Little River Bed and Breakfast

184 Union Street, Peterborough, New Hampshire 03458
Innkeeper(s): Paula & Rob Fox

Hitting for "The Cycle"...Mt Monadnock Style 18 Jul 2016, 7:11 pm

New Hampshire loves baseball... and hiking.  In baseball, "Hitting for the Cycle" means hitting a single, double, triple and homerun in the same game.  It may seem like a bit of a stretch, but I think Mt Monadnock has its own version of "Hitting for the Cycle" (this is, of course, my own creation).  So here's how it goes...

There are six main trailheads on Mt Monadnock:
  1. White Dot/White Cross (From the Monadnock State Park Headquarters)
  2. Old Toll Road/Halfway House
  3. Dublin Trail
  4. Marlboro Trail
  5. Birchtoft Trail
  6. Pumpelly Trail
The first three trailheads (White Dot, Old Toll Road and Dublin Trail) are like hitting a single.  That's not to say these are easy trails, they all gain approximately 1700' in elevation over a two mile climb (about four miles round trip) covering plenty of rocky terrain but they are your easiest routes to the top.
Do we look tired and hot yet?  It was 90 degrees!
The Marlboro Trail is more like hitting a double, it still gains around 1700' in elevation over about 2.2 miles (4.4 miles round trip) but there is a substantial amount of rock scrambling and is bit more strenuous and technical.  It's a great hike!
Paula stopped to pick and eat wild blueberries...yum!
The Birchtoft Trail is the triple.  The elevation gain is more like 2000' over 3.5 miles (7 miles round trip) and includes some of the steepest terrain on the mountain as 2/3 of the way up you decide between climbing Red Spot (pretty steep) or Spellman (the steepest trail on the mountain).
Thorndike Pond, we paddled there just a couple weeks ago
The homerun is Pumpelly and is also the reason I am writing this blog post now.  Paula and I have been climbing Monadnock at least once a year since we moved to New Hampshire and up to this year we had peaked from every trailhead on the mountain except Pumpelly.  It was mostly elusive to us because we had to commit a lot more time for the hike and we never seemed to be able to schedule it...until last week.

Pumpelly's elevation gain is 2000' over 4.4 miles (8.8 miles round trip) but that is a very deceiving 2000' gain.  The hike began gentle enough as we started by hiking through some forested land right off Dublin Lake.  But then the trail started to climb...not steep but consistently up.  About 1.5 miles in the trail got steeper and rocky and we had to start scrambling a bit.  This trail definitely progressed getting more challenging the further we went.
There's the peak...looks far away :(
When we reached the top of the first steep section after the 2 mile mark, the views became glorious to the East and West and we realized we were on a ridge.  That's the deceiving part.  For the next 1.5 to 2 miles we were constantly ascending and descending the rocky ridgeline so the elevation gain may be just 2000' but my guess would be we had gone up closer to 2500' (and of course that means you have some more climbing to do on the return trip).  About 3/4 of a mile from the peak, we merged with the top of Red Spot and made a "dash" to the peak.
Yup, that's the ridgeline with our return destination way down at the lake
As moderate hikers, this trail really challenged us, but the views were outstanding and the lack of other hikers on the trail was welcome.  It took us four hours to get to the peak (although the two younger hikers that started at the same time as us probably did it in closer to three) and it took us three more to get back down to the trailhead.

Anyone looking for a challenge in the Monadnock Region will find no better challenge than Pumpelly, but no matter which trail you choose, the views from the top are worth the climb!

100 Views of Mount Monadnock at the Sharon Arts Center Gallery 15 Jun 2016, 5:32 am

The Sharon Arts Center Gallery of the New Hampshire Institute of Art recently reopened after an extensive remodel to transform their gallery space with more area for exhibits, better flow and museum quality lighting.  On a recent visit, I had the pleasure to see the new space and spend time in the exhibit titled “100 Views of Mount Monadnock” curated by local artists Michelle Aldredge and Corwin Levi.  The exhibit is a collection of postcards featuring 100 views of Mount Monadnock, showing the mountain at various times, in various seasons and from various angles.  The postcards have been arranged chronologically by postmark date, ranging from 1900 to 1976.  Some of the postcards reveal features on the mountain that no longer exist, such as the Halfway House Hotel and the Tip Top House. 

The exhibit illustrates the point that although the times have changed, the mountain has remained a steady reference point. And while the various views of Monadnock are interesting in themselves, there is an extra dimension to the exhibit in that the original messages (written on the postcards) have been typed onto old library card displayed with each postcard’s image.  

What struck me as most interesting was that many of the messages, especially among the older cards, were extremely short-and-sweet.  They seemed more like today’s text messages than what you would think of as travel correspondence.  Many authors wrote of meeting times, train schedules, wildlife, and weather.  Some messages clearly did have deeper meaning though, such as the following:

August 27, 1906
To: Rachel Knight, Derry, NH
Are you all dead and buried?
Aunt Emma

(It actually made me laugh out loud!)

The Sharon Arts Center Gallery is located at 30 Grove Street in Peterborough.  The “100 Views of Mount Monadnock” exhibit will be on display through July 3, 2016.

The postcard images displayed here (and many more) can be found at a Flickr album created by theKeene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County titled “Mount Monadnock, Cheshire County, New Hampshire”.

Visiting the Home and Studios of America's Greatest Sculptor 3 Jun 2016, 7:56 am

The National Parks Service celebrates its 100th birthday this year!  So to join in the celebration, we  took a day trip to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, one of just two National Park Service locations in the state.  (The other one is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.)  Saint-Gaudens gives a fascinating look into the home and studios of the famous American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  Rob and I had visited a few years ago on our own, but this time had the pleasure of bringing some friends to see the site and had a little extra time to be able to explore some of the hiking trails on site.
View from Saint-Gaudens' studio

The only National Historic Site dedicated to an artist, Saint-Gaudens makes a wonderful destination for people interested in history, the arts, peaceful and beautiful surroundings and hiking.  After arriving at the historic site, we started at the Visitor Center where we read and enjoyed a twenty minute movie about his life career.
Shaw Memorial
Once outside walking the grounds and visiting his studios, we were able to get up close and personal with some of his most impressive public commission works like the Admiral Farragut Memorial (original located in New York City) and the amazing Shaw Memorial (original is at the top of Boston Commons in Boston).  A 12-foot bronze cast of "Standing Lincoln" (original resides in Chicago) will be coming to Cornish in a special ceremony on June 26, 2016 to mark the culmination of the site's 50th anniversary.  Saint-Gaudens also produced cameo and bronze relief portraits of many notable individuals and was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to design the $20 Double Eagle coin and there are examples of these items and their plaster "sketches" as well.
Aspet, home of Saint-Gaudens
His home on the grounds, Aspet, is open for guided tours and offers wonderful views of Mount Ascutney in Vermont.  The home has original furnishings and decorative objects belonging to Saint-Gaudens.

We finished our day with a short scenic ravine hike to the Blow-Me-Up Brook where the sculptor and his assistants would go for respite from their work.  You can see the remnants of some damming that was done to create a swimming hole.

The park also hosts a sculptor-in-residence during their open season (late May through late October), sculpture classes and workshops, changing exhibitions and special Summer Concerts on Sundays in July and August.

Although not right in our "backyard", a visit to Saint-Gaudens makes a great day trip that can also include many interesting stops along the Connecticut River Valley such as L.A. Burdick Chocolates in Walpole, NH, the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge linking NH and VT, Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT, King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT, and more!

Driving Miss Daisy...and 2016 16 May 2016, 9:16 am

The Little River B&B Dinner, Theater and Stay Package...

Peterborough Players is award winning equity theater entering its 83rd year of performing.  However, from the moment you arrive at this intimate, fully updated, 1700s barn tucked into the woods North of downtown Peterborough you know are not on Broadway or in the theater district of any large city.  The theater is state-of-the-art but the experience is old charm as you walk the halls soaking in the photos of the performances of many decades ago, the exposed wood beams and the candles flickering near the stage before the performance begins that get "snuffed" out.

Every year "The Players" offer a mix of classics, known award winning shows and first time productions.  This year is no different as the season begins in June with Pulitzer Prize winning book/play Driving Miss Daisy, two Tony Award winning shows for best play and George Bernard Shaw's comedy Pygmalion.  In between you will find a mix of dramas and comedies.  This looks to be a great season of productions and we hope everyone will come out to enjoy the experience.

Here at Little River B&B, we want to remind blog readers that in conjunction with Peterborough Players and Del Rossi's Trattoria in Dublin, we offer a Dinner, Theater and Stay Package that is historic, delicious, entertaining...and a sweet deal!
  • Dinner at Del Rossi's, an Italian Restaurant that celebrated twenty five years in business under the same owners/chefs.  It is located in Dublin in a 1700s farmhouse serving up fabulous home made pastas and other entrees.
  • Two tickets to Peterborough Players
  • Overnight accommodations with us at Little River B&B in Peterborough.  The home was built in the 1870s and offers four comfortable rooms, some with views of the river and all include a wonderful multi-course hot breakfast in the morning.
Check out our Special Package

One of our breakfast specials, Asparagus & Herbed Cheese Strata

Peterborough Players 2015 Season:
  • June 22 - July 3: Driving Miss Daisy (Pulitzer prize winning comedy)
  • July 6 - 17: Annapurna (a new drama)
  • July 20 - 31: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award winning comedy)
  • August 3 - 14: Pygmalion (a comedy by George Bernard Shaw)
  • August 17 - 28: The Ladies' Man (a farce by Charles Morey, former Players Artistic Director)
  • August 31 - September 11: God of Carnage (Tony Award winning comedy)
  • September 14 - 18: Cry Havoc (a one man drama by Veteran Stephan Wolfert)
Please note 2016 starting times for performances have changed a little (which could affect dinner times at Del Rossi's):
  • Tuesday - Friday evenings @ 7:30 PM
  • Saturday evenings @ 8:00 PM
  • Sunday afternoon matinees @ 4:00 PM
  • Pygmalion (Sunday, August 7th) @ 2:00 PM

Two wonderful movie houses in the Monadnock Region 8 May 2016, 7:20 pm

Wondering what to do on that rainy evening...or have a hankering for the smell of freshly popped popcorn?

Well, forget the mega multiplexes where you have to park miles away from the theater entrance at the back of a giant parking lot,.  Forget the long lines for tickets which end up as long lines for overpriced concessions and stale popcorn.  And forget the endless hallways as you try to find theater #22 which is showing the movie you want to see.
Historic picture of the Peterborough Community Theater
Step back in time to when going to the movies was relaxing.  The Monadnock Region has two historic, unique and intimate theaters from which to choose: The Peterborough Community Theater and the Wilton Town Hall Theater.
Peterborough: concessions
The Peterborough Community Theater is the oldest movie theater in New Hampshire and has been entertaining people for more than a century!  Although it was once much larger, the current theater is more intimate seating just ninety six people and is located right in the heart of downtown Peterborough.  It is a pleasure to be able to park just steps from the front door, just steps from the ticket counter where you also buy concessions and then just two steps from the theater entrance.
Inside the Peterborough Community Theater
Don't worry, just because the theater is historic doesn't mean you give up many conveniences.  Sure it doesn't have reclining stadium seating (who needs stadium seating in a theater with ten rows) but you still get cup holders, they have lots of healthy snacks and a new popcorn machine at the concession stand and the projector was updated to digital several years ago and presents first run and independent films.

The theater is just over a mile from Little River B&B so it is very convenient for our guests!
Wilton Town Hall Theater
The Wilton Town Hall Theater is also historic with its charming brick architecture.  Originally built in the 1880s as a playhouse, they started showing silent movies in the 1920s and have never stopped. From the moment you pull up to the theater and park on Main Street you realize this is not your ordinary cookie cutter theater.  Climb the stairs to the second floor where Dennis will greet you at the combined ticket and concession counter.  Turn right and through the doors into the theater.  The main screen room holds 250 people with tons of leg room while the smaller screening room seats a cozy 65 your own private movie screening :)
Wilton: tickets to the left, concessions to the right :)
Honestly you cannot go wrong.  Both theaters are excellent and both give you a bigger experience than just sitting in the dark with a screen in front of you.  If you have the chance...get to both...they are both great experiences!

Sweet Sixteen...Happy Birthday Geocaching! 2 May 2016, 7:23 pm

As most of you who read our bog know, Paula and I are Geocachers (GCers) and we encourage everyone who enjoys walking and hiking to try it., May 2nd, is sixteen years to the day since the U.S. Government flipped the switch on its satellites allowing consumer GPS devices to be substantially more accurate.
Our nephew finding a geocache back in 2009
Sure that has allowed car navigation and smartphones giving directions to become ubiquitous but it also made Geocaching a real possibility.  Handheld GPS devices could now be used to locate tupperware boxes hidden all around the world... and tomorrow, May 3, 2000, was the day the first geocache was hidden!
Another niece and nephew finding a GC in 2011 :)
Paula and I have been enjoying this outdoor activity ever since our guests Thin and Marcus introduced us to it way back in 2007 (thanks guys)!  So if you are a GCer, celebrate by going out and tomorrow and finding a cache.  If you have not yet experienced the thrill of the hunt, what are you waiting for?  Time to check out and give it a try.

Oh and by the way, there must be close to fifty geocaches just within a five mile radius of downtown Peterborough!

#VisitNH #LiveFreeNH

Kulish Ledges: A Hike with a Different View 25 Apr 2016, 7:38 pm

As we keep telling everyone, there is so much hiking in the Monadnock Region we have been here for ten years and still haven't hiked all the different trails the area has to offer.  Last week was no different as we hiked a trail we didn't even know about until several months ago.
We did not have any guests checking in at the B&B until much later in the evening so we set out to explore once again.

Kulish Ledges is a three mile round trip hike within the Harris Center Super Sanctuary.  Although its not the most challenging hike climbing just 700' on the way to its 2100' peak, it was well marked, had some interesting sights to see along the way and offered very nice views from the top.
Shortly after we left the parking lot, we crossed a foot bridge that spanned a babbling brook and overlooked a pond created by a dam to run a local mill.  Over the years, this man-made dam has been "enhanced" by the local beaver population.  What made this unique for us is that the trail was about five feet below pond level so we were actually eye level with the surface of the water creating a sort of natural "infinity pool".
As we continued on, the trail led through some thick forests and we listened to the resident woodpeckers working for their mid-day meal.
When we reached the East Pinnacle, the views opened up to the East overlooking Nubanusit Lake and Spoonwood Pond in the foreground and Crotched Mountain, North Pack and South Pack in the background.  We have kayaked on Nubanusit and Spoonwood but this was our first chance to see them from above.  It was easy to simply close my eyes and soak in the solitude of the moment.

From there it was a much steeper climb to the peak.  

A wonderful afternoon could be had by stopping at the Hancock Market or Fiddleheads (both in Hancock), picking up lunch, hiking Kulish Ledges and having a picnic.  Although it is certainly worth finishing the hike and reaching the peak, the East Pinnacle is definitely the spot to stop and have lunch while enjoying the best views on the mountain.

The Harris Center - East Side Trails 13 Mar 2016, 4:01 pm

Welcome to the Little River Bed & Breakfast Blog

When the going gets easy, the innkeepers go hiking :)  This crazy warm weather has been bad for cross country skiers and snowshoers but it has been a boon to hikers!  This past week when the temps soared into the 70s (that's soaring for early March in New Hampshire) Paula and I decided to put on our walking shoes and get outside.
We had two requirements.

  1. Not too is still early March and we were concerned about muddy or icy trails and didn't want to get caught on a steep trail we could not find safe footing on.
  2. Something new...we have no issues doing hikes we have done before but there are so many trails in the region we have never explored before.
The East Side trails at the Harris Center ended up being our destination and we were not disappointed!  The East Side has a series of level graded trails that are all interconnected including a couple of loops.  Our goal were the Channing and Babbit Trails.  The massive granite boulders on the Boulder Train Loop were fascinating to weave around and through but the unexpected treat nobody told us about came halfway around the Channing Trail.
We could hear it before we saw it...rushing water :)  I read the description...nobody said anything about waterfalls.  OK...were not talking Niagara Falls but there were a series of small drops along this fast moving river that were beautiful and relaxing.  It wasn't complicated to "rock hop" out into the middle of the river, close your eyes and just listen to the river rush by.
We could have stayed there for quite a long time but this ended up being a nearly five mile hike and our watches told us we needed to keep moving.  Upon reaching the end of the Channing Trail, we were at the Northern tip of Hunts Pond where a geocache was hidden and just calling out to us.  This would make a great starter GC....not hard to find and a nice spot overlooking the pond.  We logged the find quickly and made the 1/2 mile walk back to the HQ.
I have to admit, I love the West Side trails for the elevation and views but the rushing river on the Channing Trail was pretty sweet.  If you stay with us at Little River B&B, make sure to check out our hiking book, it has great ideas for an enjoyable day outside!

New England Sweetwater Farm & moonshine and more :) 6 Mar 2016, 1:04 pm

Little River B&B

There's no shortage of places to wet your whistle around the Monadnock Region including several micro-breweries and wineries.  However, this winter we decided to check out one of the newest places in the area...the New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery in Winchester.
Paula anxious for me to take the pic so she can get to the tasting room :)
We don't write about Winchester all that much so you might be wondering where it is.  Well, if the Monadnock Region is the Southwest corner of New Hampshire, then Winchester is the Southwest corner of the Monadnock Region.  If you are exploring the covered bridges in the Keene area, then Sweetwater is probably fifteen minutes further down the road.
Really liked the decor!  There's Rob photo-bombing us :)
As we drove down Route 10 into town, this charmingly restored brick building on the right hand side of the road beckoned us to stop and explore.  Much to our delight, the curb appeal didn't end at the sidewalk as the well lit interior is warmly decorated in natural woods throughout.  We cozied up to the bar where Rob, the owner, served us a flight of samplers while telling us about the distillery, and talking about life in general.  He was easy to talk to and we shared some laughs.

I feel like George Thorogood should be playing on the radio
In the flight were samples of their handcrafted vodka, gin, rum, moonshine and whiskey.  Being the power drinkers Paula and I are...NOT...we took our time and Rob was willing to answer questions explaining the differences between the liquors and the distilling process.  Needless to say this Rob (me) is still not an expert on spirits but don't be shy about asking that Rob (the owner).
OK, shameless plug for all their spirits.  They sell shirts too.
After photo-bombing our shot, we finished our flight, Rob graciously posed for a picture of his own and then took us into the distilling area for a look-see around the operation.  They have been open less than a year and all the equipment is impressively shiny!
The mother lode!
Two thumbs up for us, check the place out for something different...and don't forget to ask Rob how they came up with the name for their rum.

Winter Wonders 14 Feb 2016, 6:14 pm

For Valentine's Day, Mother Nature gifted us with hearts and flowers!  And sub-zero temperatures... but I suspect it is this very cold spell that helped deliver our natural gift to us, so we have to accept the good with the... well, cold!

As a bit of background, we were talking with guests about the river and I had mentioned that with the cold we had the previous night, we woke up to hoarfrost on all the grasses and branches along the river.  If you aren't familiar with hoarfrost, it is this thick coating of bright white crystals that make everything look like it was dipped in sparkly glitter.  Here's an example from a few years ago.  It isn't uncommon, but it is pretty when it happens and hard not to notice.

Then we got on the topic of some photos I had seen posted at the Beekman 1802 website, online home to all sorts of creative things by Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell (whom you might also know from their success a few years ago on The Amazing Race or from their TV show The Fabulous Beekman Boys). They had posted photos of what they called "Winter's Blooms" which appear to be giant frost flowers on their pond. Beautiful!  (You can link to their post here.)

So this morning, our guest came down to breakfast and asked if we had any hoarfrost by the river this morning.  My answer was "No, but there appears to be something going on on the surface of the ice".

Fast forward a couple of hours and after breakfast our guest ventured out into the cold to check out the river (the temperatures were still in the negative numbers, not including any wind chill). He came back in with photos of very small frost flowers on our own river.  Cool!  So I went out with my camera to snap a few photos too.

These frost flowers were probably smaller than dimes, but there were lots of them.  A Valentine's Day bouquet!  Happy Valentine's Day to all!