life in the Kearsarge area

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

Archive for Vermont

Family FunFest scheduled for September!

Low Res Family FunFest Logo WN16 jlsSaturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Whaleback, 160 Whaleback Mountain Road, Enfield, N.H.

(exit 16 off I-89, easily seen from interstate!)

Family FunFest is Kid Stuff magazine’s annual family event. It’s about families and fun, education and entertainment, local businesses and nonprofits, games and goodies — a day of memory making right here in your Upper Valley community.

Although Family FunFest is a kid-centered festival, adults have plenty of reasons to love FunFest, too. Parents will learn about camp opportunities, meet Upper Valley tutors and educators, find deals on clothing, learn about birthday party places, and get information from local nonprofit organizations. Door prizes — appealing to the whole family— will be given away during the event. Planned activities include storytelling, obstacle course, pony rides, face paintings, arts and crafts projects, and more!

If you’d like to sponsor or be a vendor at this fun new event, please call the Kid Stuff magazine home base at (603) 863-7048.

Sponsor a cartoonist!

photo-originalWarner, N.H., resident Sandy Steen Bartholomew is going back to school, specifically, the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vt.! And you can follow her on that journey. She’s launched a Kickstarter campaign for a blog that will  follow her adventures in cartoon school, called Glyphs & Glitches:
Consider donating over the next week (the campaign closes in 7 days). If you choose to help Sandy, you’ll explore the challenges of going back to school at a…. umm… later time in one’s life, making new friends, getting an apartment after living in one’s own house for almost 20 years, moving to another state, commuting back and forth and figuring out how to parent kids who may or may not be in another state, depending on the day of the week. Oh, yes, and you’ll also learn cool techniques and fascinating ideas, meet interesting artists, see behind the scenes of projects and possibly have a front-row seat for her nervous breakdown. Hey – it’s almost like reality-TV… but a blog. Or a documentary adventure. Blog-thing. With comics. And reviews, and step-outs. And maybe some video. And things to download and color!
Click here to learn more:

Cheese made at Billings Farm

Billings Farm Cheese. 20150505. Photo by Bob Eddy & Tim Calabro / First Light Studios

Billings Farm Cheese. 20150505. Photo by Bob Eddy & Tim Calabro / First Light Studios

Billings Farm in Woodstock, Vt., is one of the oldest continuously-operating Jersey dairy farms in the country. Now, for the first time in more than 70 years, Billings Farm is making cheese exclusively from the milk of its prize-winning Jersey cows.

Two varieties of high-quality, handmade cheddar cheese – sweet cheddar and butter cheddar – are being made from 100% raw milk from the Billings herd of purebred, registered Jersey cows. Billings Farm Cheddar, made at Grafton Village Cheese in Grafton, Vt., is carefully aged for at least 60 days, with no additives, preservatives or artificial coloring.
Billings Farm Sweet Cheddar boasts a sweet, full-cream flavor. Sweet cheddar is especially popular in the United Kingdom for its firm, yet creamy texture, with a pleasant savory taste.

Billings Farm Cheese. 20150505. Photo by Bob Eddy & Tim Calabro / First Light Studios

Billings Farm Cheese. 20150505. Photo by Bob Eddy & Tim Calabro / First Light Studios

Billings Farm Butter Cheddar, also known as Butterkäse, is mild and creamy with a slightly salty or acidic flavor reminiscent of Muenster or Gouda cheeses. Known for its delicate flavor, it literally melts in your mouth at room temperature and is equally good on the cheese tray and for cooking.

Billings Farm Cheddar bears the coveted “Queen of Quality” label, which certifies that it is a highly nutritional, premium product made from 100% Jersey milk. Billings Farm is one of only 32 dairy farms nation-wide (nine in New England) that qualify for the “Queen of Quality” distinction issued by the American Jersey Cattle Association.

Interested? Billings Farm cheese is available at the Billings Farm & Museum, the Woodstock Inn, and other select points of sale.

Pop-Up Learning in Bethel, Vt.

Last year, a one-of-a-kind university popped up in central Vermont. During March, “Bethel University” (BU) hosted free mini-courses in the Town Hall, the school, the library, and in homes and businesses all over town. Anyone could become a “professor” and teach a course on any topic under the sun, and anyone could take courses for free.

Bethel University will pop-up again this March. Registration will open in early February and Bethel University will run from March 1 to 31. Like last year, the program will conclude with a community-wide “graduation” celebration on March 29 with food and fun, plus a new showcase of the courses featuring photos, art and “TED-style” talks.

Two exciting new additions will be offered this year. People can also propose “meet ups” – or informal gatherings for people interested in a certain topic or hobby – without having to commit to teaching a course. And for those who do want to teach, organizers will offer two workshops and a manual to help people design great courses. Professors do not need to have college degrees or years of experience – just a genuine interest in sharing their knowledge and skills. Businesses and organizations are invited to propose courses related to their offerings and use BU as a way to connect with the public and gain exposure.

Last year, 21 professors offered courses ranging from Zumba to vermicomposting, quilt making to wine tasting. The courses drew 134 registrations from 11 towns, with significant benefits for both the participants and for the Town of Bethel. The project supported 11 local businesses, brought new people to town, and highlighted Bethel’s assets and the talents of residents. More than 75% of participants said in a survey that they learned new skills and information and 95% of professors said they felt more connected to the community.

Bethel University is organized by the Bethel Revitalization Initiative, a group of Bethel citizens working to make Bethel a more vibrant, connected and livable community. A core group of volunteers came together to start Bethel University last winter, after hearing a great deal of enthusiasm for the idea. Numerous local organizations offer free space and support for the program, including the Town of Bethel, Bethel Elementary School and Whitcomb High, the Bethel Village Sandwich Shop, the Bethel Public Library, and the Christ Episcopal Church.

Learn more at


Fun facts about Vermont

Vermont was the 14th state to join the Union — the first aside from the original 13 colonies.

Vermont is the second-least populated state in the nation, and only five states are smaller in land area. Of all the 50 states, it has the very lowest Gross State Product. But it also has one of the best unemployment rates in the nation.

Vermont has an eccentric political history. It was an independent nation, the Vermont Republic, for 14 years (1777-1791). It had its own money, sovereign government and a constitution that explicitly forbade slavery — almost a century before the United States did.

Since 1856, Vermont voted Republican in every single presidential election except one (in 1964, it voted for Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater). But beginning in 1992, Vermont has voted Democrat in every presidential election.

Vermont became the first state to allow and recognize civil unions between same-sex partners in 2000, and was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage legislatively (Massachusetts was the very first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, but it was through a court ruling).

Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state in America.

About 2.5 percent of Vermont’s population speaks French at home.

Please note: This information is from The Writer’s Almanac: