Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

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

USDA Mortgages


Just about everyone has heard about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and VA mortgages.  There is another federal government backed mortgage program that is little known but compares very favorably with these more popular ones.  That’s the USDA Rural Development Mortgage Program.

Don’t be put off by the “Rural” in its name.  USDA mortgages can be used to purchase homes in most towns in New Hampshire and central and western Massachusetts!  In general, only properties in urban areas – larger cities and larger towns – are not eligible.  In southern New Hampshire, for example, only Derry, Hudson, Keene, Londonderry, Manchester, Merrimack, Nashua, Portsmouth, Salem, and parts of Goffstown and Hooksett are ruled out.  In Massachusetts, most communities west of Lowell and Concord and north of Worcester are eligible, except Fitchburg and Leominster.20140920_141707

Why are USDA mortgage loans attractive?  They require no money down, have low interest rates, and don’t require mortgage insurance.  Rural Housing loans are aimed at families with moderate or low incomes looking to buy (or refinance) a primary residence.  The USDA will not lend to people with incomes over a certain amount, which can be as high as $ 104,000 for a family of four in certain areas of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  For information on income limitations, see the income tables on the USDA RD website.

For more information on which communities are eligible, click here Previously, the USDA had announced that it would be deleting some towns from its program, but they have since reconsidered; there will be no changes in the eligible towns for the next few years. 35 Dupaw Gould

All mortgage programs are complex.  For an overview of the USDA Rural Development mortgage program, consult your banker or financial adviser.  Please note that not all mortgage lenders offer this program, but there are many in every state that do.  If you need assistance in finding a lender that offers USDA mortgages, please give me a call.

Restaurant Week New Hampshire – May 16th – 23rd

The third annual Restaurant Week New Hampshire is coming soon!  Establishments throughout the state will be offering specially priced 3-course lunch and/or dinner menus from Friday May 16th through Friday the 23rd. Enjoy a meal at your favorite eating place or sample new ones as many of New Hampshire’s best restaurants offer their cuisine at cut-rate prices.  Lunches will be offered at $ 10 to $ 20 and dinners at $ 15 to $ 35.

There will be a special kick-off event the evening of Thursday May 15th at the Bedford Village Inn.  Chefs from all over the state – from Josh Farrington of the White Mountain Hotel and Lauent Geroli at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort to Chris Volkmann from the Copper Door and Nicole Barreira of T-Bones will be featured.  Only 100 lucky food aficionados will be able to sample their special dishes.  Tickets are available at the Bedford Village Inn.  For more information on this event, click here.The Copper Door

Over 150 establishments will be participating in Restaurant Week New Hampshire 2014, ranging from informal restaurants like Lui Lui (Nashua), the Airport Diner (Manchester) and Molly’s Tavern (New Boston) to formal eateries like the Copper Door (Bedford), Luca’s (Keene) and the Three Chimneys Inn (Dover).  To explore a list of all the participating eateries and see details of their offers, go to the Restaurant Week website.

Airport Diner, manchester

Ice Fishing & Bob Houses 2014

With the extreme cold temperatures we have been experiencing recently, ponds and lakes have frozen over throughout the state.  Many souls brave the extreme temperatures to install temporary housing on NH’s bodies of water; within the course of a few weeks, hundreds of small structures dot the lakes and ponds throughout the state.bobhouses13113c

Bob houses, portable “shanties,” as they are called by those in the know, are wheeled or pushed onto ice-covered bodies of water by die hard fisherman and their friends and followers each winter. No one knows for sure where bob houses got their name. There are various theories: they could be named for the bobsleds that some used to bring their shacks out onto the ponds, or because “bob” is an old fashioned term for short or small (as in bobtail or bobbed hair), or because your shanty will be bobbing in the water if you leave it out on a lake too long.

Statistics show that 25{6da90d3849ec5634a5b7617fb2fe46a655feac6f5bf56f53403b0961171136b9} of New Hampshire fishing enthusiasts enjoy going out to fish regardless of the cold weather. Fishing on one of the state’s many lakes and ponds is a great winter pastime. While some people fish out in the open, many bring a plastic tent, the true (and experienced) fisher folk bring shacks out onto the water bodies. These shacks can be crude plywood constructions, or they can be small well-constructed shed-like houses that have carpeting, electricity, stoves, and even heaters and televisions. There are stories of some shanties that not only have lighting, but have crystal chandeliers. Chatting with friends and downing cold drinks (that don’t need any artificial refrigeration) is a great way to while away the hours while you wait for a pull on your line. After drilling holes in the ice with your auger, you can sit back and relax until the active cold weather fish – perch, pike, crappie, and others – tug your line to get your attention.

Bob Houses on Lake Potanipo

The bob house and ice fishing season is from ice-in, usually in December, to ice-out, usually in mid-April. Lakes under State trout and salmon management have an official season of January 1st through March 31st. But don’t venture onto the ice without checking with locals to make sure the ice is thick enough to support you and whatever you are bringing with you. All bob houses must be removed from lakes and ponds by April 1st, but of course, if it’s unseasonably warm, remove it – or lose it – before the ice cracks under the weight of your home and/or vehicle. Every year there are tales of lost houses….

There are a lot of friendly get-togethers among bob house fishermen and women, and they have a lot of fun out on the ice. For the more serious sportsman, there are dozens of competitive ice fishing tournaments across the state, but the one that attracts the most participants is Meredith’s annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. As many as 6,000 anglers compete for dozen of prizes, including $ 50,000+ in cash prizes.. This year Derby Weekend will be February 8 – 9. For details, visit the Meredith Rotary Club website.  For details of other ice fishing tournaments, click here.

If you want to try bob housing, check out the New England Sportsman’s extensive ice fishing website. The NH Fish and Game Commission has a good site with the regulations everyone should observe.

On the other hand, if you want to try to convince someone to come in from the cold and give up ice fishing, you may want to show him or her this short video.

The 2nd Annual New Hampshire for the Holidays Expo

Manchester’s Radisson Hotel Expo Center will once again be the locale for New Hampshire for the Holidays.  This seasonal fair will be held on Saturday the 7th from 10AM to 8PM and Sunday the 8th from 10AM to 4:30PM. The Expo Center will be transformed with holiday decorations and live entertainers to amuse and delight visitors.  It will be the perfect place for gift shopping, with over 50 local exhibitors offering their wares.

Featured will be select New Hampshire and New England crafters, artists, jewelers, and service providers, including Aaron Slater Glass, Bloomingstars Arts, Just Naturals, and the Moose Mountain Candle Company. Many local gourmet food companies such as Simply Delish, The Crust and Crumb, The Cozy Tea Cart, Simply Cannoli, and the Three Acre Kitchen will also be present to introduce their delicious creations.

The entertainers include bell ringers, Christmas carolers, dancers, and Santa, of course! There is a small admission charge, with discounts for seniors and children, and also 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 at 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.

2013 Southern New Hampshire Expo

Mark your calendars for October 17th. The 2013 Southern New Hampshire Expo is an event you won’t want to miss!  Over 200 local businesses will be on hand to introduce themselves, show their products, and answer questions about their services.  More than 3,500 people came to the Hampshire Dome in Milford, NH to experience last year’s Expo, and it looks like this year’s fair will be bigger and better than ever.

The Expo is a great way to find out about the wide variety of services and products available in the area.  Big companies and small, old and new, they’ll be there! You are sure to discover businesses you didn’t know about – products you didn’t know were available – and services you didn’t think you could find. The scope of companies range from Aquatic Creations to the Wireless Zone, services like Amherst Recreation and Bridges to the Milford Rotary and Welcome Wagon.  Hampshire Hills will have a booth, as will Chappell, Home Depot, Staples, and hundreds of others. SONH Expo

Several eating establishments will also be present – offering free tastings. Sample the savory flavors of some of the area’s best restaurants, including Giorgio’s, the Mile Away, and the Copper Door.  Casual dining restaurants like T-Bones, the Hilltop Café, and Longhorn Steakhouse will also be well-represented.  In addition, many other quality food purveyors such as The Cozy Tea Cart and A&E Coffee Roastery will be distributing samples of their flavorful creations.

The service companies that will be represented cover a wide field, from institutions like the Bridges and the NH Citizen’s Corp to the Birth Cottage of Milford and Living at Home Senior Care.

There will be prize drawings every half hour, entertainment at the main stage, and strolling entertainers. The Expo will once again be hosting the high school Robotics Challenge this year. Teams from several area high schools will be on hand to demonstrate their innovative robotic creations.  Come visit with some of the brightest engineers and scientists of tomorrow and see what they have designed.PVR at SONHE2012

I and some of my associates from Prudential Verani Realty will have a booth at the Expo.  Please stop by and say hello!  Donna Damore, Fred Massone, Sanna Card, Lynn Daigle and I can assist you with any questions you have about buying or selling a home.  This year we will be offering our popular raffle again, with gift cards and other great prizes donated by our business partners:  Residential Mortgage Services (RMS), Broker’s Title, Merrimack Mortgage, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

The Southern New Hampshire Expo is a program of the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce. Expo hours will be 2 to 7:30PM Thursday October 17th at the Hampshire Dome on Emerson Road in Milford.  More information may be found on the Expo’s website.  For a list of vendors, click here.

22nd Annual Keene Pumpkin Festival

Saturday October 19th is the date for this year’s Pumpkin Festival in downtown Keene.

The Festival starts at 8:30AM with the Great Pumpkin Mile Race. The Food Court opens at 11:30, featuring traditional fall foods like apple crisp and maple cotton candy. At 12:30 the Costume Parade kicks off. From then until 8:30 PM there will be entertainers at the bandstand, roving street performers, children’s activities, a craft fair, pumpkin bowling, and a chance to see a great display of carved pumpkins. The lighting of the pumpkins starts at 4PM.pumpkins

Last year, 26,812 jack-o-lanterns were displayed at the Pumpkin Festival.  It would be great to break that record this year.  And this year, Festival organizers are making it easier than ever to participate!

C&S Wholesale Grocers have donated 20,000 pumpkins for the Keene Festival. Individuals or families that would like to carve some gourds can collect free pumpkins on Tuesday October 15th.  Families, school groups, and other organizations that would like to carve 25 or more pumpkins for the Festival should register in advance before October 15th for their free pumpkins. For details of this free program and information on how to register, click here.

This year, HGTV Magazine will be holding a series of programs at the Gilbo Avenue Welcome Center on fall themes starting at 1PM:  autumn entertaining, pumpkin decorating, and Halloween gift and candy giving.

Main Street will be closed to traffic during the Festival.  People may park at designated spots in and around Keene or at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey and hop a shuttle to downtown Keene; there is a charge for parking. This webpage has full parking details.

For more information on this year’s Keene Pumpkin Festival, go to this website.

UPDATE:  Keene beat the world’s record with a count of 30,581 lighted pumpkins on October 19th!