Saturday, June 08, 2013

Farm shops, outlets and markets

These last couple of days have flown by and we are flying home tonight. The whole holiday has whizzed by, but we have some great memories.
Thursday was a mammoth shopping day as we headed north to North Conway and the outlet stores. There is no sales tax in New Hampshire, so goods are super cheap and the outlets are a great place to get bargains. On Thursday evening we ate at the Corner House Inn, Center Sandwich, D&R's 'local'. On Friday we were up and out before breakfast to drive to Moulton Farm for lobsters. We would be having them for dinner on Friday evening. We stopped by the Village Kitchen, a favourite haunt of R&D, where we indulged in massive cooked breakfasts and steaming mugs of tea and coffee. It really set us up for the day. Then we were off again to Moulton Farm. Here they have a whole range of stuff - bakery, farm shop, garden centre and of course, lobsters! We had a good look round and drooled over delicious looking home baked goods as well as enjoying the plants on sale, now that summer is here in New Hampshire. At last it was time to choose the lobsters, which D did with her great experience - just three as R is allergic and he gets ribs instead. And Friday evening was lobster night, and we indulged ourselves in wonderful buttery lobster, corn on the cob and bread to mop up the juices.

Today has been a last farewell to our great hosts. But before we left we went down to the Center Sandwich  to visit the tiny farmer's market. There is plenty of competition, apparently, so the stall holders are thinly spread around the various communities. We saw Bob's Baguettes and Mostly Posies (D&R's neighbours) amongst other stalls, and indulged ourselves with coffee at the local coffee shop, accompanied by a large bulldog, who 'owns' the place. And then it was time to leave and we packed the car, said our farewells and drove off to Boston Airport.

Village Kitchen
Moulton Farm
Corner House Inn
Settler's Green
Merrimack Premium Outlets

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Mt Washington Cog Railway and Bretton Woods

We booked our seats on the Cog Railway, yesterday and set off hoping for no low cloud and hopefully not too cold. The low cloud we could do nothing about, but we borrowed all sorts of warm gear from our friends and the four of set off on the adventure. We were scheduled to take the first train up the mountain, so it was an early start. Soon we were taking the turning up to the railway and our ascent of the Northeast's highest peak at 6,288-feet. The railway was the brainchild of Sylvester Marsh and with the help of Aiken, he first opened the pioneer cog railway on July 3, 1869. 'Old Peppersass' was the world's first cog driven train to climb Mt Washington. They do run some of the old steam trains, but our trip was to be on a train run on eco-friendly biodiesel.

All aboard and we were off, chuggging up the mountain, the cogs on the engine and carriage, catching the chain running between the tracks. The tracks are supported on trestles all the way up, and as we climbed there were spectacular views way into the distance. We had to wait at the passing place for the supply train to descend past us, and then we were on our way again. The Observatory and visitor centre were in sight, and we could feel how cold and windy it would be when we disembarked. We were also surprised to find everything covered with a severe rime frost giving rocks and buildings a weird white coating. Photo opportunities galore! We had travelled up from 2,700' to almost 6,288', what a clever cog railway. There was plenty to see at the top with amongst other things, the Museum, visitors centre, café and weather station. Then it was time for the return journey, and we sat right at the back, getting a great view up the mountain as we descended.
We now drove back along the road and took another turning in the direction of Bretton Woods. Here is the famous Mt Washington Resort where the articles of the International Monetary Fund were signed in 1944. We stopped by for lunch in their restaurant with great views of the mountain, and if we looked carefully, we could see the Cog Railway plying up and down the rack.

Mt Washington Cog Railway
Mt Washington Observatory
Mt Washington State Park
Mt Washington Resort, Bretton Woods

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth NH

Our destination for today was Strawbery Banke Museum, a ten acre site of open-air history. Houses from a period of 300 years have been brought together to provide a living history of New Hampshire. We began with the Goodwin Mansion and continued around the estate looking at many houses that were 'dressed' in various periods, from colonial times to WWII. The guides were also in costume in  keeping with the time their houses represented, whether they were the wife cooking lunch for her husband coming in from the fields or the store keeper who had heard there was a war going on in Europe. In each house there was something that gave the visitor a clue to the period represented, most often a calendar on the wall with the appropriate date on display.

We had a break halfway through for lunch at a café overlooking the inlet and watched a party of seugeway users negotiate the bridge - and come back again! Then we back again to complete our tour around SB. It was great and a wonderful place to bring school children, with history literally coming alive for them.
This evening we ate down at Center Harbor at Lavinia's and had a delicious dinner with our friends.

Strawbery Banke Museum

Monday, June 03, 2013

Going to North Sandwich

We said farewell to the Ash Street Inn and set the GPS to find Saint-Gaudens. This is way across the state near the Vermont border by the town of Cornish. I have to admit I had never heard of Augustus Saint-Gaudens until a friend recommended that we should try and visit his place which is now a National Historic Site. He was apprenticed to learn the art of making cameos and went on to design three coins for the US Mint. In between he made sculptures and bas-relief including one that we saw in Boston a few days ago - The Shaw Memorial, 1900. He made several other memorials, copies of which we found around the estate. We arrived and booked our tour, only to find we were the only ones there. Our young guide was very informative and we loved Saint-Gaudens work, his house and the studios that we were shown around.

After we had finished our tour, it was a longish drive to North Sandwich where we are staying with friends for the next few days. On the way we stopped to see the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, apparently the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. (I seem to have heard this all before??)

Saint-Gaudens NHS
Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge
Discover Sandwich

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Currier Museum and Zimmerman House

Today we had booked our tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House, and after a fine breakfast, cooked by Eric, we set off for the Currier Museum of Art, which owns the place. There were twelve of us on the tour and we were taken across to the house by minibus with two guides who told us all we needed to know about the place We are only allowed to take external photographs, no sitting on the furniture, but we got to see everything and it was very interesting. We loved the story of Mrs Zimmerman climbing onto the roof to open and close the kitchen windows.

Front elevation of Zimmerman House
Rear elevation of Zimmerman House

Back at the Currier, we found their interesting café for coffee, before visiting their collection. We had a great time and also saw their exhibition of posters, Poster Mania! Leisure, Romance and Adventure in 1890s America, and Abigail Anne Newbold: Crafting Settlement. The time just flew by and soon we were buying a few things in the gift shop before strolling back to the B&B. Tonight we have had dinner at Mint Bistro on Elm St. which consisted of mini fish tacos and chicken satay followed by curry of chicken and herb baked haddock. We drank Caymus Conundrum white wine, recommended by a friend, which was a good one. Again an excellent meal.

Zimmerman House
Currier Museum of Art
Mint Bistro 
Caymus Conundrum Californian White

Saturday, June 01, 2013

2 Manchesters

We checked out of the hotel early and took the train to the airport to pick up a car. Naïvely we imagined that we would get breakfast there, but only found a doughnut concession in the process of opening. We waited to buy a coffee and doughnut before taking the bus to collect the hire car.
With GPS help we made our way to Manchester by the Sea and thankfully, here we found a great café, The Peach Street Café, with great coffee and wi-fi! Now we explored the town, then took the scenic coast road passing some luxurious looking summer residences with uninterrupted views of the sea. We turned back to town and then spent time looking for the right road to take us across to New Hampshire. We fancied visiting America's Stonehenge on our way to the second Manchester of the day.
It was quite interesting, but somewhat overstated and not recognised by the Parks or National monument authorities.

So on the Manchester NH, our second of the day and we think our fourth in all. We quickly found the place we had booked to stay - Ash Street Inn - and it is lovely We were made very welcome by proprietors, Eric and Darlene Johnston. They gave us loads of local information including some suggestions for dinner. We chose 11Eleven Bistro and dined on Beef fillet crostini, Duck Spring Rolls followed by Shrimp Linguine and Crabmeat stuffed Sole. It was all delicious.

Manchester by the Sea
America's Stonehenge
Manchester NH
Ash Street Inn
11Eleven Bistro