Sunday, February 14, 2021

Valentine's Day 2021

 Our Valentine Getaway choices for this year were severely limited due to restrictions for the pandemic.  My first choice would have been to go to the Essex Inn.....a place we've been to and enjoyed several times.  But, Vermont wasn't allowing NH residents to come visit, so I was forced to find someplace in NH that would fit my criteria.  Namely, it must have a pool and hot tub.  After careful consideration, I chose the Common Man Inn and Spa in Plymouth, NH.

Normally, I would have booked us for the weekend, but the other criteria for our weekends away is that there must be fun stuff to see and do in the area.  Not much happening in Plymouth, NH!  But the place has the requisite pool and hot tub, so that's where we decided to go for just one night.

An important consideration is always in, I don't have to cook it!   We left Saturday morning and stopped up the road in Londonderry at the Bacon Barn. We had never been there before...I can't imagine why.  Because it was a cute hole-in-the-wall sort of place, which suits us just fine.   The food was absolutely delicious!  Belgian Waffle with blueberries for Hubby, bacon eggs benedict for me.

After our yummy breakfast, we headed north.  Originally we were planning to go to the Christa McCauliffe Planetarium in Concord.  They were re-opening that day after being closed for massive renovations.  I had bought tickets and everything - then got an email saying they decided to move their opening date to March 5.  Hell and damnation!!!  There isn't a heck of a lot of places that are open right now, but I found the NH Guild of Craftsmen had a place on Main St. in Concord, so we went there.

Believe it or not, I have been living in NH for 37 years, and I have never seen the State House in Concord.  So it was fun to do a little sight-seeing.

The Artists Guild was a bit of a disappointment....same old stuff we'd seen at many other places.  But Hubby remembered a record store he'd been to (of course!) so we stopped in there for a short visit.

Continuing north, I felt like it wasn't possible to be in that area without going to the Chaos and Kindness Store in Laconia.  We had a a little fun there and Hubby bought me a new shirt.

From there we made it up to Plymouth.   We got to the room about 3pm .  Everything in the place was made from wood....very rustic and lots of doo-dads to see.   

We immediately hit the pool and hot-tub.  It was described to us as being "first-come, first-serve", meaning if there was someone else in the area, we'd have to wait.   Luckily for us, when we got there a family with a young child was just leaving the pool area.  We swam for a while and some young men came in to use the hot tub.   When we noticed they were sitting on the edge because they were too hot, we offered to switch with them and we had our turn in the hot tub.

For dinner, we went to the Italian Farmhouse, which is owned by the Common Man.  I was worried about us getting in since it was the Saturday night before Valentine's Day, and rightly so.  The wait was an hour....unless we wanted to sit at a high-top table in the bar?  Sure, why not!  We had drinks and a lovely meal.  The food at the Common Man is always excellent.

Back to the Inn and back in the pool and hot tub!  This time no one was around so we stayed as long as we wanted.
For breakfast in the morning they offered an Continental breakfast with one hot dish.  I was disappointed that it was the typical hotel breakfast with cold scrambled eggs.  We usually don't bother with hotel breakfasts, but I had another plan for lunch and didn't want to ruin our appetites anyway.
We did, however, sit in the little living room with the fireplace and we played chess on this most unusual chess board!  (I won!)

We left the inn and went a little further north to Moltonborough, where they have the oldest continuously running country store in the country.  The place was huge, with room after room of stuff.

Pickle barrels.....both sour and dill.

Wood stove warming the place up.

Cabinet made into a cooler for drinks.

And from there we went to Meredith to have lunch at Hart's Turkey Farm.  This restaurant lived up to its good name.   We had a delicious lunch with home-made mashed potatoes and some amazing butternut squash.   We thought about spending some time in Meredith because they have a sculpture walk in the downtown area, but it was very cold out.   So we decided to save that for another, warmer time!

It was a lovely Valentine's Day with my sweetheart!

Monday, November 9, 2020

November Date Day

 After a small, freakish October snowstorm, we were blessed with some unusually gorgeous weather for November.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hubby and I had instituted "Date Day".  Almost every Sunday, we would venture out to a new place where we could safely enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and reconnect with nature and each other.   Most often, we found trails in a State Park or Town Forest and our adventure was almost always capped off with a visit to a local ice cream stand.  

These Date Days have literally kept me sane.  Just getting outside, away from eveyrone and everything, and spending time with Hubby was the balm I needed during a stressful time.

So on this beautiful November Sunday, instead of walking in the woods, we headed up to the beaches of Maine.   First - over one of my favorite bridges....the Piscataqua River Bridge, which conncets New Hampshire to Maine on Route 95.

Usually we head straight for Route 1A to head into York, Maine.  But this time we decided to go even more back-roadish and we took Route 103.  We've passed Fort McLary before, but never stopped in.  But since it's Date Day (by definition, a day of exploration and adventure) we stopped in.

The fort, of course, had a lovely view of the ocean.

There was a replica vegetable garden from each century starting in the 1600's. 

We spent an enjoyable time checking out the different buildings and reading the history.  

The next stop on our ride up the coast was the Hartley Mason Reservation.  This is a lovely park and beach in York, Maine.   There is a nice grassy, hilly park area at the top with plenty of space to spread out a picnic lunch or relax in the shade.   And there's also a beautiful little beach at the bottom of the hill.

I did put toes in the water.....yes! it was cold!!

There were people wearing eveything from bathing suits to winter coats and hats!  There were people sunbathing and there were a few hardy children testing out the water.  

Continuing up Route 1A, we stopped at Long Beach in York, then of course had to stop at Nubble Lighthouse and take the obligatory photo.  (We must have dozens of them! In fact, there is a photo out there somewhere  - I will have to find it - of myself, Mom and Dad and my siblings at Nubble back in 1967 or so.)

All along the way, we had been searching for ice cream.  Everything was closed!  C'mon Maine - keep those ice cream stands open year round!!  We took a quick swing into Perkin's Cove because there is an ice cream place there  (closed).  But we chose not to walk along the Marginal Way - it's a very  narrow path and we would have had to keep our masks on the entire time.  So instead, we drove around to Ogunquit Beach.

Yes, my feet were bright red with cold by the time I got back to the car.  But it was worth it to have toes in the water for (probably!) the last time this year.  Being a New Englander (AND a Girl Scout!) I had socks and sneakers in the car to change into.

We finished off our day by driving down Route 1 to Kittery and stopping at Bob's Clam Shack.  We shared baskets of fried haddock and scallops.  We came very close to eating outside....but it was getting dark (4:30!) and they had no outdoor heaters.  

Beautiful Date Day with my Wonderful Hubby  -  Life is Good!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Summer Getaway

Hubby and I usually take two or three small long-weekend vacations each year.  It's a nice way to reconnect and relax from life's stress.

This year, being the "Year of Corona", we were unable to go on our planned trip to Canada with friends.  We had skipped what had become our annual trip to The Essex Culinary Resort in January, naively thinking we would go sometime later in the year.

As places began opening up again, I felt the need to get away with Hubby.   My colleague and friend, Marianne, had gone to a little B and B in NH, and said it was the best B and B she'd ever gone to.  That's all I needed to hear!! 

So Hubby and I went to the Follansbee Bed and Breakfast in North Sutton, NH.   Not very far away....but a whole lot different than home!

 We got there Friday early evening and couldn't wait to jump in the lake....literally!  The inn is on Kezar Lake - a small but very lovely lake.   The inn has some waterfront  beach per-se, but a dock and a nice area including lots of chairs, a picnic table and a hammock.

We spent some serious time just sitting and contemplating the lake!  After our swim, we checked with our host, Denis, for a good place to go and eat.   He recommended the Flying Goose, a short drive up route 114.    The food there was excellent!  Although I was disappointed at not getting a table outside on the lawn.

After sitting for a while and enjoying  the darkening sky, we went off to bed.

 Our Saturday morning breakfast at the Inn was wonderful.  Fresh strawberries and pineapple, frittata with asparagus and Gruyere cheese, delicious soft breakfast roll with butter and jam, and a very interesting maple glazed bacon with pecans.   They set up some outside seating, which they liked so much they decided they'd keep it.  The innkeeper's helper came along and took our photo...maybe we'll make their web page!

We knew they offered the use of bicycles, so we checked with Denis about riding around the lake.  He said, yes, there's a road all the way around, part of which goes through Wadleigh State Park.  Despite some inclines (where I had to get off and walk the bike up!!) we had a very pleasant ride all the way around the lake.

Then it was back into bathing suits for a nice swim, relax and read for a bit on the beach, and then came my favorite part of the trip.   The inn offers use of all kinds of boats - kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and pedal boat.  We chose to go out in a double kayak.

 If we'd had a video of Hubby and I trying to get in and out of the kayak, we could have sold it for a million dollars!  Suffice to say, it wasn't pretty but we managed to get in!   Later on, getting out was a whole 'nother story!!

Once we were in we were very comfortable paddling around.  We had heard that there was an island everyone called Blueberry Island that was laden with fresh blueberries.  We headed there and sure enough we were able to pick several handfuls of fresh New Hampshire blueberries! Yum!

We continued around the lake to the other side of the island where we'd been told there was an inlet.  After trying to kayak our way through a bunch of reeds, we finally found the opening to the inlet where we kayaked for about 10 minutes through absolutely silent waters to a defunct beaver dam where we turned around and went back.  On the rest of our cruise around the lake, we saw a mommy and daddy Loon and their baby!

Another nice swim and off to an early dinner.  We chose the Salt Hill Pub Shanty in Newbury, NH, which just alright....but we did get to sit out on the deck.

Back to the inn for a game of Scrabble and then off to an early bed.......we were exhausted!

For our second breakfast our innkeeper made blueberry waffles, ham and cheesy grits, and some watermelon.  They also make their own granola which was delicious!  We found this cozy spot to have breakfast:

Packed up and ready to go, we said good-bye to the Follansbee was a lovely place and we'll be sure to go back.