Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Southern New Hampshire Life - Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Distinctive B&Bs: Stillmeadow B&B

Located in a mid-19th century building on Main Street in Hampstead is the Stillmeadow Bed and Breakfast.  Two acres of gardens adjoin the Colonial Italianate house, originally built by a newly married husband for his wife in 1850.  The B&B is now owned by Margaret and Willie Mitchell, who settled in New Hampshire from Scotland five years ago.

The Mitchells have kept their B&B as historically accurate as possible, but added a host of amenities to please the discerning traveler.  Their two suites and one room feature air conditioning, television, wifi, robes, slippers, hair dryers, and toiletries.  The suites also have mini refrigerators and recliners.

The proprietors feature local produce and farm-fresh eggs at the morning meals in the well-appointed Breakfast Room.  The parlor has a butler’s pantry with snacks and drinks for guests’ 24-hour use; coffee and tea is also always available in the Breakfast Room.  Stillmeadow is a non-smoking home; pets are not allowed.  Please contact the owners about their policy on children as guests.

Hampstead is a town well-known for the antique homes lining its Main Street and the many ponds and lakes that attract summer visitors.  The town is ideally situated in Southern New Hampshire – just a few minutes to the beach, Massachusetts, bustling Portsmouth, and the state’s largest cities, Manchester and Nashua.  Hampstead has many antique, gift, and craft shops, and a church with a Paul Revere bell.  For outdoor recreation, Hampstead boasts a 360-acre town forest and is near the 26-mile long Rockingham Recreational Trail, ideal for hiking, biking, and snowmobiling.

The Mitchells are very fond of their adopted homeland, and can ably assist visitors with information on local attractions.  For more information on Stillmeadow, please go to their website.

Distinctive B&B’s: The Little River B&B

When someone mentions Peterborough, one  thinks of the many artistic opportunities, retail shops, and historic buildings there.  A relative newcomer to Peterborough is the Little River Bed and Breakfast, an airy, attractive, and light-filled lodging option on the banks of the Nubanusit River, on quiet Union Street just outside the downtown area.  The current owners, Paula and Rob Fox, transformed an 1870’s farmhouse into a stunning B&B six years ago.

Each of the four guest rooms is individually decorated and features a Queen bed, attached private bath, and either a gas stove fireplace or river views.  The rooms also include flat screen televisions, wireless Internet, and air conditioning. There are two common rooms, the first floor living room features a wood burning fireplace and big screen television, while the second floor sunroom overlooking the river has books for guests’ use, together with comfortable chairs in which to lounge and read.  A great plus is the outdoor deck overlooking the river, which beckons guests three seasons of the year.

Breakfast at the Little River B&B

A delicious multi-course gourmet breakfast is served daily which may feature one of their signature dishes like French Baked Eggs, Summer Vegetable Strata, Blueberry Baked French Toast, or their famous homemade honey granola.  The B&B is completely non-smoking and pet-free and is not recommended for children twelve years old and younger.  Paula and Rob are very green-friendly; their B&B was designated an “Environmental Champion” by the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association.

The Sunroom

There is a multitude of cultural, recreational, and shopping opportunities available in the region. If you are at a loss about where to go, the very knowledgeable owners can furnish you with recommendations to make your stay very rewarding. More details about the Little River B&B may be found on its website.

Distinctive B&B’s: The Birchwood Inn

The Birchwood Inn on State Route 45 in Temple evokes an earlier time in New England.  The Inn, dating from 1775, has largely been preserved over the centuries and retains many original features.  As much of the building as possible has been preserved; the Inn is one of the jewels in the town’s Historic District.

Birchwood has two rooms and three suites available; all are named after old English towns by the two British-born proprietors.  The suites can each accommodate up to four people.  There are televisions, fireplaces, wifi service, window air conditioners, and private baths in each unit.  One of the suites has a king-size bed as well as a kitchenette and an additional half bath.  Many of the rooms retain their original Federal period walls and floors.  This year-round hostelry serves a hot breakfast during the week and a full English breakfast on Sundays to overnight guests.  Special diets can be accommodated.

The highlight of the public rooms is an 1825 mural that encompasses all four walls of one of the dining areas; it was painted by well-known early English-born American artist Rufus Porter, and appears to depict Temple as it was back in the early 1800’s.

In addition to the rooms for rent, the Birchwood boasts the London Tavern pub and restaurant featuring authentic English fare, with dishes such as Bangers and Mash and Steak and Ale Pie; desserts include Bread and Butter Pudding and Spotted Dick.  The London Tavern is usually open Wednesday – Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Smoking is only allowed on the porch.  Due to the age of many of the furnishings, pets and children under ten cannot be accommodated.  For more information or to make reservations, visit their website.

Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Event

We must be approaching summer – the Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Competition is coming soon! Starting June 20th, competitors will fashion works of art from 300 tons of imported sand.  Yes, they import sand to Hampton Beach!  The competition, open to registered participants only, results in great sculptures that beautify the beach for several weeks.  There will be several special events in conjunction with this event, including sand sculpting classes, fireworks (June 23rd), and voting for a people’s choice award winner.  The creations will be on display through July 8th.  For more details and for photos of the impressive works of past award winners, go to the Sand Sculpture website by clicking here.

Distinctive B&B’s: Zahn’s Alpine Guest House

Visiting southern New Hampshire? Or looking for a weekend getaway?   Although  the area has several very comfortable hotels, why not consider staying at one of the unique bed and breakfasts in the region? This is the first in a series of articles to introduce you to some local lodging houses that will make your house hunting a truly memorable experience. The B&B’s that will be included are just a few minutes from the major cities in the area, but far away in terms of ambiance and atmosphere. Consider taking some time out from your New Hampshire experience to stay at one of these hostelries for a memorable time.  

Zahn’s Alpine Guest House was conceived twenty years ago by Bud and Anne Zahn, who used to make several buying trips to Austria, Bavaria, and the Alpine region of Italy for their import business. They enjoyed staying in small guest houses on their trips and wanted to reproduce the experience here in New England. The result is a piece of the Tirol in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. The eight room B&B is filled with authentic Alpine furnishings, from the carpets that cover the floors to the beds and mattresses, perfect for a night’s sleep, to the artwork that adorns the walls. The focal point of the Guest House is the Stube, the common room, which houses an authentic Kachelofen, a ceramic stove that provides heat for much of Zahn’s.

Each room has its own private bath, and is equipped with Wifi, TV, and telephones. Children are encouraged; no pets. Check in and checkout times are negotiable. A discounted rate for Hampshire Hills, the local sports/fitness facility, is available to guests.   Zahn’s is located at 97 S. Main St., Mont Vernon, NH 03057; phone: 603-673-2334 or  toll free 888- 745-0051.  For rates, directions, and more information, visit Zahn’s  website.

Spring Young Eagles Flights in Nashua

Thinking of taking up flying?  Want to see Nashua from a bird’s-eye view? Come out to Nashua Airport on Saturday June 2nd for a free introductory flight with a licensed pilot.  There is no obligation; totally free, the flights are provided by local pilots who want to bring their love of flying to others. Most of the planes are single-engine crafts based at the Nashua Airport.  Participants must be 8 to 17 years old and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Flights will be taking off every few minutes from 10AM to 3PM.  This international program is enjoyed by over 100,000 kids a year; over 1.6 million in 90 countries have participated.  Kids taking a fight will receive a certificate and have their name entered in the Logbook at the Experimental Aircraft Association headquarters.  PLEASE NOTE:  DUE TO THE FORECAST OF RAIN FOR SATURDAY, YOUNG EAGLES FLIGHTS HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DAY, SUNDAY, JUNE 3rd (SAME HOURS).

The planes will be leaving from Infinity Aviation, 117 Perimeter Road, at the Nashua Airport (Boire Field).  No reservations required.  In case of inclement weather, the Young Eagles Flights will be held on Sunday, June 3rd.  For more information about the Young Eagles Program, check out their website.  In addition to free flights, Nashua Flight Simulator will be offering free rides in a flight simulator, and there will be several interesting planes on display.  The Midfield Cafe will be providing refreshments.

In 2010 students at Nashua High School South produced a great informative video about the Young Eagle Rally at the Nashua Airport.  To see this video on YouTube, click here.

This spring’s Young Eagles Rally is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association, the International Aerobatic Club, and these local businesses: Infinity Aviation, the Midfield Cafe, and Nashua Flight Simulator.

The fall rally will be on October 6th this year.


Want a bird’s-eye view of the local real estate market?  Give me a call: Steve Russo – 603-321-9895  Connecting People with Homes – Click here for my website.

Southern New Hampshire Garden Centers: Part 3

Spring is here – time to spruce up the garden! The danger of frost is almost past in New Hampshire, so it’s time to break out the rototillers and mulches and to start weeding and feeding. A great-looking garden will not only bring you countless hours of pleasure, it will also heighten the “curb appeal” of your home.

For over fifteen years Faulkner’s Landscape and Nursery has furnished plants to some of the best gardens in the greater Manchester region. It is open seven days a week during the busy season.  Faulkner‘s website is filled with photos of  landscaping ideas, the flowering plants they offer, and even “What’s in Bloom” now. The site also contains a catalog of all the plants they offer, a gardening tip page, and links to gardening websites.  The company’s awareness of  environmental factors is shown by their inclusion of a list of plants that they choose not to sell because of their invasive tendencies. Their extensive landscaping services are also highlighted. Address:  1130 Hooksett Road, Hooksett; phone: 603-627-9573.

Maple Hill Nursery and Greenhouses has been serving the needs of gardeners in the greater Keene area for over 25 years. Open daily during the planting season, this Swanzey center features a large stock of roses and ornamental and fruit trees in addition to perennials, herbs, and flowering shrubs. For beginning and avid gardeners, they have a Saturday seminar series. They also have a Landscape Division offering design and installation services for homes and businesses. Check out their website for weekly specials. Located at 197 West Swanzey Road, Swanzey; phone:  603-357-2555.

Moose Maple Nursery and Garden Center in Dublin specializes in northern grown stock that is perfect for the higher elevations of the Monadnock region of Southern New Hampshire. It is open every day but Wednesday from April through October. They feature an extensive inventory of hardy plants, trees, and shrubs. Moose Maple Nursery also has a large selection of native New Hampshire trees, shrubs, and perennials, which include many plants especially important as food sources for birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Hanging baskets, annuals, and vegetables are available during spring and summer, and mums, pumpkins, and Christmas trees are presented in the fall and early winter. Their well-illustrated website tells their story.  On Route 137 in Dublin; phone: 603-563-8284.


The Midfield Cafe

One of the best-kept secrets of Nashua is its airport, and one of the best-kept secrets of the airport is the great little restaurant that’s there, the Midfield Cafe. Located in a building near the busy airport’s control tower, the Midfield Cafe is well-known to airport regulars. The Cafe serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week from 7AM to 2PM, from an extensive menu which includes all the regular breakfast and lunch fare, such as omelets, breakfast burritos, burgers, monte christos, club sandwiches, and more!   Many of the dishes have names inspired by the location, such as the Plane Breakfast (a hearty plate of eggs, meat, toast, and a side dish) and the Mile High Cafe Club Sandwich (a triple-decker BLT with choice of deli meat).  The Cafe’s selections are very reasonably priced, with almost everything under $ 8.00.

There’s something for everyone, from old-fashioned hot oatmeal to a healthy haddock plate. The breakfast selections include seven different omelets, eight kinds of benedicts, and seven kinds of pancakes. The lunch menu has twelve types of sandwiches, seven different melts, eleven salads, four burgers, and soups and chilis.  For holidays like Mother’s Day, the kitchen staff outdo themselves with specials such as lobster benedict, lobster omelets, and banana bread French toast.

The decor helps intensify the friendly airport atmosphere: photos of local pilots line the walls and the tablecloths feature pictures of airplanes and helicopters. Kids – and adults – are entranced by the planes, corporate jets, and helicopters that whiz by the cafe’s many windows.  In good weather, patrons are welcome to dine on the outside deck next to the airport’s main taxi way.  Ask about their Frequent Flyer Meal Card, which entitles you to a free (Boire Field)entrée when your card is full. The restaurant is a good community supporter, often supplying refreshments to special airport events like Young Eagle activities at little or no cost.  The Midfield Cafe is on the second floor of the Nashua Jet Aviation’s building at 83 Perimeter Road. Their facebook page gives details about specials, etc.

The Lilac Festival in Portsmouth

The annual Lilac Festival at the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion will be on Saturday, May 26 from 10AM to 3PM this year. For children, there will be arts and craft activities, an alpaca petting zoo, a treasure hunt, and more. Activities for adults include lectures by lilac experts, a silent auction, tours of the Mansion, and sales of many lilac varieties, including some plants descended from the Mansion’s own 250 year old lilacs.  Admission to the Lilac Festival is free.

Benning Wentworth, who built what is now called the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, was the first governor of New Hampshire.  He was a wealthy merchant, and was the first to import lilacs to North America from Europe around 1750.

The Mansion, a state historic site, is located at 375 Little Harbor Road in Portsmouth.  It is a rambling 40-room house overlooking Portsmouth’s Little Harbor, and is considered an outstanding example of a colonial-era home.  For more information about the house and hours of admission, see the Mansion’s website and the NH State Park’s site.

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority

The NH Housing Finance Authority is a great resource for residents who are considering the purchase of a home, especially first-time home buyers.  The organization was established 30 years ago by the state “to promote, finance and support affordable housing opportunities and related services for New Hampshire families and individuals…” It is not a state agency and receives no public funds.   The NHHFA’s website outlines their programs.

The agency offers fixed rate mortgages to low- and moderate-income home buyers (families with an income of less than 77,000 to 93,000, depending on the community);  it provides rental assistance to low-income families and individuals;  it assists homeowners going through financial difficulties; and it finances the development of quality, affordable rental housing in New Hampshire.

The Authority’s mortgage rates are very competitive, and they work with banks and other mortgage lenders.  Their mortgage loans require little or no down payment.  They also offer home rehabilitation loans of up to $ 40,000. A list of institutions offering their loans is available by clicking here.

The NHHFA sponsors seminars to help would-be home buyers learn about mortgages, using a real estate agent, how to get pre-approved, and if home ownership is right for them. They also offer several booklets with valuable information for people considering buying a home; see their publications webpage.

Only a small percentage of NH Realtors have been specially trained in the many programs available from the NHHFA.  I am one of them, so if you’re interested in their programs, please don’t hesitate to give me a call! You may call me at 603-321-9895 or email me at  Or click here to go to my website.