Little River Bed and Breakfast
Innkeeper(s): Paula & Rob Fox
An Abundance of Apples 26 Sep 2016, 12:40 pm
We love fall! The warm days and the cool nights! The daily surprise of colors in the trees! Pumpkins, mums... and apples! You gotta' love the apples! We took some time last week to do a little apple picking of our own. Our destination... Alyson's Orchard in Walpole on a sunny hillside overlooking the Connecticut River Valley. Alyson's grows over 50 varieties of apples, as well as peaches, plums, pears, nectarines, blueberries, raspberries and quince. The exact dates for picking each fruit/variety vary growing season to growing season, but from mid-summer to late fall, Alyson's pretty much has something to be picked.
Now, the big decision is what to make with all of our apples... Apple Walnut Breads, Apple Butter, Caramel Apple Baked French Toast... or try something new? Or maybe I should start practicing my pie baking skills for the The Old Farmer's Almanac Apple Pie Baking Contest sponsored by The Old Farmer's Almanac and King Arthur Flour to be held at the Peak into Peterborough celebration on October 15, 2016.
Note: Although we had wonderful luck picking apples at Alyson's this year (2016), not every apple orchard in the region fared as well. After a warm winter, a late cold spell in the spring damaged many of the apple blossoms and the lack of rain this summer put additional stress on many of the trees. Some orchards in the region, in addition to Alyson's, are still open for PYO: Birchwood Orchard in Mason, McLeod Brothers in Milford, and Washburn's Windy Hill in Greenville. Unfortunately, others will not be opening for PYO apples this season: Norway Hill in Hancock, Holt Brothers in Lyndeborough, and Paradise Farm in Lyndeborough. For a more comprehensive list of apple orchards in New Hampshire, go to www.applepickingorchards.com. And wherever you plan to go, it makes sense to call ahead to make sure they will be open for PYO picking.
More Monadnock: Cliff Walk to Bald Rock 13 Sep 2016, 6:35 amour hike of the Pumpelly Trail on Mount Monadnock this past July, Rob and I were inspired to write our own set of trail descriptions for our guests at the Bed and Breakfast to use when deciding where to hike on the mountain. While we often suggest the Old Toll Road trailhead as a nice alternative to the trails starting from the State Park Headquarters, we realized that other than going up the Halfway House Trail to White Arrow Trail, and coming down the smaller trails (footpaths) past Monte Rosa, we didn't have a lot of experience with the trails on the southern side of the mountain. At about the same time, I found a write-up in a trail guide that described the Cliff Walk trail as one of the "finest scenic trails" on Mount Monadnock. Well... I like scenic trails! So the plan was set... our next hike on Monadnock would include the Cliff Walk.
So on a beautiful afternoon in late August, we set out with our niece Casey from the Old Toll Road Trailhead on the Old Toll Road, a wide dirt road with a reasonably gradual incline. After about a half-mile, we turned off onto the Parker Trail, a mostly level trail that was both wooded and rocky, and within another quarter-mile we were at the start of the Cliff Walk.
|Paula and Casey at the start of the Cliff Walk trail|
But the trail was more than just climbing boulders. It moved in and out of the woods, sometimes hugging the outside edge of a ridge that gave fantastic views... with terrain that was sometimes gradual, and sometimes steeper. It intersected with numerous small trails with cutesy names like "Point Surprise" and the "Do Drop Trail".
It featured named viewpoints, like Hello Rock, Black-Throated Blue Point (named for a warbler bird of the same name), Ainsworth's Seat (named for the first minister in Jaffrey), Thoreau's Seat and Emerson's Seat (named for Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson).
|Not sure if this was Ainsworth's Seat or
Black-Throated Blue Point...
but it was a great view!
It is worth noting that many of the smaller trails and viewpoints on this portion of the mountain date back to when the Halfway House hotel existed (from the 1860s to the 1950s) and many of these trails were blazed by guests.
Let's just say... I was really liking this trail. And I liked it even more as we climbed towards Bald Rock and got a peek at Monadnock's peak. Whether looking up the mountain or towards the south, the views from Bald Rock were awesome!
|View of peak from Bald Rock|
|View outward from Bald Rock|
From Bald Rock we had to make a choice though, climb up to the peak via the Smith Connecting and White Cross trails (or the Amphitheater and White Arrow trails), or start to make our way back down to the trailhead. Given our late start at hiking, we decided that we probably would not have quite enough time to comfortably reach the peak, so we made our way to the Side Foot Trail and our route back to the trailhead via the Old Halfway House Trail.
So here were our stats...
- Time: 3 hours and 45 minutes, total (Two hours to Bald Rock, including many stops at viewpoints for photos; and about 1 hour and 45 minutes down, including our break time at Bald Rock.)
- Miles: 3.75 miles, round-trip
- Experience: Great! (As mentioned above, I really liked this trail!)
Getting a Better View: NH Fire Lookout Towers 29 Aug 2016, 10:47 am
|View from Pack Monadnock|
We are lucky to have three of the active fire towers within a short drive of Peterborough... at Pack Monadnock in Peterborough (Miller State Park), at Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard, and at Federal Hill in Milford.
|Fire Lookout Tower at Pitcher Mountain|
|Fire Lookout Tower at Pack Monadnock|
|View from Pitcher Mountain|
|Fire Lookout Tower on Mount Kearsarge|
Hiking the Beech Hill Trails in Dublin 22 Aug 2016, 7:15 am
We love hiking new (to us) trails, so with a break in our day of just a couple of hours, we decided to check out the trails on Beech Hill in Dublin and get a little exercise in! The Beech Hill Hiking Trails are located on a 62.7-acre property protected by conservation easement through the Monadnock Conservancy. The property is the former site of a substance abuse and treatment center (known as Beech Hill) that closed in 2001. In 2007, the Beech Hill-Dublin Lake Watershed Association acquired the property and began restoring the site, removing all but one of the buildings and eventually creating a network of trails that provide views of both Mount Monadnock and parts of the Wapack Range.
Lucky for us, the property is only about 10 minutes away. To get there, take Route 101 to Dublin and head north on Dublin Road (adjacent to the Fire Station). Go about 0.4 miles and turn left on Beech Hill Road. Travel about 0.2 miles on Beech Hill Road (paved, but a little rough) to the parking area and trailhead with kiosk. (A full trail map and guide for the Beech Hill Hiking Trails is available on the Monadnock Conservancy website.)
Our plan was to take the Zig Zag Trail to the top of the hill, then make our way over to the South Overlook, head back to the Ridge Trail to stop at Eagle Rock, then continue on the Old Carriage Road back down and around to the parking area. Right away, we noted the that trails seem rather lightly used. Although they were still very easy to follow and well-marked, the ferns and blackberry bushes were starting to push their way back in to the path a little bit. Given the light use of the property, we figured we might see more wildlife than we typically see on other trails, and sure enough we were not disappointed! Before we got to the top of the Zig Zag Trail, we came across a fairly large porcupine a little ways off in the brush. See him? (in the photo below) No? Oh. Since this was both of our first real-life experience with a porcupine, we were both excited to see him (or her), but clearly, a porcupine in the brush does not photograph well.
From the top of the Zig Zag Trail, we started to make our way towards the South Outlook, or so we thought. After a short bit of travel on the Old Carriage Road, the trail emerges to a dirt road that passes some large fenced-off cell towers poorly disguised as trees. We continued on the dirt road until it sort of faded away into a field of wildflowers. At this point, we really couldn't identify a trail per se, but it seemed like we were headed in the right direction from the map. So we continued on until we came upon the old white mansion that had been used as the treatment center. Surrounded by chain link fence with broken windows and doors, the house itself was a sad sight, but the view of the Wapack Range from that location was really nice.
At the time, we were pretty sure this was not the South Outlook we had been looking for, but as we had seen signs of no other trails, we decided to head back towards the cell towers and back to the Old Carriage Road to continue our plan. But for better or worse, we are not ones to give up easily, so once we were back at the cell towers, we decided to try one more time to see if there was some trail marker we had missed... and it turns out we had! See... on the utility pole... the three white circle reflectors? (There is actually a 4th one on the ground which is what caught our eyes.) That's the trail marker! And beyond the brushy area at the edge of the field, more round white trail markers can be seen on trees in the woods.
|The trail markers are small, but they are there.|
|This is the view from the cell tower area. The trail markers are on the second utility pole from the right.|
So after just a short walk in the woods, we were at the South Outlook... and we were so glad to have found it. The view of Mount Monadnock with Dublin Lake in the foreground was shady, cool, and really great!
Then it was back to our plan to take the Old Carriage Road to the Ridge Trail and Eagle Rock, another nice outlook where we added a geocache to our finds, and back to the Old Carriage Road for the "long route" back to the car. The Old Carriage Road seemed a bit longer than we were expecting and we had to pay attention to follow it closely as there were a few trails that broke off in other directions, causing us to stop and check our map at times. It also crossed over some of the Dublin School's cross-country ski trails a few times (which we didn't expect), but eventually we passed the start of the Zig Zag Trail and were back at our car. Our total time hiking (including our missteps and geocaching) was about two hours.
We are thrilled to have "discovered" this trail network so close to home and can't wait to visit again to experience the natural beauty in other seasons.
August is New Hampshire Eat Local Month 9 Aug 2016, 8:49 amNew Hampshire Eat Local Month. And to add an extra highlight to the celebration, this week (August 7 through 13th) is National Farmers' Market Week. Here are some of our favorite ways to eat local!
In Peterborough, we have two farmers' markets each week: Fresh Chicks Marketplace, Mondays, 11 AM to 3 PM at Monadnock Community Hospital, and the Peterborough Farmers' Market, Wednesdays, 3 to 6 PM at the Peterborough Community Center. But on almost any day, we can find a farmers' market here in the Monadnock Region: Tuesdays and Saturdays in Keene, Wednesdays in Jaffrey, Thursdays in Rindge, and Fridays in Harrisville. And for those looking for an even stronger tie to their local farms, the region has numerous CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farms to join.
|Beautiful eggs from Jen at FiberDreams Farm in Temple|
In addition to visiting farmers' markets, a favorite way to eat local is to visit PYO (Pick Your Own) farms. Right now is blueberry season and so far this year we've picked berries at Propect Street Blueberries in Jaffrey, High Hopes Orchard in Westmoreland, and Pitcher Mountain (wild blueberries) in Stoddard, and have more plans to visit Odd Pine Farm in Ashburnham, MA, and Richmond Blueberries in Richmond before the season is over! We also love picking strawberries (June), as well as peaches, apples (Rob's favorite), and pumpkins!
Despite our lack of real experience, space to garden in, and rain this summer, we've got a little patch of garden that is happily producing zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and herbs.
We know that so many of our local restaurants purchase much of their produce and other products from local farms and suppliers, but we can't help but smile when we walk into Bantam Grill and are greeted by their chalkboard highlighting all of their local purveyors.
For even more ideas on how to "Eat Local" this month, see the article "31 Days, 31 Ways to Celebrate" at the NH Eat Local website. And for great information on farms, farmers' markets, and PYO locations in the Monadnock Region, visit the website for Monadnock Table magazine. Eat up and enjoy!
Hitting for "The Cycle"...Mt Monadnock Style 18 Jul 2016, 7:11 pmNew 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:
- White Dot/White Cross (From the Monadnock State Park Headquarters)
- Old Toll Road/Halfway House
- Dublin Trail
- Marlboro Trail
- Birchtoft Trail
- 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!|
|Paula stopped to pick and eat wild blueberries...yum!|
|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?
(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 amThe 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.
|Aspet, home of 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 more...in 2016 16 May 2016, 9:16 amThe 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
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 pmWondering 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|
|Inside the Peterborough Community Theater|
The theater is just over a mile from Little River B&B so it is very convenient for our guests!
|Wilton Town Hall Theater|
|Wilton: tickets to the left, concessions to the right :)|