that, but if they do, I’d recommend a reservation. Two of my favorite shops in Center Harbor are the yarn shop, Patternworks and the book shop, Bayswater Books. Both are fun places just to browse. The book shop has lots of beautiful little trinkets and gifts which are fun to look at as well. Sandwiched between the yarn and the books is Keepsake Quilting, a large quilting shop with tons of fabric choices. This was my favorite shop to go in when I was younger, before I realized how much time quilting takes and how difficult it is. I would also pick out my fabric with high hopes, but I never did get around to finishing a quilt. Hopefully I will someday. Now I don’t even go in the quilt shop because I don’t want to be tempted into another hobby, but I hope to have the time to do quilting eventually 😉

img_8291Another classic Center Harbor spot is the Yikes Craft Gallery which features work from various local artists and craftspeople. If you’re looking for a unique gift to give someone, I bet you could find them something in Yikes. And my favorite place in Center Harbor is Dewey’s Ice Cream Parlor! They have my favorite ice cream flavor in all the world: Phantom Berry! It’s black raspberry ice cream with chunks of brownie and swirls of brownie batter. YUM. I made sure to get a cone of that good stuff every day we were there 🙂 For a summery eating experience, try Red Hill Dari for all your classic summer food, ordered at a pick-up window and eaten outside.

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Moving on to Meredith, the Main street winds up and around uphill, and is filled with antique shops, art galleries, and a really yummy coffee shop with a book store inside and a cozy fireplace. There’s a shop that sells homemade soap, a kitchen gadget shop, and a cool health food shop. All of my photos from Meredith are places that can be found just by wandering along the Main street. When going between Meredith and Center Harbor on Route 25, be sure to stop at Moulton Farm. It’s a huge farm store filled with gorgeous produce and other products. I think they even have a corn maze in the fall.img_8231

img_8237 img_8331And no trip to Center Harbor or Meredith is complete without walking down to the docks and just gazing out at the water. If you can catch a sunset, that’s even better. Though these local spots highlighted in the post are fun to visit, my favorite part of being there is to wake up very early and kayak across the glassy water, and hear loon calls echo from one end of the lake to the other. I’m thankful to be so familiar with these fun New Hampshire towns. I hope you will be able to visit them too 🙂

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Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music

Tucked away down a winding dirt road in Nelson, New Hampshire, you will find the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, a center for musical education for students from around the world. I had read that they offered classical concerts for the public on Tuesday nights in the summer, so one hot August evening Ethan and I made our way up to Nelson, not knowing at all what to expect.

What we found was delightful. As we wound our way up the dirt road, suddenly we came upon a big colonial house and barn that was humming with people. The front porch had a large buffet of food and the lovely yard was lined with picnic tables filled with happy, friendly neighbors. Looking closer, you could see a yurt or a small house in the woods, which presumably house the students who go to Apple Hill. After dinner, a bell was rung and (most) everyone filed into the big barn to hear the concert. img_9586 img_9582We sat outside of the barn and it was so peaceful to watch the sunset over the distant mountains and just listen to the beautiful music. If I were to do it again (which I will!) I would definitely bring bug spray and a sweater- once the sun goes down it got buggy and chilly fast. I would also bring my own picnic dinner! It’s free to sit outside and it costs $15 to get into the barn. Watching in the barn would also be a neat experience someday so we would actually get to view the concert too. But it was relaxing to just listen.img_9596img_9587img_9600After a little while, when we looked up, the lights came on in the tree above us. What a nice (and free!) night out. Not only is Apple Hill Center a place for musical education, it is also a charming and unexpected venue for concerts in the summer time. Keep it in mind.img_9601