Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

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

Country Cuisine 8: The Copper Door in Bedford

The Copper Door is one of the newest restaurants around, and it’s made a big splash in the greater Manchester area.  Located just down the street from the grande dame of Bedford eateries, the Bedford Village Inn, the Copper Door is a worthy neighbor.  They have an extensive menu – a fusion of old and new.  Lunch selections include comfort dishes like meatloaf and bacon burgers and inventive creations such as a pablano and chipotle shrimp pizza.  Their lunch menu is rounded out with many soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrée offerings.    The Copper Door

They describe their dinner menu as “approachable New American and upscale comfort foods,” and that’s what it seems to be.  It is much lengthier than their large lunch menu, and includes a “Snack” section as well as several soups, salads, and pizzas, the chef’s take on several classic dishes, and refashionings of old favorites.  An example of the variety offered: slow roasted beef tenderloin, chicken spiedini, wood roasted New England haddock, and fettuccine Bolognese.  The entrees are complemented by ten vegetable side dishes.  Their desserts are all made in-house and are the perfect ending to a fine meal; they include Vermont chevre cheesecake, bananas foster, and tri-custard brulee.

Their wine and port list is remarkable. Their waitstaff is very attentive and are truly exemplary.  Many of the offerings are served with a  special flair.  The décor is a mixture of country elegant and contemporary, which seems very appropriate for the locale and the atmosphere the restaurant is trying to convey.  This new eating place is definitely worth a try.  The Copper Door also boasts an attractive bar area, a private room for groups, and outdoor patio seating.

Bedford’s newest eatery is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.  Entrance to the restaurant’s parking area is on 15 Leavy Drive, a new street off State Route 101 and Old Bedford Road.  Their website is very extensive and will give you a good idea of what your dining experience will be like.

The outside patio

The Patio

Country Cuisine 7: The Bedford Village Inn

Bedford, situated as it is next to Manchester, may not appear to be “in the country,” but its residents pride themselves on its small-town New England heritage and character.  This post highlights a well established eatery in Bedford that has long been a focal point for special event and destination dining.

The Bedford Village Inn (BVI) has four choices for dining and drinking, the Dining Room, the Tavern, the Patio, and Corks wine bar.  All feature New England regional cuisine and all may draw upon BVI’s large wine cellar.

Entrance to the Dining Room at the Bedford Village Inn

The Dining Room actually consists of seven adjoining rooms, most with an atmosphere derived from the colonial era building in which they are located.  It is the most formal of the BVI restaurants, with the most extensive menu and hours.  The largest room (near the restaurant’s entrance) is often expansively decorated with holiday or seasonal décor that lends it a very festive air. The menu includes appetizers like soft shell crab, watermelon gazpacho, and foie gras; for entrees, maple du Breton pork chops, 24 oz. porterhouse steak, and house made gnocchi; and desserts like crème brulee, cheesecake, and their celebrated chocolate bag. The Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily; on Sundays they have a brunch menu in addition to their usual fare.

The Tavern has a more relaxed atmosphere, emulating a New England tavern, with lighter meals – salads, pizzas, pasta – but one may order from the Dining Room’s menu if one so chooses. Open for lunch and dinner daily.  The outdoor Patio has the same menu and hours as the Tavern, plus Sunday morning hours when it serves the Dining Room’s breakfast menu.

The Tavern Entrance

Corks features selections from BVI’s extensive wine cellar, as well as beer and traditional bar service.   It’s a good choice for wine aficionados, as you can enjoy over twenty wines by the glass from a variety of well-respected wineries, four flight combinations highlighting distinctive growing regions, and from their cruvinet, some of the best wines available anywhere.   A large selection of cheeses, salads, pizzas, and other appetizers and entrees are available to compliment your imbibing experience. Open Tuesday through Saturday starting at 4:30.

The Bedford Village Inn is located at 3 Olde Bedford Way, off of State Route 101.  The Old Bedford Inn operates an inn and has a large function room (the “Great Hall”) in addition to its eateries.  The restaurants’ website runs to several pages.  Reservations are recommended for dinner and encouraged for other times.

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair

There’s one summer fair that should definitely be on your “to do” list.  The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Annual Fair, now in its 79th year, is a great place to stop – and shop.  This year it will be held from August 4th through 12th at the Mount Sunapee Ski Resort in Newbury, 10AM to 5PM daily.  The League operates quality craft shops at various locations throughout the state; only artisans who have qualified for League membership may exhibit their works at the shops or at the fair.

The fair is a great opportunity to see offerings by over 350 New Hampshire artisans in one place: each item made by hand, unique, and inspiring.  Representative works from some of the best craftsmen in New England will be there, offering everything from greeting cards, pottery, and clothes, to quilts, stained glass, and furniture.  There are items in all price ranges.  It’s a great place to find talented artisans for that special “something” you’ve been looking for but haven’t found at the mall stores.  The crafters will be happy to explain their craft and will welcome your purchase at the fair or your commission.  (Most craftsmen welcome orders for items made to your specifications.)

In addition to the craft booths, there will be a number of other activities visitors can enjoy. There will be craft demonstrations, and adult, children’s, and teen workshops showing how craft pieces are developed from the germ of an idea to finished creation.  For a break from shopping, visitors can enjoy scheduled performances by some of New England’s finest musicians, storytellers, and theater groups.

The League of NH Craftsmen is a non-profit, craft education organization. There is a small fee to visit the fair. For more information about the fair or the League, visit the League’s website.  To purchase your admission tickets online, click here.

23rd Annual Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks

The August 18 2012 fireworks show was cancelled due to a threat sent to the Jaffrey police.  The Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the fireworks display, has announced on their website that this annual event will no longer be held.  Click here for their announcement.  It is unfortunate that one person’s threat has ended this long running family event.

Just about everyone loves fireworks; they are usually one of the highlights of 4th of July celebrations.  If the recent July 4th display left you wanting for more – don’t despair!  One of the country’s largest fireworks displays is coming to Southern New Hampshire soon!

On Saturday August 18th, the 23rd Annual Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks will be held at the Jaffrey Airport.  New Hampshire is lucky to be the home of Atlas Fireworks, one of the country’s leading designers of fireworks displays.  They are well-known for their colorful pyrotechnic productions in cities throughout the U.S., including Boston and Washington, DC, and even in far-flung places like Shanghai!

Every August in Jaffrey, Atlas Fireworks produces a 30-minute themed fireworks display choreographed with music.  Upwards of 30,000 people come to watch.  If you’re an aficionado of pyrotechnics, plan to come early – doors open at 4 – and the best viewing spots get taken quickly.  To while away the time until the main show, there are typical fair amusements and food stands, and even a skydiving show.   Many attendees bring picnic supplies and camp out on the tarmac.

The theme for this year’s show will be Rock the Stars! It will no doubt be a very memorable program.  Tickets are on sale now; several categories of tickets are available for all sizes of vehicles as well as for walk-ins.  For details on the festival, or to purchase your tickets in advance, see the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce website.

For photos from previous festivals, click here.

Rhododendron State Park

Located in Fitzwilliam, Rhododendron State Park encompasses over 2,700 acres of native plants, with a 16-acre stand of native rhododendrons (Rhododendron maximum), the largest grouping in northern New England.  The grove was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1982.  The park is also home to wild mountain laurels, heathers, mayflowers, wintergreens, blueberries, and cranberries, all growing under the shade of densely-packed deciduous and evergreen trees.  There are several short hiking trails; the main trail is wheelchair accessible; one trail leads to the top of Little Monadnock Mountain, which is within the park.  Click here for trail maps. 

The wild rhododendrons are usually at their peak in mid-July; check the state park’s bloom report by clicking here.  Please do not expect to see masses of flowers, the way you might see them in a man-made garden; these plants are wild, and receive no fertilizer, cultivation, etc., so blooms may be scarce even in their peak season.  But you will be seeing plants as the first settlers might have found them hundreds of years ago, surrounded by native flora and fauna. Click here for some tips on the best way to experience the park.

For a short video showing the park in bloom, click here.

The area was originally given to the Appalachian Mountain Club in 1903 as an area to be preserved in its natural state; it was turned into a state park in 1946.  A short history of the park is available online.  The park is easily accessible from Rhododendron Road off State Route 119 between Fitzwilliam and Richmond.