Monday, October 28, 2013

Opening doors to the best of New Hampshire

NH Open Doors Weekend is coming soon... November 2 & 3, 2013.  Presented by the League of NH Craftsmen and New Hampshire Made, this self-guided event brings together two days of some of the best shopping (always tax-free), eating, touring and special events.  Participate in the Passport Contest and enter to win great prizes by visiting 10 locations (or just 5 in the White Mountains/Great North Woods Region).

Some of the special events in the Monadnock Region and nearby include:
- Wheel throwing and hand-building techniques by Lulu Fichter in Peterborough
- Metal spinning demonstrations at Gibson Pewter in Hillsborough
- Pottery demonstrations (at noon) at Five Wings Studio in Fitzwilliam
- A demonstration of hot wax application to panels by encaustic artists Jessie Pollock and Danielle Lebris in Peterborough 
- Shaker and Colonial Box making at Frye's Measure Mill gift shop in Wilton
- Wine tastings at Poocham Hill Winery in Westmoreland, Walpole Mountain View Winery in Walpole, or LaBelle Winery in Amherst
- Make your own ice cream sundaes at the Walpole Ice Cream Scoop Shop in Walpole
- See the dairy herd in action at Stonewall Farm in Keene
... and more!  (See the Special Events page for the full listings.)

Use the NH Open Doors website to create your own self-guided tour using an interactive map of participants by region.  With over 150 participants, there's something for everyone.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pumpkinfest 2013...a new World's Record?

Pumpkinfest started over twenty years ago as a small family event that attracted just 600 carved Jack O'Lanterns in its first year.  It quickly grew into a large seasonal celebration of fall attracting more than 20,000 Jack O'Lanterns including a world record.
The Keene record fell about seven years ago to Boston with more than 30,000 pumpkins and Keene has been trying to regain the record ever since.  At the same time, Highwood, IL outside of Chicago has been trying to claim the record as well.

With family visiting from Ohio, we decided it was time for us to attend Pumpkinfest again and carve Jack O'Lanterns to add to the record breaking attempt.  We carved four pumpkins, a Cheshire Cat, a Funny Monster Face, an Ohio State "O" and a Hello Kitty.

Pumpkinfest has fun activities scheduled throughout the day including pumpkin bowling, one mile fun run for charity, make your own scarecrows, face-painting and a ferris wheel right on Main Street.  This of course is in addition to the (hopefully) 30,000 carved pumpkins lining Main Street and scaffolding.

We got there around 4PM, registered and strategically placed our Jack O'Lanterns and then began our slow stroll up one side of Main Street with a planned return down the other side hoping to take in as many creative carvings as we could spot.  There was entertainment everywhere from bands playing Beatles music to line dancers and dance teams.
We had a very fun evening and enjoyed seeing Main Street bustling with people in costumes and the entire downtown lit up on a gorgeous fall day.  The bonus was the final tally, 30,581 and a new World's Record!!!  Yeah Keene...and we contributed four :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Henniker Brewing Company

OK, we don't want guests (or potential guests) to think the innkeepers are lushes (because we aren't) but we like to support local businesses and appreciate a good beer every now and then.  With microbreweries growing in popularity, we were excited when we read about the newest addition to the New Hampshire beer scene: the Henniker Brewing Company which is about forty minutes away in ... Henniker :)
Dave serving customers at the tasting counter
Their tasting/tap room is open from 3PM - 6PM Monday - Friday (12PM - 2PM on Saturdays with tours), so we decided to combine our beer tasting trip with a few of our other favorite activities: a hike, a stop at German John's Bakery for soft pretzels and a photo opportunity at Gleason Falls Stone Bridge.
Gleason Falls Stone Arch Bridge
Once at the brewery, Dave, one of the managers was very friendly as he poured and described the three different beers they had on tap to try: Whipple's Wheat, Amber's Apparition and Hop Slinger IPA (they are preparing to introduce a Porter later this month).  He also regaled us with some fun tales about the stories behind the beer names.

Dave showing off the fermentation tanks
Dave finished up by giving me a quick tour of the brewing process in back.  We had gotten there late and he was still willing to give us the whole tour but I was happy just to have a quick look-see and wait until our next trip to get the ten cent tour.  We of course ended up going home with some...souvenirs :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

A-Maize-ing Maze

It was a beautiful Fall day and the colors were really starting to pop so we decided to go for a scenic drive down to Mason and Washburn's Windy Hill Orchard.
Orchard Store
The place was buzzing with families picking apples from the trees, taking hay rides, buying pumpkins and eating some of the yummy homemade goodies they make and sell.
All aboard for a hay ride
And of course...the maze :)  The maze is in four and a half acres of corn fields and the stalks have to be eight feet high...or taller.  Neither one of us had ever done one before and this was a perfect starter maze.  Not crazy difficult but challenging enough and lots of fun.
Follow me into the maze, "bwa ha ha"

Man these stalks are really high...I am six feet tall!
It took us seventeen minutes from entrance to exit and we took turns leading the way around the corners (I am sure we went in circles at some point).
We found the exit...finally...yay!
They set up their pumpkins out in the field and its almost like an Easter Egg Hunt...except they're pumpkins...and not so hard to find and instead of being filled with candy they are filled with...pumpkin stuff :)
Now where did they hide those darn pumpkins?
It took us about twenty five minutes to drive to Mason but this one is worth the trip!