life in the Kearsarge area

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

Archive for Andover

Get thrifty

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Thrifting is not for the faint of heart, but it is great fun. I checked out a few stores for the summer issue of Kearsarge Magazine; one of my trips is below. If you have some time this summer, grab a friend and see what you can find!



Go Lightly Consignment Boutique

255 Newport Road

CODE: consignment, clothing, jewelry


The Renaissance Shoppe at the VNA

107 Newport Road

CODE: thrift, art, collectibles, jewelry, antiques, nonprofit cause


Switchback Consignment

256 Main Street

CODE: consignment, clothing, toys, sports equipment


St. Andrews Thrift Shop

52 Gould Road

(603) 526-6590

CODE: thrift, clothing, housewares, nonprofit cause

25 Things to Do This Summer

1 Find some good deals at town-wide yard sales   throne

2 Get involved with your hometown. Volunteer with the conservation commission, join the local gardening club or offer to help at Old Home Day

3 Wish you had saved your first car while ogling the oldies (but goodies) at the Sunapee Lions Annual Antique & Classic Car Show

4 Take a nostalgic tour of New London at The Ice House museum on Pleasant Street

5 Go to a play at the New London Barn

6 Love your lake by participating in a local fishing derby; it is great family time while saving the lake from prolific fish

7 Enjoy homemade ice cream at the Sanctuary Dairy Farm in Sunapee

8 Watch blacksmiths in action at the historical smithy in Bradford

Sunapee Memorial Garden  9 Stop and smell the flowers in Sunapee Harbor, thanks to the Sunapee Gardeners

10 Pack a picnic and head to the nearest town bandstand for a free summer concert

11 Rent a paddle boat on Eastman Lake in Grantham

12 Eat fresh! Visit a farm stand and purchase dinner — local meat for the grill, fresh veggies, and baked goods like bread or dessert.

13 Or join a CSA. Every week you’ll pick up a box of food in season.

14 Or plant a few of your own vegetables at home. Every year, we enjoy about 20 tomatoes from our five porch plants.

15 Plan a local vacation: choose a Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee inn, campsite or cottage and stay for a weekend.

16 Find a lakeside viewing spot and watch the fireworks

17 Go antiquing — start with the antique show in New London and then travel to shops in Sunapee and Georges Mills

18 Bring a hammer and a pail, and explore the tunnels of Ruggles Mine in Grafton

19 Catch up with old friends at your high school (or summer camp) reunion

20 Make some new friends; stop by a local senior center or church supper and say hello to a stranger

21 Watch the races at the Claremont Speedway on Saturday evenings

22 Support the local arts and visit artists with a studio open to the public

Elkins marsh23 Go for a hike. You can find trails at

24 If hiking isn’t for you, get out and walk 10 minutes a day. Soon you’ll be walking 15 minutes, 20 minutes — and ready for a hike

25 Pick and freeze some berries. You’ll be glad to see them in your freezer once summer is over

Inns with activities

Looking for something to do? Inns don’t just provide a bedroom and bathroom; many of them provide activities to keep you outdoors and enjoying the area. Here are a few of our favorites.

Bluewater Farm Lakeside Lodge & Cottages
22B Camp Marlyn Lane
(603) 735-5159
Bluewater Lodge, a year-round facility that sleeps 40, also has three lakeside cottages on the property: Ice House, Beech House and the Lake House. It doesn’t matter if you see the view of Bradley Lake from the large windows in the lodge or from a canoe – it is simply wonderful.


Rosewood Country Inn
67 Pleasant View Road
(603) 938-5253
This 11-suite inn was built around 1850 in the early Victorian style. It is set on 12 hilltop acres, providing a peaceful getaway (or romantic hideaway).


Fairway Motel
334 Andover Road
(603) 526-0202
Perfect for the comings and goings of busy folks, the Fairway is located on Route 11, on the grounds of the Lake Sunapee Country Club.

New London Inn
353 Main Street
(603) 526-2791
A central location, refurbished rooms, and a fine dining restaurant on the premises make the New London Inn an area favorite.

Dexter’s Inn
258 Stagecoach Road
(603) 763-5571
Dexter’s Inn is a country resort on a 20-acre estate. The hilltop location — which features panoramic views of Lake Sunapee, Mount Sunapee and the surrounding countryside — provides a private, peaceful and relaxing backdrop. Tennis, swimming, cross country ski trails and fine dining are on site.

Sunapee Harbor Cottages
4 Lake Avenue
(603) 763-5052
Built in 2002, these six cottages are located right in the harbor. Sign up for a tour of the harbor on the MV Kearsarge.

The Follansbee Inn on Kezar Lake
2 Keyser Street, North Sutton
(603) 927-4221
The Follansbee Inn is an authentic 1840 New England bed & breakfast with 17 individually furnished guest rooms, all with private bath.

The Maples at Warner
69 East Main Street
(603) 456-6275
This classic New England bed and breakfast has six rooms and four baths. Even better: it is pet friendly. A boarding facility is located next door to the inn, so you can travel with your pets (no exclusions on type of animal).

Maple madness

Be on the lookout for bellowing smoke stacks in March. This means that the maple sugaring season has begun.

For many, the draw is the aroma of the sugarhouse — the addictive smell of boiling maple — and the opportunity to taste the warm syrup. For others, it’s the chance to venture out of the house. “After being cooped up in the house all winter, I’m ready for a tromp out in the woods to tap trees and put up tubing. It’s nice to get out this time of the year,” says Barbara Lassonde, publicist for the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association and a maple syrup producer with her husband, Don.


Van Webb of Harding Hill Farm in Sunapee agrees. “I love this time of the year — spring, change of seasons, the renewal,” he says.

Even if you know how maple syrup is made — from tapping the sugar maples to boiling sap in an evaporator over a blazing hot fire — it is still a treat to visit working sugarhouses and learn more about the families who continue the ancient tradition of making syrup. Will Leavitt’s sugarhouse was built in winter 2005, but his family has “been doing some sort of sugaring for more than 50 years,” the Sunapee resident says.

The sugarhouse on Harding Hill Farm was built in the 1920s. “It’s quite an antique,” says Webb. “My dad started in that sugar house in 1963 or 1964, I’ve helped since the 1970s, and now my son is going to start sugaring this year.” The only modern technology is a reverse osmosis machine; Webb still uses an old wood-fired evaporator to make the syrup, between 225 and 350 gallons a season.

This year, New Hampshire Maple Weekend will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29, typically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free to visit the sugarhouses in operation; just bring along your wallet to purchase a jug of warm syrup. For more information, go to


Where to Go

Ben’s Sugar Shack

693 Route 103, Newbury



Courser Farm

427 Schoodac Road, Warner



Harding Hill Farm

131 Route 103, Sunapee



Kearsarge Gore Farm

173 Gore Road, Warner


Leavitt Family Maple

546 North Road, Sunapee



Tucker Mountain Maple

224 Tucker Mountain Road, Andover


Valley View Maple Farm

1269 Main Street, Springfield


Over the river and through the woods

A two-dog welcoming committee greets visitors to Ragged View Farm in Andover, N.H. Gwen and Scout wag their tails, run in wide loops and come close for a friendly pat to the head before they sprint off into the snow again. They know what’s coming up: a sleigh ride around the 18-acre farm.

As soon as there’s enough snow on the ground, Mark Cowdrey and Lea Ayers LaFave offer hay-filled sleigh rides on weekends to friends, families and visitors to the area. Two chestnut Suffolk horses are hooked up to a red, wooden sleigh filled with hay and woolen blankets. Eight people can pile into the sleigh for a 40-minute tour of the farm.

Cowdrey handles the sleigh — the original snow machine — and the horses, Misty and Woodrow, well. “Gee. Good girl. Behave. Good team,” he says to the horses. The snow is deep and crusty, and a few of the turns on the trail are tight, but Misty and Woodrow are doing everything Cowdrey asks of them. Without turning in his seat, he explains over his shoulder to the passengers that there are several interconnecting trails on the property, forming various loops around the farm. “I’m taking the horses on a different route. They think they know the trail better than I do.” Once out of the trees, there’s a broad expanse with sparkling, snowy views to the right and left.

Cowdrey and LaFave bought Ragged View Farm in 1999 and have fixed up the house, built a barn and added a garden. The farm has expanded from a small garden and one pig to a larger garden with garlic for sale, four horses, a sow with two litters of pigs a year, and sugaring taps for maple syrup. On a typical sleigh ride, folks can see every part of the farm, including a view of Ragged Mountain to the north.

“It’s a good way to get people out to a farm and see horses, pigs and chickens — animals they may not see in their everyday life,” says Cowdrey. “People are interested in agriculture. If I drive the horses down the road, everyone slows down, stops and waves. I like to promote the idea of local agriculture when I can.”

Cowdrey worked at a farm a couple summers when he was a teenager, and although he didn’t work directly with the horses he “got bit by the bug.” In the mid-1990s Cowdrey took a workshop at horse-powered, family-operated Fair Winds Farm in Brattleboro, Vt., and later, when he had the space at the farm, he bought his first horse. “It was a realization of something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he says.

Cowdrey’s day job is an architectural draftsman in New London, but since 2005 he’s been giving sleigh rides to friends on the weekends. In 2006, it didn’t snow until March (not a good sleigh ride season), but in 2007 there was so much snow by March that it was too deep for Misty and Woodrow to pull a sleigh. “It is ironic when I have to say, ‘No, I have too much snow,’” Cowdrey says. “But if there’s a good amount of snow on the ground, I’ll probably be giving rides.”

Learn more at

Fun with history

Winter Kearsarge Magazine is going to press. It will be off my desk today, and printed next week. We haven’t run a funny history article since 2008…do you remember? It was based on the old Spy magazine “year in review.” The authors would take a funny item from the news, and make it even funnier with a title. So KM tried it with history items, true or tall tales. Here are a few oldies from 2008, and look for some new goodies in 2014.

Too cold to cry

Early log cabins near what is now the Newbury/Sutton line were very cold in winter. An open fireplace against one outside wall sucked all the heat from the far side of the room right up the chimney. Cold air was drawn in from outside through log walls. In 1780, William Gunnison and his reluctant wife moved into their cabin from the milder climate in Kittery, Maine. It was so cold the first night that Mrs. Gunnison’s hair froze to her pillow. We can understand why she might have shed a tear or two, but chances are she didn’t try again till spring.

Sorry to go on — I just really liked the hat

The Merrimack Journal in December 1874 records the following notice. “One of the most base and disgraceful acts ever committed in this orderly and decorous village was transacted at the [recent] Concert. Some vile person, unworthy of the name man or boy, had the impertinence, audacity and unqualified meanness to trample, spit tobacco juice upon and entirely annihilate Rev. Mr. Moody’s hat. Such conduct is not tolerated in this community, and the miscreant is sure to have the condemnation and reproach of the good people heaped upon him as soon as his name is found out, which if he has any shame could surely be done by the tingling of the cheek and his calling loudly for the rocks and mountains to fall upon him and hide him from the face of an indignant people.”

Better than a fat pig over a low pole

Hobos of the old days were not just men seeking a free ride. They were expected to perform for their supper and a spot in your barn — either with labor or with any skill they might possess. A free spirit named Jaquish is a good example. He came to Andover once a year, most often with a pig and a heifer in tow. His menu of services and their cost was as follows:

  1. Jumping heifer over a pole: 5¢
  2. Jumping pig over a lower pole: 2¢
  3. Praying for you or a loved one: 5¢
  4. Preaching: 15¢

Jaquish, apparently, was a worthwhile preacher. That is to say, his preaching had worth relative to that of a pig jumping over a low pole. The townspeople got used to — and even looked forward to — Jaquish’s arrival. He ambled through town in springtime for 20 years until 1845, when he didn’t.

Still thrifting

Picture 100

The Andover Service Club Thrift Shop is always in a giving mood. Although they typically receive – donation items, that is – they are sure to give back in a big way. Last year, all the shop’s profits – to the tune of $12,000 – went back to the town in the form of scholarships. The thrift shop is located on 26 School Street in Andover, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Be sure to bring your donations!