The leaves have pretty much fallen from the maples and birches, the frost is on the pumpkin, and the smell of wood stove smoke is in the air…can it be that winter is not far behind? Wild turkeys are making their annual pilgrimage to my garden to find the leftover winter rye seeds that have not yet geminated, and the deer know it's plenty safe to stand in the garden and eat the leftover squash or clean up the "drops" from the 100 year old apple tree.
I've been trying my darnedest to keep the red squirrels out of my barn, and chase the mice out of the carriage house…but this is just what you do in preparation for the winter season around here. My root cellar is full of potatoes and carrots, squash and onions, and enough home canned tomatoes and beans to last the next two years.
Yesterday, I did my annual Pie Auction for a local church. This year I sold a homemade pecan pie for $300, and a mixed berry pie for $350, and both will be gracing the Thanksgiving table of some lucky family…unfortunately not mine. You know, that amounts to over $40 a slice…I think I'd be savoring every last morsel!
Driving down the road to town this time of year, you don't have to go far before you pass a trailer truck loaded with Christmas trees, headed south to feed the anticipating city dwellers. Up this way, the tree farms, like Glove Hollow in Plymouth
, are announcing their horse drawn sleigh rides down to the orchard to "cut your own" special tree, followed by hot chocolate, warm cider and homemade donuts up at the barn. The organizations in the area are busy setting up for their holiday craft fairs, and the churches have signs by the road inviting all to their baked bean and ham suppers.
Just when you think I'm going to tell you that we "hunker down" and sit by the woodstove all winter, I have a big surprise for you! Let me tell you what happens around here when the snows flies.
Let's start with the New England Sled Dog Club Race
on Lake Chocorua, which is typically held in late January/early February, depending on conditions. Then there's the New England Pond Hockey Classic in Meredith
from February 5-7. Teams come from across the country come to compete on rinks marked off along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. More than 200 teams are expected to compete for the coveted WinnipeHockey Cup this year.
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Meredith Rotary Club's Ice Fishing Derby[/caption]
How about the Meredith Rotary Club's Ice Fishing Derby
on February 13 and 14? Anglers throughout the area will converge on Lake Winnipesaukee to set up their bob houses and compete for a grand prize of $15,000. There's also an on-the-ice midway with concession stands selling hot chili, hot chocolate, hot fried dough and more. You can check out the multi-colored bob houses too. Some are equipped with wood stoves, televisions, sleeping bunks and a myriad of other amenities.
If you're not much into sports, you can visit the enchanting village of Meredith with its four inns and Spa at Mill Falls
, which are all only a short walk from the lake. Church Landing
and Bay Point
are right on the water and the Chase House
and Mill Falls
are right across the street.
There's a restaurant for every occasion, including Lago
, Lakehouse Grille
and my favorite, the Camp
. You can get pizza at Giuseppe's
or comfort food like New England boiled dinner at George's Diner
, piled high and steaming hot. One of the favorite activities of the locals is the Festival of Trees
at the Waukewan Golf Course
on December 4, 5, and 6. Just a few miles north of Meredith, in the village of Center Harbor, you can stop at Canoe
and warm your innards with their famous lobster mac and cheese, or head down the road a short ways to the Moultonborough Country Store, where "if they ain't got it' you don't need it"!
If you head west, you're bound to end up in the geodesic center of New Hampshire, the quaint village of Ashland, where the famous Common Man
restaurant resides. You gotta try their "lobstah con chowdah"…it don't get any better than that!
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Now, our Holderness office
is right on Squam Lake, and every morning when I come to work, I can see the mist rise off the water, and hear the loons congregating on White Oak Pond. The geese make a quick stop on the lake to rest, on their annual pilgrimage south, and the folks stopping at the General Store in the village seem to want nothing more than to talk over a cup of coffee and a fresh scone about how much snow we'll be getting this winter, and whether the snowmobile trails will be ready, or if we'll have a long ski season and "did you hear that Tenney Mountain
in Plymouth will be open this year! Just so you know, Loon Mountain
in Lincoln is planning to have the slopes open for Thanksgiving.
On Squam Lake, Winterfest Saturday
is February 13th. Free, fun and open to the public, Winterfest was started in 1997, and celebrates the beauty and wonders of winter on Squam. Bring the family for such Winter activities as ice-skating, sledding, cross-country skiing, and winter mini-golf. Play in the snow, warm up with hot cocoa by the bonfire, and retreat indoors to sample local chili from area restaurants during the Squam Lakes Association's 11th Annual Chili Contest.
I've only touched the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to things to do around these parts in the winter, but suffice it to say, you won't be bored. Life is good in New Hampshire, and we lake country folk are more than willing to share it.
Read more about Jerry Love here.