Friday, July 25, 2008

Sixteen pounds of blueberries!!!

You heard right, Paula and a friend decided to go blueberry picking today and in less than two hours they picked sixteen pounds. Lucky for us our friend doesn't even like blueberries which means more for us which of course means more for our guests :) Because of the different varieties of blueberries the season lasts into September and we will keep picking as long as the guests keep eating them.

Perhaps this means we should post our recipe for Blueberry Baked French Toast...keep watching the blog and it will probably post sometime this Summer.

blueberries.jpg

Previous homeowner comes to visit...

This is now the second time this has happened to us...

So the doorbell rang the other day when we were not expecting any guests. It turned out to be the former owner of our house from the early 1960s to the early 1970s. She no longer lives in New England but had heard about the B&B from friends in the area and wanted to come by and see what we had done.

We walked around the house together sharing stories and learning a lot. We learned that there had been a second staircase to the second floor from living room and that there had been five bedrooms on the second floor. Wow...FIVE bedrooms, we have just three. We also found out that the cool sliding windows in our sunroom date back prior to 1964 (we know Andersen Windows started making them in the 1930s).

At the end of her visit she expressed that she was very pleased with the changes we had made, we shared hugs, and planned to keep in touch. She is going to look for some old photos we can add to our collection and we will definitely share some here if they show up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

There's more than one mountain to climb...

With a base elevation around 1400' and a peak elevation of 3165' and forty miles of trails, Mt Monadnock stands alone as the main hiking destination of our region but it is not the only way to enjoy the outdoor beauty of our region. In just the past two weeks we have walked/hiked three other trails nearby the B&B.

Edward MacDowell Lake which is just two minutes from the B&B has a 3.5 mile loop that you can start from either side of the dam and walk all the way around but our recommendation is to walk the West Ridge Trail as an "out and back" hike. Drive across and park on the other side of 70' high dam MacDowell Dam and follow the trail north into the woods. The trail will keep you in the shade from a full canopy of trees above, is well marked and is fairly flat hike with gentle elevation changes throughout the walk.

emd-lake-from-west-ridge-trail-12.jpg

The lake will pop in and out of view on your right for about the first mile but the true reward comes around the 1.5 mile mark when the lake gives way to Stanley Brook. You will notice it is a little cooler as the trail walks right along the brook for a short distance.

west-ridge-trail-stanley-brook-12.jpg

You will want to stop and enjoy the sights and sounds of the brook as it flows over small rocks and around large boulders. When the trail crosses the brook on a small foot bridge (about two miles), this is a good place to turn around for your your return trip.

Other walking trails we explored were at the 47 acre Shieling State Forest just five minutes from the B&B. If you are looking for some solitude and do not have time for a long hike or don't one anything to strenuous, this is an ideal spot.

shieling-forest-12.jpg

The last hike we did was a real treat, a 1.4 mile hike up South Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park just ten minutes from the B&B. The round trip will take you just under two hours as you climb nine hundred vertical feet to the 2300' summit. This trail is rarely flat and some areas require the use of hands to climb some large rock steps. Several clearings along the way offer you scenic viewing stops as well as a look at the former Temple Mountain Ski Area across the way where the old trails are filling in and the trails are disappearing. Along the way there are opportunities to pick some wild blueberries and there are picnic tables at the top along with a 30' high fire watch tower which allows you to get above the trees for wonderful views of the region. In the Fall the Audubon Society sets up a Hawk Migration Watch Site to watch the hawks migrate south for the winter. We used the blueberries for breakfast the next morning and for a fruit salad in the afternoon (yum)!

Note: the trail we hiked on South Pack was part of the 21 mile Wapack Trail and you could continue north towards North Pack (which we have also hiked and really enjoyed) or head south over Temple Mountain towards Massachusetts and the southern terminus.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as mountains and state parks to hike and explore and guests can always get recommendations and trail maps from us here at the B&B before heading out for a day of outdoor fun!