Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor


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

The 2014 Made in New Hampshire Expo

The 19th annual Made in NH Expo will be April 4th through 6th this year.  This fair highlights local New Hampshire businesses; over 110 will be there to introduce you to their offerings.  As the motto of the Expo is “Try It and Buy It,” many exhibitors will be giving away free samples.  Vendors run the gamut from Barkin’ Biscuits (all natural dog treats), Candia Vineyards, and the Granite State Candy Shop to Sunapee Granite Works (jewelry), Knot Again (cutting boards),  and Weeping Willow Fine Arts (jewelry and housewares).  Many new companies are joining veteran exhibitors at this fun fair. Other companies present will be showcasing a wide variety of products: foods, glassware, tableware, pet foods, skin care items, clothing, furniture, and various services.

The hours for the Made in New Hampshire Expo will be Friday  1 –  8PM; Saturday  10AM – 8PM; and Sunday 10AM – 4PM.   As usual, the Expo is at the Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm Street, Manchester.  There is an admission charge; seniors and children’s tickets are discounted.  For more information see their website.   You can find a list of the Made in New Hampshire Expo exhibitors by clicking here. Mt. Monadnock

Unique Shopping Opportunities: Gibson Pewter in Hillsborough

In an era of mass produced throw-aways, it’s great that some craftsmen and artisans are carrying on the centuries-old tradition of crafting one-of-a-kind items by hand. In Southern New Hampshire we are very fortunate to have Gibson Pewter, a second-generation family craft shop in Hillsborough.

Jonathan Gibson today carries on the craft he learned from his father growing up, using lead-free pewter. The shop is filled with reproductions of 18th and 19th century tableware, Christmas ornaments, and other original creations that he has fashioned. Gibson Pewter 2

Although Gibson’s works are represented in the collections of the Smithsonian and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, they are very affordable. Gibson Pewter 2

From talking with Jon Gibson, you can see how much he loves his work. He was featured in a WMUR Chronicle segment, available by clicking here. His excellent workmanship is easy to see. 

Gibson Pewter 3

The Gibson Pewter Shop is located in a 250-year old barn in Hillsborough Center at 18 East Washington Road; it’s open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. Visitors are encouraged and demonstrations are frequently given. Gibson Pewter sign

If visiting the shop is not possible, check out the Gibson Pewter website; it is very comprehensive, with a gallery of the works that are currently available and directions for ordering by mail or phone.

New Hampshire Open Doors 2013

New Hampshire Open Doors gives everyone the opportunity to meet hundreds of crafters, artists, farmers, and other creative folk in their own workshops or studios.  This year Open Doors will be held the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd.   For an “up close and personal” time with these inventive people, this can’t be beat!

Gibson Pewter, Hillsborough
Gibson Pewter, Hillsborough

What began 9 years ago as a way of letting New Hampshire residents know about the great crafters in their midst has grown into a celebration of everything created in New Hampshire – from beer to high-end paintings. Local farms, chocolatiers, wineries, and bakeries join potters, jewelers, clothiers, quilters, photographers and painters for this event.  No matter where you live in the state, you will be able to meet dozens of your most creative neighbors during this two-day celebration.  Also included in the Open Doors event are retail stores like Wilderness Creations (Dublin) and the Black Moose Country Store (Windham) which specialize in handcrafted New Hampshire made products.

Oak Leaves Studio, Wilton

Oak Leaves Studio, Wilton

It’s a great way to start your holiday shopping.  The New Hampshire Open Doors website makes stopping and shopping very easy.  The website includes lists of the participants by name, category, and location, and even contains tours that take you to several crafters who live in adjacent areas, such as the Keene area, Mont Vernon, and the Peterborough region.  Further afield, tours are also listed for central and northern New Hampshire places like, Canterbury, Walpole, and Plymouth. Check out the website for the list of participants, detailed maps and directions, and the times each shop or studio will be open.

The 2013 League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair

The 80th Annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair is a great place to stop – and shop.  This year it will be held from August 3rd through 11th at the Mount Sunapee Ski Resort in Newbury.  The hours are 10AM to 5PM daily with special later hours on Friday, August 9th when the Fair will be open until 7PM.  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.)

Stained Glass Window

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 other entertainers.

The League of NH Craftsmen is a non-profit, craft education organization. There is a small fee to visit the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair, with reduced pricing for Friday evening August 9th.  More information about the fair can be found on this website.  To purchase your admission tickets online, click here.

18th Annual Made in New Hampshire Expo

The Made in NH Expo is this coming weekend, April 5th through 7th.  This fair highlights local New Hampshire businesses; over 130 will be there to introduce you to their offerings.  As the motto of the Expo is “Try It and Buy It,” many exhibitors will be giving away free samples.  Vendors run the gamut from Mason’s Alpine Angels (makers of natural goat’s milk soaps), winemaker Candia Vineyards, and Laconia’s Woodshed Roasting Company (coffee roasters) to North Hampton’s Great Bay Pottery, Sunapee Granite Works (jewelry), and Peterborough’s Creations Frumdawoods carved furnishings and accessories. Many new companies are joining veteran exhibitors at this fun fair. Other companies present will be showcasing a wide variety of products: foods, glassware, tableware, pet foods, skin care items, clothing, furniture, and various services.

The hours for the Made in New Hampshire Expo will be Friday 4/5 1 –  8PM; Saturday 4/6 10AM – 8PM; and Sunday 4/7 10AM – 4PM.   As usual, the Expo is at the Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm Street, Manchester.  There is an admission charge; seniors and children’s tickets are discounted.  For more information see their website.   You can find a list of the Made in New Hampshire Expo exhibitors by clicking here.

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Steve Russo

– Steve Russo, Connecting People with Homes in Southern New Hampshire and North Central Massachusetts.

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Unique Shoping Opportunities: The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Gallery in Nashua

Nashua’s League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Gallery features the best by master craftsmen and artists who have qualified to be members of the League.  A wide selection of giftables in pottery, stained glass, textiles, jewelry, prints, and wood are available in this interesting shop, as are holiday ornaments and cards. Nashua League Store

The store at 98 Main Street in Nashua changes its stock regularly, so one should stop by frequently to see the unique goods that are constantly arriving on its shelves. Hours vary during the year; check their website for current open times. There are other League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Galleries throughout the state; a list can be found at this site.

Unique Shopping Opportunities: Frye’s Measure Mill in Wilton

The artisans at Frye’s Measure Mill craft colonial and Shaker trays, round and oval wooden boxes, and other hand made items the same way they were originally fashioned over a hundred years ago.

Visitors are invited to tour the water mill where some of the production processes haven’t changed in over 150 years.  The Mill is a great place to view the best in handcrafted wooden ware,  glassware, pottery, pewter, and tin ware from not only New England, but from throughout the country.  Old-fashioned books, candles, and linens are also available.

You will find many unique items in the seven-room gift shop.  Frye’s Measure Mills’ website will acquaint you with all that’s available to experience at the old sawmill.  Frye'sMeasure Mill

The mill and shop, at 12 Frye Mill Road in Wilton, is on the National Register of Historic Places; it is open Tuesdays through Sundays.

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.

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. 

New Hampshire Open Doors

Coming up on Saturday and Sunday November 3rd and 4th, New Hampshire Open Doors gives everyone the opportunity to meet hundreds of crafters, artists, farmers, and other creative folk in their own workshops or studios.  For an “up close and personal” time with these inventive people, this can’t be beat!

What began 8 years ago as a way of letting New Hampshire residents know about the great crafters in their midst has grown into a celebration of everything created in New Hampshire – from beer to high-end paintings. Local farms, breweries, wineries, and bakeries join potters, jewelers, clothiers, quilters, photographers and painters for this event.  No matter where you live in the state, you will be able to meet dozens of your most creative neighbors during this two-day celebration.  Also included in the Open Doors event are retail stores like Wilderness Creations and Frye’s Measure Mill which specialize in handcrafted New Hampshire made products.

It’s a great way to start your holiday shopping.  The New Hampshire Open Doors website makes stopping and shopping very easy.  The website includes lists of the participants by name, category, and location, and even contains tours that take you to several crafters who live in adjacent areas, such as the Marlborough-Keene area, Wilton-Brookline-Mason, and the Dover-Rye region.  Further afield, tours are also listed for central and northern New Hampshire places like Meredith-Sanbornton, Canterbury, Hopkinton, and the Littleton-Bethlehem vicinity. Check out the website for the list of participants, detailed maps and directions, and the times each shop or studio will be open.