Little River Bed and Breakfast

184 Union Street, Peterborough, New Hampshire 03458
Innkeeper(s): Paula & Rob Fox
  • Little River Bed & Breakfast

    Little River Bed & Breakfast

  • Monadnock Room

    Monadnock Room

  • River deck

    River deck

  • Breakfast Room

    Breakfast Room


Springtime Restaurant Week in the Monadnock Region 17 Mar 2014, 8:05 am

Eat and Be Merry and...Win a Gift Certificate to the participating restaurant of your choice.  All you have to do to enter is eat.  How awesome is that?

From March 21st - 30th, restaurants of the Eastern towns of the Monadnock Region (Rindge, Jaffrey, Peterborough, Temple, Hancock and Francestown) are hosting the inaugural Springtime Restaurant Week.  Dine at any of the participating restaurants during that time period and you are entered to win a $100 Gift Certificate to any of the restaurants that are participating.

There are lunch and dinner options and family casual to upscale options as well.  If you have been thinking about heading back to one of your favorites or have wanted to try something new, now is the time to do it.

Check out the Facebook page for up to date details.

Cookie Tour 2013 - Chocolate-Caramel Pretzel Cookies 31 Dec 2013, 8:43 pm

As the new year is rapidly approaching, I am trying to squeak this 2013 blog posting in under the wire!  If you've been waiting anxiously for this posting, I am sorry (and a bit surprised), but I will admit that the delay allowed me to try a couple of extra variations to the recipe that might be interesting to some (or at least I hope they will).  So here goes!

Cookie Tour 2013!  This year's Currier and Ives Cookie Tour was held on December 14th and was a lot of fun (as always)!  Although last year was a record-breaker for us (we baked 24 dozen (that's 288) cookies and still ran out!), this year's event was a little less crazy.  We actually planned to bake over 400 cookies, but as the date got closer and the weather forecasters issued warnings for the impending snowstorm, we worried if the weather might keep some from venturing out, and pared back to about 300.  Our recipe this year was... Chocolate-Caramel Pretzel Cookies ... and I will admit that I think this is probably my personal favorite of the four years we've been participating as a stop on the tour.  It is rich, gooey, chocolatey, and just plain yummy.  (For previous years' recipes, see our blog postings for the 2012, 2011, and 2010.)

The recipe started with a Turtle Cookie recipe I found on Pinterest, then followed to a number of blogs, the authors of which had adapted the recipe from an America's Test Kitchen recipe.  I was loving the idea... caramel, pecans, chocolate... but Rob wasn't (he doesn't like pecans) so he was trying to sway me in any other direction.  Fortunately, while looking through some of the blog comments, someone suggested crushed pretzels as an alternative to the nuts, for a sort of "salted caramel taste" that is so popular right now.  So, that was it... and I was off to the kitchen!

For the first batch, I pretty much made the recipe as presented, making only a couple of modifications.  I used Dutch Processed Cocoa, reduced the amount of egg white needed, and rolled the cookie dough in pretzel crumbs instead of pecans.   The cookies were delicious... and I was oddly disappointed.  It was too easy!  Luckily (yes, I said luckily), I didn't have any pre-made caramel candies on hand to finish off the cookies.  That meant I needed to see if I could make something from scratch that would work.  Yeah! 

So... back to the lab... I mean kitchen!  And with the help of Google I found a recipe for caramels that used only ingredients I regularly keep in my pantry and refrigerator (sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and butter) and for bonus points, the recipe was cooked in the microwave instead of on the stove (which can be a bit tedious).  A couple of batches later, I had reduced the size of the batch in half to better match up with the quantity of caramel needed for the cookies (the cooking time was critical here) and added just a little bit of heavy cream so that the caramel would be just the right amount of soft, but not sticky. 
So without further ado, here are the recipes for the cookies and the optional homemade caramel filling.  (If you like illustrated recipes, I've also added a bunch of photos below to help.)  Enjoy!

Chocolate-Caramel Pretzel Cookies 
(For pdf, click HERE)

2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. cocoa powder
 (Hershey’s Special Dark works great!)
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs, separated
¼ c. milk or half & half
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. pretzels, crushed
28 soft caramel candies (such as Kraft Caramels) *or try our version* 

2 Tblsp. heavy cream

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. With beater on low, add flour, cocoa and salt, mixing until just combined.

Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets. (If dough it too soft or sticky, it can be refrigerated, about an hour, until firm.)

Add a tablespoon or two of water to the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until frothy. Place crushed pretzels in another bowl. Roll scooped dough into balls, dip in egg whites (I only dip the top half), and then in pretzels. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and flatten slightly with the ball of your hand. Use a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.

Bake at 350 degrees F until set and looking slightly crackled on top, about 12 minutes. When cookies come out of the oven, gently re-press the indentations.

For the caramel filling: Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Allow cookies to cool a bit, then fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture.

For the chocolate drizzle (optional): Melt ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons shortening in a small bowl, then transfer to a zip-top plastic bag. Snip the corner of the plastic bag and drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Microwave Caramel Filling

2 Tablespoons butter, cut in 4 pieces
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ teaspoons heavy cream

In microwave safe bowl (I used a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup), combine butter, white and brown sugar, syrup, sweetened condensed milk, & vanilla. Stir and place in microwave, uncovered. Cook in microwave on full power for 3 1/2 minutes, stopping and carefully stirring thoroughly twice during the cooking time (every minute or so).* Carefully remove bowl from microwave and stir in heavy cream until well mixed. Allow caramel to stand for about 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. Use a spoon or small scoop to fill each cookie indentation with about ½ to 1 teaspoon caramel mixture. (Any leftover caramel can be poured onto a cookie sheet or other pan lined with foil or parchment and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cooled caramel can be cut into small pieces and enjoyed as candy.)

* Recommended cooking time is based on a 1100-watt microwave. If yours has a different wattage, you will most likely need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. If caramel is too hard, cooking time should be reduced. If caramel is too soft, cooking time should be increased.

Making cookies:
Cookie dough, egg whites and pretzel crumbs... ready to go!

Dip cookie dough in frothy egg white...

... then crushed pretzels.

Place on Silpat, flatten slightly with hand, and make indentation with teaspoon.

Cookies ready to be baked.

Caramel filling.

Filling cookies.
Chocolate drizzle too!

Making caramel:
Ingredients mixed prior to cooking.

Partway through cooking process.

Finished caramel, waiting to cool slightly.

** Interested in variations?  I've made the "original" turtle cookie with pecans instead of pretzel crumbs (delicious!) and a peanut butter version where I rolled the cookies in chopped peanuts and added a big spoonful of creamy peanut butter to the caramel (also delicious, but less gooey since the peanut butter firms up the caramel filling a bit).  Still to be tried... a s'mores version where you roll the cookie in graham cracker crumbs and use marshmallow fluff as the filling (bonus: toast the top of the marshmallow filling with a kitchen torch) and a version where you roll the cookies in toasted coconut.  I could go on... but I won't, so you can let your own creative ideas flow!

And with the new year already being welcomed in parts of the world, I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and delicious 2014!


Shopping Small Business Peterborough 7 Dec 2013, 4:11 pm

Everyone knows about "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" but some people are still learning about "Small Business Saturday"  Now it's true, Small Business Saturday has come and gone for this year but that doesn't mean you can't continue to go out and shop you local independent businesses.
Twelve Pine Cafe all decorated for holidays
Today was a cold one but Peterborough's local independent retailers rolled out the red carpet for holiday shoppers and it was busy downtown.  They did a cookie tour around Depot Square and the shops are all decorated and lit up for the season.  Paula went downtown to do some shopping (as well as our guests) and great gifts were found everywhere including the Toadstool Bookstore, New England Everyday Goods, Steele's Stationers, Sharon Arts Gallery and elsewhere.
Candy Cane Pole on Main Street
We highly recommend putting Peterborough on your list of places to shop.  Just check out Paula's pics, they should definitely get you into the holiday spirit!  BTW, next weekend Peterborough will have its tree lighting ceremony.  Happy Holidays everyone :)
Shops on Grove Street

Around Town Part I: Harlow's Pub 4 Nov 2013, 1:02 pm

We thought it was time to start an in-depth look at the shops and restaurants that help make Peterborough such a great destination (and place to live).  Since we had lunch at Harlow's the other day (it's a one mile walk from Little River B&B), we decided it would be a logical place to kick off this series of blog postings.
There are so many ways to describe Harlows to guests: fun, family friendly, eclectic, lively, good music, good food made from scratch, excellent and unique beer selection, and local are some of our most common.
From the moment you enter, you realize you have not walked into your typical American bar.  Harlow's is warm, inviting and cozy.  There are no TVs (this is a good thing) and a lot of wood everywhere.  You can choose from outdoor dining on a nice day to high tables, the bar or standard low tables with benches and the atmosphere is great no matter where you sit.  Expect the place to be buzzing with customers most times of the day!
Once seated, you could choose to quench your thirst from their wide tap or bottle selection (non-alcoholic beverages as well).  I am a fan of the Geary's HSA and Longtrail Ale which are both Northern New England brews.
After drinks are settled, one look at the extensive food menu and you realize there are no easy decisions because everything sounds so good (and it is).  At lunch time Paula enjoys their Avocado Bliss or Roast Beef and Boursin sandwiches or Vegetarian Chili while I often pick the Tuna Melt or Turkey Reuben.  For dinner we might share their "Works" Nachos which are the best I have ever had anywhere or we enjoy the Diablo Chicken Pasta, Chicken Schnitzel, and giant Burritos!  Of course things get even trickier as you check out the specials board :)

Yes there are desserts too...those are on the specials board as well.
In addition to being a great place to eat, drink and socialize, Harlow's has music and entertainment many nights of the week.  Tuesdays are Celtic Night, Wednesdays are Open-Mic Night, Thursdays are Bluegrass Night and then they bring in bands from around the Northeast on Fridays and Saturdays.  There are a lot of creative and talented musicians around the area.  Definitely check their calendar for details!

Opening doors to the best of New Hampshire 28 Oct 2013, 8:38 pm

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.

Pumpkinfest 2013...a new World's Record? 20 Oct 2013, 6:06 pm

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 :)

Henniker Brewing Company 11 Oct 2013, 12:42 pm

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 :)

A-Maize-ing Maze 4 Oct 2013, 2:31 pm

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!

Purgatory Falls 28 Sep 2013, 8:00 pm

It doesn't seem to matter how long we have lived here (going on eight years), we always find new and exciting hikes we have never done before.  Two weeks ago that hike was Purgatory Falls (on Purgatory Brook) in Lyndeborough.

We thought we were going to do a six mile round-trip hike which would take us from the Lower Falls near the Southern trailhead all the way to the Upper Falls near the Northern Terminus but the trail between the falls isn't really contiguous.
Rob at Lower Falls
The hike from the trailhead to the Lower Falls isn't really a hike, its more of a nice walk since it is relatively flat and well traveled.  The falls are about twenty five feet high and have a lot of character.  You can get real close to the falls near the base as I did in the picture above or you can climb around and stand at the top looking down from the edge.  We came during a drier season and although the falls were flowing and beautiful, it was obvious to us they usually handle a lot more water flow.

After passing the Lower Falls, we hiked on for about another mile following the brook all the way.  It was very nice but the trail started to get less well traveled and we decided to turn back and simply drive around to the Upper Falls trailhead.
Upper Falls
From the second traihead, we hiked down to the Upper and Middle Falls, we had to climb down into a steep ravine and again although the water was not "rushing" it was clear these would be some spectacular falls when flowing!

Anyone looking for an easy hike with waterfall features, this hike (both of them) are a recommend!

LaBelle WInery and America's Stonhenge 20 Sep 2013, 12:58 pm

It was one of those days that was just too beautiful to stay inside, so we decided to head out and explore!  Our first stop was LaBelle Winery in Amherst.  At the tasting room, café, and shop, we were greeted and introduced to the winery and our options for tours and tasting.  Instead of a tour, we opted for a wine tasting and light lunch.  For the tasting ($8 for 5 selections or $13 for 10). we received a card with descriptions of all the wines available and places to check-off our choices.  The options included whites, reds, and fruit wines, including dry, sweet, dessert and cooking wines.  Since Rob is not much of a red wine drinker, we tried mostly whites… selecting a few ourselves, and asking our server for suggestions on others.

Our selections included:
Dry Apple – described as being a good choice for Pinot Grigio drinkers, made from all NH-grown apples... it was very light tasting
Dry Riesling – made in the Alsatian style… it was good, but not exciting
Corazon – a blend of Seyval Blanc and Red Raspberry wine, described by our server as a rose, but not too sweet… this one was definitely on the sweeter side, but would be a nice picnic wine
Granite State Red – a red grape wine aged in oak with a touch of blueberry… pretty good
Dulce – a spiced dessert wine enhanced with maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla… think Christmas!

With lunch, we also decided to try the Seyval and a second wine described as a Dry Seyval.  The Seyval was good, but a little on the sweet side, however the Dry Seyval, labeled as Winemaker’s Reserve Seyval Blanc and described as being bottled and aged two years, was excellent (and the variety we decided to buy a bottle of to bring home).  The café itself is very casual with tables available inside the tasting room and outside on the terrace and a menu that included soups, salads, small plates, cheese slates, and sandwiches.  Since it was such a beautiful day, we opted for the terrace and picked a small cheese plate for our lunch – a combination of cheeses, crackers, dried fruits, and nuts.  Tasty, and just right.  (Note: LaBelle Winery is located on the main route between Peterborough and the Manchester Airport - about 40 minutes from the B&B, 20 minutes from the airport.  It would make for a nice, casual place to relax is you find yourself with extra time in your travels.)

Rock formations at America's Stonehenge

Our next stop was America’s Stonehenge in Salem. (Not to be confused with our own "Stonehenge" just up the road in Peterborough - photo at end of blog... just for fun.)  We really didn’t know much about the location in Salem, so we thought we’d check it out for ourselves.  The drive from the winery took only about 35 minutes, but we were a little surprised to find the site tucked in an unremarkable, wooded, residential neighborhood.  Neither one of us has been to Stonehenge in England, but the name sets up expectations of a large ring of enormous stones.  America’s Stonehenge is NOT that, but it does have archaeological significance dating back over 4000 years.  The site is mostly a series of man-made chambers and ceremonial sites… more underground than above.  (The site’s original name was Mystery Hill Caves.)  What the Salem site does have in common with its English namesake are stones with significant astronomical alignment… corresponding to sunrises and sunsets on various solstice, equinox, and other dates.  All-in-all, the Visitors’ Center, informational video, and tour markers are a little dated, and at $11 per person the attraction was a little pricey, but it was interesting and we were glad we went.

Astronomical Chart

Looking out in the direction of the Summer Solstice and August 1 sunsets

And finally, since we just can't pass up ice cream, we were happy to make a stop at Moo’s Place in North Salem.  Although I had never heard of it, Rob had just seen a list of the Top 25 ice cream places in NH and Moo’s Place was #11, simply reinforcing our need to stop.  To our delight, they make their own ice cream (not at this location, but at their other shop in Derry) and had some interesting flavors.  I had to try the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge and Rob got…ummmm… something else.  The ice cream was creamy and delicious!  A sweet end to a great day!

Moo :P
Teixeira Park - Peterborough's "Stonehenge" :)