life in the Kearsarge area

what's happening in the Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee area of NH

Archive for April, 2008

W.O.W. to Artisan’s

    I’m loving the new Artisan’s of New London. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the old shop; I have fond memories of my dad taking me down on college breaks to pick out a piece of jewelry for Christmas. But, to be honest, the addition of clothes and a teeny, tiny dressing room meant less room for the jewelry, local crafts and local paintings that I loved to find at Artisan’s. Now in this new location in the former Mesa building (you know, the yellow one on the corner of Main and Pleasant), there’s TWO dressing rooms. A shoe section. A jewelry section. artisans.JPG A kid’s section with clothes and toys. And tons of space – I’m not bumping into people as I exclaim, “Oh, look at that!” and turn a bit too quickly. Marcy and Amy and the whole team should be very proud. They have made a great shop even better.

To bark mulch, or not to bark mulch

Spring is here, and that means yard work. I live in Eastman, a former retirement/vacation community that is now primarily populated by families with children. (Less housing in the Upper Valley means more families living outside of the Upper Valley.) I feel slightly guilty because everyone is outside sprucing up their yards – raking the last bit of leaves that were caught under last year’s first snow, potting perennials, setting out the patio furniture and bark mulching their yards. Bark mulch is a big thing in Eastman – folks don’t like grass (those darn lawnmowers are noisy) so everyone clamors for bark mulch every April. Well, don’t tell anyone: we have grass in our backyard (horrors!) but use an old-style push lawnmower (whew!). Admittedly, we probably should do something with the front of our house – new bluestone for the driveway and bark mulch for the edges would give our homely home some curb appeal. But, as I work on the magazine, I look out the front window at my retired neighbors hard at work on their yards before black fly season and I think, maybe next year.

Helpful sales people

Retail sales can be hard work, especially when you have a customer like me. My kids (3 and 6) needed new crocs. A simple task, right? I even wrote down the sizes on a slip of paper. I stop by Hubert’s in Newport and there are rows of crocs – adults, kids, with linings, without linings, with fabric straps, with plastic straps – but none in the sizes that I am looking for. One sales person looks through the racks with me to find a size for my daughter, while another sales rep calls the Hubert’s store in Claremont, New London and West Lebanon. One store does have the size, but not the right color. They must have spent a good half hour helping me. Although they weren’t exactly the colors I wanted, I did find crocs for both kids in the right sizes. So thanks to the two ladies who spent some time with me yesterday morning!

Old things

It’s located on Route 11, right where you are picking up speed on your way to Newport. But Sunapee Landing Trading Company is worth stopping for. Located in a building that was once a lower-end thrift store, Bill Corey has updated, renovated and remodeled it into a lovely antique shop. But we’re not talking “oh-I-can’t-afford-this” antiques. There’s something for every budget. You could pick up an ornate marble table for $15,000 or a delicate cut glass bowl for $40. And you could easy spend an afternoon there and not see everything. Look for an article on Bill and his new business in the fall issue of Kearsarge Magazine.

Busy bees in Newbury

Summer is on the way. How do I know? Newbury is buzzing with activity. Bob’s Beacon Marina employees were polishing boats. Outspokin’ employees met you at the door. Marzelli Deli had a line of people buying items for dinner – a loaf of garlic bread, wine, lasagnas to go. Newbury News, well, you couldn’t even find a parking space in the lot. Realtors were not at their desks – they were out selling. Now, I know Newbury is a year-round town with year-round residents, but it was so nice to see everyone out after a long winter. You’ll know the summer is here when the information booth opens and the hot dog man starts making an appearance on Route 103. Look for the new playground to open this summer and the return of the farmer’s market in a few months.

Doesn’t anybody have a birthday coming up?

I’m shop in advance. Sale at my favorite store? I’ll get a year’s worth of birthday cards at once. Summer shirts marked down in the fall? I’ll buy one size up for my kids for next year. By the time August rolls around, my Christmas shopping is just about done. (I blame that one on the magazine schedule. Writing a holiday gift guide in August makes me panic. MUST. GET. GIFTS. NOW.) And, yes, I’m using all the bows and wrapping paper I bought the year before at half price.



With snowbanks still a good 8 feet high and national retail spending at an all time low, I take some time to shop locally. I buy a sympathy card at C.B. Coburn’s new location (cute shop — much more manageable shopping space — more on that later). I get my photos printed out at Flash Photo and buy a new photo album. I stop into Serendipity and purchase a “make your own chewing gum” kit for the kids. I probably spent all of $50 at all three stores, but if everyone braved the limited parking (thanks to those darn snowbanks) and shopped just a bit maybe local businesses wouldn’t be hurting?

Invest in me

Allison Vernon has the mind of a marketer. She sent me an e-mail that said (I’m paraphrasing here): Invest in me. Eight years ago my paintings sold for $200. Now they are selling for $800.

I’m psyched because the stock I do own is hovering around $5 per share (down from $40 per share) and I bought a small original oil from Allison around Christmas. At least one of my investments is doing well…anyway…I drive to New London to check out what she’s been working on. My favorite new project of Allison’s: A portrait of wedding bouquets.

Her idea: Brides love their bouquets. But, as we all know, they don’t last. Sometimes they don’t dry well and sometimes the photos are blurry. Why not give the bride a portrait of her bouquet? Send Allison a photo of the bouquet and she’ll get out her palette knife to paint it in oil on canvas. For $125 to $150 (depends on size), she’ll ship it as well.

Check out my fellow marketer at