Sunday, October 12, 2014

Peterborough - Celebrating 275 Years!

After months, even years of planning, the week-long celebration to commemorate Peterborough's 275th Anniversary began under less-than-ideal weather conditions.  And well, yes... it did rain on our parade... but it didn't seem to dampen spirits! The parade stepped off Saturday, October 11 at 10:00 AM, led by the 6th New Hampshire Regiment (portraying soldiers and civilians from the Civil War), followed by the Governor's Horse Guard, marching bands, antique cars, local organizations, floats, and more!  (For more photos of the parade and other events of the day, please see our Facebook page.)

6th New Hampshire Regiment Infantry Company E leading the parade.

Peterborough Food Pantry "Float"... very creative!

William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps

The Lexington Minute Men

 

Monadnock Community Hospital - The most enthusiastic marchers on this rainy morning!

Fred Marple, the official Frost Heaves "dignitary" in the parade.

The celebration also included special tribute to William Diamond, a Revolutionary War drummer in Lexington, Massachusetts under Captain John Parker.  In April 1775, a teen-aged William Diamond beat his drum as the call to arms, summoning the village's minutemen to the start of the Revolutionary War.  He is famously portrayed as the young drummer in the "Spirit of '76" painting by Archibald Willard.  In 1795, William Diamond and his wife Rebecca settled in Peterborough, purchased land to farm, and raised their family here.  He died in 1828 and is buried in the town's cemetery on Old Street Road.  The tribute to William Diamond featured participation throughout the day by the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps, The Lexington Minute Men, and the 10th Regiment British Soldiers.  In addition, William Diamond's drum and desk were on display at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, courtesy of the Lexington Historical Society.

The Lexington Minute Men, the 10th Regiment British Soldiers, and the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corp gathered for the special presentation in front of the Monadnock Center for History and Culture

Actor portrayal of William Diamond, giving an account of his life


William Diamond's drum


Other activities in town also included demonstrations by Colonel Ebenezer Hinsdale's Garrison Company recreating aspects of 18th century colonial community, a traditional blacksmith creating late 16th and 17th century armor such as that worn by the Polish Winged Hussar knights, music performances by the Temple Town Band and the NH Pipes and Drums band, the rededication and grand opening of the original Main Street entrance to the Town Library, a special Farmers' Market, food court, and activities for all.

Participant in the Garrison Company's community cooking chicken over the open coals (said to take about 4 hours to cook this way).


Blacksmith working on armor


Tent in the 6th NH Regiment's camp


The day ended with a great fireworks show over the rivers in downtown Peterborough at Depot Square Park, sponsored by The Peterson's Real Estate.





But the party isn't over just yet!  Additional events this week include a talk on Peterborough in the 60s at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture on Wednesday, concerts on Friday, and Ken Sheldon's Frost Heaves live comedy show, an Open Hearth Cooking demonstration, the Peak into Peterborough Festival, a contra dance, and more on Saturday, October 18, 2014!

(For more photos of the day, please see our Facebook page.)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hiking Mt Monadnock - The Marlboro Trail

This past month we invited our friend Andrew on our annual hike up Mt Monadnock and we decided to tackle yet another new trailhead (well...new for us).  After having peaked many times starting at White Dot, Old Toll Road, Dublin Trail and Birchtoft, we knew we needed to check either the Pumpelly or Marlboro trailhead off our list.

We were on a bit of a time schedule and knowing that Pumpelly is the longest trail on the mountain, we decided to tackle Marlboro.  We had never done it before and were unsure what to expect and it definitely threw us a few curves.
Paula and Andrew at the Marlboro trailhead
The first curve was finding the trail head.  Although we knew where it was, we didn't know an AWD vehicle with a taller clearance is recommended for getting down the bumpy dirt road to the parking lot.  Lucky for us we were in the Highlander and not our little two seater.  We got to the lot and were just the second car.

That was a good sign we were going to have plenty of solitude on the hike (which we were hoping for).  That was the case as we passed nobody on the way up and just two groups on the way back down.
Views from mid-climb
The second curve came as we got to the middle of the climb.  Spellman Trail may be the steepest trail on Monadnock but Marlboro is clearly the most challenging climb on Monadnock we have done with plenty of scrambling over rock and lots of steep parts.  Halfway up we went through a scramble and when we rest at the top of it we thought the good news was that we had finished the worst of it.  We were wrong, as we hit another steep scramble higher up the trail and near the top it became a free for all picking the best rock trail to the peak.  It was a lot of fun!

The last curve was the views.  Even just halfway up Marlboro the views were expansive and spectacular.  I am sure it didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day but Marlboro is the only trail whose views look Westward towards Keene.
At the top of Monadnock
As I mentioned, I would rate this the most challenging trail on Monadnock (we have climbed from five of the six trailheads) but also one of the most rewarding and satisfying climbs as well.  If you are looking for a workout, we highly recommend this route!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Our day at "The Big E"

Last week, Paula and I took a day out of our schedule to visit The Big E and volunteer as tourism experts at the NH State building.  We had a great time and wanted to share our experiences.
Scary bears :)
Question: So what exactly is The Big E?

Answer: The Eastern States Exposition, known as The Big E is the fifth largest state fair in the United States (I think I have that correct).  What makes it unique is that it is a multi-state fair encompassing all six New England states.
Ask me, I'm an "expert" :)
 So in addition to:

  • Carnival food: we had Gyros, fried Oreo cookies and hand made cider donuts and apple fritters
  • Agricultural buildings having all sorts of animal competitions: we saw hundreds of cows 'getting their hair done', piglet races and sheep shearing
  • Carnival: we didn't go but they had a ferris wheel, roller coaster and all the other requisite amusement park rides
  • Crafts fair
Fried Oreos...YUM!
The Big E also has its "Avenue of States".  The Avenue of States encompasses one side of the fairgrounds where each of the six New England states has a building which is a replica of their original state house.  Each state house offers vendors unique to their state selling unique foods and specialty items plus an information booth filled with tourism brochures and so-called experts :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Wapack Trail...twenty-one miles of scenic beauty

The Wapack Trail may be one of the more under-rated hiking trails in the Monadnock Region and is a fantastic way to get out and enjoy our local scenery.  There are plenty of vistas looking out in every direction.

Four facts about the Wapack

  • At ninety plus years it is one of the oldest interstate trails in New England
  • Its twenty one miles long spanning more than nine peaks between New Hampshire and Massachusetts
  • There are seven miles of spur trails
  • The trail includes hiking through the defunct Temple Ski Area
There are brave souls who hike the entire twenty one miles in one day in early September.  For those of us not quite in such great shape...cough cough...me...cough cough, we do it in sections :)  Paula and I often hike the most Northern section (that would be South Pack and North Pack) and it is a moderately challenging hike over two peaks.


Several weeks ago we decided to explore a little more of the Wapack and with our niece Casey and friend Paul we started in New Ipswich and hiked up the spur trail to Kidder Mountain.  Its a pretty easy three mile round trip hike that that only climbs 350' to the summit but the views at the top were quite nice and we did a little geocaching as well.


Then this past week Paul and I decided to get more ambitious and do a point to point hike on the Wapack starting at Berry Pasture Trail and then hike the ledges all the way to the base of Temple Mountain.  Its called Berry Pasture for a reason and when the blueberries are in season you can eat your way up the mountain.  This is also a trail that kind of smacks you in the face and makes you suck wind early.  800' of vertical in less than a mile is a pretty consistent upward climb.  Once at the top and heading North you are rewarded with views of Monadnock and a less intense path.


The last stop just before the old Temple Ski Area is an treeless area of bald rock sporting quite a few cairns and a handful of stone chairs to sit in and take a rest.

All in all this was an excellent hike and we have now covered about nine miles of the twenty one miles of Wapack but realize there is so much more to explore.  That's why this is such a great treasure to have here in Southwest New Hampshire.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kayaking...even if you don't have your own...

Kayaking is a great activity you can do in the Monadnock Region and there are plenty of wonderful rivers, lakes and ponds you can enjoy but we realize not everyone owns their own kayaks.  Well, there are several options in the Peterborough area that still make it possible.
Kayaks ready to launch at Otter Lake
The first two options are to rent from either Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) in Peterborough or Pelletiers Sports in Jaffrey.  Neither is actually on a body of water so you rent from them and they will help you mount them on your vehicle and point you in the direction of a nearby lake or river.  The advantage to this is once the kayaks are on your vehicle you have the option of going to quite a few different places.

The other option is Otter Lake at Greenfield State Park.  The advantage to Otter Lake is that they rent the kayaks right on the beach and simply them into the lake and go.  We decided we needed to check out Otter Lake for ourselves since renting kayaks there is so easy.
Paula in front and to my left checking out the shoreline
Otter Lake is a decent size...135 acres large with an average depth of ten feet and plenty of peace and quiet.  We paddled around for about ninety minutes spotting ducks and ducklings, plenty of fish and even one otter (makes sense being it is Otter Lake).

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What's happening in June 2014

Things are finally warming up in Peterborough and so are the events.  Every month we are trying to highlight three events we think are unique, new or cool and this month we would like to feature a cool arts/crafts fair, a music festival and the start of the Peterborough Players summer season.

Saturday, June 7th at the Peterborough Townhouse: OK, so what's so unique about an arts/crafts fair?  "*broke" has the philosophy that art should be for everyone.  Thus every item for sale by the artists costs less than $50.  I think that's pretty cool and at the last show we found the perfect gift for our niece...a hand-crafted ocarina necklace made by a local artist.  Walk around, there is something for everyone!

June 13th, 17th and 22nd: One of newest additions to the arts and music scene in the Monadnock Region is the Electric Earth Concert Series.  Now in its third season, EEC is a classical music series focused on bringing great classical music performances to our region.  In June alone there will be three concerts: one featuring a look at Bach's solo violinist works, a second featuring folk music artist Tim Eriksen and a third a concert on the "Green" in Jaffrey featuring the works of Schubert.

June 25th - 30th: This actually rolls into July as well but the Peterborough Players are opening their season with a one woman comedy called "Family Secrets".  This actress portrays five different family members hilariously revealing the family's secrets.  If you are interested in coming to one of these performances, check out our Peterborough Players Package.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Local Favorites in Yankee Magazine's "Best Of" Edition

It was a nice treat to look through the May/June 2014 edition of Yankee Magazine and find some of our local favorites listed in the "Best of New England" feature for New Hampshire.

Bowerbird and Friends
Bowerbird and Friends, in Depot Square, Peterborough was listed as Best Home & Garden Shop. This sweet little space, right along the Nubanusit River, is filled with antiques, gifts, and re-purposed items as well as live plants and garden items.

The title of Best Chamber Music went to Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson. The mission of Apple Hill is to teach, create, and perform chamber music with musicians from around the world through their workshops and concerts. Some concerts are held in Peterborough at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, but most of their summer concerts are held in Nelson on Tuesday nights, with some Open Coaching and Open Rehearsals on Sunday nights that are free to the public.

With its serene setting and spectacular views of Mount Monadnock, Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge was highlighted as the Best Natural Sanctuary. With their open-air cathedral and meeting space on 236 acres, the Cathedral of the Pines welcomes visitors from all over the world to participate in events, explore their grounds, meditate in outdoor chapels and gardens, and visit historic monuments that honor the service of American men and women—both military and civilian.

Monadnock from Cathedral of the Pines
In the "Outdoors" category, the honors of Best Blueberry Picking went to Pitcher Mountain on Route 123 in Stoddard. While this is a little bit of a drive from Peterborough, it is Paula's go-to place to pick wild blueberries! This is not a farm stand though... you've got to go prepared with your own containers and small bills to pay the $1.25/quart fee which is often on the honor system... not to mention water, sunscreen and a hat! And keep in mind, the season for blueberries varies, but is typically mid-to-late July and into August (depending on the weather).

In addition to the "Best Of" entries, the magazine also included two other local favorites. One was the monthly "First Light/Only in New England" feature on "New England Cuisine" by Ken Sheldon. Ken is a local who also brings his humor to life through his popular "Frost Heaves" shows presented at various time throughout the year. The second was a nice article on the Hilltop Cafe in Wilton, located at the Temple-Wilton Community Farm, one of the oldest CSAs in the country.