life in the Kearsarge area

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

Archive for July, 2008

Where have I been?

I tell you where I’ve been: right here at my computer. The fall 2008 issue of Kearsarge Magazine is off to press. The last two weeks have been a straight out, pedal-to-the-metal test of my organizational skills, memory and patience. It will take me a few more weeks to remove all the post-it notes from my computer, take down the scraps of paper from my bulletin board, and move the never ending stack of paperwork to its appropriate file. (It could be the file cabinet, it could be the circular file, but it’s going somewhere.) I have a few weeks to get out and about, taking photos and getting ideas for upcoming issues. I think my laptop might miss me, but, hey, I’ll be back in October for the winter issue.


Let’s run off and join the circus

The family went to the Big Apple Circus in Hanover on Saturday. It’s our third year (my fourth) and we love it every time. This year we had ringside seats for the 30th anniversary show. We were so close that clowns patted our hair, horse tails swished us as they pranced by, and gymnasts eyeballed us (judging their space) before they attempted a daring feat. We were also seated next to the show’s sponsor, so you can imagine how the clowns treated him. (We wore a bucket of popcorn by default, but it was yummy.) The circus is expensive, almost $150 for four tickets and shipping, but it was co-founded by a Dartmouth grad so I’m still spending locally, in a way. If you have the cash and want to spend a couple hours amazed at what the human body and mind can do, I highly recommend it.

The perfect berry

It’s raspberry season! I missed it last year, so no jelly for my loyal fans, but I did not miss it this year. My mom and I – with two toddlers in tow – headed to Newport to Beaver Meadow Farm for pick your own this year. It is a lovely location, right near a family farm, and the berries were the best I’d ever seen. Big, red, round, ripe – I had to be careful picking up branches because the berries would literally fall off. I don’t know how we did it, but we picked 13 pints. The kids tried to help, but they were distracted by the fact that they could make their own jelly in their hands (ugh) and a horse that was taking a ride around the perimeter of the field. The berries made it home safely and I made 14 jars of bright red jelly. Six jars have already found homes. My favorite comment, “She could teach Smucker’s a thing or two.” Not sure how long the berries will be around (remember, I missed last year), but you should head on over if you want some this year. I’m already looking forward to blueberry season….two jars have already been reserved!

Mark your calendar

Write “Wool and Art Tour” or “Mirage Alpacas” or “lamb kabobs” on your calendar right now. On Columbus Day Weekend, the 25th annual event will be held, complete with demonstrations, food, art, and animals. My family and I spent a morning at Mirage Alpacas in Washington one Saturday. We saw all the renovations happening at the farm, met the animals (alpacas, sheep, miniature donkeys, to name a few) and saw the love that everyone had for their work. It was great fun (next time we’ll bring a picnic lunch) but with the Wool and Arts Tour there will be food – a sidewalk cafe provides breakfast, lunch and dinner. Audrey Rhodes, owner of Mirage Alpacas, said that there might be new miniature donkeys (they were bred late so they may be born by the event) and Wats, born last year on the tour, is doing well. “People are coming back to see this one year old,” she says. “It’s a nice group of people who attend. We see some of the same faces every year.” And they know that they can get their one-of-a-kind shopping done. Learn more at or

Pahk the cah

I missed all the fun hometown events this weekend – Newbury Old Home Day, Civil War reenactment at Muster Field, bandstand concert in New London. I went to Boston for a little inspiration. Nothing like visiting the homes of famous writers to make you want to pick up the pen, uh, keyboard, again.

First we went to the home of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and (I did not know this) dozens of other books, including mysteries and children’s books. Apparently the Alcotts were friends with neighboring families such as the Emersons and the Thoreaus (ring a bell?). We dawdled around so much at the Alcott home that we missed the other historical homes (located nearby) and went to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, which closed at dark. I like that someone wrote Henry David Thoreau a note (it read: you should be proud – thanks for everything!).

After the historical Saturday afternoon, we did some shallow shopping at antique stores in Concord. Some really nice things, but I controlled myself and spent a grand total of $6 on a printing press key. (Those who really know me will be able to guess which symbol I bought.) I did, however, do a little more damage than that at Macy’s. We ended the evening with a stop at the Cheesecake Factory, which probably means that the clothes that I just bought already do not fit. Sunday was a blur – there was breakfast and a run to Trader Joe’s then it was back to New Hampshire. Have I written anything (besides this blog)? No, but hope to carve out some time this week!

Muchas gracias

I was in New London yesterday and someone (you know who you are) kept talking about Mexican food. “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Mexican restaurant in New London?” she asked. I thought about it all night. And most of the next morning. Then decided that it was time for lunch at the Lil Red Baron in Newport. I have to admit that I hadn’t been there since Dan Lloyd owned it. I made my husband take me weekly, as I was pregnant with our first child and Mexican food was the only thing that tasted good to me. Now that I’m not pregnant, the food at Lil Red Baron still tastes really good to me. (I ate the entire melted cheese dip, with carmelized onions and flakes of red pepper, by myself.) The restaurant is under new ownership, and they’ve done a great job expanding the bar, adding outdoor seating, and renovating the inside (the tile tables are really nice).

Now, it was pretty busy at lunch time, but I hear that it’s really hopping in the evenings. Lil Red Baron does take reservations, so if you’re craving authentic Mexican give them a call to reserve an outdoor table, complete with tent and tiki torch. You can have your multiple margaritas in comfort. I’m calling the babysitter now.

Congratulations, Michael

All I’ve heard lately is boohooing about the economy. It was so nice to see a success story today. I met Michael a year ago at a Newport Area Chamber function where he was one of the caterers. I filled up a plate with his appetizers, sat at table to chow down, then got back up for round two. I tried to look nonchalant as I sidled up to his table again, but, what the hay, I just introduced myself so maybe my overeating would look more like magazine “research.” He mentioned he was going to open up a restaurant in Claremont, and I told him to let me know when he was ready. Last week, I got the e-mail that he was ready. I stopped by – just in time – for the Claremont Chamber ribbon cutting ceremony and free pig roast at his new place, Sweet Fire BBQ on 116 Mulberry Street.

Now, let me preface this with a little history. I went to grad school in Syracuse, NY. Every chance we could, a group of us would drive to the outskirts of town to a biker bar/restaurant called Dinosaur Bar-B-Q. The place had been around for 8 years (at the time) and had quite a following. We loved it because after wearing business suits all day, we could drink heavily, enjoy loud music, eat meat with our fingers and laugh at the rude things the waitresses said to us. (Dropped your fork? Too bad.) I’m not a BBQ expert by any means, but I do know good food when I taste it. The pulled pork at Sweet Fire melted in my mouth and I enjoyed the upscale version of coleslaw with red cabbage, carrots and cranberries. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get to try the cornbread – my daughter ate it. If you’re ready to take off the suit and enjoy a good meal, definitely stop by to see Michael. Sweet Fire BBQ is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to closing, and take out is available.