Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

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

New Hampshire for the Holidays

Manchester’s Radisson Hotel Expo Center is the locale for New Hampshire for the Holidays, a new December holiday fair.  It will be held on Saturday the 8th from 10AM to 8PM and Sunday the 9th from 10AM to 4:30PM.  The Expo Center will be transformed into a holiday wonderland, with a Victorian Village, gaily-decorated holiday trees, and entertainers throughout the hall.  It will be the perfect place for gift shopping, with over 100 local exhibitors offering their wares.

Featured will be select New Hampshire and New England crafters, artists, jewelers, and service providers, including All Things Shaker, Good Gaud Designs, Knock on Wood Birdhouses, Nurabella Jewelry, and The Barefoot Bee. Many local gourmet food companies such as Simply Delish, St. Julien Macaroons, The Cozy Tea Cart, Laurel Hill Jams, and the Woodshed Roasting Company will also be present to introduce their delicious creations.

There is a small admission charge, with discounts for seniors, children, and a $ 1 discount for anyone who brings in a nonperishable food item to contribute to the NH Food Bank. The Expo Center is adjacent to the Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm Street in Manchester.  For more information on the New Hampshire for the Holidays fair, go to their webpage by clicking here or visit their facebook page.

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is a month-long celebration of the December holiday season.  The leading sponsors, the Strawbery Banke Museum and the Music Hall, have planned holiday-themed caroling, strolling, musical productions, and other activities for almost every day in December. The Boston Globe called this celebration of the season “One of the top ten holiday things not to miss in New England.”

Traditional holiday decorations enliven the downtown area, and historically-themed presentations at the Music Hall make this a very festive time in New Hampshire’s old port city.

Strawbery Banke’s Candlelight Stroll – every Saturday and Sunday through December 16th – features musicians, carolers, and presenters interpreting how holidays were celebrated in years past; it is a major highlight of Vintage Christmas.

There is an admission charge for most activities.  For full details, visit Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth’s website.

Unique Shopping Opportunities: Twelve Pine in Peterborough

TWELVE PINE can meet all your gourmet needs. This institution in Depot Square features an extensive selection for the food-lover.  In addition to locally made brands such as Stonewall Kitchen, they have many boutique specialties not found in other shops, such as lemon olive oil from Tuscany, chipotle rubs from New Mexico, artichoke ambrosia from California, and fresh-pressed ciders from Farnum Hill Farm in New Hampshire.  Artisan-made chocolates, spice mixtures, teas, condiments, gourmet crackers, and fine wines fill the store.

Twelve Pine also has an eat-in menu that shoppers can enjoy in their café area.  The offerings change daily, and include their fresh-roasted coffees, gourmet salads, paninis, and entrees such as pork loin with leeks and grilled salmon; in-house made pastries and gelati are available for dessert.  All the shop’s prepared foods may be packaged to go.

Twelve Pine also has an extensive catering menu for those that are planning a large get-together.   The shop is open seven days a week; it is located at 11 School Street, Depot Square, Peterborough.  Their website is a multi-paged affair that details all that they can make available.

Unique Shopping Opportunites: Your Kitchen Store in Keene

Your Kitchen Store in Keene

YOUR KITCHEN STORE on 20 Main Street in Keene has the most extensive collection of kitchenware in northern New England. This locally owned store is the place to go if you are looking for anything for your kitchen or for the perfect gift for that gourmet cook on your holiday shopping list. They carry eight major lines of cutlery, seven major lines of cookware, and hundreds of kitchen gadgets and electrical work savers that will amaze you. Your Kitchen Store offers exhaustive collections from All-Clad, Berndes, Capresso, Cuisinart, DeLonghi, KitchenAid, Krups, LeCreuse,Viking,Waring, Wusthof, and many other companies. If it’s been invented for the kitchen, you will find it here.

Your Kitchen Store also stocks a wide variety of gourmet foods, including select olive oils, jams, savory spreads, teas, and sauces. They sponsor several cooking classes every season taught by local experts; details are available on their “Upcoming Events” webpage. One can get a good idea of what Your Kitchen Store has available by visiting their website, which always includes their latest catalog.  Their hours are: Monday – Saturday 9AM to 9PM; Sunday 11AM – 5PM.

Unique Shopping Opportunities: Oak Leaves Studio in Wilton

This is the second in a series highlighting distinctive local shops, artists, crafters, etc., that contribute to the quality of life in Southern New Hampshire. 

Oak Leaves Studio features the high relief woodcarving of master artist William Schnute.  Much of his work is large architectural pieces, but there are often smaller works such as those pictured here on display in his studio-workshop. 

Mr. Schnute works to order; each piece is designed in collaboration with the buyer.  All his pieces are handmade; his larger pieces such as doors or wall-mounted sculptures may take several weeks, but a small box or carving may be finished in only a week or two, depending on prior scheduled commissions.

He carves pieces for outdoor use, such as commercial signs and gates, as well as a wide variety of creations only suitable for indoor use, such as beautifully detailed small sculptures and keepsake boxes. 

William Schnute’s work must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.  However, to give you an idea of his range and talent, you may want to look at the photos on Oak Leaves Studio’s website and the notebook of finished works at his studio.

Oak Leaves Studio is located at 19 Frye Mill Road in Wilton; call the studio at 603-654-7543 or 888-621-2506 for hours and directions. 

Unique Shopping Opportunities: The Cozy Tea Cart in Brookline

It’s very convenient to shop at many of the malls that cover the state, or to order by phone or online.  But if you are looking for something unique to give – or something special for yourself – consider some of the specialty shops that are located in many of the small towns throughout the southern tier of New Hampshire.  This is the first in a series to highlight distinctive local stores that contribute to the quality of life in Southern New Hampshire.

Walk into The Cozy Tea Cart and enter into a specialty store like no other around.   This shop, at 104 Route 13 in Brookline, carries dozens of traditional and not-so-traditional tea blends personally selected by proprietor Danielle Beaudette, who travels to tea fields in China, India, and elsewhere to find the best leaves for her offerings. 

The Cozy Tea Cart is unique not only in the wide variety of tea blends it makes available, but also in its emphasis in popularizing the history, use, and benefits of tea drinking.  Each month the shop offers several programs to introduce different blends and to show how they can be used in new and interesting ways.  Programs include tea tastings, pairing various tea varieties with foods, using teas in cooking, and special events such as themed afternoon teas, author’s and artist’s teas, etc.  A recently begun series, “A Festive Holiday Menu” features the use of tea in baking, cooking, and candy-making.   

The Cozy Tea Cart offers a very comfortable tea room where customers can enjoy their favorite freshly brewed beverage, along with light luncheon fare, baked treats, and Jake’s premium ice creams. In warmer months, visitors can enjoy their refreshments in the shop’s garden.  

In addition to teas, tisanes, and edibles, The Cozy Tea Cart also affords the shopper the opportunity to choose from an extensive selection of tea paraphernalia, including tea cups, pots, brewers, spoons, souvenirs, and accompaniments.  Ms. Beaudette and her knowledgeable staff can ably guide you to the item(s) that will perfectly fit your need.

The Cozy Tea Cart is open Mondays through Saturdays 8AM to 6PM.  To learn more about tea and The Cozy Tea Cart, check out its extensive website.

Nashua Holiday Stroll

Nashua’s Holiday Stroll will kick-off the 2012 winter holiday season on November 24thBeginning with a candle light procession from City Hall to the Hunt Building at 5PM, the downtown area will host a variety of entertainments for the evening, until 10PM.  Many downtown area streets will be closed to traffic to allow strollers to walk to the many shops open late that day and the 24 music venues set up along Main Street, West Pearl Street, and other nearby lanes.  

Musicians will run the gamut from the Old Abram Brown and Figure 8 rock bands to the Merrimack Valley Flute Choir, to Baza, an up-tempo blues group.  Holiday music will be offered by the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, the Naughty or Nice? folk singers, the Four Cheers saxophone quartet, and several other groups.  The Actorsingers and Peacock Players will be presenting songs and comedy routines.

In addition to music, the Holiday Stroll will feature magicians, martial arts demonstrations, ice carvers, and face painting.  The New Hampshire Astronomical Society will be manning telescope stations to show visitors our starry heavens; the Bishop Guertin Robotics Team 811 will be exhibiting their latest robot, GROM.  And it wouldn’t be a winter Holiday Stroll without an appearance by Santa Claus!

Plan to come early and stay late.  Streets will be closed off starting at 4PM, but there will be parking available at the Elm Street Parking Garage, the High Street Parking Garage, and the Southern NH Medical Center Parking Garage.  There will also be shuttles available from the parking areas at Rivier University and Holman Stadium. The shuttles for the Nashua Holiday Stroll will run until 10:30PM.

For a complete list of performers, parking information, and other details, see the special Nashua Holiday Stroll website

Greater Portsmouth Restaurant Week

Restaurants in and around Portsmouth are collaborating on a Fall Restaurant Week Portsmouth and the Seacoast which will be held from November 8th through the 17th.  Some of the best eating places in the greater Portsmouth area will be offering 3-course prix fixe lunch menus for $ 16.95 and dinners for $ 29.95 (per person; not including drinks and taxes).  The types of eateries joining in this event include a wide variety of eating places, from casual dining to elegant upscale establishments.

Popular Portsmouth eateries such as the Black Trumpet Bistro, Green Monkey, Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café, the Portsmouth Gas Light Co., and Radici are being joined by select restaurants in surrounding towns to make this a special happening.  Restaurants from Exeter to New Castle and from Hampton to York, ME are participating.  The list includes the Three Chimneys Inn in Durham, Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle, Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, the 401 Tavern in Hampton, the Stage Neck Inn in York, and the Black Birch in Kittery.

For more information on Restaurant Week Portsmouth and a list of all the participating eateries, check out the Restaurant Week Portsmouth page on the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce website.